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Copper is very fashionable right now, particularly in cookware. As a component metal in cookware, it’s extremely responsive to heat changes. It is twice as conductive as aluminum and ten times more conductive than stainless steel. That responsiveness and conductivity make copper cookware perfect for cooking foods where heat regulation is important. Due to its luxurious look, copper is often used on the exterior of the cookware, either as a thin decorative layer or as a thicker, functional layer, particularly on the bottom of the pan.
Exposed copper develops a patina with age, but it can be returned to the previous shiny look using special cleaning products or some lemon juice and salt. While pure copper is seldom used when it will be in contact with food, there are a few specialty pots that are made entirely from copper. There are also many copper-colored pans that offer the look of copper at a lower price point, and without requiring the care that pure copper does. Whatever you're looking for, we've found the best copper cookware that will fit your needs.
Best Frying Pan Set: Copper Chef Round Pan 3 Pack
Chemical-free nonstick surface
Easy to use and care for
Retains and distributes heat well
Not actually made of copper
No lids included
The three-piece set from Copper Chef includes an 8-inch frying pan, a 10-inch frying pan, and a 12-inch frying pan. It ensures you’ll always have the right size whether you’re cooking eggs for two or pancakes for the family.
The pans are made from aluminum, so they’re very lightweight and easy to handle. They have a proprietary cerami-tech outer coating while the interior has a copper-colored nonstick ceramic coating. Our product tester finds that the nonstick coating is extremely effective, and praises the set's "lovely, shimmery shade of light copper"—though she notes that it lacks the same style and elegance of true copper cookware. A stainless steel bottom plate means that the pans heat evenly and can be used on induction cooktops. The handles are riveted on for security.
These pans should be seasoned before use, but are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. The pans are heatproof to 850 degrees, so you can use them in the oven as well as on the stove.
"This cookware diffused heat quickly and evenly with all the dishes I tried, with no noticeable hot spots." — Tierney McAfee, Product Tester
Best Cookware Set: Lagostina Martellata Hammered Copper 18/10 Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Cookware Set
Retains and distributes heat well
Versatile in use
Steep price point
Requires special care
Copper cookware is stylish, but hammered copper cookware takes it to a whole new level, with an artisan look that is distinctive and classy. Lagostina has a wonderful hammered cookware set that is sure to look great in your kitchen.
The cookware has a thick aluminum core for efficient heat distribution and a stainless steel interior. The lids are also stainless steel. Besides being beautiful, the hammered copper exterior offers excellent heat control. Our product tester also loves that the handles are designed to be comfortable to hold while they stay cool on the stove.
The cookware is oven and broiler safe to 500 degrees. It is compatible with all stove types, except induction.
"I love the style so much that we plan to put them on display in our kitchen on a wall-mounted rack." — Tierney McAfee, Product Tester
Best Square Pan: BulbHead Red Copper Square Pan 5 Piece Set
Nonstick, scratch-resistant interior
Large and deep
Easy to clean
Outside color may scratch off
The BulbHead Red Copper Square Pan comes with extras that make it even more useful: a vented and tempered glass lid, a fry basket, and a steamer/roaster rack. The 4-inch high sides help reduce splattering and let you use it to cook sauces or when deep frying.
The interior is a copper-infused ceramic that is nonstick, scratch-resistant, and oven safe to 500 degrees, so you can use it in the oven and under the broiler. A helper handle makes it easy to move and empty the pan, even when it’s full.
The pan should be seasoned before use. While it is dishwasher safe, hand washing is recommended.
Positive reviews highlight the pan's depth and high sides, which help prevent splattering. Many customers also rave about how easy the pan is to clean.
Best Jam Pot: Mauviel Copper Jam Pan with Bronze Handles
Durable, heavy-duty construction
Interior doesn’t react with fruit acids or sugar
Traditional jam pots are made from copper, like this 15-quart copper pan by Mauviel. The copper conducts heat efficiently and the unlined interior doesn’t react with fruit acids or sugar. It’s perfect for turning excess or nearly-too-ripe crops of stone fruits or citrus into large batches of jams and jellies, as well as making candies like toffee and caramel.
Mauviel has been making quality copper cookware in France for 170 years. This sturdy pan has bronze side handles with copper rivets for secure transport on and off the stovetop. Hand washing is recommended to ensure it gives you years of delicious jams.
Customers give this jam pot high marks because nothing burns or sticks to the bottom. Plus, they love that it's heavy-duty and beautifully crafted.
Best Saucepan: Old Dutch Copper 2-Quart Covered Saucepan
Sturdy but not too heavy
Nonstick coating performs well
Easy to clean
Lid and handle may get hot
This attractive and affordable 3-quart saucepot has a copper-colored T-Cerama coating inside that releases food easily, no matter if you’re cooking rice or melting sugar to make candy, along with an elegant dark gray exterior. The coating is scratch-resistant and metal utensil safe, so you can grab any spoon without worrying about damaging the pot. Several reviewers like that the pot is heavy-duty enough not to warp when heated, while its light weight makes it easy to maneuver.
The long handle is riveted on for safety and has a hanging hole on the end so it can hang on a pegboard or rack. The lid is glass, so it’s easy to monitor the cooking without letting the heat out. The pot is oven safe to 500 degrees and the pot and lid are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning when cooking is done.
Best for Sugar: Mauviel M'Passion Sugar Saucepan
Heats up quickly and evenly
Easy temperature control ideal for sugar work
Beautiful, simple design
Only right-handed pouring spout
Made specifically for sugar work, this 1.9-quart saucepan is made entirely from copper for ultimate heat control. It heats evenly so the sugar will melt evenly with no hot spots or burning, and it’s reactive to heat changes so the temperature can be controlled easily. Customers gave this specially designed saucepan positive reviews for its easy temperature control and how quickly it heats up, though they warn that because of its all-copper construction, the body and handle can get very hot.
The distinctive conical copper handle offers a secure grip and is attached to the body with copper rivets for security. A pouring spout on one side makes it simple to pour scalding hot syrup safely and accurately. Not just for sugar, this can be used for making small amounts of jam or sauces. This should be hand washed.
Best Stock Pot: All-Clad Copper C4508 C4 8 Qt. Stockpot with Lid
Heats quickly and evenly
Oven and broiler safe to 600 degrees
This extra-large 8-quart stockpot has an attractive copper exterior and copper layers bonded with copper for excellent heat control. The layers extend all the way to the rim of the pot for even heating all around, along with perfect heat transfer from pot to food. The pot heats quickly to high temperatures for perfect searing and browning before lowering the temperature for low-and-slow braising or stews. When it’s time for roasting or baking, the pot is oven and broiler safe to 600 degrees, so there’s no need to worry about using it in a home oven at the highest heat.
The interior, handles, and lid are stainless steel for an attractive accent next to the copper. Over time, the copper will darken, but that doesn’t affect the cooking performance. While some cooks admire the dark patina, it’s simple to polish it to return it to the original shine.
If you're looking to try out a copper pan for the first time, we recommend the Copper Chef Round Pan 3-Pack for ease of use and care (view at Amazon). If you're looking for a full set to replace your current cookware, we recommend the Lagostina Martellata Hammered Copper 18/10 Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Cookware Set as a fantastic upgrade.
What to Look for in Copper Cookware
Thickness: The thickness of your copper cookware can have a noticeable effect on how quickly and efficiently it heats up. Aim for around 2.5 to 3 mm. Thinner than 2 mm may cause the copper to heat more slowly and less evenly. Plus, thin copper cookware is more likely to warp and dent.
Lining: Copper cookware is usually lined by either tin or stainless steel. Stainless steel, while not very effective at conducting heat, is more durable than tin, is non-toxic, and is easy to clean. Tin, however, heats more quickly than stainless steel, thus decreasing the risk of "delaminating" (the lining separating from the copper). Tin is also non-reactive and relatively non-stick, but does require special maintenance because of its delicate nature. While unlined, or bare, copper cooking vessels are rare, there are some available designed for specific jobs, such as jam pots and mixing bowls for beating egg whites.
Appearance/finish: Copper cooking vessels are typically available with either a hammered or smooth finish. The type of finish you should go for is a matter of aesthetic taste and what each brand has available; it does not dictate the quality of the cookware. While in the past hammering copper was done to strengthen the metal, today it's done by machines for decorative purposes. Hammered copper cookware is usually high-shine, and smooth finishes are available in either matte or shiny versions.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats
Cookbook author Donna Currie was gifted her first set of pots and pans as a child, when her mom’s new cookware came with a miniature, fully functional set. Since then, she graduated to full-size cookware, researching and testing a wide variety of brands for The Spruce Eats to find the best.