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Simply put, copper cookware is beautiful. They’re the type of pots and pans you pass down through a family, cooking up everything from your grandmother’s paella recipe when you’re craving something comforting to brown rice beans and vegetables on a busy night. You’ll get incredible results; there’s a reason they’re a staple in high-end French kitchens, after all. But while how quickly and evenly they heat allows for nimbleness in the kitchen that can’t be matched, copper cookware can be a lot of work to maintain. Plus, buying it is expensive.
Yet, for the right home cook, copper cookware, whether you’re looking for a whole set or one pot, can be worth it. Some things you'll need to consider when buying copper cookware include the percentage of copper in the cookware's construction, thickness, finish, heat distribution, design, and more. With these factors in mind, the Mauviel Copper Tri-Ply M'3 S 7-Piece Cookware Set is the clear winner.
Here, our list of the best copper cookware to consider—and how to use them to your advantage.
Best Overall: Mauviel Copper Tri-Ply M'3 S 7-Piece Cookware Set
What We Love: Simply beautiful, heats up quickly and evenly
What We Don't Love: Cleaning may feel particularly cumbersome
This copper cookware set is so beautiful, you'll want to just stare at it. Seriously: While it won't magically transport you to the French countryside, cooking with it comes close.
Made by France-based Mauviel, this cookware set is likely what you picture when you think of copper pots and pans, even if you didn't realize it. Made of a stainless-steel interior, heat-responsive aluminum core, and a copper exterior, it heats up quickly and evenly on gas and electric cooktops. The set includes a 10-inch fry pan, a 2-quart saucepan with a lid, a 3.5-quart sauté pan with a lid, and a 6.5-quart stewpan with a lid.
While all copper takes time to clean, Mauviel's feels particularly cumbersome, according to some reviewers. The manufacturer suggests hand washing, followed by immediate drying.
Construction: Stainless steel core and handles | Thickness: 1.5 mm | Induction-Compatible? No | Oven-Safe? Yes, up to 430 degrees F
Best Budget: Concord Cookware 8-Piece Copper Set
What We Love: Price can't be beat, heats quickly and evenly, solidly made
What We Don't Love: Does not include a shallow skillet, may tarnish more quickly than other comparable sets
This cookware set from Concord may surprise you. For less than $200, the eight-piece collection, which features four lids, two saucepans, a frying pan, and sauté pan, feels very well made. While it doesn't look as luxurious as other copper sets, this is a decent option for budding chefs or home cooks looking to display a stunning starter set in their new home.
One thing to note, however, is that this cookware tarnished more quickly than they expected, some users report. Furthermore, the lack of a shallow skillet in the set could be a problem depending on what you like to cook. Still, for the price, this is a very nice-looking set with solid construction and quick, even heat distribution.
Construction: Three layers: stainless steel, aluminum core, copper outer layer | Thickness: 2 mm | Induction-Compatible? No | Oven-Safe? Yes, up to 500 degrees F
Best Single Piece: Ruffoni Historia Hammered Copper Fry Pan with Artichoke Handle, 11 inches
What We Love: Gorgeous design, sturdy riveted cast-bronze handle, lifetime warranty
What We Don't Love: Tin lining might not hold up well over time
You'll want to make sauteed vegetables the star of every dinner with this beautiful copper fry pan from Italian-based Ruffoni Historia. The hammered finish is gorgeous, and with its cast-bronze handle, adorned with sculptural artichokes, it's the type of piece you'll want to set out on your table with that omelet inside.
While pricey, this heavy-duty pan comes with a lifetime warranty. Plus, whether you're new to copper cookware and are looking to try it out or you've wanted to add another piece to your collection for a while, skillets are the pans to go with, according to the Cookware Manufacturers Association (CMA).
"Since it is one of the best conductors of heat, frying and sautéing are great in copper," the CMA states in its FAQs about copper cookware.
The tin lining might not hold up well over time, but Ruffoni Historia products do come with a lifetime warranty.
Construction: Solid, hammered copper exterior with a tin lining | Diameter: 11 inches | Thickness: 1 to 2 mm | Induction-Compatible? No | Oven-Safe? Yes, to 430 degrees F
Related: The Best Frying Pans
Best Hammered: Lagostina Martellata Hammered Copper 10-Piece Cookware Set
What We Love: Stay-cool handles, pan edges make it easy to pour out liquids, hammered finish makes any discoloration less apparent
What We Don't Love: Feels very sticky even for copper cookware
Hammered cookware is very trendy right now, but this 10-piece set of copper pots and pans from Lagostina Martellata will withstand fads. The collection includes an 8-inch skillet, a 10-inch skillet, a 2-quart saucepan with lid, a 3-quart saucepan with a lid, a 3-quart deep sauté pan with a lid, and a 6-quart stockpot with a lid. It's constructed of tri-ply stainless steel for long-lasting beauty.
This beautiful set of cookware is designed with stay-cool handles and pan edges that make it easy to pour out liquids without the mess. Plus, the hammered finish means the discoloration that happens with all of the copper doesn't seem as apparent.
One thing to note, however, is that while copper cookware isn't nonstick, this one felt very sticky. If you often make pancakes or even eggs, you might have some trouble.
Construction: Tri-ply: stainless steel, aluminum, and copper | Thickness: 2.5 mm | Induction-Compatible? No | Oven-Safe? Yes, to 500 degrees F
Related: The Best Nonstick Cookware Sets
Best for Induction: de Buyer Prima Matera Induction Copper Cookware Collection
What We Love: Can buy individual pieces, even and precise heating
What We Don't Love: Cost may be out of reach for many with induction cooktops
As the climate crisis worsens, more and more people are looking towards induction stovetops to green the kitchens. Induction stoves are about twice as efficient as gas, yet finding cookware, especially copper cookware, that works on them is a challenge.
Enter de Buyer, the French cookware brand, which has a lovely line of copper cookware that works on induction stoves. The eight-piece set comes complete with two fry pans (a 9-inch and an 11-inch), two saucepans with lids (a 1.2-quart and a 2.5-quart), and a stockpot. You can buy the whole set or just the pieces you need—making this a versatile option for those interested in supplementing their kitchen arsenal with copper cookware.
Keep in mind, though, that this is one of the most expensive copper cookware sets and may be out of reach for many with induction cooktops who want to use copper.
Construction: Stainless steel and cast iron interior with a copper exterior | Thickness: 2 mm | Induction-Compatible? Yes | Oven-Safe? Yes, up to 400 degrees F
If you're looking for copper cookware set to level up your cooking game, the Mauviel Copper Tri-
Ply Seven-Piece Cookware Set is our top choice (view at Williams Sonoma). This beautiful set features a stainless steel interior for durability, and it heats up quickly and evenly on gas and traditional electric stovetops. The Ruffoni Historia Hammered Copper Fry Pan with Artichoke Handle is a nice option for those looking to simply add one copper pan to their kitchen (view at William Sonoma).
What to Look for When Buying Copper Cookware
While copper cookware is expensive, it's one of the best materials you can use for cooking performance. It's often prioritized because of its usability benefits, and serious home chefs will want to at least have a frying pan in it. It can be nonstick, and it's versatile in other ways too. Copper cookware heats up and cools down faster than others, and it offers uniform heat distribution. In most cases, copper cookware is considered oven-safe, too.
However, there are some things you should keep in mind when shopping for copper cookware. You want to make sure the thickness of the material is around 2.5 mm and not much less than that.
“Thin copper can easily get dents or bend out of shape,” says Melissa Collins, a brewing and cooking expert and partnership manager of PerfectBrew.
Collins adds that while hammered versus non-hammered is a matter of personal preference, you'll want to consider whether it's made of stainless steel or tin.
"Both stainless steel and tin linings have different advantages. While stainless steel is more durable, it's a poor conductor of heat. Tin, on the other hand, is nonstick and heats up quickly, but it is not as long-lasting," says Collins.
Is copper cookware better than stainless steel, and if so, why?
The best cookware is the one that works well for you. Copper conducts heat more quickly and more evenly than stainless steel, but it’s costly and requires a great deal of care to maintain, meaning it’s not for everyone.
“If committed to caring for and using the pans properly, then it can be a worthwhile investment,” the CMA states in its FAQs.
What foods can we not cook in copper cookware?
If your copper cookware is lined, which these days all are, you can cook anything. However, if you have unlined copper pots, according to the CMA, acidic foods such as tomatoes can create a reaction and leach copper into the food over time.
What is tri-ply copper cookware?
Tri-ply copper is crafted from three metals: a heavy-gauge aluminum core sandwiched between a layer of stainless steel and copper, expertly drawn into a vessel with equal thickness through the pan to ensure even heating.
How should users care for their copper pots and pans?
Copper cookware almost always requires hand-cleaning. “Copper should be polished with various commercial copper cleaners,” states the CMA. “A mixture of flour, salt, lemon juice, and ammonia, or a mixture of vinegar and flour, are two other methods of keeping copper utensils shiny. After cleaning, wash in sudsy water and rinse before polishing with a soft, clean cloth.”
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
Bridget Shirvell has been writing about food and wine, parenting, and climate solutions for more than a decade. Her work has appeared on Foodprint, Martha Stewart Living, Food52, and more. Obsessively organized, Bridget is always looking for items that will reduce her household carbon footprint while making baking with her toddler easier and keeping the tricky shelf space tidy in her early 19th-century kitchen.
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