Best Copper Cookware Sets of 2018
A copper cookware set provides the perfect blend of form and function. Find the best copper cookware set to spice up your kitchen decor.
The Best Copper Cookware Sets for a Sophisticated Kitchen
A copper cookware set instantly adds beauty to any kitchen. If you want the perfect blend of form and function and plan to display your pots and pans, a copper cookware set is the way to go.
But choosing a good cookware set can be tricky. You have to select the appropriate thickness, liner material, and number of pieces to find the right set for your kitchen. With so many copper cookware sets on the market, where do you begin?
At BestReviews, our goal is to take the stress out of shopping. Instead of poring through hundreds of online reviews to find the best products, we do the hard work for you. Our shopping guides give you the key information you need to make the smartest shopping decisions. Plus, we buy all the products we review, so we're never swayed by marketing jargon or hype.
Ready to purchase a copper cookware set? Check out BestReviews' top three recommendations in the matrix above. Otherwise, our in-depth shopping guide provides everything you need to know before you buy.
Why Buy a Copper Cookware Set?
- Attractive Appearance: Many home cooks are drawn to the beauty of copper cookware sets. Copper pots and pans look undeniably lovely hanging from a rack in your kitchen, and they also easily transition from stove to table for serving.
- Outstanding Heat Conductivity: Of all the materials used for pots and pans, few conduct heat as well as copper. Copper cookware sets heat up and cool down very efficiently because they react so quickly to a stove's heat level. This allows you to brown and braise food perfectly, but copper cookware sets work just as well for frying, sautéing, and searing.
- Even Temperature Control: Copper's amazing heat conductivity provides temperature control that other pots and pans just can't offer. You never have to worry about hot spots with copper cookware sets because the entire surface heats evenly, which means you don't have to deal with food that's burned in some spots and undercooked in others.
- Good Weight: Most cooks appreciate pots and pans that have a good weight to them so that they sit evenly and securely on the stove top. However, some cookware is too heavy to lift comfortably with one hand. With a copper cookware set, you get a nice, heavy weight, but you're still able to maneuver the pots and pans with a single hand.
Hammered vs. Smooth: What to Consider When Buying Copper Cookware Sets
When you're shopping for a copper cookware set, the thickness of the pots and pans is one of the most important features to consider. Thicker sets perform better than less expensive thinner sets. It's best to choose a copper cookware set with a thickness of 2mm or more.
For the most durable copper cookware, choose a set with a thickness of 2.5mm. A copper cookware set of this thickness is less likely to warp and is compatible with electric, ceramic, and glass stove tops. It also heats and cools very efficiently.
Copper cookware sets thicker than 3mm tend to perform less well because it takes more time for them to heat and cool.
Because copper can react with some foods—especially those that are highly acidic—most copper cookware sets feature a lining made of another material. In most cases, copper cookware sets are lined with either stainless steel or tin. You can also opt for unlined copper cookware, but it's best to buy those as individual pieces, not as a whole set.
Both stainless-steel and tin linings have their benefits and drawbacks:
- Stainless Steel
- Isn't prone to rust, tarnish, or other discolorations
- Doesn't scratch or dent easily
- Doesn't require any special cleaning
- Can be used at high temperatures for highly effective searing
- Rough texture isn't nonstick so must be seasoned
- Cooking with a lot of salt can cause pitting
- Can separate from the copper if used regularly at high temperatures, though this can be repaired
- Offers a smooth surface that is nonstick without seasoning
- Works as an effective heat conductor just like copper
- Allows for highly effective browning
- Can wear out and require re-tinning
- Easily scratched by metal utensils, tools, and steel-wool sponges
- Can't be used at temperatures above 450°F
Number of Pieces
Like any cookware set, copper sets vary in terms of the number and types of pieces that they include. In most cases, the more pieces that a copper cookware set includes, the more you'll pay.
Most copper sets include six to 16 pieces. The ideal number depends on your kitchen needs and how many people you usually cook for. If you'll use your copper pots and pans as your primary cookware, you'll want a set that includes more pieces. If you only want a few key copper pots and pans, a smaller set is a better choice.
Some basic pots and pans to look for in a copper cookware set include:
- An 8-inch skillet or sauté pan
- A 10- to 12-inch skillet or sauté pan
- A 1- to 1.5-quart saucepan
- A 2- to 3-quart saucepan
- A 6- to 10-quart stock pot
Keep in mind that most manufacturers include lids in the number of pieces in a cookware set, so a 10-piece set usually doesn't include 10 pots and pans.
When it comes to the appearance of copper cookware sets, you can usually choose between smooth and hammered. A smooth finish is the most common. Hammered cookware usually involves hand craftsmanship, which makes for pricey sets. There's no difference in terms of performance between smooth and hammered copper cookware sets, so choose the look that you (and your wallet) like best.
The handles on copper cookware sets are typically made of stainless steel, cast iron, or brass.
If you prefer heavier pots and pans, stainless-steel and cast-iron handles are your best bet. Stainless steel is smooth, though, so it can be tough to get a good grip. Cast iron has a rough surface, which provides a better grip. Both stainless steel and cast iron are safe for use in the oven.
If you prefer lighter cookware, brass handles are the best choice for your copper cookware set. They aren't as durable as stainless-steel or cast-iron handles, though, and can discolor easily. Brass also conducts heat well, so the handles can get hot during use.
How Much Should You Pay for a Quality Copper Cookware Set?
Copper cookware sets are priced based on the thickness of the copper and the number of pieces, but they usually run between $165 and $3,200.
- Budget-Friendly: Copper cookware sets that are less than 1mm thick and feature eight to 10 pieces usually cost between $165 and $325.
- Mid-Range: Copper cookware sets that are approximately 2mm to 2.5mm thick and contain eight to 10 pieces usually cost between $350 and $800.
- Premium: Copper cookware sets that are 2.5mm or thicker and contain 10 or more pieces usually cost between $800 and $3,200.
Q. Can I use copper cookware sets in the oven?
A. Nearly all copper cookware sets are suitable for use in the oven up to certain temperatures. Copper itself is oven-safe, so it's the liner material that usually determines the maximum baking temperature. Copper cookware sets with stainless-steel lining are usually safe up to 500°F, while those with tin lining are typically only safe up to 325°F to 450°F. Read the manufacturer's instructions carefully before using your pots and pans in the oven.
Q. Can I use copper cookware sets on an induction stove top?
A. Any cookware used on an induction stove top must be made from a magnetic material to create the necessary magnetic field to heat properly. Copper isn't magnetic. However, just because you have an induction stove top doesn't mean you shouldn't buy a copper cookware set. You can purchase a ferromagnetic interface plate made of stainless steel or carbon steel, both of which are magnetic, to place beneath your copper pots and pans on the stove top.
Q. How do I clean copper cookware sets?
A. Copper cookware sets must be hand-washed and should be cleaned as soon as possible after use. That's because heat makes it easier to remove residue from the surface. Use a soft, nonabrasive sponge, a mild dish soap, and warm water to clean the interior and exterior of the pots and pans.
Copper can tarnish over time, but polishing will keep it looking like new. You can use copper polish, mix lemon juice and baking soda, or mix lemon juice with salt to polish your copper cookware set.