Copper Pots And Pans: Pros and Cons For Everyday Kitchen Use

Copper Pots And Pans: Pros and Cons For Everyday Kitchen Use


What makes copper pots and pans great? Discover the differences between copper and other materials and how to choose the best cookware for your kitchen.


There’s an old adage that claims “only a poor craftsman blames his tools.”


Some people think that this means that tools aren’t important. I think it’s the opposite. I think that it means that a skilled artisan is responsible for procuring and maintaining a set of quality tools to work with. After all, if you can’t even craft an appropriate work environment for yourself, how can you be expected to produce anything of value for someone else?


How Does This Work In The Kitchen


Kitchen tools are no different. Before you prepare a recipe, you should read through it and make sure that you have everything you need to begin. This includes both ingredients, containers, cooking implements, and other kitchen tools.


Many recipes become much more difficult without a food processor or a stand mixer, for example. If you don’t have these tools, you should figure out what you’re going to use instead well before you begin to cook.


What Does This Have To Do With Cookware?


The pots and pans that you use in your kitchen are very much a kind of tool. Their job is to transfer heat to an easy-to-clean cooking surface that’s appropriately sized and shaped for your use. Having the right pot or pan can make all the difference in preparing a recipe. It can make things very easy or very hard.


Pots and pans differ in a number of important ways. They come in different sizes and shapes, they’re made from different materials, they have different cooking surfaces, and they have different amenities like rubberized handles or well-fitting lids with steam vents. Depending on the recipe you’re trying to follow, some or all of these things might make a big difference in how easy it is for you to cook a dish.


Does Cookware Material Matter?


The material that cookware is made with determines a lot of things. The two most important factors are heat transfer and durability. You want your cookware to conduct heat really well (we call this “thermal conductivity”) in order to take energy from your stove and transfer it to your food. If your cookware conducts heat poorly, it’ll take a long time for your cookware to get hot enough to cook your food on, it’ll stay hot after you turn off your range, and it won’t necessarily heat up unevenly.


Durability is another big factor. You don’t want your cookware to scratch, bend, or chip easily. Ideally, it’s made out of a dishwasher-safe metal that’s very hard and easy to clean.


How Does Copper Stack Up?


Most cookware is made of aluminum. This is because aluminum is cheap, light, and an excellent conductor of heat. It’s also fairly durable, although most cookware manufacturers coat it with stainless steel or use a special treatment process to make it harder, stronger, and safer to use with food.


Pro: Excellent Heat Transfer


Copper is an even better conductor of heat than aluminum. It’s got roughly twice the thermal conductivity, meaning that it heats up about twice as fast and twice as evenly. When you turn your burner off, a copper pot or pan will cool off much faster than an aluminum one. Copper cookware is highly prized among candy makers and other chefs who have to work with precise temperatures on the stove.


Con: Heavy


Copper weighs a lot more than aluminum. Copper pots and pans are heftier than their aluminum counterparts, even if there’s only a thin core of copper to help with heat distribution. They’re still light enough to move around, of course, and they’ll spend most of their time in a cupboard or sitting on the stove, but they are a bit more awkward to work with.


Con: Soft and Delicate


When you think of “durable” and “easy to clean,” what metal springs to mind? It’s definitely not copper. Copper pots and pans can last for years with proper care, but they’re much easier to accidentally damage than pans made from stainless steel. They also need to be cleaned with special chemicals in order to maintain their alluring luster. Finally, copper isn’t the best cooking surface. You can’t cook with acids or acidic foods without causing a reaction that will discolor the copper and make your food taste bad.


Pro: Beautiful


Aluminum pots and pans don’t have the aesthetic appeal of copper pots and pans. A well-maintained piece of copper cookware is a thing of beauty. In my opinion, the metallic reddish hue of copper manages to create a much bolder statement than any painted ceramic or anodized pan ever could. It’s just much more vibrant and natural.




Copper isn’t necessarily used on its own. Many cookware manufacturers have begun to sandwich it between layers of stainless, aluminum, or both. In such a package, copper cookware is a great option for most kitchens. This is because the extra layers sidestep most of the downsides while still giving you better thermal performance.


If you need precise temperature control for candy making or another cooking task, full copper cookware is an excellent choice. Otherwise, I’m very much of the opinion that it’s a mixed bag. On the one hand, you get beautiful cookware pieces that are fantastic to cook with. On the other hand, these pieces are more difficult to maintain and you’ll still need to have some non-copper pots and pans to cook things like tomatoes or wine-based sauces.


If you’ve got the budget and cupboard space for an extra copper cookware piece to supplement your other pots and pans, buying one is a good option. If you need an 8″ frying pan to cook eggs in every morning, you probably shouldn’t go full copper. Instead, choose a piece with a copper or aluminum core and a more durable exterior and cooking surface.


My name is MJ. I have two wonderful children and work part time as well as volunteer at my children's school.

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  1. I think they’re the best and most common tools in the kitchen. Undeniable and unparalleled Material!

  2. Copper metal vessels are not recommended for cooking as they react with citrus foods. It is better for serving the food as they look beautiful.

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