BACK TO TOP

Why You Should Consider Copper Cookware

You don’t have to be the Lindt chocolatier or Julia Child to use and enjoy copper cookware. Anyone looking to upgrade their kitchen collection game should consider investing in just one piece. Here’s why.

Copper Cookware 101

There’s good reason professional chefs have kept copper in their kitchens for hundreds and hundreds of years. It happens to be just as efficient as it is beautiful, conducting heat 5x better than iron and 20x better than stainless steel. High thermal conductivity goes beyond saving you prep-time. Once warm, a copper bottom pan distributes heat much more evenly than a traditional one. If your food has ever fell victim to a ‘hotspot’ you can bet that won’t happen. And because copper is so reactive, cooking takes place at a lower temperature that is also more easily controlled. A good general rule of thumb is to cut the suggested temp in half. Less heat equals less chance of burnt food. Copper cookware is substantial without being difficult to lift like cast iron, it’s durable, corrosion-resistant and even antimicrobial. Yes there is upkeep involved but it’s probably less invasive than you think, more on that below.

Buying Cookware

There are a few things to consider when shopping. The depth of the metal plays a role in its overall quality; too thick or too thin is not good. This is less of a factor if you are buying from a reputable retailer but if you’re not, 2.5mm is considered ideal.

Most copper cookware is lined with a non-reactive metal to help protect you and the copper. The most popular linings are stainless steel and tin, each of which has its own set of pros and cons. Tin is most traditional and does require extra care. Because tin is a soft material it can scratch more easily and will need to be retinned by a tinsmith at some point later in life. To avoid tarnishing, an acidic wash like the one at the end of this article should be used every so often. Stainless is less fussy in terms of maintenance and can withstand higher temperatures, however, it cannot be refinished if it gets damaged and is not non-stick. Similarly to cast iron, this can make it a little tricky to work with until it becomes seasoned.

There are also hybrid variations such as copper bottomed or cored pans- just don’t expect quite the same level of conductivity from them. If you want the real deal, iron handles and all, we recommend our neighbors up north Brooklyn Copper Cookware. Mauviel is another great brand that has been around since 1830 and offers both tin and stainless lined collections. Don’t let the cost of an entire set scare you, just one saucepan is all you need!

Polishing Copper Cookware

For maximum service life, hand wash copper cookware and avoid contact with harsh chemicals such as bleach. Below is a quick, chemical-free way to wash and polish your copper between uses.

The Lemon method

What you’ll need:

  • Scrub Mommy sponge
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Microfiber towel

      *The acid in the lemon juice is what breaks down the corrosion layer or patina. If you don’t have any on hand, vinegar is an adequate substitute.

      How often you should do it: Copper naturally develops a patina over time. To embrace this darkened color, apply the lemon solution only occasionally. If you prefer your copper to shine like a mirror, you’ll want to do this regularly between uses.

      Directions:

      1. Hold your Scrub Mommy under warm water until soft. Squeeze out excess water.
      2. Place the item you are going to clean in a sink or a shallow bowl.
      3. Saturate Scrub Mommy’s scrubby FlexTexture® side in lemon juice. Using a circular motion, work in batches until you’ve scrubbed all surfaces.
      4. The results should be immediate! If you need more scrubbing power, add some cold water to your Scrub Mommy and repeat.
      5. Rinse with warm water and dry with a clean microfiber towel.
      6. Optional: To enhance the natural polish of the copper, rub a dab of vegetable oil over its surface.