All Clad Copper Core Review (2021)

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Really nicely done copper core cookware should be long-lasting with a great cooking performance. It can also be subtly attractive.

All Clad Copper Core 5-Ply Bonded Cookware is a durable, yet pricey, cookware line with a copper core that provides even heating. Here’s what the manufacturer has to say about it:

Keep reading for our All Clad Copper Core review, and we’ll help you figure out if the All Clad Copper Core Cookware Set is worth the investment.

Spoiler Alert: If you just want to know what to buy, then I highly recommend this All Clad 10 Piece Copper Core Cookware Set.

Things To Consider Before Buying Copper Core Stainless Steel Cookware

Copper core pots and pans have a copper layer in the middle of the pan. The outer layers will normally be stainless steel, and you may find other layers in there, like aluminum.

Cookware sets with a copper core are a great buy for the home chef who wants a high-quality cooking set with excellent heat conductivity. You also eliminate the health concerns related to cooking with copper since it won’t touch your food if it’s sealed with stainless steel.

Now, if you usually prepare food with one pan or two and don’t see the need for additional pans and pots, a full set might be too big for your needs. Also, cooking with stainless steel instead of a non-stick pan has a learning curve and is not the easiest option.

All Clad’s pots and pans are specifically copper core 5-ply bonded. This means that they have 5 layers: 2 stainless steel on the outside, 2 aluminum and a copper inner core.

All Clad Copper Core - 5 layers including stainless steel (x2), aluminum(X2) and copper

Before we get into our All Clad Copper Core Cookware set review, let’s look at some things to keep in mind when buying a copper core cookware set.

Usability

Do you feel like you need differently sized pans to cook regular meals? Are you using a small frying pan to make a perfectly-sized crepe for breakfast and then a bigger one for frying several pieces of chicken for dinner? You need to consider what pans you’re going to use regularly before buying cookware.

Make sure the pots and pans are the right sizes for your needs.

Consider if you want a glass lid that’ll allow you to see your food when it’s cooking without taking the lid off. Or, maybe a metal lid is enough for your needs.

Also, are the handles comfortable to hold? Perhaps you want your handles made of a material with reduced heat conductivity like plastic or rubber.

Materials

One crucial thing to consider before buying a copper core cookware set is what materials the pans and pots are made of.

Copper

Copper cookware has a core made of copper, an excellent heat-conducting material, meaning your food will cook more evenly.

It can be potentially toxic when ingested, but since the copper in copper core cookware is sealed by other materials on both sides, you get the heat-conductive benefits without the downsides.

Copper helps avoid hot spots by ensuring even heating throughout the pan.

Steel

When it comes to the materials surrounding the copper core, corrosion-resistant stainless steel is a great choice; it’s durable and not easy to scratch. This is not the most heat-conductive material, but it’s ideal for mixing with other materials such as copper or aluminum.

The stainless steel interior is non-toxic as no dangerous chemicals or metals will leach into your food. (But if you are nickel sensitive or trying to reduce your iron intake, be careful.)

Aluminum

Aluminum is common in cookware; it has high heat transfer, making the pan heat up quickly. Like copper, it reduces hot spots through even heating.

It can react badly with acidic foods, which can absorb the metal. Ingesting too much aluminum is toxic to humans. This material also scratches easily.

Safety

If you want to use your cookware in the oven, ensure they’re safe to handle higher temperatures.

Also, dishwasher-friendly pots and pans are great for saving time.

Be on the lookout for Teflon non-stick coatings as they include the chemical compound polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE.) A Non-stick cooking surface can release toxic chemicals even at average cooking temperatures.

All Clad Copper Core Cookware Review

What Exactly is All Clad Cookware?

All Clad started making cookware in Pennsylvania, in 1971. Their founder, John Ulam combined his love for cooking with his knowledge of metallurgy and started producing handcrafted metal cookware. All Clad products are still made in the United States by skilled craftsmen.

John Ulam actually invented bonded cookware, a process still used in All Clad cookware to this day.

All Clad cookware is known to be of the highest quality–however this is reflected in the price.

All Clad cookware is normally made in the United States.

However even All Clad cookware isn’t perfect, and it’s worth understanding any complaints. The biggest issue I’ve ever found is that one some lines, All Clad outsources production of peripherals like lids, resulting in lower quality. A lot of its lids are not made in the United States.

What Is All Clad Copper Core?

All Clad Copper Core 5-Ply Bonder Cookware comes as a 7 piece, 10 piece or 14 piece set.

The 10-piece set that includes two frying pans, two saucepans, a sauté pan, and a stockpot.

All pieces are copper core 5 ply bonded and constructed with an outer layer of 18/10 stainless steel and inner layers of aluminum all sandwiching a thick copper core. They also have riveted stainless steel handles that are comfortable to hold.

All the pieces have a beautiful copper skive running in a band around the base. It looks really nice but customers report that it can discolor.

These pans are dishwasher-friendly and safe to keep in the oven. Unlike many “dishwasher-safe” cookware lines where hand washing is recommended, these pans are genuinely safe to throw in the dishwasher.

Customers praise the All Clad Copper Core pots and pans for their reliable heat distribution and beautifully polished surface. They also like the quality of the materials.

But they’re not as happy with the fact that the bottom of the pans seems to stain quite easily, and the pans are also very heavy to move around. It’s also rather expensive.

If you don’t need a whole set, you can buy an individual sauté pan with lid. It’s very versatile and more affordable than the entire selection. Check out my review below.

On the other hand, if you want more pieces, the

Pros

  • Great heat distribution
  • Beautifully polished metal design with copper ring
  • High-quality materials
  • Dishwasher-safe cookware set
  • Compatible with induction cooktops
  • Oven and broiler safe
  • Flared edges for drip free pouring
  • Includes the most important cookware pieces

Cons

  • The bottom of the pans tends to stain
  • Heavy pots and pans
  • Quite pricey compared to competitors

Features and Benefits of All Clad Copper Core Pots and Pans

Now that we’ve presented the All Clad Copper Core 5-Ply Bonded Cookware set let’s dig deeper into its features and benefits in the next part of our All Clad Copper Core review.

All Clad Copper Core

Items

The All Clad Copper Core Cookware 10-piece set that includes two frying pans. The smaller fry pan is 8 inches (20 cm), and the bigger one is 10 inches (25 cm.)

It also includes a 2 quart (1.9 liters) sauce pank and a 3 quart (2.8 liters) sauce pan with accompanying lids. Lastly, a 3 quart sauté pan with lid, and an 8 quart (7.6 liters) covered stockpot.

All lids are made of stainless steel, which is more durable and oven safe, but you can’t see your food through the lid without opening it and letting the heat escape. 

Generally with All Clad Cookware, in my experience it’s the lids that can be problematic. Although sturdier than glass ones would be, they normally aren’t quite the same quality as the pans.

If you are are looking for something a bit smaller, the 7-piece set offers one less fry pan and one less sauce pan.

The 7 piece set

On the other hand, if you’re looking for something bigger, there’s always the 14 piece set. This offers an extra sauté pan and a chef’s pan. It’s a lot of money to drop on cookware, especially bearing in mind that it’s all stainless steel. I sometimes use cast iron and non-stick cookware, so this would probably be too much steel for me!

The 14 piece set

How Do You Clean All Clad Copper Cores?

The cookware doesn’t have a non-stick coating but an outer layer of stainless steel. There’s a learning curve to cooking with stainless steel, and food might stick to the bottom of your pans easier. For the novice home chef, this might be a struggle.

These pans and pots from All Clad will require some maintenance. You’ll have to polish them regularly after cleaning to keep their shiny exterior. 

If you find the pans had discolored to such an extent that you can’t fix them, try a small amount of Bar Keepers friend to help you.

Also, this cookware has copper lines for decoration purposes. While this looks great at first, users report that this line tends to discolor and turn green after a while if it’s not cared for properly.

This discoloration is on the exterior of the cookware and is harmless. It’s a normal process and won’t affect the functionality. If it bothers you, invest in some copper polish to keep the bright finish of the copper band. 

Heating

All Clad Copper Core pots and pans have a 5 ply bonded construction with an outer layer of stainless steel.

The steel in these pans is the 18/10 type meaning that they contain 18 percent chromium and 10 percent nickel. Properties of 18/10 stainless steel include a shiny luster, durability, and rust-resistance.

But stainless steel is not great at heat transfer. This is why the inner layers of the pans are made from aluminum and copper. Both metals are great at heat transfer, allowing the pans to heat up fast and evenly distribute heat.

The combination of these materials gives you durable pans without compromising on heat control, which buyers love.

Stove and Oven Compatibility

The pans are oven and broiler safe up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit (315 degrees Celsius.) Also, the All Clad Copper Core Cookware is magnetic and works on an induction cooktop.

Comfort

Customers think that the pots and pans in the All Clad set are heavy. Some even report that they’re difficult to lift when they’re filled with food.

I guess that’s part of the cost of 5 solid layers of metal!

While some buyers mention the handles get hot easily, others say they prevent heat from spreading to your hands. But what users agree on is that the handles are long and comfortable to grip.

Durability

Stainless steel is a very durable material. You can use all kinds of utensils on the pans without worrying about scratching. Since there’s no non-stick coating on the pans, you don’t risk it peeling off either.

Also, the All Clad Copper Core is advertised as a dishwasher-safe cookware set.

Non-Stick

Let’s be clear, these pots and pans are not non-stick. If you are looking for non-stick, check out my All Clad HA1 Review. Even All Clad stainless steel will have food sticking to it.

Yet the polished stainless steel cooking surface does offer a certain amount of stick resistance beyond what I’ve seen in comparable cooking sets.

Maybe there’s some secret sauce in the starburst finish!

Is All Clad Copper Core Safe?

This is Teflon- and PTFE-free cookware. It does include materials such as copper and aluminum, which can react badly with acidic foods and potentially have negative effects on the human body when ingested.

But the inner layers of copper and aluminum are surrounded by stainless steel, which prevents them from reacting with food. This makes All Clad Copper Core very safe!

Value

So how much value do you get for your money? Is it worth the investment? Well, I’d argue that even though the All Clad Copper Core set is a higher price than its competitors, it also excels in performance and is hand made by talented craftsmen. All in all, it’s worth the investment.

If you’re still uncertain, the All Clad Copper Core 5-Ply Bonded line comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

Individual Pieces

Buying the full 10-piece cookware set in one go will make quite the dent on your wallet. If you like All Clad’s copper core line but had a budget, one option is to buy a more affordable alternative–see below.

Yet what I’ve seen many do is to buy one All Clad cookware piece at a time. This means they buy the cookware pieces they are most likely to use, and spread the cost over time.

Going piece by piece also allows you to mix and match: Perhaps a cast iron skillet, steel sauté pan, nonstick frying pan and enameled cast iron Dutch oven.

Let’s look at some of the most useful individual cookware pieces to help you decide if you want to do this.

Sauté Pan

This All Clad Sauté Pan has the same 5 layer bonded construction with stainless steel as the main copper core cookware set.

Expect the same performance, both good and bad.

The price is still painful, and you can get full cookware sets for the price of this one sauté pan! Yet this pan is also something you could pass on to your children if you take care of it.

I’ve chosen the 5 quart pan, which is big enough for plenty of one pan meals.

Sauté pans are perhaps among the most versatile pans to have. You can cook almost anything with them, especially if they have a lid.

I’ve used my sauté pan as a normal fry pan, a stir fry pan and even to prepare pasta when I’m out of sauce pans.

Pros

  • Great Quality, Look and Performance
  • The one pan with lid that you need
  • Useful helper handle–you’ll need it if you have a full pan
  • Most essential pan for kitchen

Cons

  • Price is comparable with a whole set of cookware (of lesser quality)

Stock Pot

The second cookware item people often like to get is the stock pot. This is 8-quart pot is perfect for cooking soups and stews.

It would be great for pasta except there’s no colander insert. Still colanders aren’t hard to find!

This is one of the ones where it becomes interesting though if you are building a mixed cookware selection. If I had to choose between this pot and a cast iron Dutch oven–I’d go with the Dutch oven. Honestly a Dutch oven is a lot more affordable and more versatile.

You don’t get quite the same control though, among other differences, so in a perfect world you’d have both.

Pros

  • Great Quality, Look and Performance
  • Good second pan

Cons

  • Purchase price is comparable with a whole premium cookware set
  • Very heavy when full

Check Price on Amazon

Alternatives

My All Clad Copper Core Review tells us how good the All Clad copper core line is–but are there other options?

Anolon Nouvelle Stainless-Steel Cookware Pots and Pans Review

The Anolon Nouvelle copper core set is a cheaper version of the All Clad set with the same number of pieces. It’s also made with 5 ply construction and has an outer layer of stainless steel while its inner core is made of copper.

 It comes with a 1.75-quart sauce pan, 3.5-quart sauce pan, 8.25-quart stockpot, 8-Inch fry pan, 12-Inch fry pan, and 3-quart sauté pan. The fry pans don’t have lids, everything else does.

Customers like that the pans in this set heat evenly and look very pretty when they come out of the box; however, they mention the material quality isn’t as good as in the All Clad set. The exteriors scratch rather easily, and the copper band discolors quickly.

  • More affordable than the All Clad Copper Core set
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Evenly distributes heat
  • Induction cooktop compatible
  • Not made from high-quality materials
  • Exterior scratches easily
  • Only the base is copper core 5-ply bonded (sides are single layers)

If you’re looking for a cheaper option to the All Clad with the same copper core 5 ply bonded construction, the Anolon Nouvelle Set is a good alternative. Check it out for yourself!

Paderno 12-Piece Stainless Steel Copper Cookware Set Review

If you want glass lids for all of your copper core cookware, opt for the Paderno 12 piece set. This bonded cookware set includes three saucepans, a steamer, a wide pot, and a sauté pan, but no regular frying pan. It’s also made with a similar design to the All Clad and uses 5 ply construction.

According to buyers, these pots distribute heat easily. They also like the glass lids, but the pots aren’t dishwasher-friendly–hand washing required! Users also report that food sticks to the pan and can be rather tricky to clean.

  • Copper Core cookware more affordable than All Clad
  • Comes with glass lids
  • Great at distributing hea.
  • Not dishwasher-safe
  • Food sticks to the bottom of the pots and is hard to clean
  • Only the base is copper core 5-ply bonded (sides are single layers)

If glass lids are an essential feature of your copper cookware, I recommend this set from Paderno. Check it out for yourself!

All-Clad Brushed D5 Stainless Cookware Set (10pcs)

If you like the idea of All Clad stainless five-ply, but aren’t convinced by All Clad’s copper core line, then this might be the set for you.

Although still 5 layer bonded cookware, All Clad has replaced the inner copper core with stainless steel, reducing the price.

Personally I think this set doesn’t look quite as nice, and doesn’t offer quite the same performance.

The entire set is oven safe to 315°C (600°F), including the lids, thus perfect for high heat cooking.

Some people might like the brushed exterior, but I miss the thin gold line offered by All Clad’s copper core line.

  • All Clad Stainless Steel 5-ply that is more affordable than All Clad’s copper core line
  • Brushed instead of polished exterior
  • Less attractive look–no copper stripe
  • Same stainless steel cooking surface
  • Good heat control, but not quite as good as All Clad Copper Core

FAQs

What is copper core 5-ply bonded cookware?

Copper core 5-ply bonded cookware is cookware that has 5 layers, all bonded together, of which at least one layer is copper.

Don’t confuse this with impact-bonded cookware. Impact bonded normally refers to a cookware with a discs on the bottom which have been impact bonded to the pan.

With copper core 5-ply bonded cookware, by contrast, the layers extend around the whole pan.

Does copper core make a difference?

The cookware already contains aluminum which helps spread the heat–does the All Clad’s copper core actually offer anything extra?

Copper is nearly 60% more heat conduction than aluminum. So yes, the copper center does help avoid cold and hotspots, and it offers improved performance over aluminum alone.

Copper core cookware also wraps the copper in layers of sturdier metals, thereby protecting it and avoiding exposure to your food.

I, personally, think All Clad’s copper core also looks very attractive in a subtle way–but that isn’t the main reason to buy this cookware!

Why not just have pure copper cookware? Why bother with all the other layers?

Even “pure” copper cookware is normally lined with tin to make it food safe. Over time the copper cookware wears away needs to be “re-tinned.”

Apart from this disadvantage, copper is not as sturdy a material as the other steel layers, not does it heat up quite as quickly as the aluminum layers.

The combination of aluminum and copper makes copper core cookware especially reactive to temperature changes.

Does All Clad Copper Core Cookware warp?

Not normally. All Clad cookware is high quality and that includes its copper core line. These pots and pans should not warp with normal use.

A very small number of owners do report their copper cookware warping, however it’s impossible to be sure how their pans were used.

On the other hand, the lids aren’t quite as good quality, so it’s possible they could warp. However, since the lids are less exposed to direct heat, you should be safe.

What other All Clad cookware is there?

There are many products in the All Clad Stainless cookware line, all of them high quality and high price. Not all are five-ply, nor copper cookware.

All Clad tri-ply is also high quality, and more affordable. It depends what you use it for, yet many home cooks have similar cooking experiences with All Clad tri-ply as five-ply, but at a lower cost. I’ve written an article comparing it with Calphalon tri-ply.

All Clad also makes non-stick cookware.

How do I clean my All Clad Stainless pan?

Sometimes steel can get scorch marks on it that don’t look very nice. I’ve found they normally come off easily, but I know this is something home cooks can struggle with. If that’s the case, then try some Bar Keepers friend.

Or, check out my guide to cleaning burnt steel pans.

Is All Clad Copper Core Worth It?

The All Clad Copper Core Cookware product line gives you the best of both worlds with a copper core and stainless steel outer layer. The ten-piece set is ideal–it provides you with six pieces of high-quality cookware in different shapes and sizes that are sure to fit most needs in your kitchen (plus lids).

Although with a high price tag, it’s top-class cookware for home cooks and chefs alike. It’s ideal for kitchen tasks that require precise temperature control, such as sous vide cooking, as it’s super responsive.

A product of this quality can last for a lifetime, so check it out for yourself!