Ready to vamp up your kitchen with some copper but not sure you want to go all out? In that case, you may be more interested in copper bottom cookware.
The best copper bottom cookware provides you with the benefits of cooking with copper but without the potential health risk.
To help you decide if this the right choice for you, I’m doing a full copper bottom cookware review. Soon, you’ll know all about what to look for, and potentially which pans to try.
Please read the full review if you can. Different people will have different preferences and needs. Otherwise, here are the top copper bottom cookware sets in 2020:
- T-fal C836SD Stainless Steel Copper Bottom Set (Best Copper Bottom Pots and Pans)
- Anolon Nouvelle Stainless Steel Cookware (Best Copper Core Cookware)
- Cuisinart Hammered Cookware Set (Best Hammered Copper Finish)
- Calphalon T10 Tri-Ply Cookware (Best For Mess Free Pouring)
- All-Clad 600822 SS Copper Core Set (Best High-Temperature Copper Bottom Set)
Why Copper-Bottomed Cookware?
Proper Heat Distribution
The first and foremost benefit of copper bottom cookware is it’s impressive heat conductivity.
The copper bottom allows heat to spread efficiently and evenly across the cooking surface. This, in turn, minimizes hot spots and makes it easier to regulate the temperature.
The heat distribution actually makes copper bottom pots and pans ideal for gas stoves–but other cookware can work well as well. Check out my gas stove pots and pans guide for more information.
Copper is highly durable and capable of lasting a lifetime—if you treat it properly. Even though the pan isn’t fully copper, it should still be able to last many years.
Copper-bottomed cookware is much lighter than others, especially cast iron, making it easier to cook with, clean, and store.
How to Maintain Copper Bottom Cookware
Although the entire cookware isn’t made of copper, it’s still essential to maintain the part that is. Proper care not only preserves its pristine look, but it may also increase its longevity.
Check out these maintenance tips:
- Lemon and baking soda: Make a paste by combining lemon juice with 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Then, apply to the copper base cookware using a soft cloth in circular motions. Rinse with water and pat dry.
- Vinegar and salt: Fill a spray bottle with roughly 3 tablespoons of salt, and mix in some vinegar. Shake to mix and apply the solution onto the copper bottom—let sit for 10 to 12 minutes. Scrub with a sponge, and rinse off.
- Lemon and salt: Pour some salt onto a plate and dip in half a lemon. Then, scrub the copper and re-dip as needed—double-dipping is okay!
Is Copper Bottom Cookware Dishwasher-Safe?
I highly recommend that you follow the manufacturer’s advice and use the dishwasher sparingly.
With copper bottom cookware, there’s a chance of the metal acquiring damage from the dishwasher. The first few times might be okay, but over time, it will begin to wear down the copper.
That said, with copper core kitchenware—we’ll get to that in a second—it’s usually safe to use the dishwasher since there’s another metal protecting the copper.
How to Choose the Best Copper Bottom Cookware
Below are a few essential points to consider when looking for the best copper bottom cookware:
Go too thin, and the pan might crack under high temperatures. Whereas, if it’s too thick, you’ll disrupt the heat distribution.
The best thickness to aim for is between 3/32-inch (2mm) to 1/8-inch (3mm). Anything above 1/8-inch (3mm) is too thick.
Copper is a highly reactive metal that doesn’t do well with acidic foods in particular. In fact, it will alter the taste and may even become contaminated with copper.
To prevent this, go for copper pans and pots lined with a non-reactive material. You have a few options for this, including stainless steel, tin, and bare copper.
Of these, the best option for home cooks is stainless steel. It’s durable and doesn’t get easily scratched, making it effortless to clean as well. The material is also capable of withstanding high temperatures.
Tin-lined copper cookware is generally less expensive. But, although it’s a great heat conductor, it isn’t as durable and melts quickly when exposed to temperatures above 232°C (450°F).
Bare copper is the best heat conductor, but it’s highly reactive with acidic foods. This limits its uses to light cooking or for making sweet foods, like melting sugar.
Copper Bottom vs. Copper Core
The best copper cookware comes in two types: copper bottom and copper core.
A copper bottom is when only the exterior base contains a copper finish. This gives you the heat efficiency of copper, and a nice look. But it may wear down with time, despite care.
Copper core, however, is when there’s a layer of copper between two other metals—usually stainless steel or aluminum. This preserves the natural heat conductivity of copper while also increasing its durability.
For appearance, you have two choices: hammered or smooth.
Hammered finishes are the crème de la crème of copper cookware. Although it’s pricier, it’s also the result of pristine craftsmanship. Despite the textured appearance, this finish is more durable than smooth.
A great thing about smooth finishes is that they’re a little more affordable for us who don’t have $300 to spend on kitchenware. This finish is also a bit more contemporary, which suits many modern kitchens.
When it comes to the handle, the most common and best material to go for is stainless steel. Not only is it durable, but it also keeps cool during cooking.
Some, but not all, copper cookware is induction compatible. Make sure to check if you have an induction stove.
Copper cookware needs a magnetic material or a built-in plate at the bottom to enable induction cooking.
Lastly, when purchasing a set of the best copper bottom pots and pans, I recommend choosing one that comes with a couple of stockpots, saucepans, and skillets.
You usually get better value for money by buying a whole set.
Copper Bottom Cookware Reviews
T-fal C836SD Stainless Steel Copper Bottom Set—Best Overall
T-fal is one of the most popular cookware brands around, and this stainless steel copper bottom set is worth a look.
This set features a heavy-gauge, multi-layer base consisting of aluminum, copper, and stainless steel. The multiple layers increase the heat distribution while preventing any foods from reacting with the copper.
In addition to this, you have sturdy, ergonomically designed stainless steel handles that are cool to touch.
I love the way the copper is distributed here, it’s both part of the bottom (absorbing heat directly), and also forms its own layer (ensuring no hot spots). Very clever design for this price range.
Included with the pots and pans are vented glass lids. The vents enable the cooking vessel to release steam, which prevents its content from boiling over.
Another cool feature about the T-fal cookware set is that it’s oven-safe up to 260°C (500°F). It can also take a turn in the dishwasher, but avoid using the dishwasher too often as it can fade the copper.
- Multi-layer bottom.
- Ergonomically designed handles.
- Vented glass lids.
- Works with all cooktops.
- Oven and dishwasher-safe.
- Has a limited lifetime warranty.
- Great value – amazing design for the price range.
- Copper bottom shows some wear over time.
- Cleaning its around handle rivets requires some effort.
Anolon Nouvelle Stainless Steel Cookware—Best Copper Core Cookware
When talking about stainless steel, copper core, cookware, it’s impossible not to bring up the Anolon Nouvelle. This 11-piece cookware set has pans and pots made with copper cores, sealed in with aluminum layers and magnetic stainless steel.
The copper core distributes the heat efficiently while the magnetic stainless steel layer allows you to use it on induction stovetops. Also, the aluminum and stainless steel combo increases the durability.
Another notable feature is the dual-riveted handles. The shape makes them extremely comfortable to use when cooking. Included in the bundle are also deep, dome-like steel lids that seal in moisture and heat.
As with most stainless steel cookware, the pots and pans in the set can be tough to clean.
- Lifetime warranty.
- Five layers of metal.
- Durable handles.
- Compatible with induction cooktops.
- Dishwasher safe
- Lids don’t allow visibility.
- Cooking surfaces aren’t non-stick.
Cuisinart Hammered Cookware Set—Best Hammered Copper Finish
For cookware with a beautiful design and timeless hammered exteriors, I suggest looking at the Cuisinart hammered cookware set. The decorative outer surface is available in a hammered finish.
However, looks aside, the feature to note is the heat Surround technology. This allows for even heat distribution along the cookware’s side and bottom.
It also has a triple-ply stainless steel interior, copper exterior, and aluminum core. You get the best of each metal in one pan.
Another noteworthy feature is the stainless steel handles, finished with a contoured design, offering a secure grip.
This cookware set is oven safe to 260°C (500°F) and is versatile—use it for stovetop cooking, baking, or table-serving.
That said, it seems there’s a problem with the finish. Over time, it discolors, giving it a holographic look.
Since you need to avoid the dishwasher and it has a stainless steel interior, this set is one of the harder ones to clean.
- Compatible with electric, glass-ceramic, halogen and gas.
- Heat Surround technology.
- Contoured handles.
- Stainless steel lids.
- Oven safe.
- Not dishwasher safe.
- May discolor over time.
Calphalon T10 Tri-Ply Cookware – Best For Mess Free Pouring
If you’re on a tight budget and want to find quality stainless steel cookware with a copper base, consider the Calphalon T10 Tri-Ply.
This 10-piece cookware set has a triple layer of steel, copper, and aluminum, with the latter being the filling in the sandwich—this design aids in durability and distribution of heat.
Another notable feature is its flared rims. These make for mess-free cooking as you can quickly empty the contents without spilling.
What’s more, the set includes cool-to-touch handles, finished with a double-riveted design, which supposedly provides some stability.
This set includes precision-fit lids. These are highly effective at sealing in moisture and heat.
However, the set isn’t as durable as hoped. And it isn’t dishwasher-safe!
- Tri-ply construction.
- Smooth copper finish.
- Flared rims.
- Precision fit lids.
- Cool-to-the-touch steel handles.
- Not dishwasher friendly.
- Not as durable as expected.
All-Clad 600822 SS Copper Core Set—Best High-Temperature Set
Lastly, we have this 10-piece set from All-Clad. If you are looking for the absolute best quality, All Clad is often a safe bet. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most expensive.
This copper core set is made with five layers of aluminum, stainless steel, and copper.
These materials create a heat-conductive environment and help in even heat distribution and prevent hotspots from forming.
A great feature is the stainless steel tight-fitting lids. These ensure that no moisture or heat escapes.
It’s broiler and oven safe up to 316°C (600°F) and optimized for induction cooking.
However, it seems that the surface is somewhat susceptible to staining. This is unfortunate when spending this much!
- Limited lifetime warranty.
- Smooth finish.
- Flared edges for easy pouring.
- Five-ply bonded construction.
- Dishwasher safe.
- Lids aren’t interchangeable.
- Quite pricey.
- Stains easily.
I’ve done a more in depth review of All Clad Copper Core, here.
Best Copper Bottom Cookware
Although all the products are worth trying, the best copper bottom cookware is the T-fal C836SD Stainless Steel Copper Bottom Set.
It has a heavy-gauge base with a copper base core and works with all stovetops. There’s also a multilayered base, giving you an even and fast heat distribution, while the cooking surface is non-stick and oven and dishwasher-safe.
Best Copper Core Cookware
The thing that makes me nervous about copper bottom cookware is that it can wear out so quickly. I’ve seen the copper bottom wear away on cookware I’ve owned before. It loses effectiveness and can look ugly.
That’s why I like copper core cookware. Sure it’s not quite as beautiful as a copper exterior. Yet, in some ways, it’s subtly more attractive. That thin line of copper says “I’m here doing my job, but I won’t get in the way.”
If you are thinking the same, then I would recommend the Anolon Nouvelle Stainless Steel Cookware as the best copper core cookware.