How To Find The Best Copper Pan (In 2020)

If you are in a hurry and just want to know what my favorite copper pan is, it is the Michelangelo 10 Inch Frying Pan. Read on to find out why.

The bronze age is firmly in the past, but that doesn’t mean copper has gone away. Copper cookware is fashionable again! But is it safe, and what is the best copper pan?

I’ve investigated this so that you don’t have to.

It turns out that a lot of copper cookware is missing a rather essential element. Read on to find out what it is, and all about my favorite copper pans.

Are Copper Pans a Good Idea?

Is it safe to cook with copper?

Copper is a heavy metal that your body needs. It plays a crucial function in the body including producing red blood cells and developing bones and organs.

Too much of it can be a bad thing, as can too little – like any other mineral.

It does seem that absorbing too much copper on a regular basis can be harmful. This is because our bodies can’t get rid of it quickly, so it keeps accumulating.

Modern copper cookware has a lining on the inside so that the copper won’t reach the food. This non reactive lining is perfectly safe and you still get the heat distribution advantages of cooking with copper. This lining will usually be nonstick.

Older copper cookware may never have had this lining, or it may have worn away. I couldn’t find clear evidence this is harmful. To be safe, I would recommend only cooking with new copper cookware that has an intact lining.

What are the advantages of copper pans?

Copper heats very quickly and distributes its heat well. This means your pan should be ready to cook almost straight away, and you can avoid hot spots.

It’s totally different to cooking with, say, cast iron. I wouldn’t say one is better than the other – it’s a question of preference.

What To Watch Out For With Copper Cookware

Nonstick

Since the inside of the copper pan should be lined, how nonstick it is will depend on this lining. It isn’t really a feature of the copper pan itself.

What’s more some people like to avoid materials containing PTFE, the active ingredient in Teflon. Personally I think it’s safe. But, in case you aren’t convinced, copper pans can have a PTFE nonstick lining, I’ll highlight which for you.

Generally it’s a good idea to avoid metal utensils when using pans with a nonstick surface. Since all copper pans should have a lining I would avoid metal utensils with them. Even scratch resistant surfaces can actually get scratched. There are lots of alternative utensils you can use. 

Induction

Copper in itself won’t work on induction stoves. But many copper pans have another material inside that make the pan induction compatible.

I can’t believe it’s not copper!

Copper skillets lined up on wall.

Some copper cookware isn’t copper at all, but another material colored to look like copper. There isn’t anything wrong with this, and in fact it might still have copper inside to help with the heating.

I will try to highlight this to you, though I do depend on manufacturer’s information.

Lids

I love a good see through lid. It can turn a skillet from frying to pan to sauté pan, and helps to contain any mess.

Michelangelo 10 Inch Frying Pan with Lid

This beautiful and versatile copper skillet suffers from one defect – it’s not really copper! Its aluminum body has a titanium ceramic lining on the inside. It’s copper colored, which makes it look attractive.

This pan should last a long time, though some users report it losing its nonstick properties after a while.

I never understand why manufacturers say “dishwasher safe – hand wash recommended.” Stand by your products! In any case these sorts of pans are fine to put in the dishwasher as long as you are careful. Make sure nothing else can touch the pan in the dishwasher.

If this 10 inch pan is too small for you, consider instead getting the 11 inch version. I prefer the 10 inch because it comes with a lid, but if you want the 11 inch pan you could always get a lid separately.

Pros:

  • Oven safe to 230°C (450°F)
  • PTFE free
  • See through lid
  • Genuinely nonstick
  • Suitable for induction stove
  • Dishwasher safe

Cons:

  • Titanium Ceramic interior, aluminum body – where’s the copper?
  • Dishwasher safe (hand wash is recommended) – What does that mean?
  • Handle can get too hot when cooking
  • Coating loses nonstick properties after a while
  • Quite pricey

MasterPan Copper tone 10-inch Ceramic Non-stick Fry pan

This simple pan is another not really copper pan. Masterpan is clear on this calling it “copper -tone”.

It’s still a nice pan at an affordable price. It’s advertised as scratch resistant but that isn’t the same as scratchproof so take care. 

This pan does the job well and should last quite a long time if you treat it right. The surface will scratch if you don’t take care. It’s a pan I’d be happy to have in my kitchen.

Pros:

  • PTFE free if that matters
  • Nonstick works really well
  • Oven safe to 260°C (500°F)
  • Affordable price

Cons:

  • Copper tone – not really copper
  • Can’t use on an induction stove
  • No lid
  • Does scratch if you aren’t careful

Copper Chef Square Fry Pan 5 Pc set

This lovely 3 piece cookware has something for every occasion.

Two of the pans have lids and all have high sides meaning they can be used to sauté food or cook sauces. The grill pan has ridges that can help you drain fat away and give food those nice grill “char” marks.

The nonstick coating used is heat resistant to 450°C (850°F) – far more than you’ll ever need! Since the pans are also oven safe to 260°C (500°F) you can use them as a casserole dishes if you like.

I love the square look of the pan, though this isn’t for everyone. The corners won’t heat as well as the inside but this gives you room to get a turner underneath whatever you are griddling.

These pans appear to have actual copper in them, though there are also plenty of other materials. The materials help the pans to heat evenly and quickly.

This is a great set of pans at a price that reflects good value. They should last a long time. One note of caution is around reports of warping in the centre. I think the trick is to not warm them up too fast, and don’t pour cold water on them when hot.

If I needed 3 pans in my kitchen I would definitely consider these. I reckon that they are the best square copper pans on the market. But if you only need one pan, they are probably too much.

Pros

  • Oven safe to 260°C (500°F)
  • Decent nonstick coating
  • Price is good for 3 quality pans
  • Nice look
  • Versatile – these 3 pans may be all you need
  • Easy to clean
  • 2 of the pans have see through lids
  • Handles cool to touch when cooking
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Induction compatible
  • PTFE free

Cons:

  • Price is a bit much if you only need one pan
  • One pan has no lid
  • Reports of the bottom center of the pan being prone to warping

SHINEURI 12 Inch Nonstick Copper Frying Pan

This is a great pan, and a good size for doing most family cooking. What I don’t understand is why there is such a big price jump between 10 and 12 inches.

The 12 inch pan is versatile, but it is missing a lid. Lids help contain splatter and reduce mess.

The 10 inch pan is also good and, at the time of writing, much better value than the 12 inch pan. Although it too doesn’t have a lid.

I’m honestly not very clear how much copper, if any, these pans actually have. This doesn’t bother me in the slightest though!

All in all, both are decent pans that should last a long time. They are easy to use and easy to clean up.

Pros:

  • PTFE Free
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Pricey for one pan
  • Helper handle
  • Nonstick
  • Induction compatible
  • Oven safe to 260°C (500°F)

Cons:

  • No lid
  • Handle can heat up when cooking

COOKSMARK Copper Pan 12-Inch Nonstick Frying Pan

Another copper pan that doesn’t seem to have any copper! It does seem to have a lot of different layers leading to, in theory, good cooking performance.

It’s disappointing to see another “Dishwasher safe, hand wash recommended.” Manufacturers should stand behind their products. Still, these types of pan are normally fine in the dishwasher as long as you are careful. Don’t allow anything to touch the inside of the pan, especially metal!

Otherwise it’s a decent pan at an OK price. It can scratch if you aren’t careful, as can any nonstick surface. You also need to keep it on a low or medium heat. The surface can bubble on a high heat.

Pros:

  • Induction compatible
  • Oven safe to 230°C (450°F)
  • Nonstick surface
  • Even heating

Cons:

  • Doesn’t look like there is any copper!
  • PTFE Free
  • ”Dishwasher safe (hand wash is recommended)” – what does that even mean?
  • Can scratch if you’re not careful

Gotham Steel Hammered Copper – 12” Nonstick Fry Pan

This pan really has copper on the outside, and not just any copper! It’s got a beautiful hand hammered copper look.

If the 12 inch frying pan is too much, try the 10 inch one.

The manufacturer states you can cook with the pans without oil. This might be true but I would always advise at least a little oil, no nonstick surface is perfect.

For me, the biggest downside is that the pan looks too nice. It would look out of place amongst my other cookware. This is almost a case of really needing the full set to make it work!

Pros:

  • See through lid
  • Beautiful look
  • Really has copper
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Induction compatible
  • Oven safe to 260°C (500°F)
  • Ultra nonstick

Cons:

  • High price for pan
  • One pan will look a bit odd – almost need to buy whole set
  • Surface can scratch if you aren’t careful

My Choice

Best Copper Pan

I would pick the Michelangelo 10 Inch Frying Pan as the best copper skillet. It is quite expensive for one pan, but it offers durablity and quality. It’s often better to pay a little bit more for something that lasts. You will probably save money in the long run.

I love the lid, and the versatility of the pan. It’s the best copper frying pan I’ve seen.

I’m not bothered that it’s not really copper. None of the pans reviewed here are 100% copper, or even close. And that’s fine because what counts is the performance.

Runner Up

If I was looking for more than one copper pan, I would consider the Copper Chef Square Fry Pan 5 Pc set. The high sides mean that this set offers the best copper sauté pans. The square look is also chic, and even useful. For me this is the best copper pan set.

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