When buying high-quality cookware, a lot is riding on the decision. Not only does the functionality matter, but the maintenance, the look, and the durability. If you make the wrong choice, it could end up costing you an arm and a leg.
Fortunately, I’ve done the research and reviewed two cookware brands that are known for excellent quality, Mauviel and All-Clad.
Mauviel vs. All-Clad: At a Glance
Mauviel is one of the oldest cookware companies, with a rich history of beautiful craftsmanship. It began in 1830 when Ernest Mauviel established the manufacturing company in Villedieu-les-Poêles, dubbed “the city of copper.”
Mauviel is known for its premium copper cookware, but they offer a wide variety of other material options, such as stainless steel (Mauviel M’Cook), carbon steel (M’Steel), and aluminum cookware.
What makes Mauviel stand out among competitors is that most pieces are 100% handmade, applying centuries-old techniques. Not only that, but Mauviel cookware brings timeless elegance and beauty to the kitchen.
All-Clad isn’t centuries-old, but it does have a long-lasting reputation for quality. John Ulam began the company in 1971 and used his expertise as a metallurgist to pioneer bonded cookware.
Since then, All-Clad has expanded its offerings to include hard-anodized aluminum, non-stick, and copper-core cookware. All-Clad still proudly manufactures its stainless steel products in the U.S.A.
If you’re considering the M’heritage 200 and the All-Clad Copper core sets, you can consult the chart below to see the major similarities and differences:
If you want all the benefits that come with copper cookware, I recommend Mauviel. It’s stunning and has unsurpassed heat control.
However, if you prefer cooking with lower-maintenance cookware or want to cook on an induction cooktop, I would go with one of All-Clad’s stainless steel cookware sets.
There’s a lot of personal preference involved, so I’ve made a detailed comparison of the cookware features. I’ve also provided some solid alternatives for you to consider.
Which of these excellent cookware lines deserves a place in your kitchen? Read on to learn more.
Things to Consider Before Buying Quality Copper Cookware
Who Should Get Copper Cookware?
If you appreciate superior craftsmanship, precise heat control, and lifetime pieces, you might consider buying copper pans.
Copper is also an excellent choice if you like to cook fish, make caramel, or any other dish that requires meticulous heat control.
They do require a lot of careful maintenance, so if you’re a fan of “no-fuss” cookware, copper is not for you.
Advantages of Copper Pots & Pans
There are several reasons copper is a great choice for kitchen cookware. I went into detail about this topic in a previous review.
Most importantly, copper has exceptional heat conductivity. It distributes heat evenly, eliminating hot and cold spots.
It has a superior thermal response, as well. Copper heats rapidly, allowing you to cook at lower temperatures. It cools quickly, preventing burnt food and giving you precise heat control.
Interestingly, copper has antimicrobial properties which increase its hygienic value. Plus, this shiny metal is highly durable. Many copper pans from decades ago are still in use today.
Lest we forget, copper has a stunning, classic aesthetic. It’s simply beautiful.
Disadvantages of Copper Pots & Pans
Just like other materials, however, copper does have its drawbacks.
For one, copper is highly reactive and can leach into food. In fact, too much copper could lead to copper toxicity. Fortunately, most modern copper pots and pans have a lining of tin, stainless steel, or ceramic to make them safe.
Copper is also high-maintenance. It requires a lot of care and maintenance to preserve its beauty and longevity.
Discoloration and spotting are common problems. It’s best if you hand wash your copper pans and dry them immediately.
Otherwise, your copper could develop a patina, that blue-green film that coats the surface. Patina is prized for some objects, but not for cookware. You certainly don’t want your food coming into contact with that!
A copper pan is also quite expensive. In fact, most people don’t have the budget for copper kitchenware, depending on the brand and quality.
What to Cook with Copper Pots and Pans
Copper is the perfect cookware for any dish that requires intense heating, rapid cooling, or precise temperature control.
This heating ability is why copper is the go-to for professional chefs preparing fruit jams, caramel, and sugar work. It’s also a great choice for cooking fish, searing steak, and all-purpose sautéing.
Cleaning and Maintaining Copper Cookware
Copper is extremely durable, but you must clean it and care for it properly. Copper is notorious for getting spots, stains, and the dreaded patina. Fortunately, you can keep your cookware clean and shiny with everyday, inexpensive ingredients.
The best way to clean a copper pan is with warm water and dish soap. Use a soft, non-abrasive sponge or dishcloth to wipe away residue.
For stuck-on food, let the pan soak in soapy water for 15 minutes before washing. Copper pans are not dishwasher-safe.
Even with regular cleaning, copper will tarnish over time. This is the natural result of contact with environmental factors like moisture, oils, sunlight, oxygen, and heat.
The tarnish looks like brown or black spots or dark areas on the metal finish. To remove tarnish and polish your copper, you can use a product like Wright’s Copper Cream. However, there are other methods that use common household items.
To keep copper cookware shiny, try these simple tips. They’re in order from the most gentle to the most aggressive methods:
- Ketchup or Worcestershire Sauce: Rub ketchup or Worcestershire sauce on the pan. Let sit for 1-2 minutes, then rinse clean.
- White vinegar: Take a soft cloth and saturate it with white vinegar. Then, rub the surface. As you apply the vinegar, keep rotating the cloth to a clean spot. After a few minutes, there should be a noticeable difference!
- Baking soda and lemon paste: Create a paste using equal parts of baking soda and lemon. Apply to a soft cloth and proceed to rub the copper. Rinse and dry.
- Lemon and salt: Use half a lemon with some sprinkled salt as a mild abrasive to remove soot and other dark spots. Rinse with water and dry with a clean cloth.
As you can see, these methods require only the most basic of household items. The common thread? Acidic ingredients. The acid breaks down and neutralizes the tarnish.
An important note! If your copper pan is lined with another material like stainless steel or tin, avoid polishing those interior surfaces. Just stick to the copper exterior.
Why is Copper Cookware So Expensive?
Copper material kitchenware is pricier than other materials for a couple of different reasons.
For starters, as raw material, copper is more expensive than aluminum, steel, and cast iron. It’s not as common, and a fewer number of manufacturing plants work with copper.
As a result, the manufacturing costs are much higher.
Secondly, copper kitchenware involves other materials. Because copper reacts with acidic food and can be dangerous in high enough amounts, manufacturers must line the copper with another cookware material, like stainless steel or tin.
Anytime you increase the number of materials used, you’re increasing the production cost.
The copper thickness can also play a role, as well. Thinner copper is more likely to warp and tarnish, so many manufacturers use multiple layers of copper to reinforce the pan and improve durability and performance.
Thicker copper cookware is more expensive than a pan with just a thin layer of copper.
All-Clad vs. Mauviel: An Overview
Mauviel M’heritage M200CI Copper Cookware Set
Mauviel is a fan favorite of professional chefs and home chefs, alike. This M’Heritage M200CI Cookware Set includes nine pieces:
- 10.2-inch skillet (26 cm)
- 1.9-quart (1.80 liters) covered saucepan
- 2.6-quart (2.46 liters) covered saucepan
- 3.4-quart (3.22 liters) sauté pan with lid
- 6.3-quart (5.96 liters) stock pot with lid
Each Mauviel pan in this collection has a thick copper exterior and a thin stainless steel cooking surface.
The handles are cast iron, which add to the durability of the piece. It’s heavy, no doubt, and expensive. But the heat conduction and thermal response are unsurpassed, making this set great for serious cooks.
Watch as Amanda Haas from Williams Sonoma uses the Mauviel M’Heritage cookware set to prepare caramel apple french toast (Excuse me while my stomach rumbles.):
All-Clad 5-Ply Copper Core Cookware Set
On the other side, we have the All-Clad 5-Ply Copper Core Cookware Set. For an in-depth review, check out this previous article. It comes with 10 pieces, including the following:
- 8-inch (20 cm) skillet
- 10-inch (25 cm) skillet
- 2-quart (1.89 liters) saucepan with lid
- 3-quart (2.84 liters) saucepan with lid
- 3-quart (2.84 liters) sauté pan with lid
- 8-quart (7.57 liters) covered stock pot
Each All-Clad piece has five layers of bonded metal, with a stainless steel cooking surface and exterior surrounding two thin layers of aluminum and a copper core.
All-Clad vs. Mauviel: Feature Comparison
The Mauviel Copper cookware set features an exterior of 2mm thick copper, with a layer of 18/10 stainless steel for the cooking surface.
If you’re ever unsure of the thickness of copper in a Mauviel cookware set, it has the thickness listed in the name.
For example, the Mauviel M’Heritage 200 line has a 2mm thick layer of copper, while the M’Heritage 150 line has a 1.5mm layer of copper.
Copper makes up 90% of the base, with the stainless steel layer only covering the 10% that comes into contact with food. The cast iron handles are fastened with stainless steel rivets.
All-Clad, on the other hand, features five layers of bonded metal. It has a brushed stainless steel exterior and a durable stainless steel cooking surface.
Inside are two layers of aluminum and a 0.9mm thick copper core. The stainless steel handles are riveted, as well.
Obviously, if you’re judging based on copper content, the thicker copper exterior of the Mauviel gives that set an advantage. However, the All-Clad set has more layers, as opposed to the Mauviel set. I also like the flared rims for easy pouring.
That being said, both the Mauviel and All-Clad collections consist of highly durable cookware that will last for a long time.
One of the main reasons people prefer copper is its ability to conduct heat. The Mauviel cookware set is no exception. The thick copper layer translates into even heat distribution and superior heat conductivity.
Despite the name “copper core,” All-Clad’s collection belongs more in the camp of stainless steel cookware. The aluminum layers and copper layer help distribute heat evenly, while the stainless steel helps retain heat.
However, when it comes to heat conductivity, the Mauviel cookware simply can’t be topped.
Stainless vs. Cast Iron Handles
The Mauviel M’Heritage line has an option for bronze handles, but the M200CI has cast iron handles that are attached to the pan with stainless steel rivets.
These handles are comfortable, extremely durable and oven-safe. However, cast iron is a heat conductor, which means they get hot. Be sure to use oven mitts or a pot holder when handling them.
All-Clad’s handles, on the other hand, are stainless steel. They’re also riveted to the pan with double rivets. But the handles are the most common customer complaint about All-Clad cookware.
The heft of the pan, combined with the handle shape, create pressure points along the hands. Many buyers had problems with the handles digging into their palms, making them severely uncomfortable.
Some also reported that the stainless steel handles get hot while cooking.
The Mauviel cookware handles are a clean winner in this category.
I love quality cookware that can go from stovetop to oven. It allows you to cook a wider range of recipes while saving you dishes to clean after cooking.
The Mauviel set is oven safe to a whopping 680°F (360°C). The All-Clad set is oven-safe to 600°F (315°C).
I’m giving Mauviel M’Heritage the advantage because it does have a higher maximum oven temperature, but the reality is that both the Mauviel and All-Clad sets can handle any task for home cooks.
The All-Clad cookware set sports stainless steel lids with stainless handles. The lids can go in the oven along with the base of the cookware. They aren’t see-through, but they are tight-fitting and durable.
Likewise, the Mauviel cookware set has copper lids with a cast iron lid handle. They are also tight-fitting and oven-safe. These particular lids are flat, but Mauviel does offer domed lids in their bronze handles and M’Cook sets.
Both collections have durable, beautiful lids that fit snugly to hold in heat and moisture. There is no clear winner in this category.
This Mauviel cookware set is compatible with gas, halogen, and electric stovetops. It is not induction-compatible, however. Copper is not ferromagnetic and won’t work on induction stoves.
Mauviel’s M’Cook and M ‘6S collections are specifically designed for induction cooktops.
All-Clad’s cookware, however, has an exterior made of magnetic stainless steel, which is 100% induction-compatible. Customers had success using these pans on induction stoves, as well.
If you have electric, gas, or a halogen stove, you’ll be able to use both All-Clad and Mauviel cookware without worry. If you have induction heat, though, you’ll need to go with All-Clad cookware.
Appearance & Design
All-Clad has a bright stainless steel look with a delicate copper ring on the exterior. The pouring lip makes transferring food or draining liquids easy.
The Mauviel set has that stunning copper polished look. The iron handles give it an old-world elegance, as well. It does not have a pouring lip or flared design for easy pouring, however.
Both cookware sets are beautiful, but their aesthetics are markedly different. It all boils down to your personal preference in this category.
Both the Mauviel and All-Clad sets require hand washing. Neither collection is dishwasher-safe. Of course, if you want something dishwasher-safe, you should stay away from copper in the first place.
Neither pan has nonstick properties but can release food more easily with proper cooking techniques. Always preheat the pan, avoid overheating, and add cooking fat.
Both of these sets require more work than your average box-store non-stick pan, but they’re comparable in how easy it is to clean them.
But when it comes to maintenance, there is a difference. That gorgeous copper exterior comes at a cost. That cost is time and effort.
The All-Clad set requires occasional polishing to maintain the appearance of the copper ring, but that’s just an accent.
The Mauviel copper cookware, however, requires more maintenance. Mauviel does include a jar of copper cleaner to make the process easy.
While neither set would be considered low-maintenance, the All-Clad Copper Core set won’t require as frequent or as thorough polishing. Therefore, when it comes to Mauviel vs. All-Clad, the latter comes out on top in this category.
Mauviel and All-Clad pans both come with a limited lifetime warranty. This does not cover misuse but will cover manufacturing defects.
If you’re unsure how to cook with these pans, be sure to read the instruction manual to avoid common mistakes.
Both cookware sets are pricey, so you’ll need a flexible budget for either one. However, the Mauviel cookware set is more expensive. This is most likely due to the higher copper content.
What Are the Alternatives?
Viking Culinary 3-Ply Stainless Steel Hammered Copper Clad Cookware Set
Viking is another name associated with premium quality cookware, and it’s no wonder why. This Viking Culinary Cookware Set features a stainless steel cooking surface with an aluminum core and an exterior layer of copper.
It comes with 10 pieces, including frying pans, saucepans, a sauté pan, and a stock pot. Each covered piece comes with a tempered glass, domed lid.
This set has a great performance and positive reviews. It’s oven-safe for temps up to 500°F (260°C), and the lids can handle up to 350°F (180°C). It’s also more affordable than some of the other cookware sets in this list.
However, there were some reports of discoloration. Viking doesn’t explicitly list the thickness of the copper, so I’m thinking it’s a thinner layer than Mauviel, for sure. This set is also not induction-compatible. Otherwise, though, it’s a good value.
- See-through glass lids
- Beautiful hammered finish
- Not induction-compatible or dishwasher-safe
- Reports of discoloration
Legend 5-Ply Stainless Steel Copper Core Cookware Set
The Legend 5-Ply Stainless Steel Cookware Set has a similar construction to the All-Clad Copper Core Collection but at a fraction of the cost. It comes with 14 pieces in the set.
It has a stainless steel inner cooking surface and exterior, with two core layers of aluminum surrounding an inner core of copper. But unlike All-Clad, this cookware does not have a copper accent ring on the exterior.
This set is induction-ready, oven-safe to 450°F (230°C), and dishwasher-safe (hand washing recommended). It sports gold-colored stainless steel handles and stainless lids that are also oven-safe.
Customers were pleased with the heating performance of these pans. Some had problems with food sticking, although that could be attributed to a variety of reasons. These are heavy pans, so be prepared to do some heavy lifting. But they’re a solid alternative.
- Beautiful gold-colored handles
- Dishwasher-safe (hand washing recommended)
- Lower max oven temperature
All-Clad D3 Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Cookware Set
Of course, All-Clad is known for its stainless steel cookware, and this set is the brand’s bread and butter. All-Clad makes this tri-ply D3 Stainless Steel Cookware Set, which comes with 10 pieces.
Like the copper core collection, it includes two frying pans, two saucepans, a sauté pan, and a stock pot. It features an aluminum core between the stainless cooking surface and the exterior.
This set is safe for oven temps up to 600°F (315°C) and dishwasher-safe, although hand washing is strongly recommended. Like other All-Clad cookware, this set comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
Unfortunately, also like other All-Clad cookware, the handles on these pans are uncomfortable. However, if you can overlook that, the heat conduction and more affordable price make this set an attractive option.
- Excellent heating
- More affordable
- No copper
- Handles are uncomfortable
Demeyere 5-Plus Stainless Steel Cookware Set
Demeyere is a Belgian company that has some of the best stainless steel cookware on the market.
This 5-Plus Stainless Steel cookware set has 10 pieces and five layers of stainless steel and aluminum. This set performs as well as the All-Clad cookware, with even heat distribution and long-lasting durability.
It can be heavy on the hands and heavy on the wallet. But if you want a premium brand in stainless steel cookware and have a flexible budget, this Demeyere set is ideal for you.
- Superb heating performance
- Induction-ready, oven-safe
Mauviel vs. All-Clad: The Last Word
In the Mauviel vs. All-Clad cookware battle, which one prevails?
If you have your heart set on quality cookware that’s copper, I would recommend the Mauviel M’Heritage Cookware Set. This Mauviel cookware has exceptional heat conduction, heat distribution, and durability.
That being said, most busy home cooks don’t want something as high-maintenance as true copper cookware. In that case, I’d recommend All-Clad Cookware.
Grab the Copper Core Collection if you really want a copper accent, but go with the D3 Collection otherwise. The difference in performance is negligible, but you’ll save a lot of money.