Copper core cookware is rising in popularity since it conducts heat faster than aluminum and stainless steel while offering more even heat distribution. This prevents your food from being burnt on the outside and raw on the inside.
I also noticed that copper is lighter than other materials, which is handy when cooking for long hours.
This post will look at the best copper core cookware sets in 2023. I’ll also discuss the pros and cons and what features stood out to me.
Copper Core Cookware Overview
- Copper core cookware is any cookware utensil with a layer of copper in the middle.
- This layer conducts heat more efficiently and evenly, resulting in better food.
- When shopping for copper core cookware, stick to brands like Legend and All-Clad because their products last decades and the lifetime warranties protect you in case anything happens.
What Is Copper Core Cookware?
Copper core cookware refers to pots or pans with a core layer of copper and exterior layers of either stainless steel or aluminum for strength and durability.
For example, the All-Clad has five layers, and these are the materials they use:
- The exterior layer is stainless steel
- Layer two contains aluminum
- The core layer is copper
- The second last layer has aluminum
- The surface is stainless steel
Most cookware provides one, two, or maybe three layers. Although this might be sufficient, if you want your pans and pots to last decades and maintain optimal cooking performance, consider 5-ply, copper core cookware.
What Are The Benefits Of Copper Core Cookware?
These are some benefits to copper core cookware that stood out to me:
- They distribute heat better than stainless steel
- The surface offers high resistance to corrosion
- It’s lighter than cast iron
- You save energy, time, and money
- It’s built to last a lifetime
They Distribute Heat Better Than Stainless Steel
The biggest reason why copper core cookware is rising in popularity is its heat distribution. When you turn on the stove, you’ll notice an immediate response from your pot or pan.
This saves time because you won’t have to wait minutes for your pan to heat. This effective heat distribution also leads to more even cooking, thus, better meals.
If you have an induction burner, you’ll be happy to know that they are compatible with copper core cookware. Although copper isn’t magnetic, brands like Legend and All-Clad bond their copper core kitchenware to stainless steel and other magnetic materials, accommodating induction cookers.
It Has High Resistance To Corrosion
After owning multiple types of cookware, including copper core pans and pots, I can safely say that copper core pieces are more resistant to rust than stainless steel and cast iron. Some of my stainless steel pans I bought with my copper core sets are already rusting.
Keep in mind that my maintenance of these copper pieces wasn’t perfect. Sometimes I’ll leave it overnight in the sink or pop it in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit to prepare roasts. Still, I can’t find any rust or rainbow marks on them.
It’s Lighter Than Cast Iron
Another reason I’m a big fan of copper core cookware is the weight. When I’m searing steaks with cast iron for my family, my arm will hurt after a few minutes, and I’ll switch arms regularly. This makes cast iron sets impractical when cooking for long hours. Some 15-inch cast iron skillets can weigh up to 12 pounds.
However, the first thing you’ll notice when picking up a Legend or All-Clad copper core piece is the weight. It’s only four pounds, and although it isn’t as light as stainless steel, you can comfortably cook for hours without having to switch hands.
So when preparing a meal after a long day of work, you won’t have to carry heavy cast iron skillets.
This is why copper core is taking over from cast iron in restaurants and commercial kitchens. Cast iron cooks evenly and quickly, but it’s heavy, so it’s challenging to work with for hours.
You Save Energy, Time, And Money
Because copper core pans and pots distribute heat more evenly and efficiently than most materials, you save energy, time, and money.
The copper core transfers heat from the stove to your pan efficiently, meaning that not much heat is dissipating into the air. Less energy is better for the environment and equals a lower electricity bill, helping you save money.
It’s Built To Last A Lifetime
But the most significant benefit to copper core cookware is that it’s built to last a lifetime. While other brands make pans and pots that break or rust after a few years, copper core cookware is an investment.
This is why most vintage and antique cookware sets are copper. They are elegant, classic, and last forever, even if you don’t take care of them.
Now let’s look at some copper core sets that stood out to me.
This Legend stainless steel copper core set is a good overall option because the five-ply construction heats evenly and quickly.
The Legend set contains:
- A 10 and 12-inch frying pan
- A two and three-quart covered saute pan
- One 12-inch chef’s pan with a lid
- An eight-quart stockpot with a lid
What caught my eye was the quality. When you use these pans or pots, you’ll feel how comfortably it rests in your hand. The riveted handles come in black, gold, and silver. They are also polished and heat resistant, providing the best possible cooking experience.
I found that my steaks always turn out better when using Legend because of the even heating. Unlike other brands, Legend doesn’t contain hotspots and responds well to heat.
If you’re a new copper core enthusiast shopping for your first set, opt for the All-Clad. It’s simple, heavy-duty and offers a speedy boil time. You can fill an All-Clad pot with water and bring it to a boil in under six minutes.
These are the components of the All-Clad copper core set:
- 10 and 12-inch frying pans
- Two and three-quart saucepans with lids
- An eight-quart stockpot with a lid
The All-Clad feature that caught my eye was the highly polished surface. When designing this set, All-Clad emphasized a fine finish, which is why oil and pieces of food just fall off the pan.
This polished finish has the best stick resistance for a pan with zero chemicals. The flared edges make for easy use since you can pour soups and gravy without spillage.
I also like that All-Clad went for a basic, silver design because it fits the look of any kitchen.
But if you have a larger family and are looking for more pieces, go for the All-Clad copper core 10-piece set. Here, you’ll find:
- An eight and 10-inch frying pan
- A two and three-quart saucepan with lids
- A three-quart saute pan with a lid
- An eight-quart stockpot with a lid
All-Clad claims that this set is four times stronger than stainless steel, and in my experience, it’s true. I can put it in a 600-degree oven, let it sit overnight with some water on it, or scrub the surface with steel wool, and there are no rainbow markings or rust.
But the biggest reason I suggest this 10-piece set is because of the lifetime warranty. If a piece starts to rust or develop rainbow markings, simply contact All-Clad, and they’ll get you a new one.
The All-Clad option with the most pieces is the 14-piece set. It contains everything the previous two sets have, plus a three and six-quart covered saute pan and a 12-inch chef’s pan with a lid.
The thermal conductivity allows you to have extra control over your meal temperatures. The heating time is only a few seconds, and once you turn the heat down, you’ll notice an instantaneous response.
Unlike other copper sets, All-Clad isn’t 100 percent copper, making it dishwasher-friendly. I find this useful when coming home from a long day at work because my cooking time is reduced, and I don’t have to wash pots and pans by hand.
But if you already have an existing copper cookware set and just need a few additional pieces like a saute pan, consider this Legend 5-ply bonded saute pan.
It has capacity options of three, five, eight, 10, and 12.5 quarts, so it’s perfect when searing steaks because the large surface and high side walls prevent splatter. The layer of copper in the middle also conducts well, giving you the best searing experience possible.
I like that the riveted handle is longer than most pans. This gives me more leverage when tossing food around. But this long handle has another benefit; it’s further away from the heat, ensuring it doesn’t get hot and burn your hands.
This Legend 5-Ply frying pan is becoming popular among those shallow frying meat slices, wrapped food, and chunky vegetables and for good reason. The highly polished surface provides superior stick resistance, even when preparing pancakes and flapjacks.
I also find that this means cleaning is so much easier. Say goodbye to scrubbing your pan until your arm starts to hurt.
Final Thoughts On The Best Copper Core Cookware
Copper core cookware heats up quickly and evenly, so you spend less time in the kitchen, and your meals are tastier.
Unfortunately, many brands are selling low-quality “copper” sets that are only five or 10 percent copper. These pieces don’t conduct heat well and contain hotpots, which makes burning food easy.
So if you’re shopping for a copper core cookware set, opt for brands like Legend and All-Clad. They’ve been producing products for a long time, and their warranties protect you in case something happens.