Is copper cookware really worth the expense?

No one can deny that a rack of gleaming copper pots looks fantastic, but are copper pans worth their rather extravagant price? Daniel Gritzer of Serious Eats tackled this question recently and discovered that, as with many things in life, there is no clearcut answer

copper pans

There is no doubt that copper’s thermal properties are unique, and that it is much more responsive to changes in heat than cast iron or stainless steel. This property “gives it a nimbleness and agility that can be very useful for delicate proteins like fish and seafood, as well as sauces, caramel, and chocolate,” says Gritzer. However, other factors must be considered when discussing this feature of copper pans. If you are using an old electric coil stove, for example, the responsiveness of copper doesn’t matter much since the burner itself will be slow to heat and cool. 

Quality varies greatly between different types of copper pots and pans. The thickness of the copper layers matters, as does the material with which the pan is lined. Once you get up to the top echelons of cookware, however, the differences become more aesthetic. Gritzer compares high-quality copper pans to sports cars, saying that while no one really needs one, if you have the means and desire there is no reason not to buy them – and have fun cooking. 

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  • annmartina  on  January 9, 2019

    Buying a Mauviel copper sugar pot: $132. Buying it in Paris: Priceless! I think of that day every time I use it. And it works like a dream for sugar syrups.

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