HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >


Please...copper cookware, what to cook?

  • m
  • 8

Hi, a friend bought me a LOT of copper cookware....saucepans, saute pans, colanders...etc. What do you cook in copper???

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. A nice friend to have. Presuming the copper is lined with tin or stainless steel, use them like you would any other cookware.

    Be aware that if you wish the copper to look as gleaming as does in in those fakarooni magazine photos, it will take much elbow grease. There are display kitchens, beloved by interior designers, and then there are actual working kitchens.

    1. Copper is excellent for any type of dish where you need precision heat control - for example, sauces and risottos. It responds well to changes in the heat intensity, so you can go from rapid boil to simmer quite quickly. Like mpalmer said, as long as it is lined with stainless stell, theres no reason you can't use it as you would any other pots and pans (except cast iron, of course). Lucky you, indeed - I got a small arsenal of copper cookware for my wedding and I adore it. Personally, I don't mind the dull patina of well-used copper - its the sign of a real cook!

      1. As mpalmer points out make sure that the cookware is lined. Some inexpensive cookware is unlined. Copper is toxic and can be leached from cookware by acidic foods.

        More info here


        1. Tinned or lined copper does not like high heat. High heat will remove the tinning.

          When using copper, be careful of the rims of the pots/pans. They are hotter than other cookware, I stopped using copper because I burned my arms when they touched the rims.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Alan408

            Tin melts at 465F. Stainless steel requires much higher temperatures to melt.

            It's worth noting that most oils will be smoking and/or on fire by the time you melt the tin, unless you're heating a pan empty (which all tin-lined copper warns against).

            Personally, I use the handles on my pots and pans, along with a dish towel, to avoid burns. I would never give up the precision and control of copper, but that's just me.

            Incidentally, it's not so much that the rims are hotter, it's more an issue of the much better conductivity of copper than aluminum or (especially) iron and steel. More heat per second is dumped onto your skin when you brush against the rim of a copper pan -- but then again, the same is true of the heat transferred to the food you are cooking. Which is why copper is so much more responsive to changes in heat (flame).

          2. Hollandaise, directly over a flame. This is where the difference between excellent and poor conductors of heat is most starkly apparent.

            A good starting point: http://www.taunton.com/finecooking/pa...

            1. What kind of copper? Specifically, how THICK is it and what is lined with? Is it "ready to use" or coated with lacquer? What kind of handle does it have?

              One of the BEST charts /formulas to explain how conductivity and thickness matter to cooks: http://www.cookswares.com/discussions...

              If it not lined with tin or stainless steel NEVER cook anything in the pans that is acidic or strongly alkali -- you can POISON yourself! Such pans are generally used only for sugar cookery, whipping egg whites, and deserts such a Zabaglione.

              Many copper pans are shipped with a protective coating to prevent tarnishing in transit. While it not an absolute necessity to remove it some older lacquers are unslightly as they wear off and could potentially make a mess on the stove -- you'll probably want to get rid of it before use. And once it is gone the pan WILL tarnish/get a patina. Depending on your point of view this will be either charming or unsightly...

              If your pans have a heavy iron handle that is a blessing/curse -- it will last just short of forever but you will get a workout moving them around. If they have thinner handles there is good chance that the density of copper can force the joint to fail...

              Generally speaking heavy copper pans lined with tin or stainless steel are the "gold standard" or all classical /continental cooking methods. If you have a large skillet, saucepans, stockpot you are a lucky individual and can no longer blame your failures in the kitchen on inadequate tools :^)

              1. some people love copper and is is great to cook in with even distribution of heat..not easy to keep shiny and bright..use vinegar and salt for inexpenisve cleaning, rinse and wipe dry.
                i think wood utensils are better for the interior if tin and there are plenty of alternatives
                in all the big culinary departments.