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Copper cookware is beautiful and offers superior heating than other types of cookware, but it has a reputation for being costly and finicky to maintain. Fortunately, if you choose the right set, it does not have to be intimidating for home cooks to enter the world of copper cookware. “If you are committed to caring for and using the pans properly, then it can be a worthwhile investment,” said Fran Groesbeck, managing director at the Cookware Manufacturer’s Association (CMA).
According to Mac Kohler of Brooklyn Copper Cookware, copper is valued in the world of cookware for two main reasons: its speed of heating and cooling (thermal efficiency) and its ability to heat evenly across the entire cooking surface (diffusivity). For the home cook, this means a copper pan needs half the amount of heat to the same temperature as stainless steel or aluminum cookware, and you will get more even browning and cooking in all areas of the pan.
There are a lot of misleading products out there claiming to be “copper,” but are really just copper colored or have small amounts of copper in the construction (read more about them here). Copper cores or bases provide some of the efficiency of fully-clad copper and the pieces are more affordable, but we recommend looking for copper sets that feature a higher percentage of copper for maximum benefits. All our top picks are full copper exterior with a stainless steel or tin lining.
Due to the higher average price of copper cookware sets, even our “budget” pick is still quite expensive. To spend less and still fully experience copper cookware, we recommend purchasing one or two pieces to add to your collection. Keep in mind that there are other cookware materials that are less expensive, easier to maintain, and still provide great heating, like hard-anodized aluminum or stainless steel.
Here are the best copper cookware sets of 2022
Best copper cookware set overall: Williams Sonoma Thermo-clad Copper 10-Piece, $ 1,399.95 at Williams Sonoma
The Williams Sonoma Thermo-Clad Copper Set is an accessible way to bring copper cookware into your kitchen, pairing the benefits of copper with the ease of stainless steel.
Best budget copper cookware set: Mauviel Copper Triply 7-Piece, $ 799.95 at Williams Sonoma
The Mauviel Copper Triply Set has four key pans that will cover almost all your cookware needs, and features a nonreactive stainless steel interior.
Best high-end copper cookware set: Mauviel M’200 Cl Copper 10-Piece, $ 1,999.95 at Williams Sonoma
The Mauviel M’200 Cl set is made of heavy gauge copper bonded to nonreactive stainless steel, enhancing its durability and heating efficiency.
Best single copper pan: Ruffoni History Copper Frying Pan, $ 230 at Williams Sonoma
The Ruffoni Historia Copper Frying Pan brings traditional copper cookware and its optimal heating performance to the home kitchen.