If you’re looking for new saucepans, you may have noticed some beautiful copper ones and wondered if they are as good as many people claim.
Well, copper pans are very good at some tasks but are not the best saucepans for everyday use. Why? Well, let’s find out more about copper-based saucepans and get to the bottom of this, shall we?
What Are Copper-Based Saucepans?
Copper saucepans are not always just made entirely from copper, as you may expect. When looking at copper-based saucepans, you may notice that the interior of these pans looks silver in colour.
This is because pretty much every copper-based saucepan on the market now has a stainless-steel interior, while only a few opt for the more traditional tin-coated interior.
The stainless-steel interior protects your food from getting a coppery taste during the cooking process. The outside of the pan is made from copper, though.
There are some saucepans made from entirely copper available. They are usually referred to as jam pans. However, the most widely available copper pans today usually have copper on the outside and stainless steel on the inside.
The exterior of these pans being made from copper gives them fantastic heat distribution. Copper conducts heat much more effectively than steel.
In fact, copper is twenty times more conductive than stainless steel. This means that the exterior of these pans will heat up very quickly and wrap the heat around whatever you are cooking.
Many copper pans that are made today also come with an aluminium bottom. This is so that they work on induction hobs.
So, many copper pans on the market today are actually a mixture of metals. And because of this, you may not notice too much of a difference when using these copper pans over regular, good quality saucepans.
What Are Copper-Based Saucepans Good For?
1. Delicate tasks
Copper pans are excellent when you are creating sauces like a parsley sauce or any sauce that is rich in cream or butter. They are also really good for cooking fish and other delicate proteins. This is all thanks to how they conduct heat.
As copper is one of the best heat conductors in the world, it not only heats up very fast, but it cools extremely quickly as well. So, controlling heat while cooking is very easy to do with copper pans.
2. Chocolate, sweets and candy
Copper pans have been used in confectionery and baking for hundreds of years. Melting chocolate is very easy to do in copper pans, but so is making your own sweets and so much more.
We know this is a very specialised cooking task, but that is why there are specialised copper pots and pans for these jobs.
The Downsides of Copper-Based Saucepans
Any copper-based saucepans need to be cared for really carefully. Copper can begin to erode if not properly cared for.
So, you can’t put copper pans in a dishwasher, but you must wash them very well after each use, and you need to dry them thoroughly after washing as well. You also shouldn’t cook anything acidic in copper pans unless it has a lining.
Copper-based saucepans are expensive because they look amazing, and copper is much more expensive than steel.
3. Heats up very quickly
Copper-based saucepans heat up very quickly, which is one of the reasons people love them. They distribute heat very evenly as well.
This is both a good and bad thing about copper pans. You see, if you aren’t paying attention when using copper pans, things can quickly burn. Milk can boil over, chocolate can burn, cream can curdle.
So, the very thing that makes copper pans so good can be a thorn in their side too.
Are Copper-Based Saucepans Better than Other Types?
Many copper pans on the market today claim that they heat up much faster than other saucepans. And, real copper pans do. Real copper pans have been used in professional bakeries, confectioneries and kitchens for hundreds of years for this very purpose.
However, most copper saucepans on the market now are only copper-based; they have a thin layer of copper on the outside and a layer of stainless steel on the inside.
You may notice a slight improvement in speed when heating things in these saucepans, but the stainless steel will still take longer than the copper to heat up, so you aren’t getting as much benefit from the copper as you would from a tin-coated copper pan or a copper pan without a lining.
If you intend to make jams, sweets, chocolate and delicate sauces with your new pots, you need real copper saucepans. Ones that are not a sandwich of different metals, they are simply copper all the way through.
We hope this look at copper pans has been helpful. We love the look of copper-based pans, and if it is the looks you’re after, copper-based pans will do you wonders for many years.
However, if you’re looking at copper pans for a hobby or a profession, you need a true copper pan to get the job done.
Why not explore Chef’s Pick further while you’re here? We have loads of articles about cookware, cookers and loads more!
Scott is a writer and a passionate home chef. His passion for cooking began when he was 10 years old. Scott has been writing professionally for over five years now and loves to combine his passion for cooking with his day job.