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Does Copper-Clad Cookware Produce superior results?

Cincinnati10's picture

I have never had a set of fine cookware. Many years ago, I bought  a Le Crueset  cast iron dutch oven. I burned something in it and damaged the enamel. SInce then it has had a propensity for food to stick and is difficult to clean.

My remember my grandmother had a set of pots that had a copper bottom. So I was looking at All-clad copper core cookware. The price gave me sticker shock but perhaps good cookware is just that expensive. Williams Sonoma sells a 30 pc set at $6000. I thought that too pricey. They sent an email saying it is on sale for $4000.


Wondering if Copper-clad is the way to go, and if so, is ALL-CLAD the right choice or is there something else out there. WS seems over-priced to me, but I do not spend much time looking at cooking equipment.


Gretchen's picture

If the enamel was damaged you

If the enamel was damaged you should take it to a dealer and see if the warranty is in effect for that--it has a lifetime warranty.

Copper will require constant care if you are a person who demands the copper look like copper all the time. Your grandmother's set was probably tin lined--an entirely different ball of wax.  There is no need to have copper bottomed cookware to have a good set of pans. I have a Calphalon knockoff from Sam's that I LOVE and paid $200.  Tramontina has a line that is very akin to All Clad (triple clad) and costs a fraction of regular All Clad.

I could NEVER spend that on a set of pans. WS is not always overpriced but you revealed that you really don't know what it takes to have a good cookware by saying, "I don't spend much time looking".  What kind of cooking do you do. You have already been sort of put off by ONE misstep with LC and then didn't really follow it up as you might have.

Cincinnati10's picture

Gretchen, Thanks. Didn't


Thanks. Didn't realize LC had a lifetime warranty. The cookware I was referring to was copper clad. Grandma's copper set was lined, probably with tin.

I did learn that Tramontina has a set. I am not looking for the most expensive set, but am aware that one usually gets what one pays for.

I read a review that put All-Clad Stainless (not the copper clad set) as the best set and the Tramontina set as the best value. However it also poo-poo'd the sets as containing cookware that is not essential like straight edged sautee skillets, 1 qt sauce pans and 8" skillets (unless cooking for one).

 You asked what kind of cooking I do. Right now very little. I mostly cook over charcoal on a Green Egg. Since getting it, I have become more interested in what my family is consuming. My wife works outside the home, and I work from a home office. So I now have more time to prepare meals than her. I started making my own marinara sauce and when I discovered how much better it tasted, I found I had a new hobby.

The only thing I make on the stove is soup and Kraft mac & cheese for my boys. I also discovered bread making. I bought a Whispermill and grind my own flour at the time of baking. 

The majority of cookware we have is cheap department store specials — non-stick coated, and thin pots.  


Gretchen's picture

Yes, I 'm sure your

Yes, I 'm sure your grandmother's was tin lined. Many people DO pooh pooh complete sets--and I would also if it costs thousands of dollars.  Basically I do think it is more reasonable to buy the pots you will most use. That said, my set of knockoff Calphalon from Sam's (Costco also) has about 20 pieces (lids, you know), including 3 slope sided saute pans, one 14" straight side saute, and a wok--and 8qt. stockpot (that has never seen the inside of a cabinet), steamer insert (that LIVES in a cabinet) and 1,2,4 qt. saucepans. I have used EVERY one of them, and pretty often.

Personally, copper bottomed/clad pans are just not very practical to me. All Clad is usually considered the industry gold standard because it is "clad"--the heat goes up the sides as well as the bottom. Tramontina and Kitchenaid also make clad ware.  There are plenty of good heavy cooking pans available also without spending an immense amount of money. I suggest you look at Amazon and also read reviews of cookware there.

Cincinnati10's picture

I decided to purchase a 12"

I decided to purchase a 12" Aluminum-stainless steel All-Clad skillet with lid ($129) and a crock pot ($99).  Even the small cookware sets ($700-900) had one or two pieces I didn't want. SO these were no deal.

I will return/repair the dutch oven and get a replacement lid for it. Then I want to add an 8QT stockpot. These will probably cover most of my needs in the short term. I will then add/replace my cheap pans with better ones as I notice I'm using them more often.

Thanks for your replies.

GretchenTHE FIRST's picture

I am still of the opinon that

I am still of the opinon that there are equally good cooking vessels that do not cost an arm and a leg..  Macy's has an 8qut stockpot on sale this week for $20. It's Martha Stewart--list for about $100. shopping sales really pays. Shopping places like Marshall's, TJMaxx, and costco and Tuesday Morning REALLY pays.

Marie Louise's picture

I have one copper-clad saute

I have one copper-clad saute pan, lined w/ stainless steel. It is French, and I bought it on sale at Williams-Sonoma a number of years ago. I love it when I want to saute something at a really, really high temperature-this pan gets HOT! 

I wouldn't want more than one of them, thought. IMO, you can't beat regular all SS All-Clad. It works well and goes into the dishwasher. Buy it at cookware and more (online.) They sell seconds, but the defects are very minor, similar to the scratches you'd put in it yourself the first time you used it w/ a metal utensil.

Cookware is forever if you purchase wisely. You don't need one of everything, just a few great pots and pans. Buy a piece or two at a time and it will be a joy to use day in and day out. 

KarenP's picture

    Cuisinox elite is a

    Cuisinox elite is a multiclad that is comparable to all clad at a significantly lower price.  I bought a couple individual pieces at an cookware oultet and if i were in the market for a "set", this is what I'd buy.  It's multi-clad the entire surface, not just the bottom as so many are.  A guy I work with just bought himself a set and he was stunned at the quality.  Took it home, showed it to his sister and she ordered one that night.  Take a look at it.  google cuisinox elite -vs- all clad.

   GeoffChef owns this and you can search him on this site.  Glenys who is a chef has also talked about it.

Glenys Morgan's picture

copper-clad cookware

I'm late to this discussion but it helps to define "copper-clad".   Old Reverware with the black handles was painted with a copper bottom, not really functional but it was a start.  Gretchen mentioned tin lining but that would be a copper pot, not a clad pot.   Later Cuisinart slabbed the bottom of their stainless with a disc of copper, very very good.  Then came the copper layers inside. 

Once the design is able to be copied, it opens up the potential for lower priced new lines.  Now All-Clad is doing a third version beyond the original, beyond the copper, aimed at induction and the higher heat gas ranges.   I think the Cuisinox is far superior to the original All-Clad and the newer version is comparable to Demeyere.  

You'll have lots of options.