Everybody loves the easy cleanup of nonstick cooking. We took a closer look to uncover how Copper Chef pans actually perform in most kitchens.
What we like
- PTFE and PFOA-free cookware.
- Exceptionally affordable for the full set.
- Compatible with induction stoves.
What We don’t
- Like most ceramic pans there are durability issues.
- Not recommended for dishwasher cleaning.
- The handles are somewhat weak and bend easily.
What Is Copper Chef?
The Copper Chef brand has been supported by the largest media campaign in cookware category history. It is owned by consumer products company Tristar Products, and according to a release published on Business Insider has been a #1 seller in the USA.
Copper Chef was introduced to the public in 2018 through a series of “made for tv”-type advertisements. Tristar presents the brand as family-friendly, and a good solution toward fast, easy cooking with less cleanup.
Copper Chef Signature Non-stick Cookware Set
This set includes 9 individual pots and pans: two different sized fry pans, a large casserole pan, two saucepans, a fry basket, steamer, and accompanying glass lids.
A stainless steel plate is manufactured into each pan’s aluminum base to create compatibility with induction stovetops. This set will work on induction, gas, electric and ceramic stoves. The manufacturer does recommend using a potholders or an oven mitt with this set because the handles can get hot on some cook surfaces.
The non-stick surface uses a PTFE-free ceramic coating for food release and easy cleanup. Like many ceramic pans, the maker recommends handwashing and avoiding metal utensils when cooking.
What We Like
Compared with other cost-effective pans, we like the copper look of this set and the storage hook that is built into the handles. Many owners commented that they enjoyed hanging the most used pans from their set in a visible area of the kitchen. This creates easy access and a complimentary aesthetic for some kitchens.
A steamer and roast basket are included in the set, which provides extra versatility for preparing fresh vegetables or safely deep frying in small batches. The fry basket won’t fit a turkey, but you can easily accommodate homestyle fries and other small-batch savory snacks.
Several owners also commented that this set makes a perfect gift for first time cooks and family members during holidays. It is incredibly affordable.
What We Don’t Like
We found that many owners were confused or disappointed about the materials used to manufacture the pan. The “copper” name can be misleading, especially with advertising focused on the copper color and brand name. This cookware is not solid copper; rather, the pans are coated with layers of the ceramic non-stick material that is lightly infused with copper to promote heat transfer.
The advertising also sends mixed messages about how the pans perform over high heat settings. They claim the products are safe for use up to 850 F. In reality, this pan works best at a medium heat setting. Owners report that extreme heating ruins non-stick function and may cause the body to warp. Compared to competitor products, the handles easily overheat to the touch.
- 8” Round Frypan
- 10” Round Frypan
- 5.8-Quart Casserole Pan with 10″ Glass Lid
- 2.8-Quart Sauce Pan with Glass Lid
- 1-Quart Sauce Pan
- 9″ Round Fry Basket
- 9″ Round Steamer Tray
What to know before you buy.
What material is the Copper Chef made from?
Each Copper Chef Signature pan is constructed atop an aluminum core that heats up quickly and evenly. A magnetic steel plate is then pressed into the base to promote compatibility with induction stoves.
The nonstick cook surface features Copper Chef’s proprietary “cerami-Tech” coating. This material is a sol-gel compound that is infused lightly with copper to promote heat transfer. It is free of lead, PTFE, and PFOA.
Are the pans safe to cook with?
Copper Chef utilizes a nonstick coating that is free from Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA).
PTFE is one of the slickest non-stick substances in the world. In non-stick cookery, it is commonly known by the brand name Teflon. PTFE recently came under fire after health and environmental concerns were reported related to the manufacturing process.
Over the past 10 years, ceramic non-stick products like the Copper Chef pan have grown popular. It is widely considered as a safer alternative to PTFE.
Is the nonstick any good?
Owners say the non-stick coating performs effectively out-of-the-box. Food doesn’t stick and cleanup is swift with little effort required.
Unfortunately, a common characteristic of ceramic non-stick pans is their low durability. The Copper Chef Signature set is not an exception to this rule. Owners report that the nonstick properties dissipate after several months of regular use.
How long do they last?
According to owner feedback, some pans last for years with strict adherence to the manufacturer’s care guidelines. More often, we found that owners replaced their set in less than two years of regular use.
This lifespan is consistent with most ceramic pans we’ve reviewed. By comparison, PTFE-coated pans tend to last slightly longer, and cast iron or stainless steel cookery can last a lifetime. Ceramic pans, like Copper Chef, are significantly more affordable though. They clean easier, and haven’t been widely documented for health and environmental risks like PTFE products.
Common reasons for these pans to wear out quickly include washing in the dishwasher or use of metal cooking utensils. Both of these actions can scratch or peel the non-stick coating, quickly eliminating the pan’s most convenient features.
Which is better: Gotham Steel or Copper Chef?
Copper Chef and Gotham Steel are both “made for tv” bargain brands. Copper Chef incorporates copper in its non-stick coating, while Gotham Steel leverages a titanium-infused ceramic in its design. Gotham Steel is slightly more affordable, but does lack some of the features of Copper Chef such as induction compatibility or deep fry options.
Can the pans be cleaned in the dishwasher?
This set is rated as dishwasher-safe. Even so, the manufacturer recommends cleaning by hand to maximize the durability of the cookware. Some dishwashing detergents can be incredibly abrasive to the ceramic nonstick surface.
Wash by hand.
We recommend that you only clean this cookware by hand under running water with mild soap or cleanser. If you have any food leftovers that are difficult to remove, use a non-abrasive sponge to remove them. Dishwasher cleaning is not recommended with this set.
Do not use metal utensils.
Metal utensils will easily scratch the ceramic non-stick coating. The manufacturer recommends using utensils made of wood, silicone, nylon or plastic on the cook surface to avoid damaging it.
Use pot holders or hot mitts.
The handles on this set can get extremely hot while in use. Always keep a pot holder or hot mitt nearby, and be especially careful when transferring contents away from a hot stovetop.
Do not overload the pans.
The handles on this pan are not as sturdy as those we’ve seen on comparable products. Some owners recommend being mindful about how many ingredients you place in the pan at once. Avoid overloading the smaller pans in the set, as this habit can make you susceptible to a spilling accident. If you want to cook large amounts of food, consider using a larger pan or the included stockpot.
Alternatives To Consider
The Danish cookware brand Scanpan offers 10 lines of nonstick cookware, across a wide range of price points. We like their products, although we recognize that many of the “premium” lines are simply cosmetic upgrades. Scanpan Classic is the brand’s entry-level set. It offers the best Scanpan performance without extra cosmetic frills.
GreenLife makes a decent medium heat pan for a discount price. For chefs looking to add a splash of color to their kitchen, these pans are offered in 7 distinctive colorways.
The Copper Chef Signature collection is a great fit for chefs needing to quickly and affordably outfit a new kitchen. We also recommend Copper Chef as an entry-level set.
Durability is the chief concern about Copper Chef. Like other ceramic nonstick cookware, this set may get you a few years down the road before requiring a replacement. Higher quality cookware is available, but you will pay substantially more for upgraded materials. Maintenance can also be more complicated with higher-end products.
The most celebrated feature of Copper Chef is its non-stick performance out of the box. The food release is excellent and cleaning is swift. What you might miss in the durability of this product, is somewhat offset by the convenience it provides.
Copper Chef is among the most affordable non-stick options available. For home chefs on a budget, you may consider purchasing single items rather than the full set. In many kitchens only one or two items are used daily, like the 10” frypan or saucepan which are available for individual purchase.