Red Copper is a promotional cookware brand owned by TeleBrands, which has been selling novelty products since the early 1980s. TeleBrands is the original creator of As Seen on TV.
As with most made-for-TV promotional products, we were skeptical of this collection and wanted to understand how the Red Copper pan reviews when compared to other products in the non-stick ceramic category.
Is it truly functional or just a lot of hot air?
What is the Red Copper Pan?
Red Copper is a 10-piece ceramic cookware collection that is heavily promoted for its durability and non-stick properties. The brand says that owners will eat healthier when cooking with their copper infused ceramic cook surface which requires less butter, oil or fat compared with other pans.
Red Copper’s ceramic coating is infused with copper and baked atop an aluminum base. The non-stick is intended to aid in easy cooking and fast cleaning times. And the aluminum rings in the base are intended to distribute heat evenly across the cook surface for a consistent doneness to the food.
The set is manufacturer rated as oven safe to 500 F, for use with sear-and-bake applications like steak or upside down cake. They are also rated as dishwasher safe. Most pieces in the collection are equipped with a tempered glass lid that includes a metal handle and steam vent.
Promotions for the Red Copper pan feature outlandish demonstrations to illustrate the pan’s scratch resistance and overall durability. Infomercial host and television chef Cathy Mitchell scrapes a fork across the cook surface, and then proceeds to mix eggs in the pan with a metal electronic mixer.
Let’s examine these claims,
What To Ask Before You Buy
We spent hours sorting through product info and owner feedback to see how these pans really stood up to the brand’s advertising claims.
What is included in the Red Copper cookware set?
The Red Copper cookware collection includes a variety of frying pans and sauce pots that are practical for most kitchens. Notably excluded from the set is the novelty square pan, which is popular but not incredibly practical for some stoves.
- 8” fry pan
- 10” fry pan with lid
- 1.5-quart sauce pot with lid
- 2.5-quart sauce pot with lid
- 6-quart sauce pot with lid
- aluminum steamer insert
How does the non-stick perform?
Anyone who has owned a ceramic non-stick fry pan knows that the surface degrades over time. And like most other pans in the category, owners say the performance of Red Copper is oversold in the advertisements and doesn’t last. Even so, with regular seasoning, proactive care and realistic expectations your food should continue to release effectively for quite a while. Just don’t pull any of the metal-on-pan stunts from the commercial, and definitely don’t run it over with a car.
Does it work with an induction cooktop?
As of this writing, only one Red Copper model is compatible with induction cooktops. All pieces in the collection will work with traditional gas, electric and ceramic glass ranges. But if you plan on cooking with Red Copper cookware on an induction stove, the Square Dance Pan is the only compatible pan.
What is Red Copper made of?
Red Copper pans are constructed with a copper-infused ceramic coating that is baked atop an aluminum base.
Solid copper is an excellent conductor of heat. The Red Copper brand claims that copper dust mixed into their ceramic coating has a positive impact on how evenly the pan cooks.
It’s unclear how much copper is actually used in the creation of this cookware. Given the low cost per pan and high cost of copper at the time of this writing, our best guess is that the amount of copper actually used is minimal.
Is it safe to cook with?
Red Copper cookware is PTFE free. The brand is manufactured without the use ofof Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). These synthetic compounds have been publicized for their controversial impacts to human health and the environment. Ceramic pans are widely considered to be a safer alternative to PTFE, which is commonly called by the trade name Teflon.
Is it oven safe?
The Red Copper pan is manufacturer-rated as oven safe to 500 F, but we recommend only baking at temperatures below 350 F. This is equivalent to a medium heat on most stovetops. Heating on higher settings may cause damage to the ceramic surface. The company’s website recommends that these pans are used on low or medium cooking temperatures.
Can I use metal utensils?
Do not use metal utensils on the Red Copper pan, or metal products to clean with such as steel wool or metal pads. The cooking surface may be scratch resistant, but metal utensils are incredibly hard and can damage even the most durable non-stick. Also avoid stacking Red Copper cookware during storage, if possible. The friction between pans may create a similar damaging effect as metal utensils.
Are they dishwasher-safe?
They are “safe” to go in the dishwasher, but the dishwasher isn’t particularly gentle on the Red Copper pan. We recommend gently wiping the pan surface with a paper towel or soft cloth. If food is stuck to the surface then you should hand wash with warm soapy water. High temperatures, hard water and chemical detergents used in dishwashers are all factors that can damage or discolor your pan.
How To Clean And Maintain
Building a few simple habits will dramatically improve the performance and durability of your Red Copper cookware set.
Season your pans before use.
Seasoning is easy and will unlock the best performance from your pans. Here’s how,
Spread a light coating of vegetable oil to your pan and preheat the oven to 300 F. When the oven is heated, place the oiled pan inside for 20 minutes. Afterward, remove the pan gently with potholders or mits (it will be hot) and allow it to cool to room temperature. Wipe away any remaining oil and, viola, your pan is seasoned.
We recommend re-seasoning your pan every 3 months.
Allow pans to cool before cleaning with a soft towel.
Dropping a hot pan into water can total your pan. The sizzle may sound cool, but you shouldn’t do it if you want the pan to last. Set it aside and allow it time to cool.
Once your pan is near room temperature, wipe the surface with a paper towel or soft cloth to remove any remaining cooking residue. Usually you don’t even need water, just a quick wipe down before storing.
If your pan is still dirty after a soft cloth wipe, wash it gently by hand in warm soapy water. Use a cloth. Even a sponge or bristle brush can scratch the pan’s surface.
Avoid low-smoke oils and sprays.
Find a high-heat oil that works for you, and specifically stay away from butter and spray oils as your primary pan lubricant. Aerosol sprays can’t stand up to high temperatures, and tend to leave damaging hard to clean residue on the surface of your pan. Butter and low-smoke oils behave similarly.
Who should buy a Red Copper cookware?
If you’re looking to get a basic set of pots and pans to jumpstart your kitchen, then Red Copper may be for you. This unit economics are hard to beat and, as of this writing, the overall sticker price for the 10-piece set was well below any of the other ceramic cookware collections we reviewed.
Although the advertisements dramatically oversell the actual performance or durability of Red Copper, the collection can still be a good entry point for most people. The low price makes them a forgiving way to learn seasoning, cleaning and low temperature cooking techniques.
With proper care and regular use they may get you a year or two down the road. If your pan does damage sooner, at least it didn’t cost you much. The overall durability of this set is middle-of-the-road for ceramic non-stick cookware.
Alternatives | What is the best non-stick cookware?
If the Red Copper Collection doesn’t seem like the right fit for your kitchen, here are a few alternatives you might consider,
Starfrit The Rock
The Rock by Starfrit is our bargain pick for ceramic cookware collections. We really like it for the price because of the design and durability compared to similarly priced competitors. For most owners, it does require some oil to unlock true non-stick ability, but overall the quality is really high. Especially for the price. There are some light, but meaningful for some kitchens, upgrade options available atop the base model.
If you are looking to upgrade materials, performance and durability, take a closer look at Scanpan. The Danish brand offers 10 lines of cookware, across a wide range or price points. We like the Scanpan Professional collection for our kitchen with its high quality stainless handles and scratch resistant Stratinum non-stick coating. The extra cost pays off in performance and pan life.
Copper Chef Signature
The Copper Chef Signature cookware set consists of elegant-looking cookware with an exceptionally high temperature tolerance. Copper Chef’s ceramic non-stick coating is PTFE-free. It rests atop a stainless steel plate for induction cooktop compatibility. This is a good set for the price, with acceptable non-stick performance and easy to clean. Like all ceramic nonstick cookware, Copper Chef is less durable than cast iron or stainless steel comparables.
If you are looking for real copper cookware or a copper-clad stainless steel set, expect to pay significantly more for your purchase.
The Red Copper cookware collection is a great pan if durability is not at the top of your priority list. It is hard to beat for the price.
Durability is a common issue with most ceramic surface pans, and Red Copper tends to last longer and perform better than other products on the affordable side of the market. This cookware does require regular seasoning to perform at its full potential. You will also need to learn a few basic cleaning and maintenance techniques to get the most from your experience with it.
Take the “live” demonstrations from Red Copper’s infomercials with a grain of salt. Their outlandish claims are attention seeking gimmicks that don’t reflect how the pan will actually perform in most kitchens If you purchase this collection with reasonable expectations then you will probably be very happy with what you get in return.
If you’ve used Red Copper cookware, let us know what you think about your experience in the comments below.