Copper is beautiful and conducts heat better than any other cookware metal. But it is expensive and heavy. It dents easily, is difficult to care for, doesn’t work on induction burners, and reacts with food. Though traditionally loved by professional chefs, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. And the cost can be prohibitive.
Best for: Any pan. Beating egg whites.
Heat conduction: Excellent conductor of heat. Conducts heat rapidly and evenly.
Temperature change: Good.
Non-stick surface: No.
Care: Copper combines chemically with some acidic food, liquids, and air to form a layer of green verdigris which can be poisonous. To avoid this, copper pots must be lined, typically with stainless steel, nickel, or tin. If it is lined with tin, take care not to scratch or cook at high temperatures as the tin will be damaged.
Clean: Clean the inside of the pan with hot soapy water. The outside of the pan will need constant polishing to keep it bright. Mix equal parts of flour and salt with lemon juice or white vinegar to form a paste. Coat the outside of the pan with the paste and rub clean with a cloth. Commercial copper cleaners will not maintain the finish as long. Don’t use scouring pads, cream, or powder on the copper.