If you feel that you have outgrown your aluminum nonstick cookware and are looking to upgrade, you may have been tempted to try stainless-steel or copper cookware.
Unfortunately, both of those have a steep learning curve and often lead to frustration when things stick or burn.
All-Clad has developed a line of cookware that attempts to combine all 3 types of cookware into 1 called All-Clad Copper Core Cookware.
But does it work any better and is it worth it?
In this All-Clad Copper Core review, we will explore this lineup and answer your questions to help you make a better purchasing decision.
All-Clad Copper Core Cookware
What Is All Clad Copper Core?
All-Clad’s copper core cookware combines the best types of cookware by sandwiching 5 layers of material together including aluminum, stainless-steel, and a copper core.
More is not always better, but in this case, it makes senses. Here’s why:
Copper pots and pans distribute heat better than those made only with either aluminum or stainless-steel.
Better heat distribution allows you to cook evenly with less heat, helping to prevent your food from turning out burnt on the outside and raw inside.
There are some caveats to consider which we will discuss in more detail in the sections below.
Heat And Responsiveness
All-Clad has covered their bases with this cookware set because each pot and pan are induction compatible.
This means that your pots and pans heat up quickly when you put them on the burner and cool off very quickly when you take them off.
You might require a more attentive hand on the temperature controls at first to avoid burning food.
This can save time when boiling water, but it also means that you will have better control over your temperature when cooking heat sensitive food.
Foods that require a specific internal temperature should be easier to cook once you have practiced with copper core cookware.
There is learning curve if you’re coming from traditional nonstick cookware. So, in the beginning, we recommend using lower temperatures than you’re used to.
And finally, this cookware heats pretty evenly so that your food cooks at the same temperature no matter where it is in the pan.
Is All-Clad Copper Core Nonstick?
The 18/10 stainless steel finish of the cookware makes it possible to cook eggs without fear of them sticking or searing steak and deglazing the pan to make a pan sauce (something that’s hard to do with most nonstick cookware).
It’s not impossible to have food stick to this cookware.
The instructions tell you that it’s important to use a lower heat setting and let the pan preheat before adding anything.
This is a good rule for most cookware, but especially important when using stainless steel and copper.
You should never use cooking sprays because they contain other chemicals that burn and stick.
Another advantage of the stainless surface is that acidic foods like tomato sauce won’t react with the cookware. Other types of copper cookware are known to have issues with acidic food.
With those precautions above, you should be able to cook pretty much anything with minimal sticking.
Stay-Cool Handles And Weight
Both the pots and pans will feel heavy if you’re used to cheaper aluminum cookware, but the pots come with an additional handle on the lip to help you bear the extra weight.
All-Clad advertises that this set has “stay-cool” stainless handles. This means that the parts of the pots and pans you’re likely to grab are specifically engineered to transfer heat less effectively in order to shield your hands.
In practice, you’ll want to use potholders or heat resistant gloves most of the time.
If you cook for more than a few minutes, both the handles and the lid will get fairly hot.
Cleaning & Maintenance
While this cookware is technically dishwasher safe, All-Clad recommends hand washing.
It’s quite easy to clean the stainless surfaces of this cookware set if you’re following their guidelines to prevent sticking.
Dishwashers can be harsh on anything that is put in them. We always recommend carefully hand washing expensive items.
It’s worth nothing that there is an exposed copper band on each piece that will tarnish over time. To clean, or help prevent this tarnishing, you can use a copper polish that is safe for cookware.
What We Like
Easy to Clean – The quality of the stainless steel makes every piece of this cookware set a breeze to clean. For those stubborn areas, a soak in hot water should do it.
Fantastic Heat Conduction – The copper core of each pot and pan lets it heat up and cool down quickly and evenly. This reduces cooking times, gives you finer temperature control.
“Built To Last” – All-Clad offers a lifetime warranty to cover any manufacturing defects you might uncover.
Made In The USA – All-Clad operates out of Canonsburg PA. Its sources metals from various US suppliers and it proudly employs American workers to handcraft this cookware.
What Could Be Better
Expensive – The All-Clad 10-Piece Copper Core Set may be out of the range of tighter budgets.
Heavy – The solid metal construction of these pots and pans means that they’re a bit heavy to lift. For those without the strength, you might want to consider a lighter cookware set instead.
Copper Ring Can Tarnish – While the stainless in this cookware is easy to clean, there’s a copper band on the outside that can tarnish if you’re not dutiful about cleaning it.
You can be lazy about this without affecting how well your cookware cooks, but then you can’t be proud of how beautiful your set looks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is All Clad Copper Core Safe?
Yes. Unlike many other products on the market which are produced overseas, this set is manufactured in the USA and held to high standards.
Stainless steel is a non-reactive cooking material and covers the copper layers so that you get the best of both worlds.
Is All-Clad Copper Cookware Oven Safe?
Yes, up to 500F as All-Clad states on their website.
However, we don’t recommend using high temperatures. Over time multiple exposures to high temperatures can affect your nonstick treatment and it’s possible that the cookware can warp.
Do The Lids Fit?
If you’re like me, you find it handy to have lids for both pots and pans. The lids are not designed specifically to be interchanged but they will still technically fit.
Is All Clad Copper Core Better Than D5?
We can’t say that the All-Clad D5 Brushed Stainless Steel Cookware Set is better, but the main difference is that it is layered with stainless steel and aluminum.
Because it doesn’t contain a copper layer, it may be slightly more budget friendly.
How Thick Is The Copper In All-Clad Copper Core?
Unfortunately, All-Clad doesn’t disclose this anywhere on their 5-ply charts.
However, after doing some digging across patents and forums, the general consensus is somewhere between 0.91mm and 0.889mm after metal bonding.
In comparison, there are very few brands that reach the 1.5mm to 2.5mm thickness and others that are well under what All-Clad might be sporting here.
Is All Clad Copper Core Worth It?
The unique design of these pots and pans can make cooking easier by putting you in control of heat and without the hassles that comes from cleaning pure copper pots and pans.
We think that the 10-Piece All-Clad Copper Core Cookware Set is one that has the potential to last for years and is backed by the manufacturer. However, that means that you’ll have to take care and maintain each piece properly for it to last. Unfortunately, it is not for those on a strict budget.
So, if you’re looking for a quality set of cookware to hold on to for a while, All-Clad’s Copper Core cookware lineup might be the choice to consider.