What is the Difference between Cooking on Copper Versus Steel?

When it comes to metal cookware, there's always a pretty tight competition between copper and steel. Both are similar in some aspects and different in others.

With durability and consistency, they will both impress you. But that's not all. They are capable of making your meals flavorful, which makes them so preferable to chefs.

You might as well be confused about which one to buy for your kitchen. But, it ultimately depends on your cooking style. That is because there's a lot of differences between what it’s like to cook on copper versus steel.

We are here to talk about those differences to help you make your decision. Although, we think that you can diversify your cookware collection by adding them both to it, but having one will be more than enough.

What Is It Like to Cook On Copper Cookware? 

If you are looking for cookware that will cook your meals perfectly, then copper pans are highly recommended for you. You can try diverse recipes on them, and watch all of those produce great results.

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Of course, there are some restrictions and maintenance rules that you need to follow when using these pans. With proper care, they will do great wonders.

Uniform Heat Distribution 

Copper cookware is often the most preferred by chefs. Well, the reason behind this is the remarkable thermal conductivity in copper. The rate at which heat transfers evenly throughout the pans is magical!

You will get more control over the temperature with this. The cookware will take a short time to heat up as well as a cool down. So, you can cook your meals however you want to.

This aspect makes them perfect for desserts, sauces, etc. Any recipe that requires top-notch control over the temperature can be cooked on copper pans.

Prevents Hot Spots

The bright side of even heat distribution is that your meals will never get burnt. Copper pans don't have any hot spot when cooking, which prohibits food from scorching even at high temperatures.

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That is why this cookware is used when trying out recipes that require utmost carefulness.

Anti-Bacterial

One of the biggest advantages of cooking on copper cookware is that they are anti-bacterial. Copper is a toxic metal, which makes the survival of microorganisms tough on them.

As a result, they are repelled by these pots and pans, reducing the chances of germs and bacteria getting into ingredients. You wouldn't even need to worry about cleaning them all that much to keep them safe and healthy.

Reactive with Acidic and Alkaline Ingredients

Copper is a reactive metal, which simply causes it to react with other acids or alkalis. Ingredients often contain acidic or alkaline elements in them, which can react with copper if they come into direct contact.

Now, of course, it is not possible to avoid such materials when you are cooking a dish. Therefore, such pans and pots are lined with tin or stainless steel to make sure your food does not taste metallic.

So, you shouldn't get yourself copper cookware that isn't lined with other metals. Because in that case, your meals will get unhealthy for you. Although most copper cookware brands offer a coating on their pans.

Metal/Wooden Spatulas and Glass Top Stoves Are Prohibited

Sadly, you cannot use metal or wooden spatulas with your copper cookware. That is because copper pans can be scratched pretty easily. Therefore, to be safe, you should use Teflon coated utensils.

Glass top stoves are a major no too in this case. The cookware leaves metal marks at the top of the stove, which becomes quite hard to remove afterward.

High-Maintenance

If you don't want your cookware to change color over time, then you will need to do some serious polishing.

Even a red copper cookware set will require much maintenance. Otherwise, it might develop a patina. 

Moreover, you have to be very careful when cleaning the pans. Of course, this might turn out to be a little exhausting if you have to clean them after each cooking session carefully.

What Is It Like to Cook On Stainless Steel Cookware? 

Stainless steel cookware is widely known for delivering tasteful meals. However, there are some perks to cooking on them, and we will have an elaborate look at all that. There are both good and bad sides to this, but ultimately, they will always stand up to your expectations.

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Works Great with Acidic Ingredients 

One problem that you will face a lot of metal cookware is that they often end up reacting with other elements. And one of those popular elements happens to be the acidic ones.

However, that is not the kind of issue you will face with stainless steel cookware. They are great at conserving flavors of multiple ingredients and meals.

You can try different recipes with citrus or cheese, and there will be no metallic taste infused into them. In short, you can use absolutely any ingredients on bare stainless steel pans.

Can Be Used to Cook in Stoves and Ovens 

If you are worried about not being able to use your stainless steel cookware with your stove or oven, then stop fretting right away! These pots and pans are suitable for absolutely anything. 

They can be used safely inside ovens, or on a glass stove. As a result, you can be as reckless as you want with them.

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You wouldn't even have to face the hassle of transferring your meals from one pot to another if you want to heat them in an oven. So, they keep your cooking hassle-free.

Does Not Rust

Rusty cookware is a huge no-no when it comes to cooking. And it's quite a bummer when pots and pans start to rust or corrode after a while of use.

To make sure you don’t face such an inconvenience, you can use stainless steel cookware. Even though they are prone to rusting if they come into contact with moisture, it does not usually happen.

The chromium in the steel reacts with oxygen to create an impermeable layer on the pots and pans. This prevents water or air from getting into contact with steel, which prohibits it from rusting.

Lightweight 

Being heavy can be quite a deal-breaker for pans. After all, if you face trouble when tossing or moving around your utensils, then cooking with them can get quite inconvenient.

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But, since stainless steel is lightweight, you can easily move it around and store it. This makes cooking on them very comfortable.

Does Not Scratch 

These pans are scratch-resistant. So, you can use metal or wooden utensils when cooking on them. You can also scrub them hard if necessary. No matter how hard you go with this cookware, it won't scratch or chip.

Does Not Distribute the Heat Properly

One of the major weaknesses of this cookware is that it cannot transfer heat uniformly. First of all, that is because of its low conductivity to heat. As a result, the pans take time to heat up. This feature also enables the cookware to have hot spots. So, your food can burn or cook unevenly when you are using stainless steel.

Furthermore, this also causes food to stick to it. Hence, you will need to scrub your cookware quite often. To avoid this, you need to be a little careful when cooking on it.

Differences Summarized

For a quick overview, we will be summarizing all the differences here.

Heat Distribution

Copper cookware is capable of distributing heat uniformly, which makes it avoid hot spots while cooking meals as evenly as possible. Stainless steel cookware is incapable of distributing heat evenly. As a result, these pans are more prone to hot spots.

Anti-Bacterial 

Copper pans have anti-bacterial properties, which makes it healthy and safe. Stainless steel cookware has no such properties.

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Reactivity with Acids and Alkalis 

When it comes to reacting with acidic and alkaline elements, copper pans happen to be a step ahead. You will not have to worry about that with stainless steel cookware, which is non-reactive and hence, safe around such materials.

Metal/Wooden Spatulas and Glass Top Stoves

You cannot use metal/wooden spatulas with copper pans. And you can also not use them on glass top stoves. Stainless steel cookware is safe to use with anything.

Maintenance

Copper cookware is high-maintenance. They require a lot of care and attention to remain intact and damage-free over time. Stainless steel pans don't need much maintenance. However, you will have to scrub them frequently to make their shine last.

Durability and Body Weight

With proper maintenance, copper pans will last a very long time. They can be polished every once in a while to last for years. Such pans often come with the ideal weight- neither too light nor too heavy. Stainless steel pans last for the last time if they don't rust. Also, they are very light.

Final Words

Even though cooking on copper and steel are two very different experiences altogether, both of them tend to produce great outcomes.

Therefore, you should embrace the differences and try to cook on them both, given the opportunity. They are great for different kinds of recipes, which makes them unique in their ways.

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