Should I cook in copper or stainless steel pans?
Whether it's copper or stainless steel, a frying pan is a kitchen essential. It's very useful in the kitchen for professionals and keen amateurs alike. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages. What about copper? What about stainless steel? CRISTEL® can help you summarise and list the advantages of each material so that you can make an informed choice.
Cooking in copper
Copper is an excellent thermal conductor and a good antifungal agent: it limits mould formation on coating. This material is fairly expensive, but many chefs use it for its rapid heating properties. A copper frying pan will heat up quickly but will also cool down quickly, making it easier to cook certain dishes and foods with greater precision.
It's also useful to know that cooking savoury dishes is not always recommended in copper pans, but the suggestion is to use pans combining copper and a stainless steel coating (or tin-lined copper). Copper is not suitable for all hobs: no induction hobs. The copper cladding is often complemented by stainless steel or tin. Combining the benefits of stainless steel and copper is an asset when it comes to cooking. Copper pans are also very expensive to buy, and often very heavy to use.
Cooking in stainless steel
Stainless steel is an alloy of iron, chromium, carbon and nickel. It is a highly resistant material with excellent chemical inertness (no reaction or migration to food). 18/10 stainless steel (18% chromium, 10% nickel) is robust, durable and easy to maintain. It is also 100% recyclable, a considerable advantage in this day and age. A little oil or fat at the bottom of the pan is enough to prevent the food from sticking. Heat distribution is better and cooking is more beneficial for the food. We also recommend gentle cooking in stainless steel cooking equipment. Stainless steel is very easy to clean: soap and water are all you need to clean and shine your stainless steel utensils.
Which one should you use?
You can focus on just one of the two materials for your cookware. Copper frying pans do not have the same advantages as stainless steel frying pans, and vice versa: different temperatures, different cooking methods, different food reactions... There's a frying pan for every food (or almost every food).
For frying, searing or grilling meat or fish, a cast iron, steel, stainless steel or copper frying pan is the best choice. A wok pan in stainless steel, with high, wide sides, is ideal for cooking, stir-frying and simmering. For cooking pancakes and omelettes, we recommend a non-stick metal pancake pan (stainless steel, steel, copper, aluminium...). For a gas cooker, we recommend a copper or stainless steel frying pan, with the temperature monitored regularly.
At CRISTEL®, we offer guaranteed non-stick and PFOA-free pans, in 18/10 stainless steel, with or without lids, with or without handles.