All-Clad Copper Core Review 2021: Worth The Price Tag?

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A lid being placed on an All-Clad Copper Cookware pan on the hob

Copper’s an incredible cookware material. It heats up quickly, hot spots aren’t a problem, and it’s near impossible to scorch too.

It requires a lot of care and attention to keep copper pots in top condition though, and for many of us that’s just too much work.

All-Clad’s Copper Core collection takes a different approach, wrapping that central core with protective layers that are much easier to look after.

Does it really deliver the same performance though, and is that eye-watering entry cost justifiable?

In my All-Clad Copper Core review, I’m taking an in-depth look at one of the most popular premium cookware sets on the market today.

(If you want to explore more of my cookware content, take a look at the home cookware guide I have on the site.)

About All-Clad Copper Core Cookware

The All-Clad Copper Core cookware set is actually available in three different editions. There are separate 7, 10 & 14 piece versions of the Copper Core line.

The 10 piece set is the most popular by some distance, and so I’m making it the focus of this review. It also offers the best middle ground between cost and versatility in my opinion.

I thought it would be useful though to start by providing a quick snapshot of what’s included in each set.

I’ll talk in depth about the general materials, copper core construction and performance of the product line further down the page.

It applies to every piece in every set, and you just need to decide whether the extra pans justify the additional cost.

All-Clad 6000 7 Piece Set

This 7 piece version covers the most crucial elements of any cookware set. Go down this route and you can save yourself a little money, although it’s still a long way off being cheap!

If you’re making this kind of investment, I’d be more included to recommend you choose the 10 piece set which offers quite a lot more versatility.

  • 2 Quart Sauce Pan + Lid
  • 3 Quart Sauté Pan + Lid
  • 8 Quart Stockpot + Lid
  • 10 Inch Fry Pan
All-Clad 6000-7 SS Copper Core 5-Ply Bonded...
  • 7-piece cookware set includes 10 inch fry pan, 2 quart covered sauce pan, 3 quart covered sauté pan and...
  • 5-ply bonded construction with stainless steel, aluminum, and a thick copper core for even heating,...
  • Highly polished 18/10 stainless steel interior with starburst finish offers superior stick resistance and...

(This article includes affiliate links. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.)

All-Clad 600822 10 Piece Set

I think there’s a good reason to upgrade to the 10 piece version if you’re settled on investing in the Copper Core range.

It’s much easier to split tasks between multiple hobs and the oven when you have a wider variety of pans. If you’re even considering this range then you’re almost certainly making more complex meals. This will make those jobs much easier.

  • 2 Quart Sauce Pan + Lid
  • 3 Quart Sauce Pan + Lid
  • 3 Quart Sauté Pan + Lid
  • 8 Quart Stockpot + Lid
  • 8 Inch Fry Pan
  • 10 Inch Fry Pan
All-Clad 600822 SS Copper Core 5-Ply Bonded...
  • 10-piece cookware set includes 8 inch and 10 inch fry pans, 2 quart and 3 quart covered sauce pans, 3...
  • 5-ply bonded construction with stainless steel, aluminum, and a thick copper core for even heating,...
  • Highly polished 18/10 stainless steel interior with starburst finish offers superior stick resistance and...

All-Clad 600822 14 Piece Set

This is the “everything but the kitchen sink” edition, and contains everything you could possibly need, with the exception of a vegetable steaming insert. This is probably overkill unless you want to cover every single base with one of the world’s best cookware brands.

  • 2 Quart Sauce Pan + Lid
  • 3 Quart Sauce Pan + Lid
  • 3 Quart Sauté Pan + Lid
  • 6 Quart Sauté Pan + Lid
  • 12 Inch Chef’s Pan + Lid
  • 8 Quart Stockpot + Lid
  • 10 Inch Frying Pan
  • 12 Inch Frying Pan
All-Clad 60090 Copper Core 5-Ply Bonded...
  • 14-piece cookware set includes 10 inch and 12 inch fry pans, 2 quart and 3 quart covered sauce pans, 3...
  • 5-ply bonded construction with stainless steel, aluminum, and a thick copper core for even heating,...
  • Highly polished 18/10 stainless steel interior with starburst finish offers superior stick resistance and...

Is It Really Worth The Cost?

This is one of those questions where the answer can only ever really be “Yes, if you can afford it.”

The exceptional cooking performance is backed up by incredibly high quality construction. That’s going to be a big focus of my review, and you’ll find more detail on all that further down the page.

Any one of these three sets will also provide you with a lifetime of great service if you care for your pots and pans properly.

That’s backed up with a lifetime warranty from All-Clad as well. Even if you somehow manage to mess up your basic care and maintenance, you know the manufacturer’s got your back.

So, if you can justify the cost and want outstanding performance from your cookware, these pots and pans are about as good as things get!

Who’s The All-Clad Copper Cookware Set For?

This product line is designed for home cooks who are looking to replace their cookware collection with one of the best sets money can buy.

If you like the benefits of copper cookware but own an induction cooktop, the Copper Core line is a great choice. The stainless steel outer shell is magnetic and so it’s induction compatible.

Who’s It NOT For?

If you’re kitting out your whole kitchen and don’t have a huge budget to work with, I think it’s hard to justify the investment required.

Don’t fret! There are some exceptionally good cookware sets on the market that cover all the bases, and won’t break the bank in the process.

One such set is Cuisinart’s Multiclad Pro collection, which is a big personal favorite of mine. Check out that review if you want to find out more. It’s a 3-ply stainless steel set with an aluminum core, and it offers really impressive performance and versatility.

Additionally, All-Clad Copper Core cookware isn’t non-stick, although a little bit of pre-heating does wonders when it comes to working with stainless steel.

Pros

  • Excellent heat conduction design results in even cooking every time.
  • Made from high quality materials.
  • Durable and well-constructed.
  • Generally very easy to clean and care for.
  • Lifetime warranty provides peace of mind.

Cons

  • These sets are expensive, and require a generous kitchen budget.
  • Individual items are quite heavy to carry due to the materials and construction.
  • Handle rivets can be tricky to clean, but must be looked after.

All-Clad Copper Core – A Closer Look

That’s a very brief overview of what each set includes and what you can expect from investing in the Copper Core line.

In the rest of my All-Clad Copper Core review I’m going to take a much closer look at how these pots and pans are designed, and what makes them special.

About Copper Core Cooking

Copper’s a very popular choice for serious chefs, as the material distributes heat far better than an aluminum core – or even just plain stainless steel.

Everything cooks a lot more evenly using less heat, and so everything gets cooked through perfectly.

The problem with copper as a cookware material is that it requires quite a lot more care to keep it in good condition.

Enter the likes of All-Clad who seal that copper core with a number of protective layers. As well as helping to improve heat distribution, these layers also protect the copper core.

In the next section I’ll explain exactly what that involves.

5-Ply Construction & What That Means For You

All-Clad pioneered the concept of 5-ply construction in the world of cookware.

In the case of the Copper Core set, this involves wrapping four layers of stainless steel and aluminum around a central copper core.

Starting from the inside of the pan to the exterior, the materials are layered as follows:

  • Stainless Steel
  • Aluminum
  • Copper
  • Aluminum
  • Stainless Steel

Crucially, this special layering is applied to the sides of each cookware item as well. This results in extremely even heating throughout your food, and it’s a lot easier to judge when each element is done.

The stainless steel is built to something called a 18/10 specification too. This refers to an 18 per cent chromium / 10 per cent nickel composition.

This balance reduces the risk of the stainless steel layer reacting to food, which in turn helps to preserve the lifespan of the pot.

Combined, these layers improve heat conductivity throughout the pan, without the risk of warping, hot spots or scorching.

The Design Of The Pots & Pans

Hopefully that helps to explain the material construction of this set, but what about the design of the individual pots and pans?

Each item has a slightly flared side which allows for more precise pouring. If you’ve got a few different pans on the go at once, mess can quickly build up and lead to a tougher clean up job. The flared design avoids this.

As for carrying them around the kitchen, the Copper Core set might feel a little heavy compared to cheaper cookware. Fortunately some of the items come with an extra “Helper Handle” so you can steady the pot as you carry it.

The stainless steel lids are designed to sit closely to the contents of the pan. They allow just enough heat to escape in the form of steam, while preserving enough moisture to remain.

They’re also oven safe as well, so you can transfer from the hob to the oven without losing any heat.

It’s worth noting that the use of stainless steel lids comes with one disadvantage – you need to lift them to see how the cooking’s going!

How The Handles Are…Well, Handled

Although the Copper Core pots and pans are made from this more complex 5-ply “sandwich”, the riveted stainless steel handles have no additional layers.

All-Clad calls them “Stay Cool” handles, but the reality isn’t quite as exciting as the name suggests. By limiting the material to stainless steel, the transfer of heat from the layered cooking surface is slowed down considerably.

They’re still quite hot to the touch after enough time has passed though, so they’re still better handled with oven mitts.

They’re rounded too to make holding them a little easier, and there’s also a little spot for your thumb. It’s good to have this extra control when you’re transferring pans from hob to hob, to the oven, or just to the sink for draining.

The handles are actually riveted – rather than welded – to each item too. That’s good for overall durability, but it’s one spot where food can grub up over time.

It’s a bit of a pain but it’s worth getting into the habit of cleaning these sections carefully.

Cooking With Copper Core Cookware

Because stainless steel is magnetic, any cookware sealed with this stuff is usable on induction cooktops.

Fans of induction cooking praise the speedy heat up times of this stovetop, and the quick cooling down after you’ve finished.

There’s also a safety element here as well, as the induction cooktop only heats up when a magnetic pot or pan is placed on it. Good if you’ve got little hands in the kitchen.

In terms of cooking with that stainless steel layer, there’s one tip I want to share here:

Always pre-heat the Copper Core pan first on a very low heat. Once the pain is hot, add a little oil and then let that warm up. This effectively creates a very light non-stick surface to the pan (not as good as true non-stick, but it helps a lot).

Caring For Your Copper Core Cookware

The Copper Core pans are durable and pretty easy to clean overall.

Stainless steel is technically dishwasher safe, but I tend to wash it by hand to avoid spots building up. At this price I also think you need to accept that a little bit of daily TLC is going to go a long way towards protecting your investment.

However you’re cleaning up, these pans definitely benefit from being deglazed before you start the cleaning process.

The exposed rivets are a little harder to clean, but make sure you get into these every time you clean up. Food quickly builds up in these spots if you don’t keep them clear.

Any oil stains that do build up over time are easily removed with vinegar. Alternatively you can make use of the ever-popular Bar Keeper’s Friend.

One thing I will mention here is the copper band that surrounds each item. This is an aesthetic touch that definitely adds a degree of prestige to the Copper Core line. That said you will benefit from using a copper cleaning solution on this from time to time.

Performance

In terms of performance the Copper Core line is an excellent addition to the All-Clad range.

Each pan is quick to hit the necessary cooking temperature, and that heat is distributed very evenly too. Just as importantly, the material cools down very quickly once you’ve removed it from the heat.

Copper cookware always gives amazing results but isn’t as durable as other materials. Those protective layers give you the best of both worlds – great performance, but also hard-wearing at the same time.

The frying pans are great for side dishes and breakfast dishes, while the two saucepans cover both small and large batch prep work. The flared edges make pouring very easy – and mess-free too.

I also like the deep straight sides of the sauté pan, which stop spillages when you’re stirring on the hob.

The Copper Core cookware set is also broiler safe and oven-safe up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit / 315 degrees Celsius.

Verdict

Does the Copper Core range require a big investment? Yes, undoubtedly. But it might also be the only cookware set you ever need to invest in – especially given the limited lifetime warranty All-Clad provides.

If cooking is your passion, then I think it’s an investment that can certainly be justified. The 10 piece set in particular contains everything the typical home cook is likely to need.

All-Clad 600822 SS Copper Core 5-Ply Bonded...
  • 10-piece cookware set includes 8 inch and 10 inch fry pans, 2 quart and 3 quart covered sauce pans, 3...
  • 5-ply bonded construction with stainless steel, aluminum, and a thick copper core for even heating,...
  • Highly polished 18/10 stainless steel interior with starburst finish offers superior stick resistance and...

Each piece performs incredibly well, they’re solidly built, and they have the potential to provide you with a lifetime of quality cooking.

Click here if you’d like to learn more about the All-Clad Copper Core sets, and find out how its owners have been getting on.