Worth replacing: Mauviel copper cookware

I started yearning for copper cookware in my early twenties when I became interested in professional cooking; however, it took another decade for me to reach the stage of prosperity where I could begin to afford to collect pieces. The saucepan pictured above was one of my first copper indulgences and I think it was a good one since I use this piece almost daily. Likewise, I use my Dutch oven, wok and the smaller version of this saucepan on a regular basis, too.

Then there are the vanity pieces:
• The fish poacher I use once every two years
• The copper bowl rarely gets used since I usually whip egg whites with my stand mixer
• The oval sauté pan doesn’t quite fit on my stove’s burners so it hides out underneath all the other pieces.

There are practical reasons for loving copper cookware; it conducts heat well, has just enough heft to limit scorching and is easily scrubbed clean if it gets cooked on.

As you can see from the picture above, I like my copper cookware best when it’s not polished to a high shine. A little patina on Mauviel pots and pans makes them look like they belong in a serious kitchen. When I do need to clean my pans due to house frau guilt or for a TV segment or cooking demo, I make a paste using baking soda, coarse salt and white vinegar. Then, I grab a nylon scrubby and scour this mixture over the copper. Once rinsed, the outside of the pots is a not-too-shiny rosy pink.

If you have a cleaning tip for copper, please do share. I like my method because it is cheap and environmentally sound but I bet there are other tricks I need to know.


8 Responses to Worth replacing: Mauviel copper cookware

  1. The only copper cleaner I’ve used is far from environmentally friendly. I love copper and will try your suggestion next time I polish (I can hear my mother laughing since “next time” could be a decade away). In the meantime, my mantra is: patina provides character.

  2. Cheryl says:

    In my dreams (the only place I actually have copper pots), my Mauviels are always shiny. But I’m not sure that’s terribly helpful.

  3. I never bother to polish my copper pots. I don’t think the think layer of copper oxide on the outside makes any different in cooking. It was because of my copper pots that someone first labeled my kitchen as “Noah’s ark.” I tend to have two of each size that I use. Besides various saucepans (casseroles), I also have (and use) skillets (poêles rondes), sauté pans (plats à sauter), a small Wellington (sauteuse), and oval roasters (Plats Ovales). There’s also an unlined sabayon pan and a sugar pan which get used less often.

  4. Kitt says:

    When my stainless All-Clad pan got cloudy, I found a recommendation to use Barkeeper’s Friend on it. Worked a charm. Then I tried it on my copper and oh my, it’s the easiest thing in the world. You don’t even have to scrub. It shines the stuff right up.

  5. danamccauley says:

    I must find me some barkeeper’s friend. Thanks for the recco, Kitt.

  6. John says:

    Use Twinkle Copper Cleaner, usually found at hardware stores and some kitchen stores like Sur La Table. It is a soft paste. Rinse pot with warm water, apply Twinkle to copper, rub gently, and the oxidation and staining will disappear as if by magic. Rinse off, dry, and put the pot away. Takes about a minute per pot. We have a whole set of copper pots and pans, that we use daily, and they all shine brightly thanks to this Twinkle stuff.

  7. jeff herkes says:


    glad to see you are a copper cookware user . I have re started my old copper cookware mfg in brooklyn ny and expect to have inventory by mid march.
    copper that is heavy weight yet not wrist renching as others.
    the lining is of tin . stainless is a poor conductor of energy and is a dirty metal
    chrome and nickel

    simple straight forward cooking equiptement that does what it should do , year after year
    and yes , made in america

    send me your thoughts. allways loking for a new design that makes cooking and taste come together better





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