Why Tinned Copper Pots are the Best ?


February 10, 2020


Hello to all !


As I have often said, I am not a cook.
Far be it from me to want to give lessons in this area!
I cook simple and unpretentious things.

But, I can still try to explain why tinned copper pots are the best.

Everything resides in the Conductivity of heat. A lot of people don't have this notion.
You will understand quickly.
Let's say you are in direct sunlight.
There are 2 benches for you to sit on.
One is wood and the other is copper.
Take an infrared thermometer and measure the temperature of the wooden bench. You will find for example 60°C.
Now take the temperature of the copper bench. What are you going to find?
Also 60°C!

Oh ! But it's impossible ! If you touch the wood, everything is fine. If you touch the copper, you will burn yourself!

And this is where understanding the Conductivity of heat comes in.

The Conductivity of wood is very bad. That is to say that the wood conducts heat badly, on the one hand towards itself (for example towards a part which does not face the sun) and on the other hand towards your hand. He doesn't want to give you his warmth, he wants to keep it to himself! He is very selfish! Why ? Because that's how it is, nature decided!

On the other hand, the Conductivity of copper is excellent! Copper agrees to share the heat, on the one hand towards itself (for example towards the parts which are not in the sun) and on the other hand towards your hand. It is very generous!

There you go, it's very simple. Wood and copper receive the same sun, we can measure the same temperature, but each does not redistribute this heat in the same way.


And this notion is particularly important when we talk about the materials to make kitchen pots.
Each material has its own conductivity.
And the best thing about cooking is that the heat is distributed to the food in the best possible way.
Silver conducts heat better than copper.
Copper conducts heat better than aluminum.
Aluminum conducts heat better than iron.
Iron conducts heat better than steel.
Steel conducts heat better than stainless steel.
Etc ...


When we love and cook with copper pots, we always have a preference for one or more pots.
These are the pots that we will use most often. As a result, we get to know them and we know very well how they react with a particular heat setting.
The experience therefore does not lie only in the copper pot alone. It sits between you and the pot. It is this connivance that makes the experience.

If you cook in a stainless steel pot, it is possible to have "heating points". This leads to hotter spots in the bottom of your pot that are likely to burn, even pasta that cooks in water in some places.


Especially when using first-price stainless steel! A "hot spot" is a place where the heat stagnates and this is not what you want in cooking.
If you cook in a cast iron pot, when the heat source is turned off, the recipe will continue to cook with the heat stored.
We can say that we can cook very well with almost all the materials provided you know them well and avoid the pitfalls.

In copper pots, the heat diffusion is much better distributed. It is the natural Conductive characteristic of copper that has made it so successful. If you heat water and boil it, you will find that the reaction is almost immediate when you have fun turning the heat source down and up.

We can thus cut off the heat source or remove the pot before certain disasters, while in stainless steel it is often too late and in cast iron it continues to cook.


Therefore, the heat well distributed and the very efficient heat management (much more than with other materials), are the great advantages of copper pots.

I will say that the thicker the pot, the better the experience! Simply because the thickness allows for even better heat management on food.

Of course, there are cooking that you want to be quick and very hot. In this case, one can use frying pans of less great thickness, to cook a steak for example.


But most of the time, you have to be careful, you have to manage the cooking gently. We do not place a copper pot on a maximum heat source. We are going gradually and we are monitoring how it goes.


An experience that I have already lived 3 times, to burn the tomato sauce! And yes, it happens to everyone!
I have already burned 3 tomato sauces in a copper pot. Because I was not paying attention.
But it's a good experience! The 3 tomato sauces have been eaten!
The situation is this, you go to stir your sauce with your wooden spoon and you find that the bottom is burnt. Obviously, you immediately stop stirring so as not to mix the burnt part with the rest!

Logic would dictate that we transfer the recipe to another pot. But let's take an extreme by saying that we keep the same pot knowing that the recipe has started to burn. But we are not at the irreversible critical stage.


In a pot other than copper, what would have happened?
- The heat source heats the outer bottom of the pot.
- The outer bottom heats the inner bottom.
- The inner bottom heats the burnt part.
- The burnt part heats the unburnt part.
- The heat stagnates at the bottom of the pot and cooking becomes very complicated.


In a copper pot:
- The heat source heats the outer bottom of the pot.
- The outer bottom heats the inner bottom.
- The inner bottom heats the burnt part
- The burnt part heats the unburnt part.
- But that's what changes everything with copper pots, the heat is also distributed very well on the walls of the pot.
- The walls allow cooking to continue over very low heat.


If I had to translate this into a picture, in a few words, in a copper pot there are a multitude of routes for the passage of heat. In other materials, you must go through the bottom of the pot to reach the rest.

In a way, in a stainless steel pot (or other low conductivity), the burnt part will be a barrier to heat what is above.

We will tend to increase the temperature to finish cooking and it will burn even more. We quickly reach the irreversible stage and the sauce takes on the taste of charred.

In a copper pot, you can lower the temperature and continue cooking over low heat. The heat conducted by the walls will cook what is above the burnt crust at the bottom.

And for my 3 failed tomato sauces mentioned above, none tasted like burnt, I was lucky!


Another image would be as follows:
You set your oven to bottom heat only (let's say you have an oven with no hot air). You place your stainless steel casserole dish with stainless steel cover (or other material with low conductivity).
The cooking will be done first at the bottom of your dish then will gradually rise towards the rest.

With a copper dish, of course, the cooking will be done first at the bottom of your dish but very quickly the heat will be communicated to the whole casserole, including the lid. And very quickly, your food will be surrounded by a much more even heat.


You can almost say that with the stainless steel pot you cook in static heat and with the copper pot you cook in convection heat without convection heat!


To better understand heat conductivity, here is a small experiment that I prepared for you on video:


There you go, it's not easy to explain this kind of thing when you can't show it live!
But I hope you will have understood the value of cooking in tinned copper pots compared to many other materials!

If we add to this that many copper pots are old and have a history, the pleasure is increased.
If in addition the pot bears a stamp of a well-known manufacturer, it is even more pleasant!
You can imagine yourself a great chef by cooking a simple escalope!
We have the right to dream, right?


To all Copper Lovers!
Sincerely, T.J.