I restored this copper pan that has exposed copper areas. I will only use it for frying fish. It's safe to use? Any advice on use/care for the exposed copper?

restored copper pan

2 Answers 2


It is not safe. You should have that pan retinned, after which it can provide you with many years of safe use, as well as restoring its original beautiful appearance.

Exposed copper can we dissolved by acidic or alkaline foods, and over time this can result in copper poisoning, which is serious and sometimes fatal. This is why the US FDA prohibits copper(PDF) in contact with any acidic food. The Iowa ABC even banned the use of copper Moscow Mule mugs(PDF), and the FDA has advised against them.

Now, you might say that you're only cooking fish, and as a result the copper will not come in contact with acids. However, many fish dishes are finished with wine, lemon juice, or other acidic sauces, and you'd have to make sure never to use any of those -- rather limiting the use of the pan.

Get it retinned, instead.

  • Can I use common solder wire (used in electronic) for that?
    – Candid Moe
    Jan 20 at 19:45
  • I don't think so, it's unlikely that solder wire is pure tin and it's certainly not rated food-safe. I recommend going to a tinning shop instead -- they still exist, and will do a much better job than you could with home equipment.
    – FuzzyChef
    Jan 20 at 19:46
  • 1
    Here's an instruction set for home retinning: instructables.com/… with the caveat that I really recommend using a professional instead.
    – FuzzyChef
    Jan 20 at 19:49
  • 1
    Common solder is often about 37 % lead - that is much more poisonous. Feb 3 at 9:46

Copper has been used for cooking for many centuries. I do not know anything about any additives the copper for this pan may contain. You can still buy copper pans, as they have superiour heat conductivity. I suspect the steel layer is mainly to protect the quite soft copper.

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