I decided to splurge on a set of All Clad Copper Core. I have no problem with browning meats with this cookware, but I am having huge problems with many other kinds of cooking. For instance, this morning I made chilaquiles for breakfast, and although I heated the pan, heated the oil, added the tortillas and salsa, the delicious crust (my absolute fave part) was stuck like concrete to the pan and had to be boiled, scrubbed, and sent down the drain. Bacon? all the crusty brown parts adhere to the pan like glue and the bacon remains a flabby slab. Spending 4 figures just to saute a piece of meat is not what I expected, and I'm having serious buyers remorse. Is there something I should know? I am by no means a novice cook.

  • Supposed to be a hand polished finish: metrokitchen.com/allclad_101 What does your finish look like? May 24, 2015 at 17:32
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    I would guess you may be overheating the pans... copper is a big change (even if it's just copper core) and it can take a lot of effort to get used to. When I worked at a kitchen store, we would actively dissuade most people (other than very experienced cooks) from buying the copper cookware or copper core for something more forgiving like tri-ply stainless because they would, invariably, have the experience you are.
    – Catija
    May 24, 2015 at 20:10
  • Are you used to cooking these dishes on a stainless surface? I don't know what your "mid-range" cookware was, but if you had more non-stick or cast iron or whatever, any stainless cookware will seem to stick a lot until you get used to it (despite All Clad's marketing). I agree with Catija that it's likely you'll need to use less heat. I own some actual copper (a few different brands) myself, but I find the All-Clad Copper Core to be an odd thing. I have one such pan (a gift), and I find it behaves weirdly: not like thick actual copper, but not quite like a normal clad aluminum pan either.
    – Athanasius
    May 24, 2015 at 20:44
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    Also... is this question simply "can I return it"? If so, that's between you and the retailer you purchased it from. If you have an actual question we can answer, please edit your question to include it.
    – Catija
    May 25, 2015 at 0:04
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    You probably know this, but I'd just note that eggs are one of the most difficult things to cook on stainless without sticking. I have a number of stainless-lined copper pans, which I would use for just about anything... except some eggs. With sufficient fat and proper temp, omelets can slide off and fried eggs won't stick much. But for fried eggs I still tend to use cast iron or carbon steel, and for scrambled, I use my one non-stick pan (that's about the only thing I keep it for). Not saying it can't be done, but eggs are definitely going to be one of the hardest challenges in those pans.
    – Athanasius
    May 25, 2015 at 20:44

2 Answers 2


Pans made from different materials will heat your food at different speeds and to different temperatures.

Getting a perfect crust without sticking is a matter of very fine tuning. You have to set your stove just right, preheat the pan just right, and keep your food inside for just the right time.

If you spent 35 years cooking in a certain set of pans, you have unnoticeably fit your skills to them. You have a stove setting which you know works for you. You intuitively know just how long to preheat, when to start stirring, how much to stir... and this is all based on a certain heat transfer rate from the pan to the food, which has been constant for you over the years. Now, with a new pan, you are dealing with a completely different heat transfer rate. Also, you have chosen stainless steel, which is not a good surface for eggs (but should work well for bacon).

There is nothing wrong with the pan, but you'll have to go through a learning phase, experimenting a lot with temperature and timing, until you know the way to cook in your new pan until everything is just right. Observe your food carefully in the old and new pan and try to catch the moment at which the same change happens in both, this should help.

  • Very true. Keeping a notebook of results helps. Something like a copper core is likely to hold more heat, so more precise heat control may be required, and more accurate timing
    – TFD
    Jul 7, 2015 at 9:27

It took me 10 years of frustration to learn to cook with a stainless steel pan. All you have to do is put in about 2 or 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil and heat the pan until you see slight with smoke coming off the pan. Turn off the heat and discard the oil. The cure that forms on the stainless steel for that particular cooking period is as non stick as teflon. All it takes is a couple minutes before each session. Once I learned this I immediately went from hating to loving stainless steel. Is it kind of a pain? Yeah, but nothing browns and makes sauces like stainless so an extra few minutes before each use is worth it.

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    Most people don’t season stainless steel pans, as the advantage to them is that you can scrub them if you need to. Typically, if you don’t want things to stick in them, you heat it up with a bit of oil in it just until the oil shimmers (not smoke, this will happen before it smokes), and then cook for food. It still won’t be as non-stick as Teflon, though.
    – Joe
    Aug 18 at 22:38

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