Copper Chef Black Diamond nonstick cookware has a diamond-reinforced, black ceramic coating and textured cooking surface that make these pans the most durable, scratch-resistant, best-performing nonstick cookware I've tried — and I've tried a lot!
|©2020 Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved|
Several years ago, I began replacing our large collection of old nonstick cookware. All the pans had visible scratches in the coating after years of use, so they no longer had their nonstick qualities. I also didn't want to risk the possibility of accidentally ingesting a speck (or flake) of loosened Teflon, especially since the older Teflon coatings were manufactured with PFOA.
Since I had a lot of pans to replace (my husband and I both cook a lot!), I research the newest generation of nonstick coating options and cookware. I tried a T-Fal skillet and, later, an OXO Good Grips nonstick frying pan, both recommended by Cook's Illustrated at the time, as well as a highly-rated set of two skillets from Sur La Table, but I found they scratched too easily for my household's needs (my husband tends to be a bit hard on pans!).
Original Copper Chef Nonstick CookwareA few years ago, my mother-in-law bought us a set of the original Copper Chef pans, after she had bought herself some and loved them. This line is now called the Copper Chef Signature Series.
The set she gave us included a shallow square 9.5" fry pan, a deep square 9.5" pan, a square basket insert for deep frying or draining pasta, a steamer insert, a square tempered glass lid that fit both pans, and a cookbook. You can learn more about one of the original Copper Chef pans from my fellow Review This Reviews contributor Cynthia (Sylvestermouse), in her review of the original Copper Chef square fry pan.
Admittedly, I was skeptical about the quality of "As Seen on TV" nonstick
cookware purchased from an infomercial. I also didn't understand the appeal of
a square skillet or pan instead of the traditional round shape. However, I
soon discovered how much better and more durable the ceramic nonstick cooking
surface was, compared to the others I had tried. I also liked how much more
surface area and capacity the square pans provided compared to round ones of
the same diameter, and how much easier it was to slide a spatula under the
edge of an omelet or crepe, for example.
After six or so months of heavy use, we were pleasantly surprised at how well those two nonstick pans were holding up, so we decided to expand our collection with the Copper Chef Square Fry Pan 5 Piece Set, which included an 9.5-inch square griddle pan with a glass lid, an 11" square griddle pan with a glass lid, and an 8" ridged grill pan.
Copper Chef Black Diamond Nonstick Cookware: Even Better Than the Original Signature Pans!About a year later, my husband and I were confident enough in the durability of the Cerami-Tech coating and the excellent heat conductivity of the built-in stainless steel induction plates, which worked so well on our glass stovetop, to expand our collection even more.
My first Copper Chef Black Diamond 5-piece stacking non-stick cookware
©2020 Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved
We chose the Copper Chef Stackable Black Diamond 5-piece Non-Stick Fry Pan Set, which comes with a 9.5" square grill pan (with grilling ridges), a 9.5" square griddle pan with the raised diamond pattern interior bottom, a 4.5-quart, 9.5" deep square pan with the same raised texture on the inside bottom, two 9.5" tempered glass square lids (which fit all three pans, as well as most of our other Copper Chef pans), and a recipe book.
Here are the key features that make Copper Chef's Black Diamond nonstick cookware line superior to the company's original Signature line of pots and pans.
Diamond Reinforced Ceramic Coating + 3D Textured Interior Bottom = Even Less Sticking
Not only are these pans extremely attractive, with their copper-colored exteriors and black interiors, they also are more durable, because the Cerami-Tech nonstick coating is reinforced with thousands of tiny diamond particles. In addition, the inside bottoms of the Copper Chef Black Diamond pans (except the ridged grill pans, which don't need it) have a raised, diamond pattern surface, rather than the original, totally flat surface, which enhances their nonstick performance.
The deep square pan also works well as a casserole, since the pans are oven safe. Both the Cerami-Tech diamond-reinforced ceramic nonstick coating on the interior and the regular Cerami-Tech coating (the same as on the original CC pans) on the exterior of this cookware are temperature-resistant up to 850° F. The tempered glass lids, however, are only temperature-resistant up to 350° F, so make sure not to exceed that temperature or let the glass lids get too close to the heating elements. Another option is to cover your casserole with aluminum foil.
Quick and Easy Cleanup After Cooking
I highly recommend hand washing any nonstick cookware, regardless of any marketing claims that the pans are dishwasher safe. Fortunately, if you care for these pans properly, they clean up quickly and easily with just a sponge, mild liquid dish soap and hot water. Check out my helpful cleaning and care tips toward the end of this product review.
Space-Saving, Stackable Design For Convenient Storage
All three pans can be stacked, a space-saving feature we love and took advantage of until my husband finally built us a wall-mounted bar of hanging hooks for storing our growing collection of nonstick pots, pans and lids in our very small galley kitchen.
The pans stack compactly in this space saving cookware design
©2020 Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved
When the two frying pans (flat bottom and grill pan) and the deep pan (more like a saucepan or pot) are stacked, the collective dimensions, including the long handles, are 19.5" X 10 X 7.75" — not a lot of space for two frying pans and a pot, each with 25% more cooking area than round equivalents!
Not All Brands of Copper Ceramic Coated Nonstick Cookware Perform Well
As we expanded our collection, we tried pans with copper ceramic nonstick coating from a few other brands and discovered that, while they may all look similar (and, in some cases, nearly identical), the quality of some brands isn't on a par with that of Copper Chef. For example, we bought an 11" square griddle pan for my husband, who wanted it to make French toast, that looked like it matched our collection. However, it didn't have the built-in stainless steel induction plate, so it didn't heat up as quickly or evenly as our Copper Chef pans.
We love the SHINEURI 5 piece nonstick
copper cookware set we purchased
The good news is that we also discover some winners among the competitor brands. At the time, Copper Chef wasn't making any round pots or pans, and we wanted a set of small and medium covered nonstick saucepans to replace the ones we threw out, as well as a couple of small to medium size round skillets for making omelets and such.
I was delighted with both the quality and the appearance of the SHINEURI 5-piece nonstick copper ceramic cookware set we purchased, which has the reverse color scheme of our Copper Chef Black Diamond pans and looks terrific with them. The 1.5 quart and 2.5 quart saucepans with glass lids and the open 8" sauté pan look as though they were designed and manufactured by the same designer and factory as the original Copper Chef Signature pans. Even the slightly domed lids and hollow stainless steel handles look exactly like the original CC pans, and they also perform just as well as those, although not as well as the Black Diamond pans.
Fortunately, the Copper Chef Black Diamond line has since expanded and now includes round pots and pans.
Another high performer we purchased from a competing brand was the Home Hero 8" round nonstick skillet with glass lid, which also had the built-in stainless steel induction plate and has performed as well as our original Copper Chef pans, although it doesn't look quite as nice, in my opinion, and doesn't have the textured interior bottom or diamond-reinforced nonstick coating of the Black Diamond pans.
Copper Chef Black Diamond Nonstick Cookware Makes a Great Gift
We loved our 5-piece set of square Black Diamond pans so much that we bought two more sets as Christmas gifts, one for my in-laws and one for my brother. The recipients agree that these are by far the best nonstick pans they have ever owned.
You can buy this gorgeous set of
copper metal and black silicone
cooking utensils on Amazon
Anyone who cooks would likely be delighted to receive a set of these good-looking, durable, well-designed, nonstick pans. As a bonus, the company's packaging is attractive and perfect for gift-giving.
If you or your gift recipients prefer round pans to square ones, this Copper Chef Black Diamond 10-piece set is another excellent choice. It comes with an 8-inch open fry pan, a 10-inch round skillet with curved sides and a tempered glass lid, a 2-quart saucepan with a glass lid, a 4.5-quart casserole pan with see-through glass lid, a roasting rack, and a nonstick-safe serving spoon and slotted spatula. My husband and I both think we'd get a lot of use out of this set, which would complement our existing pieces nicely. We plan to add these nonstick pans to our collection eventually.
Either of these Copper Chef nonstick cookware sets would make a wonderful gift for someone special — including yourself!
For an even more special gift, consider adding this set of beautiful black silicone nonstick cooking utensils with copper handles. I think they would look absolutely stunning with Copper Chef Black Diamond nonstick cookware, the company's original Signature line of pans,or similar copper ceramic nonstick pans from competing brands.
I confess to being quite tempted to put these on my birthday or holiday wish list, even though I already own plenty of perfectly functional cooking utensils for nonstick pans. They're just so pretty...and they really do look as though they were custom-designed to go with the Black Diamond pans, don't they?
Care and Cleaning Tips
The manufacturer says these pans are dishwasher safe. However, I strongly recommend hand washing them, because dishwasher detergent is abrasive. (That's why drinking glasses that are washed in the dishwasher frequently will become cloudy over time; that cloudiness is caused by the abrasiveness of the detergent gradually etching the surface of the glass!)
Fortunately, hand washing these pans is a breeze if you follow these tips:
- Don't use these pans over high heat, and don't preheat them completely empty; wipe or spray on at least a thin film of butter or oil before preheating. (This advice goes for any brand or type of nonstick cookware.)
- Use a regular (not nonstick) pan for searing meat.
- Use hot, soapy water and a regular cellulose sponge, a nubby silicone sponge or, my personal favorite, a Scrub-It non-scratch sponge, which has a soft microfiber cloth side and a gentle "scrubber" side that is safe for nonstick pans, as long as you don't use it to scrub them aggressively.
- I learned the hard way that a Scotchbrite or similar scrubby sponge is too abrasive for cleaning the Cerami-Tech nonstick coating, which covers both the inside and outside of the Copper Chef pans (other than the stainless steel induction plate and handle).
- When the pans have cooled from hot to warm, either wash them before they have fully cooled or just fill the kitchen sink with hot, soapy water and leave them them to soak until you're ready to wash them.
- Caveat: If you want to use a steel wool pad to scour the built-in stainless steel induction plate on the bottom, take care to keep the steel wool away from the exterior Cerami-Tech nonstick coating.
- As you can see in the following side-by-side photo of two of our Copper Chef fry pans, my husband and I learned the hard way that if you aren't careful to keep the steel wool scouring pad only on the bare metal of the induction plate, the steel wool fibers will quickly remove the adjacent nonstick coating.
Similarly, if you want the Cerami-Tech coating on your pans to retain its nonstick properties as long as possible, I recommend using only plastic or silicone cooking utensils designed for non-stick cookware with these pans, something Tristar, which manufactures Copper Chef and other cookware brands, also advises.
©2020 Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved
Close-up shot of the ridged interior bottom of the nonstick grill pan
As you can see from this close-up of our grill pan, our Copper Chef Black Diamond pans — which have been in heavy, daily use for a long time now — not only still perform beautifully but also hold up remarkably well, as long as you care for them properly!
The Inexpensive, DIY Pot and Lid Storage Rack My Husband Built for Our Copper Ceramic Nonstick Cookware
When our collection of copper ceramic nonstick coated pans continued to expand, my husband — my very own MacGyver — put together an inexpensive, space-saving pot rack next to our stove, using just leftover wood strips and some coat hooks. Sadly, the beautiful, half-round, French-looking wrought iron pot rack I had purchased long ago for my Manhattan apartment doesn't work in our ranch-style home now. (Not only do we have many more pots and pans to store, but we also have only a short, narrow "mini hallway" between the stove and the side entrance to our house, which opens into our kitchen. So, our pot rack needs to be fairly flush to the wall to allow the door to open.)
One of the things I really like about his design it that, because each coat hook has an upper and a lower hook, the lids to our collection of nonstick pots and pans now have a convenient "home" for storage when they're not in use, since the glass lids can't be stacked. As you can see, it even holds our two large stainless steel mesh spatter shields!
It was meant for functionality rather than looks, but you could easily stain and varnish the wood, and even use a router to shape a scalloped edge, if you like.
©2020 Margaret Schindel, all rights reserved
My clever husband's inexpensive DIY pot rack for our nonstick pans,
lids and spatter screens
Happy nonstick cooking!
Copper Chef Black Diamond Nonstick Cookware reviewed by Margaret Schindel
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