They’re not particularly durable, food sticks easily to them, and they aren’t even the cheapest ceramic non-stick frying pans in their respective sizes. You can get a much more robust pan with a better ceramic non-stick coating for about the same price from many brands.
See my full review of the red copper products.
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These claims all come with large caveats. The pans are non-stick as long as you use lots of fat and manage your cooking temperatures carefully, their durability won’t prevent them from being chipped or scratched, and while you can put them in the dishwasher, the instructions you get with the pan recommend strongly against doing just that. In other words, the pans don’t really live up to the advertisements.
There are plenty of similarities between the two pans. Both pans have aluminum bases with metal-infused ceramic coatings in order to make them non-stick. The Red Copper Pan uses “copper-infused” ceramic, while the Gotham Steel Pan uses “titanium infused” ceramic.
Both pans are identically non-stick, with identical heat distribution. Both pans feature metal handles that get quite hot if you leave the pans in the heat for a while. Finally, both pans look basically identical. They’re very similar shades of copper, with completely identical steel handles and colorful exteriors.
The Big Difference
The biggest difference that you’d be likely to notice between these two pans (other than the exterior color) is the size. Both the Gotham Steel Pan and the Red Copper Pan are available in a variety of sizes, but they’re sized a bit weirdly. Red Copper comes in 8″, 10″, and 12″, while Gotham Steel offers 9.5″, 10.25″, and 12.5″ pans. In practice, you’re probably not going to notice a half-inch either way.
One other difference hides on the bottom of the pan. Red Copper boasts a bigger “heating plate” that extends almost all the way out to the edges. The heating plate on the Gotham Steel Pan is a bit smaller and has a sort of doughnut hole in the middle where a Gotham Steel logo resides. This shouldn’t affect pan performance in any noticeable fashion as far as heat is concerned, but some users have reported that this Gotham Steel logo makes their pan unable to sit flat on their stove.
What They’re Really Made Out Of
Despite the hubbub made by the advertisers of these pans, these are nothing more than ceramic-coated aluminum frying pans.
There’s nothing wrong with this. Aluminum is perhaps the best material to make cookware out of. It’s fantastically light, very strong, and it conducts heat extremely well.
It’s usually covered up by a thin layer of stainless steel or a non-stick coating to form a pan’s cooking surface. This is because aluminum isn’t particularly nonstick and it scratches a bit more easily than steel.
The word ceramic itself is a pretty broad term that can be used to describe a lot of materials, so there’s often a fair bit of variance when it comes to cookware.
I’m not exactly sure what “titanium-infused” or “copper-infused” ceramic is, but I do know that the two pans behave identically as far as cooking is concerned. Ceramic non-stick coats have been around for a while, and they’re growing in popularity. They’re non-toxic, somewhat durable, and they CAN be extremely non-stick.
In the case of these two pans, however, you should expect to use oil fat to keep your food from sticking.
Totally Free of Toxic Teflon
Teflon has caught a bad reputation recently. After it became widely known that it was manufactured with toxic chemicals, cookware makers have completely changed how they produce non-stick coatings.
There are a number of complex chemicals (mostly starting with P) that may or may not be bad for you that are sometimes found in Teflon and other non-stick coatings. In general, the more recently a pan was made, the fewer of these chemicals it has in it.
The Gotham Steel Pan and the Red Copper Pan are totally free of all of these chemicals. Ceramic nonstick is essentially a kind of special clay. It’s different from Teflon in virtually every conceivable way. There’s basically no chance that any of these chemicals (PTFE, PFOA, PFOS, and more) can be found in these pans.
First off, you should be wary of any cookware manufacturer claiming that their non-stick pan is durable. Every non-stick coating has a finite lifespan. This lifespan can vary from six months of active use to five or so years of active use, but you’ll eventually have to replace your pan when you’ve worn down the non-stick coating to the point where things start to stick too much.
These pans are no different. Even if you season them and care for them perfectly, you’ll eventually wear down the ceramic coating just enough that things will start to stick. At this point, you’ll need to replace the pans.
These pans are not impervious to chips and scratches, either. If you take a fork and gently rub it against the bottom of the pan, careful examination will reveal a noticeable series of scratches. The edges of the pan are liable to chip if you’re not careful handling and storing these pans. You won’t accidentally break them in half or anything, but you’ll certainly notice some wear and tear on these pans after a few months of normal use.
Both pans suggest that you season them before use. The instructions are identical: place some oil in the pan, throw it in the oven for a while, then let it cool and wipe off the excess oil.
Neither pan’s instructions suggest that you avoid soap after this process.
There’s certainly some amount of natural non-stick in both of these pans. The ceramic does make it a bit easier to slide food around, as long as the food doesn’t want to stick.
Once food does want to stick, however, it gets pretty sticky. You absolutely cannot fry eggs in this pan without oil or butter. Even with a healthy dose of fat, you’ll want to carefully manage your cooking temperature to reduce the chances that something sticks to the pan.
The bottom line here is that these pans are only slightly more non-stick than a stainless steel cooking surface. You’ll want to choose a different brand if you want a truly non-stick ceramic experience.
Between the Red Copper Pan and the Gotham Steel Pan, the Red Copper Pan is a better buy. Both brands are virtually identical, but the Red Copper Pan tends to have a flatter bottom. This is because Gotham Steel Pans have a Gotham Steel logo awkwardly situated in the middle of the bottom of the pan. If there’s a dramatic price difference, however, it’s probably best to go with the pan that’s cheaper.
Overall, these pans are not great. They’re perfectly serviceable, though. Given that non-stick pans tend to have a fairly short shelf life, there’s certainly nothing wrong with picking up either of these pans and using it for a year or two.
That said, you can certainly do better as far as non-stick ceramic goes, even within the same price range. With a little bit of digging, you’ll find brands like Cleverona and WaxonWare that offer superior products at about the same price.
Owner and Food blogger on The Cookware Geek. She loves cooking, baking, traveling, playing with the cats, and knitting. She believes that eating delicious meals doesn’t require a culinary degree or a Michelin-star chef in your kitchen.