How Ketchup Can Fix Your Copper Pans

Copper pots and pans are the be-all-end-all for those who love French cooking. They famously adorned Julia Child's kitchen's peg wall (via NPR). Lifestyle and media mogul Martha Stewart also swears by this cookware to make the perfect meringue. In fact, Stewart shares that the reaction between the egg whites and the copper creates a much foamier peak (via But if you own copper cookware, you know their maintenance is higher than the price. As the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts points out, a single pot can cost $100, and a whole set would set you back a couple thousand. 

So, why is this kitchen gear so coveted? According to Serious Eats, the beauty of copper pots and pans is the rapidity in which they heat, along with the evenness of how they heat up. However, one of the drawbacks to copper cookware is how you clean these beautiful pots and pans — especially the dark spots they can develop after cooking certain foods. To keep them shiny and clean requires some real-time and elbow grease. Luckily, if you have some ketchup and salt in your pantry, the internet may have a solution to fix and preserve your copper cookware.

Ketchup to the rescue

Architectural Digest and Mac Kohler of Brooklyn Copper Cookware suggest ketchup as a solution if your copper pots need a little polish. Kohler told the publication that squeezing ketchup into your copper pan and giving it a gentle rub can help get rid of the tarnish. Once you are done, simply wash, dry, and voila! Your copper pots and pans are good as new. 

Kitchn shares that Kohler mixes equal parts salt and ketchup when he polishes up copper cookware, noting this will help get rid of some of those dark spots that might appear after cooking starchy food in them. However, Kohler told Architectural Digest that if your copper pot has a stainless-steel lining, it is a mistake to scrub it with salt to try and remove food remnants and can make pits in the steel if you scrub overzealously. 

Of course, if you want to skip the polishing altogether, Kohler assures you that is also okay. Kohler said that "...a patinated surface is becoming harder and more thermally efficient," making your copper pot better.