Benefitis/cons of silver lined copperware vs tin?

Hi folks,

I was thinking of investing in an extra-fort (3mm + thick) copper pan and the options are either silver or tin lined. I understand that tin is a bit more non-stick than silver but silver is more durable as well as heat resistant. I have no doubt silver is the better option for me as I’m absolutely certain someone in the house will end up accidentally over heating the pan. But I’ve also heard that silver might affect the tastes of certain foods or be damaged by acidic foods. However, I haven’t been able to find any specifics:

  1. When we say “acidic”, what kinds of foods are we talking about? How acidic? And what damage would that cause?
  2. When we say the taste of certain foods might be affected, what kind of foods and how?
  3. If you had the option to buy an extra-fort copper pan either silver or tin lined, what would you choose?

Thanks and looking forward to the interesting discussion!

first, the thermal / physics stuff…
the pot/pan body is copper. copper transfers heat at rate 1X, silver transfer heat at ~1.2X.
sounds super, eh? except . . . . . the silver will never ever see a heat rate at more than 1X, because the heat rate from the ‘burner’ - of any sort - has to come thru the copper first.
same for tin.
same for any interior ‘coating’ of a copper pan/pot.

the melt point of silver is indeed ~2x that of tin. but any ‘burner’ - electric or gas - can/will reach those 1X or 2X temps . . . so . . . neither silver or tin is a good option for a kitchen where people are prone to put empty cookware on to the burner and ‘go for a break’ - does not end well…

both silver and tin “oxidize” on exposure to acidic stuff. the most obvious and prevalent ‘acid’ stuff is anything tomato based. or fruit based. or ‘based’ or ‘contains . . .’
tin turns darker - no harm, no foul.
silver turns darker - no harm, no foul.
note that silver will ‘tarnish’ in the closet . . . with or without use . . . .

taste - some people detect a “metallic taste”
similar to cilantro and soap.
similar to canola and fish.
not a predictable result.

last century+ I bought a batch of Bourgeat copper - as it was, at the time, advertised as 3mm copper vs 2.5 mm ‘other names’ - with stainless interior.
still using it, never had to have it re-tinned or re-silvered.
imho, copper has many way superior cooking attributes to many other materials - and the bonded stainless steel interior never requiring “re-anything” is a big winner.

Um, be a little careful with the advice so far…

I think the choice between silver and tin linings comes down to a durability tradeoff. On the one hand, you’re not going to ruin a silver lining by overheating (the pan body itself would be damaged first). Not so with tin linings.

On the other hand, unless the silver lining is Sheffield plate, it’s very thin compared to molten tin linings. Both metals are soft, and will–eventually–wear through. Basically, there’s more tin thickness there than silver, which can mean greater functional durability for the same use.

While there are thermal differences, I haven’t noticed any actual performance ones. Same with flavor differences.

Given silver’s “thinness” durability disadvantage and the much, much higher cost of resilvering, unless I plan to do very high searing, I stick with tin. In silver, I keep one silvered XL rondeau, one small oven, a roasting tray, and one smallish oval fish pan. Everything else is in tin. If I could steal a rectangular roaster in silver, I might also do that.

I’m very careful about care, so I don’t prioritize guarding against someone else melting my tin. And I never take silvered pieces where someone could scratch them with metal tools or scour them.

Although I did do this with the rondeau, I probably would never again pay to have a piece stripped and redone in silver–I’d rather wait to find what I wanted among the several vintage lines that came silvered.

Hope this helps.


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How much more?

A few years ago, it was 3-5x more.

I got the sense that this disparity was mostly because the resilvering businesses mostly work on beverage services, candelabra and musical instruments.

I had the rondeau done by the company that formerly plated the Oscar statuettes. They gave me a good price because they wanted cookware referrals. The owner passed and the company was shut down.

I was just guessing that because silver need a much higher temperature, then it may be far more difficult to do. Thanks.

It’s electroplate, a cold process.

I think I was once told, when my sticker shock was obvious, that the high price was due to an extreme level of polish.

There’s very little silver used, hence almost no cost for the metal.

Ah. That makes sense.

Of all the great copper to be had, extra fort (3-3.5 mm) with tin lining is the best value in my opinion and is simply wonderful to cook on, being extraordinarily evenly heating, very responsive to heat changes up or down, and relatively nonstick, far less sticky than stainless steel. It is good enough that I would not trade even for silver lined pans of the same thickness, especially when the tin has mottled and seasoned a bit.

The only quibble I’ll make with this is that, because many sellers (and bidders, too) can’t tell the difference between silver and tin linings, occasionally a silvered piece of fort or extra fort will be stealable. Otherwise, completely agree–we should all be so unfortunate to be sentenced to cook on extra fort tinned!

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You people have a lot of muscles. 3 mm of anything (beside aluminum) is pretty hefty.


They are heavy, but it keeps me young! However, as I have said here before, I still regret not snagging more of those 5mm hammered aluminum pots and pans with lollipop handles for the saucepans when they were easy to find and before I had filled out my pots and pans. My carbon steel stuff is pretty hefty, too. My 36cm fry pan is a beast. Thankfully it has a good handle.

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It’s all about what you’re habituated to. And it’s not like swinging a tennis racquet.

The pans I find heaviest are larger cast iron skillets with very short, parallel-to-floor handles.

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You are right there. A few of my Family and Friends have expressed interest in getting Copper Pan like some that I have.
I always invite them to come handle mine first, all have decided that they are too heavy to handle for them.

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This complaint has always fascinated me. If someone has a strength-related health issue (e.g., age or arthritis), I definitely understand. Likewise if the application is jumping foods or safely transferring large volumes of liquids like stocks. But if what really bothers people about copper’s weight is moving around smaller or empty pans, I don’t get it. I’ve concluded that at its root, it’s simply a complaint that (decent) copper pans are heavier than the person is accustomed to. Turns out that, unless there’s a disability, lifting heavy(ier) things is good for you.


I have daily experience with tin and silver lined French copper and find no meaningful added value to silver lined, at least in the context of a frying pan. I do not detect off tastes from any lining. The only off tastes I’ve experienced were from an old pan that had verdigris that was hard for me to recognize until after I cooked in it.

The recommendation for heavy steel lined copper was also very practical, as I don’t notice meaningful advantages between 3 mm tin lined and 2.5 mm steel lined copper. But the durability of the stainless is nice, though stickier than tin for sure.

But you do get it.
They are just too heavy to be comfortable for some folks to use for whatever reason.
Your opinion of whether it is valid is irrelevant.

You’re funny. The complainers’ opinion is just as valid as mine. I never said otherwise. Still for a person with average strength, virtually all copper pans are manageable.

First off finding something not suitable for yourself is not a complaint.

Well I suppose that “Chemicalkinetics” is not of “average strength”.

You’re the one who’s doing the supposing.