Almost magically, Copper Crisper promises to “transform your oven into an air fryer.” How so?
Copper Crisper’s elevated mesh crisping tray features a ceramic nonstick coating, which allows all 360 degrees of your food to cook at once, while allowing it to slide right off when it’s done. Underneath, you’ll find a nonstick cookie sheet that catches all the drippings, crumbs, and grease from above.
On top of this, the company tells us that Copper Crisper can help you cook with less fat and fewer calories, and without added butter or oil. And when you’re finished, Copper Crisper claims to be dishwasher safe for easy cleanup.
Let’s pause for a second: Other than claiming to transform your oven into an air fryer, did you notice that the manufacturer didn’t mention frying anywhere else on the Copper Crisper website? Why is this? Can you expect this product to work as advertised? Are there other options that might provide a better value?
We know you’re busy, so let’s tackle the most important question first: can Copper Crisper really “transform your oven into an air fryer”?
Will Copper Crisper Work as Advertised?
The answer to this simple question is a bit more involved than you might imagine, so let’s break it down into bite-sized pieces.
The 411 on Traditional Air Fryers
Modern air fryers are countertop kitchen devices that use a mechanical fan to circulate hot air (close to 400°F) at very high speeds, which quickly cooks the exterior of the food inside. This creates a Maillard reaction; the telltale browning on fried foods that tastes oh-so-delicious.
But instead of using potentially unhealthy oils to accomplish this, air fryer devices use only air, so they’re often touted as healthier alternatives to traditional frying. However, as you might imagine, you’re essentially baking with air fryers instead of actually frying, making them ideal for frozen, pre-fried foods like french fries, chicken strips, and more.
Sounds great, right? But will Copper Crisper’s mesh tray and cookie sheet help you accomplish the same thing?
Is Copper Crisper an Air Fryer?
Let’s say you’re craving some french fries. With regular frying, you’d first bring the oil up to an ideal temperature. Then, you’d add the fries to a mesh basket and carefully drop the basket into the oil. Over the course of the next several minutes, this oil will cook the exterior of your food to a delicious golden brown.
Now, in this scenario, what’s actually doing the frying? The oil, right? While the mesh basket only acts as a container to hold your fries during cooking, but it doesn’t actually cook anything itself. Well, it’s the exact same with Copper Crisper.
In other words, Copper Crisper’s mesh basket only holds your food and allows it to cook in your oven from all sides at once—but it doesn’t actually do any cooking. Instead, this cooking takes places as a result of the heat circulating in your oven.
Given this, it’s pretty clear that unless your oven can heat up to about 400° very quickly, and then use a powerful fan to circulate this hot air at very high speeds, you probably won’t be able to achieve the same results as a traditional air fryer.
In short, Copper Crisper can’t be an “amazing crisping fryer that works in your oven” because it doesn’t do any frying. It’s simply a holding container.
Even with this said, Copper Crisper might still come in handy, since you might be able to cook all sides of your food at once, while unhealthy grease and messy crumbs drop to the cooking sheet below. But considering that you can purchase an elevated mesh basket and cooking sheet from just about any retailer with a housewares section, does Copper Crisper’s price make sense?
How Much Does Copper Crisper Cost?
One Copper Crisper set will cost you $19.99 plus $7.99 S&H. At checkout, you’ll also find a Deluxe Set priced at $39.99 plus $9.99 S&H, which includes 11"x9", 13"x11", and 18"x12" Copper Crispers.
Regardless of which option you choose, you’ll be able to add a Copper Chef 360 Pan for an additional $7.99 S&H.
Tristar Products offers a 60-day refund policy on all Copper Crispers (less S&H charges), which you can request by calling customer service at 973-287-5195.
Comparatively, while they might not be designed exactly the same or feature the same nonstick coating, it’s reasonable to believe that you could purchase an elevated mesh oven basket and cookie sheet locally (or elsewhere online), for the same price or less.
Speaking of which, how does the manufacturer prevent food from sticking to Copper Crisper?
Is Copper Crisper’s Nonstick Coating Safe?
In the world of nonstick cookware, you basically have two options: a ceramic coating or Teflon.
Teflon has been around for decades, and is what most people think of when hearing the phrase ‘nonstick cookware’. It’s extremely effective and fairly durable (largely depending on the quality of the application by the manufacturer), but the problem is that, with extended use, minuscule particles of this coating can flake off and make their way into food.
Teflon contains two chemicals known as polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which can accumulate in the body and lead to health concerns such as flu-like and even increased cancer risks.
Compared to Teflon, ceramic nonstick coatings have only been around a short while, but have increased in popularity very quickly in response to these health concerns. For the most part, ceramic cookware is viewed as providing nonstick ability on par with Teflon. So what’s the problem here?
The company tells us that Copper Crisper’s cookie sheet is coated in nonstick ceramic, but not what the mesh basket is coated in. Obviously, this might be something you’d want to know, since it’s what actually comes in contact with your food.
Still thinking about placing your order for Copper Crisper? Let’s come to a conclusion so you can make the most informed purchase possible.
Does Copper Crisper Make Sense?
If you read online reviews for countertop air frying devices, you’ll find that—for the most part—customers seem pleased with their experiences. In other words, they often report that they achieved the same “fried” taste, but without the unhealthy oil, especially with frozen foods like french fries, fish stick, chicken strips, and the like.
But remember: Copper Crisper is just a holding device, and isn’t what actually does the cooking. Your oven handles this part, and even if you owned a top-of-the-line model, it still wouldn’t reach the quick temperatures and circulate air at the appropriate speeds to provide the same results as an air fryer.
So, what can you reasonably expect from Copper Crisper? We could imagine that it will help some of the grease and fat drip away from your food, which might make it somewhat healthier. Exactly how much would be impossible to say, but we’d imagine it to be relatively mild.
Does this make Copper Crisper worth its nearly $30 price tag? Value is such a personal proposition, this largely depends on your needs and preferences. But if we were the ones in the market for something like Copper Crisper (after all, we’re consumers too!), we might search locally for a less expensive elevated mesh tray and cookie sheet before placing our order.