If you’re interested in adding a bit of unique and creative flair to food, you may have wondered, “Is copper leaf edible?” While there are many types of metal leaf out there that can be used in food, not all types of metal are created equal. So, is copper leaf a viable option for consumption on a regular basis? Stick around to find out!

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Is Copper Leaf Real Copper?

In most cases, copper leaf is only real copper only if specifically designated as such. Genuine copper leaf will be labeled as 100% copper although other types of copper, such as imitation copper, is also often available.

is copper leaf edible

Is There an Edible Copper Leaf?

Unlike other metal leaf types, there is technically no copper leaf available at the present that is deemed safe to eat in the U.S. While most types of gold and silver leaf can be eaten in their purest form, the same isn’t true of copper leaf. Consuming too much copper can do a number on your body and can result in all sorts of unsavory consequences.

Disadvantages of Eating Copper

As previously mentioned, it isn’t usually safe to eat copper leaf, even if it is made of 100% copper. And although you may find copper leaves out there that are marketed as ready to eat, the truth is that doing so may prove harmful to your health.

So, what are the risks associated with ingesting too much copper? These include:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Permanent liver damage

How Do You Use Copper Leaf?

Got copper leaf sheets you were planning to use for baking? Though you may not be able to use them to top your cupcakes and other baked goods the way you would gold leaves and gold flakes, there are other ways you can utilize copper leaf. Try applying this gorgeous metal leaf to canvas, walls, ceilings, and even as patina on an old jar or vase.

No matter what you choose to use copper leaf for, remember that it is just as useful and versatile as gold and silver leaf. You may not be able to use it to gild your next cake, but it can quickly add glamor to jewelry, pots, statues, and other items using only adhesive, a soft brush, and of course, genuine or imitation copper leaf sheets.

Applying Copper Leaf

Though you can’t eat copper leaf, it is easily applied to a variety of surfaces using only adhesive, a soft brush, and copper leaf sheets. Know that using copper leaf outdoors isn’t recommended, and when used indoors, it is imperative that even genuine non-edible copper leaf be sealed.

The following is the general process for using inedible copper leaf:

  • First, prepare your workspace and ensure it is free of drafts and high traffic.
  • Prepare the surface you are attempting to gild. Make sure it is dry, clean, and free of debris.
  • Apply a primer to the surface if needed.
  • Apply either a water-based or oil-based adhesive to your surface using a soft brush.
  • Carefully apply your copper leaf by removing the protective backing and placing the leaf gently on the area to be gilt.
  • Clear away any excess copper leaf using a clean soft brush.
  • Apply a top coat or sealant to prevent the copper leaf from tarnishing.

What Are the Benefits of Consuming Copperleaf?

Though eating copper leaf on a regular basis isn’t beneficial to your body, you should know that copper, in general, does have specific health benefits.

A normal amount of copper can be consumed from natural sources like what is found in food. In normal amounts, copper is a mineral that can actually help your body produce more energy and lead to better-functioning blood vessels. It also helps your body absorb iron and produce more collagen. 

Some of the food found to be highest in copper include:

  • Chocolate
  • Shellfish
  • Organ meat
  • Whole grains

Is Copper Leaf Edible? Not Really…

While copper certainly offers benefits to the body in trace amounts, it is also the case that eating copper leaf commonly sold in stores and online isn’t ideal. Instead, you should use loose leaf copper and other copper leaf types for artwork, updating furniture, renovating hardware, and other interesting applications.

Remember that though you may find edible copper leaf sold online, it has not been deemed safe for consumption in the United States. Overconsumption of copper can cause issues relating to the digestive system, and can even cause damage to the liver. Please avoid eating genuine copper in excess in an effort to support your health.


Can copper be sprinkled over drinks?

Though it may look extravagant, sprinkling a bit of genuine copper flakes over drinks won’t fare well for the health of those receiving the drinks. Instead, consider purchasing edible gold flakes which offer just as much pizazz but without the worry.

Is gold leaf edible?

While not all types of gold leaf are edible, genuine gold leaf typically is. Just be sure that the gold leaf is marked as between 23-24 karats and contains the phrase “edible” before purchasing.

Does imitation copper leaf exist?

Yes. You can purchase imitation copper, gold, or silver leaf for a fraction of the cost of genuine metal leaf either online or in select stores. Not all imitation metals are edible, though, so you shouldn’t presume that you can eat imitation gold, silver, or copper leaf sheets unless the product details confirm that you can. 

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