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Frying pan with Pasta cooking ingredients and utensils on wooden table

Guide to Choosing the Right Frying Pan

Frying pans are an essential kitchen utensil in many households, restaurants, and cafes. Perhaps you need to replace your old frying pan or are setting up your first kitchen in your new apartment or home. Deciding which fry pan to buy can be time-consuming due to the abundance of options. Should it be cast iron, carbon steel, stainless steel or nonstick?

This guide will help you learn about materials used to manufacture many of the frying pans on the market today.  A printable checklist is available to assist in simplifying the process of choosing the right frying pan for your kitchen.

You can download the checklist for choosing the right frying pan.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Frying Pan

Culinary Needs

The type of cooking you will be using the pan for is an important consideration when selecting a fry pan. If you want to sear and/or fry foods, then cast iron, carbon steel or stainless steel are the best materials. However, if you only need a pan to prepare eggs, pancakes and delicate fish, then nonstick is a viable option. 

Type of Cooktop

Another factor to consider when selecting a frying pan is the type of cooktop you will be using to prepare your meals. Induction cooktops heat food differently than electric or gas.

Induction cooktops have an electromagnetic coil under the cooktops. When the pan is placed on the burner (and the unit is on), current flows through the coil producing a magnetic field around and above the coil. This magnetic field goes through the metal of the pan and moves around inside the bottom and sides of the pan. The pan gets hot and heats up the food inside it.  

In contrast, gas or electric stovetops use direct contact in the form of either flames or a heating element to heat the cooking vessel.

The best magnetic materials for induction cookware are steel, magnetic stainless steel, and cast iron. The stainless steel must contain iron to make it magnetic. Enameled and ceramic-clad pans and pots also work with induction cooktops.

Size and Weight

A 10” or 12” frying pan can be used to prepare most meals.  Depending upon who is using the pan, weight may be a consideration. Some folks opt for carbon steel since cast iron pans are pretty heavy.    

Budget  

Budget is a consideration for many folks when it comes to making any type of purchase. Cheap pots and pans tend to dent and warp a lot quicker than the higher priced ones. If price is a constraint then this narrows your options.

Main Parts of a Pan

main parts of a pan and description

Types of Frying Pan Materials

Stainless Steel (bare)

Stainless steel is an iron-base alloy with a minimum of 10.5% chromium. It also contains nickel, manganese, carbon and small amounts of other elements. Chromium  provides corrosion resistance while nickel makes the metal tougher, non-magnetic, corrosion resistant and adds luster.

STAINLESS STEEL

PROS & CONS

  • Durable
  • Versatile
  • Tolerates high heat
  • Transfer cooktop to oven
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Can be expensive 
  • Need to preheat properly
  • Must use fat/oil 

inductionpros.com

Grades of Stainless Steel

The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) is one of many organizations that assigns grades (they use a three digit identifier) to stainless steel. To receive a certain grade designation, the material must meet a certain set of requirements. This gives consumers an idea of what to expect in terms of characteristics such as durability and corrosion resistance.

Two common grades for stainless steel pots and pans are 304 and 316. The composition of a pan grade 304 must be 18-20% chromium and  8-10.5% nickel. The percentage of each element is translated into a number sequence, the first being chromium and the second nickel (e.g. 18/10, 18/8).  

316 stainless steel has 2-3% molybdenum (304 only has trace amounts) in addition to the chromium and nickel. The higher molybdenum content provides increased corrosion resistance.  It is used for medical and marine applications.

Some manufacturers stamp the grade on the bottom of the pot or pan while others only advertise that it is either 304 or 316 stainless steel. 

Cladding

The process of bonding different metals together under extreme pressure is called cladding. 

Stainless steel has a lot of great properties, however, it is a poor heat conductor. To rectify this, manufactures add either an aluminum alloy or copper to the base. The result is a pan with great heating properties and one that is durable and corrosion resistant. 

Two common terms used to describe stainless steel cookware construction are disc bottom (disc clad) and fully clad.

Disc Bottom Cookware

Cookware that is disc clad has an aluminum alloy or copper disc sandwiched between two layers of stainless steel. The disc spreads heat around the base of the pan but not up the sides. 

The exterior stainless steel layer is wrapped over the bottom and is either magnetized stainless steel – 18/0,  (making the pan induction compatible) or non-magnetized stainless steel. Most manufacturers do not extend the layers to the bottom edge of the sidewalls. 

Fully Clad Cookware

Fully clad cookware (bottom and sides) is made from one sheet of multi-layered metal, (e.g. stainless steel, aluminum, and stainless steel) that is pressed into shape. Generally, the base of the pan will have the same thickness as the sidewalls.

In the case of a frying pan, fully clad cookware is preferable since the food is being cooked on the surface and up the sidewalls rather than only on the base as with disc bottom cookware.  

Layers

Fully clad cookware has layers of metal bonded together in a single sheet. Sometimes, the word "ply" is used to describe the layer. The most common metals used are aluminum alloy, copper and stainless steel.

The number of layers of metals varies according to the pan. Some have three, five or seven layers and are sometimes referred to as “Multiclad”. 

Common configurations are:

  • Aluminum core sandwiched between stainless steel
  • Copper core between layers of aluminum with interior and exterior stainless steel
  • Alternating layers of aluminum and stainless steel
Frying pan on modern induction stove

Thickness and Weight

While the number of layers is one consideration in choosing a fry pan, the thickness of the conductive layers is also important, especially in terms of heat distribution.

Thin layers tend to produce uneven heating because the distance from the heat source to the food is short. However, a thicker pan gives the heat more time to spread sideways before reaching the food. This results in less temperature variation across the pan.

Note: a 5-ply pan is not necessarily “better” than a 3-ply pan. The overall thickness is a more accurate determination of quality.

If you want a lightweight pan, then one option is to purchase a pan made of only stainless steel. However, if you prefer a pan with some weight to it, then a 3-layer pan is a reasonable choice.

What We Like About Stainless Steel Frying Pans

Concerns about chemical coatings have led some consumers to use stainless steel cookware. They like the fact there is no coating to flake, chip or peel and the pan is corrosion resistant.

Although there is a short learning curve, you don’t have to be a professional chef to learn how to cook with stainless steel. The main tips are: keep the heating level in the low to medium range, properly preheat the pan, and add the oil/fat after preheating.

A bonus to cooking with stainless steel is the accumulation of the brown crusty bits, commonly called “fond”, that stick to your pan. These can be used to make a flavorful sauce.

Another reason people enjoy cooking with stainless steel is its versatility.  A meal can be started on the cooktop and then transferred to the oven. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s use and care guide for maximum oven temperatures.  If necessary, the fry pan with leftovers can be placed in the refrigerator once cooled. Unlike carbon steel and cast iron, stainless steel does not react with acidic foods. It is also lighter than those two materials.

A high quality stainless steel fry pan will last a long time if it is properly used and maintained. If you decide to part with your untreated stainless steel pans, keep in mind that they are recyclable.

Cast Iron  

Cast iron is an iron-carbon alloy formed from cast molds. It is composed of at least 2% carbon, 1-3% silicon, and with the remainder being iron.  This durable material retains heat well and if seasoned properly, is virtually non-stick.

Cast iron cookware can be used on a variety of heat sources such as gas, electric, ceramic-glass top or induction cooktop, in an oven, on a grill or over a fire pit.

CAST IRON

PROS & CONS

  • Durable
  • Virtually non-stick if properly seasoned 
  • Versatile
  • Retains heat well
  • Inexpensive
  • Heavy
  • Reacts with acidic foods
  • Requires seasoning

inductionpros.com    

Cooking with Cast Iron

Many people enjoy cooking with cast iron because it is durable, inexpensive, oven proof, retains heat well and is versatile. It is a great choice to sear, sauté, braise, fry and bake food. The only category of foods that cannot be prepared in cast iron are those that are acidic as they strip the seasoning and gives the food a metallic flavor.

For those who like to cook outdoors, whether in their backyard or at a campground, cast iron is a great option for preparing delicious meals.  

Seasoning

Consistent use improves the seasoning thereby increasing the non-stick performance.

Food inevitably sticks to the very small rough spots on the surface of cast iron pans. When the pan is seasoned, the oil seeps into these places and removes the roughness resulting in a smooth, nearly nonstick surface.

Cast Iron Pan with Egg

Preheating 

Lodge Cast Iron suggests preheating the skillet for a few minutes prior to adding food.[1] Stargazer Cast Iron recommends preheat on low heat for 5-10 minutes before adding food.[2]

Routine care 

Some folks shy away from cooking with cast iron because they think it is too difficult or is too time consuming to maintain.  However, it is very easy to use and care for a cast iron pot or pan.

There are only four steps to routine care: 1) hand washing, 2) drying (to prevent rust), 3) seasoning with a very thin layer of shortening or canola oil (Lodge recommendation) and 4) storing in a dry place. This article details the cleaning and seasoning process for newly acquired cast iron cookware and as well as the process for routine care.

Carbon Steel

Carbon steel is an option worth considering if you are looking for a naturally nonstick frying pan that is smoother and lighter than cast iron.

The type of carbon steel used in cookware manufacturing has less than 1% carbon and roughly 99% iron and are formed from large sheets of metal.

CARBON STEEL

PROS & CONS

  • Durable
  • Retains heat well
  • Natural non-stick surface once well-seasoned
  • Versatile - stovetop, oven, broiler, grill
  • Lighter than cast iron
  • Can withstand high heat
  • Prone to uneven heat distribution
  • Requires seasoning
  • Cannot be used to cook acidic foods

inductionpros.com     

Carbon steel is durable, retains heat well and is virtually non-stick if well-seasoned and used frequently. It can be used on gas, electric, induction and ceramic cooktops as well as on the grill or over a campfire. These skillets are versatile enough so that you can  sear, bake, broil and stir-fry in them.

Thickness is an important feature to consider when choosing a carbon steel pan as very thin ones tend to warp under high heat. The thickness of the 12.5” carbon steel pans from high-quality manufacturers such as deBuyer and Mauviel are 2.5mm and 3mm respectively. 

The handles on these pans are angled, slat-shaped and secured by two or three rivets or are welded. Some handles are at more of an angle than others.  

Even though carbon steel weighs less than cast iron, these pans have some heft to them.

Seasoning carbon steel pan with lard over campfire

The table below provides thickness and weight data for Lodge 12” Cast Iron and Carbon Steel skillets. The information was provided by Lodge customer service as it was not available on their website.

Property
Lodge 12” Cast Iron w/ helper handle
Lodge 12” Carbon Steel
Thickness (mm)
3.175
2.656
Weight (lbs)
7.9
3.4

The table below shows where some of the most popular brands manufacture their carbon steel pans.

manufacturer
country of origin
deBuyer
France
Matfer Bourgeat
Germany
Mauviel
France
Lodge
USA
Paderno
China

Carbon Steel vs Black Steel vs Blue Steel  

Carbon steel pans have finishes of silver, black and blue.  The silver finish is a result of a polishing process during manufacturing and is commonly referred to as “carbon steel”. The black and blue finishes are obtained by heating the carbon steel at high temperatures resulting in a very thin layer of iron oxide.

Nonstick Coatings

Nonstick cookware is usually made of materials such as aluminum, stainless steel, cast iron, glass and ceramic and has a nonstick coating. The first decision to make when selecting a nonstick fry pan is to choose the type of coating.

Even though nonstick coatings have various chemistries, they generally fall into two categories: polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)-based and ceramic.

PTFE-based coatings

Teflon™ is one type of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) coating. Teflon™ was discovered by a DuPont chemist in 1938 and is registered trademark and a brand owned Chemours (formerly DuPont).

There has been a lot of controversy about the safety of PTFE.  One concern was the potential health risk of one of its ingredients, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Chemours, the manufacturer of Teflon®, no longer uses PFOA in its coatings, (since 2013) nor does any reputable chemical company (since 2015).

Another issue is the potential human health risk when a cooking vessel with a PTFE based coating is overheated. According to Chemours, cookware with Teflon™ nonstick coating should not be heated above 260ºC (500ºF). 

The rationale is that PTFE begins to degrade at temperatures above 350ºC at which point fine particles and gaseous compounds are released (Waritz, 1975). It is possible that if enough of these fumes are inhaled, one can experience flu symptoms for about 24 hours. (Harris, 1951 & Shumizu, 2012). It is important to note that the case studies of people who reported these symptoms, revealed the parties either left the pan unattended on a heated cooktop or an empty pan was heated. [3]

The American Cancer Society  states there are no known risks to humans who use Teflon-coated cookware unless the pan overheats. They too report that if a person breathes in fumes produced by overheating, they might experience flu-like symptoms.

Another PTFE safety issue often discussed is the potential health risk associated with cooking on a scratched pan or consuming flakes of PTFE-based coatings. The long term effects, if any, of consuming PTFE are unknown.

nonstick frying pan with stainless steel body

Key factors when choosing a PTFE-based coated fry pan
  • Does the pan have a “PFOA-Free” designation on the pan or the box?
  • Is the manufacturer a reputable company?
  • It is important that the coating is properly bonded to the pan so that it will not flake off or scratch easily.
  • Does the pan have a coating system of at least three layers?(Those with one layer are easily scratched while those with three or more layers are more durable.)

Ceramic might be a better option if you:

  • Plan to heat your skillet above 260ºC.
  • Plan to use this fry pan to sear protein.
  • Are concerned about the potential and unknown health effects of PTFE.

PTFE COATINGS

PROS & CONS

  • Great nonstick properties
  • Requires little oil/fat
  • Easy to clean
  • Concerns about chemical coatings
  • Can’t be safely used on high heat settings

inductionpros.com

Tips for using cookware coated with PTFE based coatings
Avoid overheating
  • Do not heat the pan over 260ºC. 
  • Use low to medium settings.
  • Do not leave cookware unattended on a heated cooktop.
  • Always heat the pan with something in it as an empty pan can quickly reach high temperatures.
  • Consider the weight of your pan when heating. The ones that weigh less, heat faster than the heavier pans.
Protect the coating
  • Don’t use aerosol cooking sprays.
  • Using wooden, silicone or plastic utensils reduces the chance of scratching.
  • Allow the pan to cool after cooking.
  • Hand wash with a soft sponge and warm, soapy water.
Safety precautions
  • Turn an exhaust fan on or open a window to clear any fumes. Most people do this whether or not they are using PTFE coated pans.
  • Throw out pans that are flaking, peeling, or in an abundance of caution, those that are scratched.

Ceramic nonstick coatings

Throughout the last 60 years there has been an evolution in the materials used in the construction of nonstick cookware. One example is the development and manufacture of products with ceramic nonstick coatings. These coatings are bonded to a cookware substrate such as hard anodized aluminum.

Most ceramic nonstick coatings are made from inorganic (no carbon) minerals, mainly silicon and oxygen (many ceramic coatings are derived from sand and quartz is the most common mineral in sand; quartz is composed of silicon and oxygen atoms).

Ceramic Nonstick Coatings

PROS & CONS

  • Needs a small amount of oil/fat to prevent food from sticking
  • Can cook acidic foods
  • Coatings do not have PTFE or PFOA
  • Use only low to medium heat
  • Lack of durability

inductionpros.com

frying pan with nonstick coating

There are various brands of ceramic nonstick coatings. We take a look at these three popular coatings: GreenPan’s Thermolon™, Cuisinart’s Ceramica™ and Weilburger’s Greblon®.

Thermolon™

In 2007, The Cookware Company, a Belgian company, introduced the first PTFE-free ceramic nonstick coating, Thermolon™. GreenPan, a higher end brand, makes nonstick cookware coated with Thermolon™ as does GreenLife™.  This coating is derived from sand, transformed into a sprayable solution, sprayed onto the body of the fry pan and cured in the oven. Thermolon™ free of PTFE, PFAS and PFOA, lead and cadmium.

Recently, GreenPan completed their 5th evolution of coatings. The Thermolon™ coating is now reinforced with diamonds making it more durable and resilient.

Ceramica™

Another ceramic nonstick coating is Cuisinart’s Ceramica™. It was first used in their GreenGourmet line, which debuted in 2008. The body of the pans are hard anodized aluminum and the coating is PTFE and PFOA free.

A titanium reinforced ceramic nonstick coating is also offered by Cuisinart is CeramicaXT. It too is PTFE and PFOA free. Cuisinart claims there is no need to add oil or butter to prevent foods from sticking when using pans with this coating.

Greblon®

Weilburger uses their brand, Greblon®, to market various coating system solutions such as fluoropolymer, polymer and sol-gel technology. The cookware industry is one of the many that uses Greblon® products.

Greblon® offers ceramic coatings that are PTFE free as well as coatings derived from stone that are PTFE based.

The Greblon® coating system used on the 12 inch Green Earth Fry Pan by Ozeri is free of PTFE, PFOA, lead and cadmium. The coating for this particular pan is made in Germany and then shipped to China for final assembly.

The Stone Earth frying pan by Ozeri has a PTFE based Greblon coating. This APEO and PFOA free coating is also manufactured in Germany.

Hard-anodized Aluminum

Hard-Anodized Aluminum

PROS & CONS

  • Tough and durable  
  • Requires only a small amount of oil/fat
  • Excellent heat conduction  
  • Easily cleaned
  • Must be hand washed

inductionpros.com

Anodization Process

Anodizing is a method of changing the chemistry of the surface of a metal such as aluminum. This hardening process improves the corrosion resistance of the aluminum alloy, the adhesion of subsequent coatings, and the pan’s durability.

Anodization is accomplished by submerging a metal such as aluminum, in a strong acid and charging it with an electrical current. The ensuing electrochemical reactions causes pores to form on the surface of the aluminum and then erode down into the substrate. The aluminum then combines with O2 ions to form aluminum oxide.

As current continues to be applied, the weak areas of the pores go deeper into the substrate. A series of straw-like hollow structures is formed. Once the required depth is reached, the process is stopped, and the substrate is rinsed in water to seal the part. The result is a hard, natural aluminum oxide coating that is corrosion resistant and durable.

Hard anodizing means the electrical current was applied until the pores were greater than 10 microns deep.  Sometimes the depth can be 25 microns or more.  This increased pore depth offers more corrosion protection and durability.

Coatings

Some hard-anodized pots and pans have PTFE based coatings. For example, the Anolon Nouvelle Hard Anodized line is coated with Chemours Autograph® 2, which contains PTFE. In contrast, Cuisinart’s GreenGourmet Hard Anodized Nonstick cookware is coated with Ceramica®, which is PTFE and PFOA free.

Egg in Anolon Nouvelle Copper Nonstick 10-in Skillet


Printable Checklist for Choosing the Right Frying Pan

checklist for choosing the right frying pan

FAQ

What happens if the PTFE coated pan is overheated or cooked dry?

The pan may reach a temperature high enough that PTFE will break down and emit fumes.

Does PTFE react with other chemicals?

No.

What is PFOA?

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a man-made chemical, was used in the process of making PTFE. It is no longer used by Chemours, the maker of Teflon® or other reputable manufacturers.  

Why did DuPont add PFOA to PTFE?

PFOA was added to PTFE to smooth out the lumps in the freshly manufactured Teflon. 

Why did DuPont and other chemical industries stop using PFOA?

The chemical industry and the U.S. EPA and other regulators agreed there were negative environmental and potential health impacts of PFOA. This summary details the history and health concerns of PFOA.

PFOA had been linked with various cancers (liver, testicular and pancreatic tumors) in rats. [4]

However, according to the EPA Scientific Advisory Board, there is not sufficient evidence to conclude that PFOA has the potential to cause cancer in humans.

When did DuPont, now Chemours, stop using PFOA?

The use of PFOA was completely discontinued in 2013 by Chemours and by other chemical industries in 2015.

What chemical is Chemours using as a replacement for PFOA?

According to an EPA report released in November, 2018, they are using GenX technology. Gen X is a brand name for technology that is used to make fluoropolymers without using PFOA. 

Is GenX technology less toxic than PFOA?

The EPA completed a “draft assessment” for GenX chemicals focused only on the potential human health effects associated with oral exposure. 

“The draft RfD [reference dose] for GenX chemicals suggests that they are less toxic than PFOA and PFOS. Overall, the available oral toxicity studies show that the liver is sensitive to GenX chemicals.[5]

When overheated, PTFE coatings can degrade and release fine particles and gases. 

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Frying pan on modern induction stove

Chef’s Star Stainless Steel 17-Pc Induction Cookware Set Review

This stainless steel induction cookware set is built with 18/8 commercial stainless steel and an impact bonded aluminum base. The pots and pans can be used on induction cooktops as well as on electric, gas, infrared, glass, and ceramic stovetops. They are oven safe up to 550ºF and can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.

Chef’s Star 17-Piece Pots & Pans Stainless Steel - 17 Piece Professional Grade Pots & Pans Set - Non Stick Induction Ready Cookware Set w/Impact Bonded Technology – Toxin Free, Dishwasher Safe

What's Included

  • 8” frying pans (no lids)
  • 10” frying pans (no lids)
  • 1.6-quart saucepans with lids
  • 2.5-quart saucepans with lids
  • 4.2-quart casserole pan with a lid
  • 8.6-quart stock pot with a lid
  • 5.5-quart sauté pan with a lid
  • Broiler basket
  • Steamer basket
  • Spoon; slotted spatula; and a 2 pronged fork
pros
cons
  • One year no questions asked warranty
  • Interior is 18/8 stainless steel
  • Anti-slip satin finish handles
  • Can be put in freezer and refrigerator
  • Vented glass lids
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Handles get hot
  • Only a single layer of stainless steel on the walls of the pots and pans

Chef’s Star 17-Piece Pots & Pans Stainless Steel - 17 Piece Professional Grade Pots & Pans Set - Non Stick Induction Ready Cookware Set w/Impact Bonded Technology – Toxin Free, Dishwasher Safe

Chef’s Star Stainless Steel 17-Pc Cookware Set

This is a stylish all-inclusive cookware set. You'll have all you need if you are cooking for a social occasion or a daily meal.

Review

Construction

The base of the Chef’s Star 17-Piece Pots & Pans Stainless Steel - 17 Piece Professional Grade Pots & Pans Set - Non Stick Induction Ready Cookware Set w/Impact Bonded Technology – Toxin Free, Dishwasher Safe is comprised of three layers: stainless steel, aluminum (middle layer), stainless steel. The interior layer is 18/8 stainless steel. The bottom of the cooking vessels is encapsulated with an impact bonded aluminum, which helps ensure that the heat is distributed evenly throughout the base.

Impact bonding is a procedure whereby pressure and friction and not adhesive, are used to form the bond between the base of the pot or pan (stainless steel) and the disc (a heavy gauge aluminum).

In the manufacturing process, the disc is put on the base of the vessel, then placed in an impact bonding machine where pressure and friction are applied, resulting in the formation of a bond. 

The sides of these pots and pans are single stainless steel with a thickness of .6mm (per Chef's Star customer service).

Lids

The lids are glass and have a vent. They are high temperature resistant up to 482°F. The handles and rims are stainless steel. 

Handles

The handles are ergonomically shaped and have an anti-slip satin finish, ensuring that you don’t drop your food when transferring the cookware.  

Warranty

The product comes with a one-year no questions asked warranty policy.

Customer Service

I emailed Chef's Star customer service was a few queries and received a friendly, complete and timely response.

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two burner induction hob with black ceramic surface

What is the Difference Between Ceramic and Induction Cooktops?

When you’re planning to purchase a cooktop, you want to ensure whatever you get is the best it can possibly be and is easy to operate. Before purchasing your specific cooktop, there are many factors to consider such as price, the amount of space available in your kitchen, and the features that will be beneficial for you.

There is often a lot of confusion between ceramic cooktops and induction cooktops and although they look alike there is a big difference when it comes to cooking and how they work. That’s why we thought it would be helpful to supply you with this guide of the differences between the two.

Black pan on induction stovetop

How They Work

The main difference between a ceramic and induction cooktop is how they create heat and how it spreads and transfers into the pot or pan.

Under the glass/ceramic surface of an induction cooktop lies a coil through which electric current flows.  A magnetic field is created which goes through the bottom of the induction compatible pan or pot that sits on the surface of the cooktop. A current is then generated in the base of the cookware. This electrical energy is changed to heat energy which is transferred from the vessel to the food. 

Underneath the top of the ceramic/glass cooktop lies coiled metal elements. These elements are heated to the set temperature. The coils heat the cooktop surface and then heats the cooking vessel. Finally, after heating the ceramic surface of the cooker, the heat is transferred to the pan.

Compared to each other in terms of how they heat up pans, we would say that the induction cooker wins, as it is more efficient as it only heats up the pan itself. 

Safety

One of the main features to consider before buying a new cooker is its safety. This is an essential part of the purchase process, especially if you have young children.

While ceramic cooktops retain considerably more heat than induction cookers, there are now a lot of modern models that come with a heat indicator that tells the user the hotter parts of the cooker. However, induction cooktops are ideal for homes with small children as the top hardly gets hot, and is only activated if it is switched on and an induction ready pan or pot is on the top of the cooker. Some models have a lock feature that when activated, prevents settings from being changed. Ceramic cooktops also offer safety features which vary according to the model selected.

Cleaning

While both a ceramic and induction cooktop are both flat and smooth, thus making them equally as easy to clean (you can normally just wipe them down with the wet cloth), there is the issue of ceramic cooktops being hot and if anything is spilled on the top of it while it is hot, it can dry or bake onto the surface.

In this case, it is essential that you clean it up as soon as you feel it is safe to do so. If burnt or spilled food is left on the cooker top for a while it can cause more problems in the long run.   


Cookware

Another factor to consider before purchasing or choosing your model of the cooker is the cookware you will use. Induction cooktops require certain cookware pieces. Therefore, if you already have a collection of cookware in your house, you can use the magnet test to see if they’re compatible (if the magnet sticks securely to the base of the cookware then it is induction ready). If your pots and pans aren’t compatible, then you will have to consider the expense of new cookware. However, all types of cookware can be used on ceramic cooktops  – as long as it has a flat bottom.

Conclusion

Overall, there are some differences between the ceramic and induction cooktops, but both are unique and it is ultimately up to personal preference which one you opt for when you purchase your cooker. 

Some consumers purchase a portable single or double induction cooktop. They are much less expensive than built-in or full induction and ceramic cooktops.

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pot and frying pan on induction stove

What is an Induction Cooking Hob?

Induction hobs heat a cooking vessel electrically by magnetic induction, as opposed to a flame or an electrical heating element. 

A portable induction cooktop is perfect for a home or office kitchen, RV, boat, cabin or dorm room.  As the benefits of these cookers become more well-known, commercial establishments such as food trucks, convenience stores, and restaurants are using them to prepare food. Induction cooktops designed specifically for commercial use are available as well as built-in and full-size units.   

How Induction Hobs Work

An induction compatible cooking vessel is placed on the glass ceramic surface of the induction cooktop.  Underneath the cooktop are electromagnetic coils made from copper wire. When the unit is switched on, an electric current flows through the coils. This produces a magnetic field which generates electric currents in the pot or pan's metal. The base of the pan will be heated directly. Heat is transferred to the food because the cooking vessel acts as a heat source. 

The only part of the glass ceramic surface that is heated is where the pot is contact with the induction hob or if there is heat given off by the cookware. 

What Cookware Can Be Used on an Induction Hob?

Only ferromagnetic materials such as steel, magnetized stainless steel, enameled cast iron and cast iron work with induction cooktops.

As induction cooktops become more popular in the United States, companies are manufacturing cookware that can be used on conventional stovetops such as electric or gas as well as induction hobs. They simply place a layer of magnetic stainless steel in the base of the cooking vessel. This provides the consumer the versatility of using it on several heat sources.

It is easy to determine if your pans and pots are induction ready or not. Place a magnet on the bottom of your cookware and if it sticks strongly to the base, it is induction ready and can be used on your induction cooker. If the magnet has no pull toward the base of the pot or pan, then it doesn’t have the metals needed to create heat with an induction cooker. 

Advantages of Induction Hobs

  • Digital temperature readings available.
  • Reacts quickly to a change in temperature/power settings.
  • Cools down rapidly. 
  • Less heat is wasted since more heat goes into the pan than electric or gas stoves.
  • No electrical heating element or flame. 
  • A variety of safety features are available depending upon the model.
  • Easy clean up.  
  • If someone uses a wheelchair, it is certainly easier to use a portable induction cooktop since it can be placed on a table enabling easy access since the user's legs can go below the table.
  • Disadvantages of Induction Hobs

  • Some people complain about fan noise while others don't find it annoying.
  • If you don't have compatible cookware, then the additional cost of new induction ready pots and pans has to be factored into your decision.  
  • The full-size ranges are expensive. However, some consumers view it as an investment rather than a one-off purchase.
  • Most cookers automatically shut-off after 2 or 3 hours.
  • Induction Cooktop Efficiency

    There has been a lot of hype about induction cooktops being much more energy efficient than an electric or gas range. Most people will agree that since heat is transferred directly to the pot, little is lost to the surrounding environment. This means your kitchen won't get so hot, which is great during the summer.  In addition, induction cookers heat up faster than electric or gas stoves and react more quickly to temperature changes.

    The question as to whether using an induction cooktop is less expensive than electric or gas has been discussed on various review sites and forums. Prior to stating whether the cooking efficiency of induction cooking is or isn't better than electric or gas, I wanted to review the results of a technical assessment that addressed this query. I found one that was conducted by the private firm, Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). The cooking products used were: full-size gas and electric ranges and two single burner induction cooktops. 

    Water was heated from 70° to 200° F to conduct the electric and induction tests. Three tests were completed and the results averaged. In terms of electric vs induction, the results showed when the cooking vessel covered the burner, induction efficiency was higher (83.4% vs 77.4%). On the other hand, when the bottom of the cookware was smaller than the heating coil, induction was more efficient, (76.2% vs 41.5%). In the end, the amount you would save on your electric bill is negligible.[1]

    Since the EPRI test was conducted on a gas stove at 50°F and on an induction stove at 70°F one cannot make a direct comparison. However, the results do show the efficiency level of gas. When a vessel was used that covered the burner, the gas range was less efficient than induction cooktops (77.4% vs 35.2%).  This was also true when the cookware was smaller than the burner (76.2% vs 30.2%). The EPRI finding concluded that the annual induction energy cost is slightly higher than that of gas even when a small vessel is used ($8.49 vs $7.05). [1]

    Best Built-in Induction Cooktops of 2018

    The History of Induction Technology

    The induction cooker was originally produced and put on the market in 1933 at the World’s Fair in Chicago. During the fair, several demonstrations were conducted showing how to use the cooker, along with an explanation of the different types of cookware that can be used on an induction cooktop.

    Then, in 1970, more modern developments of induction cooking developed in the United States. Since technology had moved forward, improvements were made and the induction hob became a lot better and more popular with the general public. Westinghouse developed an induction cooker (including matching and compatible cookware) and started selling it to the public. However, there were many problems with induction cooker technology and the idea of them never really took off in the US during this time.

    It has only been since the fan noise has been reduced in induction cookers that it has become more popular. While induction cooking failed in the US (during its first few years of being in the market), it thrived in Europe and Asia. As technology advancements in many different areas were taking place, a few companies invested development money in the area of induction technology.  Slowly, these products became more well known and understood in the United States. Sales increased when companies reduced the fan noise (although not enough according to some consumers)  and manufactured products with fewer reliability issues. The concepts of minimalism and living in small spaces has given induction cooking more visibility. Appliances such as these are of interest to those who prefer a modern looking kitchen as well as those who are curious about products with newer technology.

    Frying Pan on Induction Cooktop


    Conclusion

    Induction cooking is an interesting way of preparing your meals. It does take a little getting used to, however, given its benefits, it's certainly something worth considering. The decision as to whether to add a portable single or double burner cooktop,  a commercial induction cooker, a built-in unit or a full-sized induction range to your kitchen, boils down to your cooking style, budget, and what works best for you. 

    [1] https://aceee.org/files/proceedings/2014/data/papers/9-702.pdf

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    white digital rice cooker in white background

    What Can I Cook with a Rice Cooker?

    It has been over 60 years since Toshiba released the first commercially successful rice cooker. After rice cookers became increasingly popular, other companies started developing and manufacturing rice cookers with varying capabilities  and multiple features.  

    The term rice cooker was formerly used to describe rice-cooking utensils throughout Japanese history (and all throughout the world), however, the modern rice cooker is known as a suihanki. After it’s invention, rice cooking changed for people all over the world as it was now a lot easier to cook rice to the perfect consistency.

    Despite initially using a heating mechanism to heat up the rice until it reached a certain point, rice cookers have come a long way since then and are now a lot more efficient and energy saving.

    There are simple models and those that are induction rice cookers as well as induction heating pressure rice cooking and warmer units.

    What Foods Can I Cook in a Rice Cooker

    Contrary to popular belief, foods other than rice can be prepared in a rice cooker. Since it’s invention and increasing popularity, people have been finding different ways to successfully use it to cook other foods including oatmeal, eggs, vegetables, beans, grains and even desserts.

    Oatmeal

    Oatmeal can be prepared by adding water and steel cut oats to the inner cooking pan. After placing the pan in the body of the cooker, plug the unit in.  Depending upon your rice cooker, use either the "steel cut oatmeal" or the porridge setting.  After the Keep Warm setting is activated, open the lid, stir and add milk or half&half and brown sugar if desired.  Some rice cookers are equipped with a timer function that allows you to put the oats and water in the cooker the night before and it will be ready in the morning. Depending upon how you like your oatmeal to taste (soft or crunchy) then you may want to leave the rice cooker on for a longer or shorter amount of time.  

    Boiled Eggs

    It seems that every blogger has the right technique for making the perfect boiled egg. It was surprising to learn that it can be done using a rice cooker (the eggs are actually steamed). The two advantages are being able to cook a number a eggs at a time and ones that are easy-to-peel.

    Place a cup or two of water and the eggs in the steamer tray and set it in the pot. The time needed to cook the eggs is dependent upon your unit and whether you prefer soft or hard boiled eggs.  Most units come with recipes and suggested cooking times. After reviewing several websites it seems the most common range is 10-25 minutes. 

    Vegetables

    If you’re looking for the perfectly cooked piece of broccoli or carrots, then boiling and steaming them in a rice cooker could completely change up your meal planning.

    Beans

    Here is a great description of how to cook beans in a rice cooker. The beans can be soaked before placing them in the cooker or soaked in the cooker.

    Macaroni and cheese

    Fixing macaroni and cheese in a rice cooker is fairly straightforward.  A simple, tasty recipe can be found here

    Other foods that can be prepared in a rice cooker are: pork roast, cheesecake, chocolate cake, chili, stew and a whole host of soups.  

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    stainless steel pots on four burner built-in induction cooktop

    Things to Consider Before Buying an Induction Cooktop

    Buying a new induction cooktop seems fairly straightforward at first. Then when you start reading about the various types, sizes, features, colors, and number of burners, it seems like you'll need to make a spreadsheet. There is plenty of information available that will explain why one cooktop is better than another. If you’re thinking about buying an induction cooktop, we have put together a list of induction types and features to assist you in making a decision.

    If you aren’t already aware of what an induction cooktop is, it’s essentially a type of cooktop that doesn’t require a naked flame or gas. Inside the cooktop (under the glass/ceramic surface plate), there is a coil through which electric current flows, creating a magnetic field. This field goes through the base of the induction ready pot or pan that is on the cooktop surface.  A current is generated in the bottom of the cooking vessel and the electrical energy is changed to heat energy. This heat is then transferred from the cookware to the food.  

    A certain type of cooking vessel is required when using an induction cooktop.  The base of the vessels has to either contain iron or a layer that has magnetic materials. Induction compatible cookware types are: cast iron, steel, enameled cast iron, ceramic clad and magnetic stainless steel. This is discussed in more detail in this article.

    Size, power, temperature, safety and other features, and design are some of the factors to consider before buying an induction cooktop.

    Things to Consider Before Buying an Induction Cooktop 2

    Size

    The first decision to make is whether to buy a por​​table induction cooktop, a built-in unit or a full-size induction range.

    Portable cookers  have either one or two burners.  The size of single burner cooktops are around 14x11.5x2.5 inches (LxWxH).  The double burner cookers are generally 23.6 x 14.1 x 2.6. These units can easily be used on a countertop or table. Sometimes consumers buy one of these cooktops to see if they like it before purchasing a built-in cooktop or full-size oven. Others purchase one for use as an extra burner at home or to take to a social occasion or to use in their dorm room, RV, cabin or boat.  

    The next step up in size is a built-in cooktop. These appliances generally have either two, four or 5 cooking zones.  They range in width from 20 to 41 inches.  

    The most popular freestanding induction ranges are 30 inches wide and have four burners along with an oven and sometimes a steam rack. However, some are available that are 36 inches wide.

    A single zone tabletop unit is cost-effective and  portable but won’t offer the same power or flexibility as the larger models. However, the bigger the size you opt for, the more expensive it is going to be.  It is essential to measure how much space you have in your kitchen to see if a bigger model can fit or if you should select a smaller one.  

    Power

    The power for the single induction cookers range from 1300 to 1800 Watts.  Most portable double cooktops have a total maximum output of 1800 Watts. The power of the burners varies according to model and the wattage given is the TOTAL for the unit. The following are three examples of how the wattage is split.

    1.  One burner is 1200W (use a larger pan) and the other is 600W (use a smaller pan) on the other burner.  They can be used simultaneously. 

    2. One burner can be used at 1800W or both burners can be used at the same time at 900W.

    3.  Some units have 10 power levels.  Both burners can be used at 1800W; however, not simultaneously as the combined total power is 10. One burner can be used at power level 3 and the other unit will automatically adjust to level 7.

    The built-in units either split the wattage between the burners or they have a fixed wattage for each burner. Generally, the wattage ranges from 1800 to 3700 per unit. Examples of the power for the burners on models with fixed wattages are: 1200, 1800, 2500, 2800, 3300, 3600, and  3700 Watts.

    The number of power levels on your cooktop is another consideration.  The portable cooktops have either 10, 15, or 20 levels.

    Things to Consider Before Buying an Induction Cooktop 3

    Temperature 

    The temperature range varies among the portable induction cooktops.   Most brands range from 100-450°F or 140-460°F. The number of temperature settings also differs according to model; having either 10, 15 or 20 settings.  The temperature increments are in 25 degree steps while others are in 15° or 20° increments.

    Safety Features

    The single and double burner cooktops have a variety of safety features.  However, not all of them have a lock that prevents settings from being changed. An automatic shut-off function is available on some cooktops but not others.  This is helpful for those who are concerned about their food boiling over or overcooking.  A sensor underneath the glass cooktop, senses when the pan is getting too hot and the unit will automatically cease operating. 

    Although not strictly a safety feature, a timer is extremely helpful, especially for those of us who like to multitask. It can save the headache of overcooked or burnt food.

    It is important that your induction cooker is ETL approved and FCC Part 18 compliant (FCC has authorized its use and marketing). ETL approval verifies the appliance is compliant with North American Safety standards.

    Design

    Design is an important factor to consider prior to buying your induction cooker.  It is especially critical if your kitchen already has a specific decor or color scheme. Stainless steel and black induction ranges are much more prevalent than white ones. One of the nice things about induction cookers is that they are very modern and sleek. 

    Extra Features

    The single induction cooktops also vary in the type of one touch features, the type of controls and the cooktop surface design.  Some cooktops have boil, simmer or keep warm settings. The control on the top-of-the-line units are touchpad as opposed to buttons or dial.

    The one burner induction units have a surface that is either tablet like or has a slanted control panel.  The Max Burton 6400 and the newer 6450 model and the Duxtop 9600LS unit are examples of those with an angled interface. The benefit of this design is that it lessens the chance of the touchpad settings being changed accidentally or heat from the vessel touching the display as the pot or pan is being removed from the cooktop. 

    Conclusion

    If you are not sure if you want to invest in an induction cooktop, this article details the advantages and drawbacks of these units. 

    The following is a checklist to use if you are considering purchasing an induction cooktop.  

    • Size and power capabilities - portable, built-in or full-size
    • Power levels - 10, 15, or 20  
    • Temperature settings - 10, 15, or 20
    • Is the temperature increment important to me?
    • Do I want a settings lock?
    • Do I want automatic shut-off?
    • Do I want a timer?
    • Is it ETL approved and FCC Part 18 compliant?
    • Portable units - tablet or slanted display panel?
    • What will fit into my decor?
    • Do I want a touchpad as opposed to buttons or a dial?
    • What is the quality of customer service of the manufacturer?
    • What is the product warranty?

    Hopefully, this article gave you a better idea as to whether an induction cooktop is something that will fit both your lifestyle and cooking needs.

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    iron griddles on hob

    Lodge Cast Iron Square Grill Pan Review

    Lodge Cast Iron Square Grill Pan:
    QUICK OVERVIEW

    Features

    Construction

    Durability

    Affordability

    What We Like

    • Ribbed bottom for low-fat cooking
    • Pre-Seasoned and ready-to-use

    What We Don't Like

    • Prone to rusting  
    • Hard to clean

    For grill lovers and home cooks alike, this cast iron square grill pan from Lodge will help you create delicious foods you and your family will love. Cast iron cooking has a long history, dating back to the 19th century, and is beloved by millions thanks to both its durability and the flavor quality it delivers.  

    Lodge Cast Iron Square Grill Pan REVIEW

    Lodge 10.5 Inch Square Cast Iron Grill Pan. Pre-seasoned Grill Pan with Easy Grease Draining for Grilling Bacon, Steak, and Meats.

    The Lodge foundry and brand of cookware has been around since 1896. Starting with their traditional smooth round skillets, they’ve branched out to more specialized cookware, like this square grill pan. Grill pans have been around for several decades, and this tried-and-true model is a staple for any household.

    Who Is This For?

    Cast iron cooking is a valuable part of a cookware collection for any kind of cook, from beginners to more advanced at-home chefs. This cast iron grill pan is also ideal for camping, using on an outdoor grill, or just enjoying meals at home.  Cast iron needs to be taken care of and requires a bit more attention than stainless steel or non-stick pans.

    Overview of Features

    A generous 10.5” square size is the dominant feature of this Lodge 10.5 Inch Square Cast Iron Grill Pan. Pre-seasoned Grill Pan with Easy Grease Draining for Grilling Bacon, Steak, and Meats.. You can cook four burgers or chicken breasts or two large pieces of fish simultaneously, so it’s definitely family sized. You’ll notice the twelve evenly spaced raised ribs along the bottom of the pan, which are about ½” apart. They create the grill marks on your food. The pan is square, with gently rounded corners. This gives you more cooking area than a round grill pan.

    The handle is nice and long and evenly balanced. It does get very hot, so you are advised to use an oven mitt or silicone holder when moving the pan. The other feature you’ll notice is the weight. Cast iron is heavy; it’s solidly made and weighs around four and one-half pounds. The iron itself is very thick along the bottom of the pan and up the sides of the grill. It heats evenly and should only be used on medium-high heat or lower. Cast iron is magnetic, so you can definitely use this with an induction cooktop.

    How to Get The Most Out Of It

    Cast iron will last for more than one generation if it’s kept in excellent condition and used with care. Although this Lodge Cast Iron Square Grill Pan comes pre-seasoned, to ensure its best use and help it become more non-stick, you are advised to season it before cooking for the first time.  

    Alternative

    Need a bit more space for grilling? When the 10.5” square grill pan won’t do, then pick up this  Lodge Pro-Grid Cast Iron Grill and Griddle Combo. Reversible 20" x 10.44" Grill/Griddle Pan with Easy-Grip Handles. With a size of 20” long and 10.44” wide, you get plenty of room to cook up an entire meal. 

    Drawbacks

    One pattern in the negative reviews of this grill pan was that it rusted.  Another was that it was very hard to clean around the ridges.

    Conclusion

    Cast iron cooks are converts for life. If this is your first foray into cast iron cooking, you’re in for a treat. But even for serious cooks the Lodge 10.5 Inch Square Cast Iron Grill Pan will be a welcome addition to your culinary collection.

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    cast iron griddle with kebabs

    Lodge Cast Iron Round Griddle Review

    Lodge Cast Iron Round Griddle:
    QUICK OVERVIEW

    Features

    Construction

    Durability

    Affordability

    What We Like

    • Foundry seasoned, ready to use upon purchase
    • Use on all cooking surfaces, grills and campfires
    • Oven safe

    What We Don't Like

    • Short sides

    You can almost smell Sunday breakfast cooking on this handsome Lodge 10.5 Inch Cast Iron Griddle. Pre-seasoned Round Cast Iron Pan Perfect for Pancakes, Pizzas, and Quesadillas.! It was designed for making your foods smell and taste delicious; is built to last, and has the time-tested brand name of Lodge behind it. Add this griddle pan to your collection, and make it a part of your family’s cooking tradition for more than one generation to come.

    Lodge Cast Iron Round Griddle REVIEW

    Lodge 10.5 Inch Cast Iron Griddle. Pre-seasoned Round Cast Iron Pan Perfect for Pancakes, Pizzas, and Quesadillas.

    Founded in 1896, the Lodge cast iron foundry has been creating exceptional cookware for well over a century. Besides their basic 10” and 12” skillets, this 10.5” griddle is a pan they’ve offered for several decades. Basically, it gives you all the benefits of a skillet, but with much lower sides to make it easier for flipping foods or cooking flatter foods like crepes, omelets, and eggs.

    Who Is This For?

    Cooking with cast iron is a satisfying experience for any home cook who uses this time-tested and still popular cookware. A griddle pan is best for those who need a large, flat surface area for cooking that isn’t as large as a pizza pan, but isn’t as small as a one-egg skillet.

    This griddle has such a nice surface for cooking, so it’s excellent for families who like to cook up big batches of pancakes, eggs, tortillas, or toasted sandwiches. This wouldn’t be a good cast iron pan for those in small spaces, when a regular skillet would be able to do the job just fine.

    Cast iron can be used on all types of induction hobs as well as on electric and gas cooktops.

    Overview of Features

    You get a generous amount of cooking area with this Lodge 10.5 Inch Cast Iron Griddle. Pre-seasoned Round Cast Iron Pan Perfect for Pancakes, Pizzas, and Quesadillas.. It’s enough to cook up pancakes, eggs, bake small pizzas, toast sandwiches, and warm up tortillas. This pan is made of solid cast iron, including the handle, which is its stand-out feature. A flat griddle surface evenly distributes heat throughout the entire pan and up the very short side walls. It’s 0.5” deep, so perfect for foods that need to be flipped. Since the handle is also cast iron, it gets very hot so you'll need to use an oven mitt or handle holder.

    Cast iron is magnetic and is great for induction cooking. You can use it on top of either an electric or gas stove, in the oven, or at the campfire, too. While this pan is heavy, at 4.5 pounds, it’s lighter than a traditional skillet of the same size since the sides are shorter.

    How to Get The Most Out Of It

    Cast iron will last for more than one generation if it’s kept in excellent condition and used with care. Although this Lodge Cast Iron Round Griddle comes pre-seasoned, to ensure its best use and help it become more non-stick, you are advised to season it before cooking for the first time. 

    Alternative

    Need higher sides for deeper frying and more versatility? The basic but essential Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet with Hot Handle Holder - 10.25” Cast Iron Frying Pan with Silicone Hot Handle Holder (BLACK). is a must have for your kitchen. It gives you the same century-long high quality as the griddle pan, but with higher sides to prevent splatters and keep foods from spilling over.

    Conclusion

    The more you use your Lodge Cast Iron Griddle the more it will give back to you. Your foods will taste better, and your cooking repertoire will expand. These durable and long-lasting cast iron pans easily fry eggs, make crepes or omelets, or gently brown tortillas for Taco Tuesday. You’ll love using them in brand new ways, too!

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    cast iron fry pan with fork

    Lodge Cast Iron Reversible Grill Griddle Review

    Lodge Cast Iron Reversible Grill Griddle:
    QUICK OVERVIEW

    Features

    Construction

    Durability

    Affordability

    What We Like

    • Reversible Cast Iron
    • Fits over two stovetop burners
    • Easy care: Hand wash, dry, rub with cooking oil

    What We Don't Like

    • Not recommended for some glass top stoves

    Passionate home cooks and food lovers enjoy cooking in cast iron because it’s durable, heats evenly, and provides that delicious flavor. When you cook with this Lodge Pro-Grid Cast Iron Grill and Griddle Combo. Reversible 20" x 10.44" Grill/Griddle Pan with Easy-Grip Handles, you have enough space to feed a crowd. It’s a great addition to the time-tested Lodge line of cast iron cookware.

    Lodge Cast Iron Reversible Grill Griddle REVIEW

    Lodge Pro-Grid Cast Iron Grill and Griddle Combo. Reversible 20' x 10.44' Grill/Griddle Pan with Easy-Grip Handles

    Back in 1896, when the Lodge cast iron foundry began, they focused on one product line: cast iron cookware. This long and reversible grill/griddle pan is very similar to some antiques that are over 100 years old! Those were used on wood stoves to either grill or cook large cowboy-style breakfasts. Now you, too, can feed a crowd by using this modern version.

    Who Is This For?

    For entertaining or to make enough food for feeding your family, the Lodge Cast Iron Reversible Grill/Griddle is the ideal cookware. It covers two stovetop burners, so it’s best for larger kitchens and grill lovers. This grill/griddle would be ideal for indoor sports fans or to take to tailgating parties. It brings all the fun of grilling right into your own kitchen. 

    Overview of Features

    This Lodge Pro-Grid Cast Iron Grill and Griddle Combo. Reversible 20" x 10.44" Grill/Griddle Pan with Easy-Grip Handles is a single pan with double handles.  While this pan comes pre-seasoned by the manufacturer, you are advised to do your own seasoning.

    The first thing you’ll notice about this cast iron pan is its substantial size! It measures 20” long and 10.44” wide, which provides over 200 square inches of cooking space on each side. There’s a flat, smooth griddle pan on one side with very short sides, and a completely ribbed grill side on the other. It has 23 grill marks for grilling multiple steaks, chicken, vegetables, and fish.

    This is a heavy, durable piece of cookware, built to last more than one generation. It weighs 16 pounds. Cast iron is magnetic, so you can use this with induction cooktops. It’s good for electric and gas stoves, and don’t forget to take it out to the grill or to the campsite, too. This fits over two stovetop burners, but is not recommended for some glass top stoves. Check with the manufacturer before purchase if you’re unsure.

    How to Get The Most Out Of It

    Cast iron will last for more than one generation if it’s kept in excellent condition and used with care. Although this Lodge Cast Iron Reversible Grill Griddle comes pre-seasoned, to ensure its best use and help it become more non-stick, you are advised to season it before cooking for the first time.  

    Alternative

    Need a grill but in a smaller size or one that is not so heavy? Check out this smaller square grill with a helper handle. It has twelve raised grill ribs, squared-off corners, and deep sides. You still get plenty of grilling area, but in a smaller pan that’s better for either smaller kitchens or for someone who wants a grill that isn't so heavy. Another option is a round griddle that we reviewed. 

    Conclusion

    With over 400 square inches of cooking space, there’s not much you can’t cook on this large and substantial Lodge Cast Iron Reversible Grill/Griddle Pan. Since you can enjoy using this cast iron pan for many years to come, it’s worth it to properly care for your cookware, as it will reward you each and every time you use it.

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    Is Induction Cooking Better than Electric

    Is Induction Cooking Better than Electric?

    Induction cooking has been widely used to prepare food in Europe and Asia for decades. However, the concept never garnered much interest in the United States until a few years ago.  Now consumers are curious enough to research this type of heat source for cooking. Once they understand how they work and their benefits, savvy consumers want to know if it is smart to use an induction cooktop instead of a gas or electric stove.  In a previous article, we compared induction and gas cooking. Here we discuss the advantages of both induction and electric cookers.

    Is Induction Cooking Better than Electric 2

    What is an Induction Cooker?

    An induction cooktop heats cookware in a different manner than electric or gas stoves.  These cookers produce an electromagnetic field underneath the glass/ceramic cooktop surface that transfers electric currents to the induction compatible cookware which then heats up.   

    The surface of an induction cooker gets hot when an induction compatible pan is placed on it.  Part of the cooktop does get hot because heat transfers from the pot or pan to the glass.  However, when the pan is removed, it cools faster than any other conventional burner.

    There are three categories of induction cooking appliances: 1) portable, 2) built-in units and 3) full-size induction ranges.

    There is a large selection of single or double burner portable cookers available. Some manufacturers devote time and money to the research and development of induction cooktops. They continuously improve their existing product line by offering upgraded models. 

    The portable cooktops usually either a tablet-like surface or a flat surface with a slanted display. The advantage of an angled interface is twofold: 1) lessens the chance of settings being changed and 2) liquid/food won't be as likely to spill over onto the display panel. The features to consider are: safety functions, child lock, temperature and power ranges, settings and increments, timer and one-touch settings, and whether the unit is ETL approved and FCC Part 18 compliant.

    Built-in induction cooktops have between 2 and 5 burners. The size of the burners vary according to model. Full-size freestanding ranges are generally either 30" or 36" and either have a single or double oven. 

    Prior to investing in a full-size induction stove or range, some consumers purchase a portable induction cooktop to use for awhile.  After seeing the benefits it provides, they made decide to use it as an extra burner or food warmer in addition to their gas or electric stove. Others choose to use a portable unit as their sole cooking appliance or elect to purchase a built-in cooktop or a full size induction oven.

    Is Induction Cooking Better than Electric3

    Advantages of an Induction Cooker

    • There is no wasted heat when using an induction cooker as the energy is directly supplied to the cooking vessel and transferred to the pan or pot. 
    • The stovetop often stays cool, which is helpful when it comes to preventing dangerous accidents from happening in your kitchen. The surface will only heat up when a  pan or pot is placed on it.
    • The power and temperature settings can be controlled more accurately and responds quickly to temperature changes.
    • Food can be heated and cooked quickly.
    • They are very easy to clean.
    • Portable cooktops are versatile in that they can be taken to social or catering events or used in an RV, boat or cabin. They are also convenient for those who do not have access to or the floor space for a full-size stove.

    Advantages of an Electric Cooker

    • Electric stoves are less expensive than full-size induction stoves.
    • Any pot or pan can be used. However, a lot of cookware now is induction ready. If a magnet securely sticks to the bottom of the cooking vessel it can be used on an induction cooktop.  Many people can use some of the cookware pieces they have on hand.  Cast iron pots and pans are induction compatible.
    • Consumers have commented that electric stoves are more powerful than induction stoves.
    • Electric stoves don't make the humming or buzzing sound induction cooktops tend to make when cooking at higher settings.
    • Digital and analog thermometers can both be used. The magnetic field may interfere with the readings on a digital thermometer.
    Read More »