Induction technology is used to power many cooktops and ranges, and for a very good reason: induction cooking is safer, faster, and more efficient than electric or gas cooking. This is because induction cookers use a magnetic field to create heat in the base of the pot or pan.
There is one problem though: not all cookware can be used with induction cooktops. It is because of this reason that induction technology has taken so long to catch on – most people don’t want to buy a new set of cookware for their new cooker.
However, what many people don’t know is that many of the cookware needed for induction cooking is already in your kitchen. Let’s take a look at the special cookware needed for your induction cooktop.
Guaranteed to Work
There are four materials that are guaranteed to work with induction cooktops: cast iron, carbon steel, enameled cast iron, and graniteware.
Cast iron cookware always works with induction, 100% of the time. Although Dutch ovens and skillets may be large and heavy, their all-iron make up enables them to be compatible with magnetic cooking. The only downside is that cast iron can scratch your induction cooker’s glass top quite easily. If you choose to use your cast iron cookware, place a paper towel or newspaper sheet between the plate and the pan. The paper won’t burn thanks to the magnetic fields and your cooktop will be kept scratch free.
Carbon steel cookware can be seen as a lighter type of cast iron and also works perfectly for induction stoves. Enameled cast iron cookware also works much like normal cast iron, and graniteware, which is made of steel, is also a top choice for induction cookware.
If you own these types of cookware, check them using a magnet. If they are magnetic, they will work perfectly with your induction cooker.
Most aluminum pots and pans won’t work with induction cookers as it doesn’t have any iron compounds. Some aluminum cookware items have an iron core in the base, which means they should work with induction cooktops, but it is not guaranteed. This is because the iron core may not be big enough.
Copper cookware also doesn’t normally work. If it has an iron core, then it may work, but like aluminum, this is not guaranteed.
Then there is stainless steel, which most people would assume works with induction cooktops, right? Well, no. There are many different types of stainless steel, but it all boils down to what the alloy has been made from. If it is iron, it is fine for induction cooking; if it is nickel, then it will not work.
But, how do you tell the difference?
Tips for Confusing Cookware
Before running out and replacing all of your cookware, check the bases of the pots and pans in your kitchen. Some manufacturers print an induction symbol onto the base of their pans. This symbol appears like a zig zag or a coil. If there isn’t a logo on the base of your cookware, simply put a magnet on it to see if it sticks. If it does, it should be induction ready.
The other problem you may come across is cookware that has a rounded bottom like a wok. As physical contact with the cooker’s surface is not strictly needed, they may still work, but using a flat bottomed pot or pan will offer the best electromagnetic energy transfer.
If you have gone through these tips and still don’t want to part with your current cookware to match your new induction cooktop, you can buy an induction disk. This is a magnetic plate that sits on the cooktop and acts as a DIY burner which will heat up and transfer the heat into the base of your non-magnetic cookware. Although this mostly defeats the point of induction, it is one way to help ease the transition.
Buying Induction Cookware
If you choose to purchase induction cookware, there are many brands to choose from that each offer different products to suit different budgets. Some manufacturers offer more guidance for their induction cookware than others do, but if you check the packaging of the product, it should state whether it is induction compatible or not.
Armed with the above information, you should be able to determine what will and won’t work for your induction cooker. So go on and give it a try. Once you adapt to using an induction cooktop, you will probably never go back to using a gas or electric stove. Although you have to use special cookware for induction cooktops, this is a small price to pay for the saving in time, cost, efficiency, and safety.