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Induction cooktops have been used as a cooking method in Europe and Asia for decades. Its popularity in the United States has increased as prices decline and marketing improves. People see chefs and their family and friends using them in their kitchens.
Induction cooktops can be used for many methods of cooking. The flexibility provides a plethora of ideas on what to cook on an induction cooktop.
What Is Induction Cooking and How Does it Work?
Induction cooktops have a different heating mechanism than gas or electric cooktops. They use electromagnetic energy to heat your pots and pans directly. This is different from electric and gas cooktops, where pans are indirectly heated through a heating element below the cooktop surface.
Induction cooktops heat pans quickly and more efficiently since they don’t waste energy during the cooking process as with gas or electric heating.The temperature can be quickly increased or decreased.
The surface stays cool while you are cooking, and they are easy to clean. There is a lower risk of fire, and given the lack of flame, there is a reduced risk of burns.
The pots and pans need to be made with a bottom made with a ferromagnetic material, such as magnetic stainless steel, carbon steel, or cast iron. It is best to use a flat, smooth cooking vessel on an induction cooktop.
An induction cooktop has a coil of copper wire that lies under the ceramic plate of the cooktop. When you use a pan that is made of a ferromagnetic substance, an alternating electric current is passed. The magnetic fields induce a magnetic flux, which produces an eddy current in the pot. This heats the cooking vessel.
As you can see, induction cooking is much different than gas or electric cooking methods. The cooking vessel generates the cooking heat when an induction cooktop is used. Gas or electric stoves generate heat which is then transferred to the pot or pan.
Using an Induction Cooktop
We use the Duxtop 9600LS single burner induction cooktop in our home daily. The most important thing to remember is these cookers heat quickly. Prepare your ingredients and have your plates, pan, and utensils ready before switching on the cooktop.
If you are using cast iron or carbon steel pans, be sure to carefully place (not slide) them on the cooktop to avoid scratching or cracking the ceramic-glass surface.
Steps to Use an Induction Cooktop
- Place the unit on a flat, non-metal surface, and plug it into an electrical outlet.
- Gently put your cooking vessel in the center of the placement guides.
- Power the unit on and press the menu button
- Adjust the power or temperature level and timer. Activate lock (optional).
- When finished cooking, take the pan off the surface, and turn the unit off.
- When the fan has stopped running, unplug the unit.
- When the surface cools, clean the cooktop.
Since the heating mechanism of an induction cooktop is different from gas or electric, there is a learning curve. It might take a couple of times with each recipe to get the heat levels just right. However, the heat easier to control and is more precise than with a gas stove.
When using an induction cooktop, the heat distribution is constant and even. Since the temperature increase or decrease takes effect rapidly, it is easy to overcook a dish you have been preparing for years.
When preparing the first several meals on my new induction cooktop, I started with a lower power setting than called for in the recipe and gradually increased it as needed.
According to Chef Joel Robuchon
Settings and Temperature Table
The table below provides a correlation between temperatures and heat settings. The user manual of your induction cooktop may include a table correlating temperature or heat setting and power level.
Practice Using an Induction Cooktop
It is a good idea to cook foods that are easy to make when using your cooktop the first few times. We listed eggs first because whether you scramble them or make an omelet, you’ll see how fast they cook. You’ve read articles and reviews where this is mentioned, but it’s best to see how quickly food cooks firsthand.
1. Eggs: You can cook any style of eggs, from scrambled to fried to poached. Boiled eggs are easier to peel if they are a week or two old.
2. Pancakes: Pancakes cook evenly, and if not overmixed, they are light and fluffy. You can follow your favorite recipe, but make sure to heat the pan first and observe the pancakes because they cook quickly.
3. Rice: Rice cooks evenly throughout and stays light and fluffy. Three parts water to 2 parts rice is a good starting point to get soft fluffy rice.
Before you starting cooking, refer to your recipe and determine the power or temperature setting you will need. As always, have everything prepared ahead of time. You can follow the recipe you’ve used in the past. The heat setting and cooking time are the variables.
Meal Ideas for an Induction Cooktop
Induction cooktops can be used for more than boiling water and making eggs. They can be used for preparing main meals and side dishes. Here are some ideas for foods that can be made using an induction cooktop.
Breakfast: Eggs, crepes, bacon, pancakes, ham and zucchini frittata, and stuffed French toast
Lunch and Dinner: Mac and cheese, turkey minestrone, sloppy joe filling, grilled cheese, chicken noodle soup, grilled cheese sandwich, black beans and rice
Dinner: Chicken cacciatore, cheese fondue, Swedish meatballs, gravy, and noodles, pasta with spinach and tomatoes, lemon thyme chicken with peppers, blackened salmon, crab cakes with dill and capers.
Recipe and Cooking Instructions
Low-Carb and Keto Foods to Make on an Induction Cooktop
The following is a list of low-carb or keto-friendly foods that can easily be made using an induction cooktop.
- Asparagus with garlic, mozzarella cheese, and olive oil
- Broccoli with cream, cheese, garlic, and bacon
- Garlic almond green beans
- Garlic mushrooms
- Sauteed zucchini
- Pan-seared salmon
- Pan-seared NY strip steak with mushrooms
- Skinless chicken breast
- Beef and broccoli
- Pork tenderloin (cast iron skillet)
- Steak bites (or pork bites) and mushrooms (cast iron skillet)
- Lamb chops with rosemary, oregano, and garlic (cast iron skillet)
- Garlic parmesan pork chops
- Fish with garlic and lemon
- Chicken and broccoli
Recipes and Cooking Instructions
Although induction cooking is different from electric or gas cooking, you can cook most foods on it. You will want to make sure that you pay attention to the temperatures because the pan will heat up quickly. You will be able to cook the food evenly, and it will taste great.