Technology in the kitchen is ever-changing. We’ve gone from using a wood fire to gas, electric, and now even induction stovetops.
Induction has been quite a popular choice lately for a lot of home cooks. It can be attributed to the clean, sleek look that many induction stove tops have.
For the most part, induction stoves have smooth glass surfaces which heat compatible cookware.
But the real magic of induction cooking is in its heat efficiency. Induction stove tops and cookers use a magnetic field which basically guides heat to evenly warm up pots and pans.
It can also be favored for its safety as without the right kind of pan; it won’t be able to transfer heat.
But what is the right kind of pan for induction stove tops anyway? And once you do invest in these kinds of pots, pans, and cookware, how versatile are they?
Can induction pans be used on an electric stove? Can you use induction cookware on a glass-top stove?
What is induction cookware?
If you’re unfamiliar with induction cooking, or at least new to it, you must know that there are specific types of cookware you need to use on these stovetops.
Because it needs a magnetic field to transfer heat, induction cookware needs to be made of a good amount of iron to interact with the magnetic coils that heat up.
You might also hear this kind of cookware being called ferromagnetic pots and pans.
But don’t let the scientific name faze you. All you need to know is that it has enough iron content in its material to be compatible with an induction burner.
This means that pans made of cast iron, cast iron cookware with enamel, and even some stainless steel pots and pans can be considered induction cookware.
Meanwhile, cookware made of other metals or metal alloys with low contents of iron, like aluminum, copper, and the like, are not induction cookware.
Glass, of course, has no magnetic properties at all, which means that it won’t be compatible with induction cooktops as well.
Don’t worry, though! You don’t need to switch out your entire kitchenware collection when switching to an induction stove.
Pan adapters now have the right kind and amount of metal in them that you can use as a bridge between your induction stove and non-iron pots and pans.
So, in actuality, the secret is that “induction cookware” is just a bit of an industry nickname that means a magnetic pot or pan.
Besides that, there’s not much that makes induction cookware special. There might already be induction cookware right under your nose.
If you can’t seem to figure it out, just grab a regular old fridge magnet!
If it sticks, then it should be the right thing for your induction cooker.
Can I use induction cookware on a non-induction stove?
So, now that you know what kind of cookware works induction stoves, can you switch them around and use them on other types of cooktops?
Whether switching up your home kitchen’s stove or wanting to heat something you brought to a friend’s house, it would be best to know in advance if your pots, pans, dutch ovens, etc. will work on whatever available stovetop there is.
As a general rule, yes! You can use all induction cookware on most typical stovetops you can find in kitchens.
However, some of them can come with caveats and things to remember to preserve your induction cookware’s smooth performance.
Can you use induction cookware on a regular electric stove?
Can induction cookware be used on an electric stove? Electric stovetops are pretty common for their utility and affordable price. You may have used one in your kitchen, took one when camping, or even snuck one into your dorm room.
They’re characterized by either an exposed metal plate or coil heated up by the electric energy source to become your flameless heat source for cooking. They’re also what you might refer to as a hotplate.
Electric stove tops are a lot more straightforward than induction. For the most part, they don’t really need any special kinds of cookware in order to work.
The heat of an electric stove is directly generated by its power source and flows through metal coils which then directly heat up the bottom surface of the cookware you use.
However, despite being compatible with each other, there are a few good reasons to avoid using induction cookware on electric stoves.
The most important of these is to avoid warping. The intense direct heat from the electric coils can cause sudden changes in the temperature of your cookware. This can lead to certain parts warping and bending out of shape.
Warping is bad news for induction cookware that you’d still like to use on induction stoves. This means that your pan will no longer heat as evenly as it would have with a completely flat surface.
Can induction cookware be used on glass-top stoves?
This now brings us to the question of glass top stoves. Glass stove tops have become super popular over the years because of their clean, minimalist look. They’re used to finish both induction and electric stovetops.
Besides, they’re also much easier to deal with come clean-up time.
Glass top stoves, however, aren’t the end all be all of it. It’s best to know their heat source to determine what cookware is best to use.
But generally, among the induction cookware, it’s best to stick to stainless steel when cooking on glass top stoves.
This will allow for a less scratch-prone cooking experience.
Make sure that your cookware has a fully flat bottom without curves or warping to maximize the heat transfer of the glass-top stove.
While stainless steel is an excellent option on both electric and induction burners, it’s best to avoid using cast iron on electric stovetops. This is because of the finish on cast iron pans.
Cast iron can often be a bit on the rough side, so this could potentially scratch the glass hobs on an electric stove. It can also take quite a while longer to heat up on electric than it does on an induction cooktop.
Can you use induction cookware on a ceramic cooktop?
Can you use induction pans on a ceramic hob? Just like glass tops, ceramic cooktops aren’t really the source of heat in a stove. They’re just the surface on which your cooking happens.
So, you’ll soon see that you’re hard-pressed to find a piece of cookware that won’t work well with ceramic cooktops.
Just like glass hobs, you won’t be surprised that ceramic cooktops can scratch quite easily.
Of all induction-friendly materials, stainless steel cookware will be ceramic’s best friend. It is most likely to distribute heat well and prevent scratches on the surface.
Aluminum, while not the best choice for induction, is a great option on ceramic cooktops as well.
On the other hand, it’s not recommended to use cast iron cookware on ceramic cooktops as they can cause scratching on the surface.
So there you have it! Induction cookware isn’t as complicated as it seems. All you need are pots and pans that a regular magnet can stick to, and you’ve got yourself something that is induction-friendly!
Furthermore, you know that induction cookware is much more versatile than meets the eye. The right one can work on just about any surface — electric or even glass-ceramic hobs.
The right multi-use pan might even already be in your kitchen right now!
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