Professional chefs and home cooks have been raving about the efficiency of an induction cooktop for a while.
So if your kitchen has recently switched to one, then you know the struggle of swapping your pots and pans into induction-ready ones.
But since some of your cookware is still in good condition, it would be a waste to throw them away.
So to help you determine which ones are worth saving, you want to figure out which metals work best on an induction cooktop.
So, is aluminum induction compatible?
Considering it’s one of the most common types of metal for cookware, is it effective for induction? Read more to find out.
Does aluminum work on an induction cooktop?
There are several reasons why everyone loves having an aluminum set in their kitchen. It’s an excellent heat conductor and lightweight, making cooking less complicated.
Aluminum pots and pans are also budget-friendly and low maintenance, so you don’t have to spend a lot to get cookware that can last for years.
But if you’ve decided to switch to an induction cooktop, pure aluminum pans aren’t as functional as you’d like them to be.
But that doesn’t mean you’ll need to get rid of them, as there’s a certain trick you can do to make them induction-compatible.
Why aluminum does not work on induction
An aluminum pan may be a great heat conductor, but once you use it on an induction cooktop, its heating abilities will somehow lose their function.
That’s because aluminum isn’t magnetic, so your cooktop will have difficulty heating it up because they’re incompatible.
As you know, an induction cooktop uses magnetic energy to heat your pans directly. So instead of using a flame for cooking your food, it utilizes the heat created by the magnetic field when you use it with magnetic cookware.
Most induction-ready pots and pans contain iron since it’s the only type of metal with ferromagnetic properties that work well with your cooktop.
Since aluminum doesn’t have these properties, your pans won’t turn hot when you use them on an induction.
What happens when you use aluminum in an induction?
As mentioned above, aluminum isn’t magnetic, so your cookware won’t feel hot no matter how long or high you have your induction on.
But some aluminum pots and pans have magnetic bases attached; they’re just more expensive compared to your regular pans.
So if you’re planning on getting a set, the manufacturer will specify if they’re induction-ready, or they’ll usually have the induction symbol embedded on the bottom.
Another way of checking if an aluminum pan is magnetic is by using a refrigerator magnet. If the magnet sticks to the bottom of the pan, it’s compatible with your induction cooktop.
Does anodized aluminum work on induction?
Aluminum cookware tends to react with acidic foods. That’s why you’ll sometimes notice the dish you’re cooking turns gray when the aluminum starts to leak.
So to remedy this, some aluminum pans undergo anodization to create a layer that stops aluminum from leaching into your food.
So if you’d rather have cookware that doesn’t discolor and alter the flavor of your food, an anodized pan might be the better option for you.
But considering your cooktop, does anodized aluminum work on induction?
Having your aluminum pans undergo anodization will make them more durable and non-stick, but their base will remain non-magnetic, so they’re not suitable for an induction cooktop.
So if you’re planning to get some for your kitchen, make sure you pick ones that have a magnetic base.
Does cast aluminum work on induction?
If you’re familiar with the wonders of a cast iron skillet, an affordable and more lightweight version would be a cast aluminum pan.
It has a thicker base than your typical aluminum cookware, which allows it to have similar features as a cast iron. Aside from heat retention, it’s also versatile, so you can use it from your stovetop to your oven.
But unlike a cast iron pan, cast aluminum isn’t compatible with an induction cooktop since it doesn’t have a magnetic base. There are cast aluminum pans that are induction-ready. They’re just a bit more expensive.
But if you have the budget, most home cooks will prefer to get the cast iron over the cast aluminum. Granted, they’re pricier and heavier, but it’s their durability that makes them a worthy investment.
Plus, all cast iron cookware is induction-ready, so you don’t have to worry about its compatibility.
What metals don’t work with induction?
Now that you know that aluminum pots and pans aren’t compatible with an induction cooktop, other metal cookware you’ll need to refrain from buying is copper and some stainless steel pans.
Like aluminum, copper is also an excellent heat conductor; that’s why it’s a popular material for cookware. But unfortunately, copper is also non-magnetic, so it’s not suitable for an induction cooktop.
Some multi-layered stainless steel pans have a magnetic base incorporated into their design, while others don’t.
So if you’re not sure if your stainless steel pan is magnetic, you’ll usually find the induction symbol at the bottom. But if you can’t spot one, you can also check by using the magnet method.
How do you use aluminum cookware on an induction cooktop?
If the only aluminum pans available in your kitchen don’t have a magnetic base, that doesn’t mean you’ll have to throw away functional cookware.
The trick is to use an induction interface disk to convert electromagnetic energy so you can cook with non-induction cookware. For best results, make sure to use aluminum pans with a flat and solid base, so it’s easier for the heat to distribute evenly.
To use, you’ll only need to position the induction disk on top of your burner before your pan. Once everything is set up, you can then go ahead with cooking.
You can usually find induction interface disks online. But if you want to get them quicker, you can also look through your nearest kitchen supply store.
The final takeaway
Aluminum is one of the most common types of metal for creating cookware. Most home cooks and professionals prefer to have them in their kitchen because they’re lightweight, low maintenance, and affordable.
But if you’ve recently splurged on an induction cooktop, most of your aluminum pans will become nonfunctional because of their non-magnetic base.
But all hope is not lost as you can still get an induction interface disk so you can still cook with your aluminum cookware.
If the extra step isn’t for you, you can always invest in an induction-ready aluminum set. Enameled and cast aluminum cookware are also excellent options as they’re non-corrosive, lightweight, and versatile.
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