If you’re serious about decarbonizing your home, and you currently use a gas stove, you need to consider switching to induction cooking. It’s a great way have all the benefits of cooking with gas, without the health hazards and CO2 emissions that come from using fossil fuels to prepare your food.
But in order to cook with an induction stove, you need to have induction ready cookware. In this post we’ll walk you through the benefits of induction cooking and talk about the cookware you need to make it work for you.
Benefits of Induction Cooktops
The advantages of induction cooktops over other types of cooktops are many.
Faster Cooking Times
Induction cooking cooks food faster than other types of cooking surfaces. This is because the electromagnetic energy used to generate heat is transferred directly to the pot or pan rather than being lost in the air around it. Additionally, since induction cooktops can quickly reach high temperatures, they are great for searing meat or quickly boiling water.
Another benefit of induction cooktops is that they provide more even heating across the surface of the cookware. It means that hot spots will not form, and your food will cook evenly. Additionally, since the heat is generated directly in the pot or pan, there is less chance of burning food.
And cooking at super low temperatures, such as those needed to melt choclate, are a breeze on an induction stove.
Induction cooktops are also easy to clean. Since the cooking surface is smooth, there are no nooks and crannies for food to get stuck in, and spillages can be easily wiped away.
Induction cooktops are safer to use because they do not generate heat either on the surface of the cooktop in the surrounding area. This means that there is no risk of burns from touching the cooktop surface, which is particularly reassuring for home cooks with pets or young children.
Additionally, an induction cooktop will automatically shut off if no pan is present but do be careful of hot handles. Remember the cookware heats up, not the hob, and without the constant reminder of heat blasting up from the stovetop, it can be easy to forget that, if the handles are made of the same ferrous metal as the pan, they will get hot too.
Either use a tea towel or oven glove whenever you touch the handle, or purchase a cookware set with handles made of non-ferrous materials.
Induction cooking is also much more energy efficient since heats up more quickly and does waste energy heat up the hob surface and the air around it.
How Induction Cooking Works
But if you are thinking of making the switch, It’s important to know that your current cookware set may not work on an induction stove.
This all has to do with how induction cooking works, which is completely different from the way traditional gas and electric stoves do. For as long as anyone can remember, stove tops worked by applying direct heat underneath the pots and pans, which then heated them from the bottom and cooked the food inside them.
Induction cooking is completely different. It uses a process called electromagnetic induction to generate heat. An electric current is passed through a copper coil beneath each hob. This creates a magnetic field, which connects with the magnetic properties of the pan sitting right above it, causing the pan to heat up.
The hob plate itself does not heat up, just the pan that’s sitting on it.
But in order for this to work, the pan needs to have magnetic qualities. In other word is needs to be ferrous, having iron as its core ingredient. A cast iron skillet would work, as would stainless steel. But Aluminum, copper and ceramic cookware generally doesn’t work, at least not without some creative workarounds, which we’ll get to later.
What is Induction Ready Cookware
Induction ready cookware is specially designed to work with induction stoves. First and foremost, that means they are made of magnetic materials.
While induction cookware is designed for use on induction stoves, that does not mean that it can not be used on conventional cook tops. If you put them on a traditional electric or gas stove they’ll heat up just like regular pots and pans.
One word of warning, though. Induction cookware sets often have a thinner stainless steel construction and may not be as durable if they’re used regularly on a non-induction stove. And if a pan were to warp from too much direct contact with an open flame, it might not work as well when it is later used on an induction stove.
That’s because, for best results, induction ready cookware also needs to have a flat bottom and match, at least approximately, the size of the hob they’re sitting on. For this reason, Woks are not typically induction ready, even if they’re made of steel. Get used to cooking up stir fry in a flat-bottomed skillet or frying pan.
Induction Adapter Plates:
If you really can’t live without your wok, or if you have another favorite pan that is not induction ready, you don’t have to discard it if you have an induction stove. Induction adapter plates can be used with non-magnetic pots and pans. These plates create a magnetic field that allows the induction cooktop to heat them up. They then work just like a hob on a traditional electric stove, passing heat to the pan through conduction.
Can You Use A Moka pot On An Induction Stove
If you’re a coffee-lover, you may have Moka pot. It’s a small appliance used to make espresso-style coffee.
One question we often get is whether a moka pot will work on an induction stove.
Moka pots are usually (but not always) made of aluminum. Those that are do not work on an induction cooktop — but that doesn’t mean they can’t be used. Again, the induction adapter plate will come to your rescue, heating your water through conduction, rather than induction (the coffee tastes just the same).
If your Moka pot is made of stainless steel, however, then it is induction ready and will work just fine on an induction stove.
So whether you’re looking for new cookware or trying to use what you already have, there are options available for making your pots and pans induction ready.
How Do You Know If Your Cookware Is Induction Ready?
So how can you tell if your pots and pans will work with an induction cooktop?
The Label On The Cookware
The first thing to look for is a label or stamp that shows the cookware is induction ready. Many manufacturers are now producing induction-compatible cookware, so it should be relatively easy to find pots and pans that work with your induction cooktop.
Check With a Magnet
Another way to tell if your cookware is induction ready is to check the base. Induction cooktops create a magnetic field that generates heat, so the cookware must be made of a magnetic material like cast iron or stainless steel. If a magnet sticks to the bottom of the pan, it will work with an induction cooktop.
Are Non-Stick Pans Induction Ready?
Any pan that passes the “magnet test” can be used on an induction stove, and that includes non-stick pans. The coating that gives a pan its non-stick qualities is, after all, only on the inside of the pan.
Another interesting read: The Dangers of Cooking With Gas
So, if you’re ready to go jump in to induction cooking, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go out and buy all new induction-ready cookware. Many of the pots and pans you already own may work just fine. But if not, there plenty of inexpensive induction cookware sets that will serve you well.