Induction cooktops are becoming increasingly popular with home cooks and for good reason. Unlike standard gas or electric cooktops, induction cookers heat the cooking pans only. This means the cooktop and the area around it remain cool to touch. Not sure about induction cooking? Here I cover what you need to know; how to use an induction cooker and more.
About Using An Induction Cooker
Not only is the induction cooking system more efficient than traditional cooktops but families feel safe with the cooktop and surrounds remaining cool to touch while the cooking is in process. Only the pans are heated.
I wrote about portable induction cooktops where you’ll find more benefits of this type of cooking system.
If you decide to invest in an induction cooker, there are a few considerations you might want to know.
What this covers…
- How induction heating works
- About using nonstick cookware on induction cookers
- How to clean an induction cooker
- How to keep your induction cooktop free of scratches
How Does Induction Heating Work?
Induction uses magnetism to generate currents and this creates heat. 1
What makes this particular form of heating different from all the others used for cooking? The heat is generated inside the object — in this case, your cooking pan – rather than from an external burner.
Heating your cookware in this way requires a high rate of vibration for enough energy to cook food.
To achieve this, induction cooktops have a series of electronic devices to increase the current and frequency so that a high-frequency AC passes through the induction coil to produce a rapidly alternating magnetic field. (The devices and wiring are designed to ensure home and appliance safety).
This particular type of heating needs an iron-containing material to produce the heat. 1 Iron conducts electricity but it is a relatively poor conductor. In other words, it has enough resistance that the current converts to heat.
Most of the heat used to cook food on an induction cooktop comes from this electrical resistance, and the rest comes from heat generated by changes in the magnetic structure of the cookwareHowStuffWorks.com 1
So, you’ll need to make sure that you’re using pans that are ‘induction ready’ cookware for the process to work.
About Using Cookware With Induction Cooktops
Always use the correct pan size to cover the coil and center the pan so it completely covers the coil.
Ensure the pans sit well and contact the cooktop. This means using only flat-bottomed pans as these will sit level.
To avoid any current flowing through your body, use only nonmetal spoons or utensils, e.g. made from bamboo or silicone.
Can We Use a Non-Stick Pan On Induction Stove?
Non-stick cooking pans have become a feature in most modern kitchens, helping at-home cooks produce the low-fat healthy meals and easy cleanup. I write about this in my guide to ceramic nonstick cookware.
However, not all nonstick cookware is suitable for use on an induction cooktop. These cooktops need a special type of base in the pan to function properly, which means you’ll need to look for specific pans.
The type you need is typically branded ‘induction ready’. This means these pans are ready for all types of induction cooking.
Cast Iron For Induction Stoves
Does cast iron work on induction? Cast iron is one cookware type that you can use on induction cooktops.
Other Induction Ready Cookware
Due to the rise in the popularity of induction cookers, many popular brands now make these types of pans suited for cooking on these cooktops.
Cuisinart is one brand with induction ready cookware. It is a trusted name in the home cooking world and so is worth considering if you want a product that will work for you for years to come.
How To Clean An Induction Cooker
One of the biggest concerns people who are considering buying an induction stovetop typically have is the cleaning process.
While induction stoves are actually simple to clean, there are certain concerns such as scratches and scrapes that you’ll want to avoid when cleaning.
To properly clean an induction stovetop, first, use a damp sponge to wipe away any cooking residue that might be left after the stovetop has had enough time to cool down.
Find an induction-safe stovetop cleaner such as Cerama Bryte (you can get this at Amazon – see here) and rub down the stovetop until the surface is completely clean.
Once this is done, you’ll simply want to use a dry cloth or kitchen rag in order to completely dry off the surface.
The thing that will help make this process infinitely easier is a quality cleaning product.
Make sure that you avoid things such as chlorine bleach-based cleaners, metal cleaning pads, dishwashing agents, or powdery cleaners that could damage your induction surface.
How Do I Keep Scratches Off My Induction Cooktop?
Scratches can be a serious concern for people with induction cooktops as they can be both a safety hazard and have a serious impact on the efficiency of your cooking device.
There are certain steps that you can take to prevent scratches from appearing in the first place.
First, make sure that you only use liquid-based cleaners for your stovetop. Powdered cleaners typically come with a number of harder particles that could damage the glass surface as you rub the cleaner around.
Additionally, you’ll want to check the bottoms of all your pans to make sure they aren’t scratched, as the rough, sharp edges could damage the area underneath them.
If this is a concern, you can try placing a piece of parchment paper between your pans and your stovetop, which will give you an added layer of protection without you having to worry about heat resistance.
If you’ve noticed that scratches have started to form, you could try scrubbing them down with a damp microfiber cloth and then adding a bit of induction-specific cooktop cleansing cream, which will help fill in and remove those scratches before they get any worse.
- Nicholas Gerbis”How Induction Cooktops Work” 9 December 2009. HowStuffWorks.com. Accesssed 27 October 2019.