Induction cooking functions through creating a strong magnetic field between electric coils beneath the cook stove surface and the metal-based pot. For cookware to work well on induction cooktops it should have some ferromagnetic materials. It must contain iron or at least a metal layer that has magnetic properties.
It is the generated heat that warms the pot contents. Many home cooks and professional chefs prefer induction cooking as it heats foods more quickly and is more energy-efficient than electric or gas cooktops. For added safety, your cooking surface stays cool and the cooktop has been designed to be more responsive to temperature control changes.
Many types of stainless steel, cast iron and enamel cast iron are all induction compatible. However, not all metal types are induction compatible, for example, All-Clad’MC2 line (aluminum and stainless steel) is not.
However, it’s important to point out that it’s possible to safely use all your best cookware brands with any type of cookers like the traditional stoves, electric burners, and the entire gas range.
Best Material for Induction Pans and Pots
By the nature of their composition, some types of metals are induction safe. Cast iron and carbon steel, for instance, fall into this group of metals. In making induction cookware, stainless steel is the prime element. Among the most widely used materials include enameled cast iron, copper, aluminum, ceramic, etc.
Let us look at several specific materials:
Stainless steel is one material that will work very well with your induction cooker. The stainless steel cookware must contain some iron for it to be magnetic, a necessary condition if it is to work with induction cooktops. However, all types of stainless steel pans will not give you the same quality of cooking. For instance, the cheap ones tend to give uneven cooking.
You will get optimal results when you use some of the best stainless steel cookware and the premier choice when it comes to making cooking utensils is 18/10 stainless steel. Some makers apply copper or aluminum core with stainless steel. This helps in even cooking and makes the steel pan induction safe.
Aluminum Encapsulated (Spun Disk)
This wok class is also known as spun disk. Aluminum is an excellent conductor of heat. When the aluminium is encased (encapsulated) in stainless steel, the distribution of heat improves. The aluminum core will trap the thermal energy within the pan-base preventing dissipation through the air.
Tri-Ply Aluminium Core
In a clad or tri-ply pan, an aluminum core gets inserted between double stainless steel paths. These clad or tri-ply layers have the effect of making the structure homogenous all the way from the bottom to the pan/pot side-walls.
Some induction cookwares have a copper core that facilitates even heating. Copper is proven to provide better heat distribution than steel and aluminum. For best results, the copper core is sandwiched with either stainless steel or aluminum. The copper core distributes heat evenly thus facilitating even cooking.
5-Ply Copper Core
In this type of cookware, a copper layer is the core material. The cooper layer is wrapped on both sides by an aluminum layer. The aluminum layers are then impact-bonded between layers of stainless steel. When the induction cooker heats up, the copper core ensures you get even heat distribution. Copper core, however, tends to push up the induction cookware price range.
Cast iron comes with an extremely rich history as a very handy kitchen tool. One great attribute is its nonstick nature. To avoid food sticking, you could also use seasoned cast iron pans. A pan made of cast iron works well with any type of cooker whether the gas range or induction. Cleaning both seasoned and regular cast iron pans is easy. All you need to do is wet your pan using hot water and after some time, rub the pan using a sponge that is non-abrasive.
Among all types of induction pan, cast iron wok is luckily the cheapest. Nevertheless, you need to verify the weight of the pan prior to putting it on the glass cooktop. This will save your induction cooktop from getting scratched.
Enameled Cast Iron Wok
Cast iron woks tend to react to most types of acidic foods. Even a seasoned cast iron wok doesn’t solve this issue because the acid released during cooking harms the cast iron seasoned layer. Therefore when you regularly cook acidic foods, your seasoned pan layer will slowly get destroyed.
The solution to this problem is to opt for enameled cast iron cookware. Enameled cast iron woks come with porcelain coating which can safely cook any acidic food without destroying the pan base.
Carbon Steel Wok
Carbon steel pans work safely with induction burners. Some of the utensils you can use safely for induction cooking include carbon steel fry pans & skillets. These types of induction cookware are also very sturdy. By nature, carbon steel offers nonstick cooking. This group of cookware is a good choice if you want something lighter than cast iron. In addition, a pan made of carbon steel is cheaper than any other type of magnetic based cookware.
You may not believe it, but a stone built cookware functions just fine with your induction cook stoves. During induction cooking, the stoneware functions as good as cast iron. Stone cookware durability is certainly beyond doubt. Furthermore, the speckled texture makes it look very elegant. The stone cookware also comes with nonstick coating.
Granite cookware can also be used with an induction cook stove. This class of cookware is in fact, cheaper compared to stone cookware. It is constructed using a thin steel path that is coated with porcelain. It is easier to wash as it has a nonstick quality. However, cookware sets made of granite offer poor durability as the thinner steel core can deform because of regular use. The porcelain coating tends to strip off slowly.
Because induction cooking is gaining immense popularity, the options available to you are also huge. That is why I have decided to review 5 leading cookwares that are compatible with induction cooking so that you can make an informed choice.
A Complete Buying Guide - Induction Cookware
Are you in the market for an induction cookware set that is not only stylish and versatile but also very durable? Look no further! The Chef's Star Professional Cookware Set comes with everything that the chef in you will ever need! The set comes with 17 Pieces ensuring all your requirements are met adequately.
- The Chef's Star is built to last being made of 18/8 Commercial Grade Stainless-Steel and the bottom is encapsulated using impact-bonded Aluminum
- The handles have an ergonomic design, anti-slip satin finish, and for maximum durability, they are riveted to the pan
- The set is suitable for all cooking energy sources
- Dishwasher-safe, so no worries about hygiene and cleanliness.
Extremely sleek in design, the Chef’s Star is rated by Stainless steel cookware reviews as restaurant quality craftsmanship. The 17 piece set makes an entire kitchen’s worth of quality pans and pots in a single set. If you really want to bring your cooking experience to the next level, the Chef’s Star is the cookware set for you.
The T-fal Professional cookware set is rated among the best stainless steel cookware. It is completely compatible with all kinds of cooktop surfaces including induction. You can also use this set in an oven if the temperature doesn’t exceed 400 degrees. The straight, high sides and the small surface area of the saucepans are perfect when you want to boil, reheat or make sauces.
- The nonstick Prometal Pro interior is scratch resistant and exceptionally durable, and you can safely use it with a metal utensil
- The Silicone handles have been securely riveted onto the base of the pans and pots, and are ergonomically designed for a comfortable grip
- The T-fal Thermo-spot unique heat indicator will show you when the pan is perfectly preheated and ready for cooking
- This cookware set is dishwasher safe for cleaning convenience.
The non-stick fry pans are perfect for frying, searing, and tossing food. As an extra bonus, T-fal Professional cookware set has a 1-egg wonder, a small skillet perfectly sized for frying a single egg. Who could ask for more!
This stainless steel cookware is suitable for gas, induction, electric, and halogen cook stoves. The particular product design helps to keep the temperature at the same level throughout the pan surface as well as the sides. Stainless steel cookware reviews have rated the Duxtop Tri-Ply Whole-Clad Induction very highly as it has remarkable user benefits.
- The handle is riveted to the pans, it remains firm and cool as you cook
- Perfect handle that is easily gripped as you cook, offering more safety
- Cookware is suitable for both cooking purposes and refrigerator storage
- The cookware is oven-safe up to 550 degrees F
- Comes with lifetime limited warranty against defects from the manufacture.
The Duxtop Tri-Ply Whole-Clad Induction has a 3-bounded layers construction which gives it durability and longevity. The thick layer of aluminium core has been sandwiched between two layers of magnetic stainless steel. This is useful in spreading the heat evenly throughout the pan. This set is a very contemporary looking easy-to-use product from one of the best cookware brands.
This striking 13-Piece Cookware Set comes with an assortment of professional quality pans and pots to create gourmet meals for all. It has a complete range of pot sizes designed to suit your broad range of cooking needs. On the largest set end, you have an 8-quart stockpot, while at the other extreme you get the small 1-quart saucepan.
- It heats evenly to reduce any hot spots that could burn your food
- To give a more comfortable grip and enhanced heat resistance, the stainless steel handles have rubberized coverings
- This set is also dishwasher safe for added convenience
- Non-stick easy-to-clean surface even when you wash by hand.
For lasting durability, the Circulon Premier Professional has a heavy-duty hard-anodized construction. The thick bottom is excellent in retaining heat and also cooks evenly. You will encounter little problem with food sticking to the cookware. The Circulon Premier Professional is one of the best induction cookware sets and looks very pretty too!
The Duxtop Professional is suitable for all sources of cooking energy: gas, electric, infrared, and induction. Induction cookware reviews point out that this product is designed to last you a life time. Why? Because it is constructed using 18/10 commercial grade stainless steel alongside an impact-bonded aluminum heavy gauge encapsulated bottom.
Some of the great features include:
- The ergonomically shaped handle has an anti-slippery satin finish for your cooking safety
- For added durability, the handle has been riveted to the pan
- This set is oven safe up to 550°F and is completely dishwasher safe
- It has been designed to be freezer-safe so you can use it for food storage.
The cookware set pieces have a lovely shiny exterior that makes them look quite attractive in the kitchen. The pieces are not only very stylish but also functional as they heat up evenly and quickly because of the aluminium encapsulated heavy gauge bottom.
If you like the feel of some reassuring weight to your cookware, then the Duxtop Professional is your best choice.
Why Choose Induction Cookware?
Many induction cookers have incorporated Sustainable Smarts that boost sustainability points for these products. Some of the models even have sensors that will detect when you have placed a pan or pot on the cooktop. If in a set time frame the pan is not put back, the element automatically turns off.
Several higher-end models even detect vibration coming from boiling liquids and reduce heat automatically to a preset level, thus averting wasted energy and boil-over accidents. The same smart sensors may also detect the different boiling points of liquids like milk, oils, and soups, and then beep to alert you.
To all serious cooks, perhaps the most beneficial point about induction cooking is that it’s possible to instantly adjust the cooking heat and with great precision too. Before the advent of induction, the preferred choice was overwhelmingly gas over all other forms of electric cooking. This was because electric cookers experienced substantial "inertia" —when the heating setting was adjusted, the element only started increasing or decreasing its temperature slowly. With gas, however, when the element setting was adjusted, you would get instant energy flow.
However, with induction cooking, though the heat level is every bit as instantaneous as with gas, it has none of the numerous drawbacks associated with gas. These include the challenges of controlling and fine tuning the heat levels. The elements in induction cookers can be adjusted to very fine increments as the cooker maker decides to define during production.
Again, and very important to any serious chef—the induction elements can be set to run at low heat levels as would be appropriate for very gentle simmering, something that even gas may not achieve when you want extremely low heat.
Speed is the primary advantage of induction cooking. According to Sustainablog, your standard induction range can bring two quarts of water to boiling point in less than 5 minutes. A gas cook stove takes slightly over 8 minutes, while an electric ring takes about 10 minutes for the same task. Over long-term use, the saved time with induction cooking obviously results in real savings in terms of energy.
No Wasted Heat
When using some of the best cookware for induction products, almost all of the energy gets transferred directly to your cooking vessel by the magnetic field action. When using standard electric or gas cookers, first the energy is converted to heat and only then does it get channeled to your cooking vessel. In the process, lots of that heat actually goes to waste, warming up the kitchen instead of doing what it was intended to do, i.e., heating up your food.
For comparison purposes, according to The Induction Site, less than half (40%) of the energy in gas is used in actual cooking, whereas when it comes to induction 84% (or more) of the electric energy is used to cook. The differences in energy efficiency are clear!
Induction cooktops provide a very fast boil, estimated at being 50% faster compared to electric or gas burners. Even the U.S. Department of Energy. This is because induction heats faster and hotter, and is more powerful than both gas and electric. According to figures from the U.S. Department of Energy, a typical induction cook stove is 84% efficient compared to only 40% or a gas range.
Two noteworthy heat-related consequences arise from the above figures:
- Cooler kitchens: It is, of course, expected that your cooking vessel plus the cooking food itself will be radiating some of their heat into your space. However, when you compare that to what gas or other types of forms of electric cookers emit, induction cooktops will certainly give you a kitchen that is much cooler.
- Cool stovetop: Except directly under your cooking vessel, the stovetop itself hardly becomes warm. No more issues of getting your fingers burned; no danger when you got kids around; and no more baked-on spills.
Ease of Installation and Adaptability
Different from the majority of other types of cooking units, typically, in the vertical, induction units are very thin. Often they will not require more than two inches of depth underneath your countertop surface. When your kitchen space is designed to facilitate wheelchair access, an induction cooktop makes the matter very convenient and simple.
Burning gas has numerous by-products which though they get vaporized, eventually condense on some surface somewhere around or near your cooktop. Any form of electrical cooking, which also covers induction eliminates all such by-products which mess your kitchen.
I have already pointed out that your stovetop will stay cool throughout, no getting your finger nails roasted, and safer for young ones around the kitchen. You can actually turn your induction element to the "maximum" with no consequences!
If your kitchen needs to accommodate special needs like access by wheelchair, nothing can beat induction in terms of both convenience and safety. Furthermore, gas—the only real competition to induction—comes with its special risks, many of which may actually not be as well-known by users as they ought to be.
For example, while the risk of a gas blow out and gas escaping is relatively small, it nevertheless does exist, with potential danger ever present. However, a much bigger concern is in fact, the gas itself, even when everything seems to be working "right". All combustion inevitably releases toxic carbon monoxide! This is not going to happen when you are using an induction cook stove.
Induction cookware reviews have rated this form of cooking as the hottest new kitchen technology. Viewed from a sustainability point, induction ranges do compare very well, if not better, with gas burners. This is particularly so when you consider the fact that no heat is wasted.
Using induction cook stoves may require that you modify some of your cooking habits. For instance, there will be no more setting your pan of oil to be heating up as you chop those onions because the oil will be very hot in just a matter of seconds! Similarly, you must adapt to the habit of not picking up the pan when you want to flip the cooking food around as this could shut off the element and also damage the cooktop surface.
Perhaps this is the only consequential drawback associated with induction cooktops: the inability to function with certain types of cookware. They can only be used with specific cookware made of a ferromagnetic material such as stainless steel or cast iron, meaning that often, you may have to purchase new cookware.
However, I must point out that this is not really an inherent product flaw, but you could consider it to be a drawback if currently you have invested heavily in incompatible cookware. When all is said and done, induction cooking is the ultimate technology if what you seek is sustainability in the kitchen. It is without a shred of doubt a better choice over the standard electric cooker or the carbon footprint and expense associated with installing a gas line.
Product images sourced from Amazon.com