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Cookware to Use on the Cooktop

Induction cooktop with a skillet and vegetables

Using the right cookware means you get to be a boss in the kitchen. Never again deal with food taking too long to cook, or getting inconsistent results because you didn’t use the right cookware. Proper pans reduce cooking time, use less energy, and cook food more evenly. So you can whip up that perfect dish each and every time.

Cookware Types

No matter what type of cooktop you have, certain things are required for optimal cooking. Any pots or pans you use should have: a flat bottom, straight sides, a tight fitting lid, a balanced handle (not so heavy that it tilts the pan), and should also be the proper size, and a heat conducter.

Proper size is important. Your cooktop has multiple burners/elements of different sizes. Cookware should only be used on matching burners/elements. Some elements have a minimum and maximum size that anything between is okay.

Induction cooktops also have a special requirement: cookware must have a magnetic base. This can be tested with any magnet. The magnetic portion of the base should match the size of the element used.

Cookware Materials

Never slide a pot across an electric or induction cooktop. Always pick it up and place it.

Some cookware materials are more damaging than others, but they can all damage or stain the ceramic cooktop surface if you slide cookware across it.

  • Aluminium: Is not magnetic. Heats up very quickly. Some types of food will cause the aluminum to darken. (Anodized aluminum cookware resists staining & pitting.) May leave marks if slid across a ceramic surface.

  • Brass: Is not magnetic. Not recommended.

  • Cast Iron: Is magnetic. However, it can be very damaging to ceramic cooktops if slid across the surface, so use with care. Heats slowly, but is excellent at retaining heat for cooking at the same temperature for long periods.

  • Copper: Is not magnetic. Heats up quickly, but discolors very easily. May leave marks if slid across a ceramic surface.

  • Enamelware: Magnetism and performance varies based on the base material. Porcelain enamel coating must be smooth to avoid scratching ceramic cooktops.

  • Glass/Ceramic: Is not magnetic. Heats slowly. Not recommended on ceramic cooktop surfaces because it may scratch the glass. Only use glass cookware that is specified for range top cooking or oven use.

  • Stainless Steel: Is usually magnetic (manufacturer will typically label if appropriate for induction cooking). Heats slowly and has uneven cooking, however it is durable, easy to clean, and resists staining.

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