Out of all the revolutionary inventions of this century, induction cooking has to be in the top. At least, that’s what a majority of seasoned home cooks and professional chefs think. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you are one of them!
A few people do tend to confuse induction stoves with electric stoves whereas both of these rely on completely different mechanics to work. Unlike a gas or an electric stove-top, induction stoves work by creating a magnetic field between your pan and the coils beneath the surface top of the stove. The energy from this electromagnetic field heats up your pan and in turn, cooks your food.
This makes induction cooking an energy efficient and environment friendly option. Induction stoves heat up 50% faster than gas or electric stoves, significantly reducing the cooking duration of your meals and saving precious time that you could otherwise be spending with your loved ones.
Induction cooking is also much safer than traditional gas or electric cooking. The reason for this is that the surface of an induction stove stays cool due to targeted heat delivery to the pan. It’s also much easier to control the temperature at which you cook when using an induction stovetop resulting in better taste and textures in your food.
Another advantage of induction cooking is the safety of the portable cooktops. Since most dorms don’t allow gas or electric hotplates for cooking, a portable induction cooktop is the go-to choice for college students who like to cook. It is allowed in most dorms because of how safe it is.
Sadly, one downside of an induction stovetop is that not all cookware is induction ready or induction compatible. There are several ways you can check if your cookware is induction ready or not and I’m going to try and list all of them here to help you.
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Check Cookware Material
For cookware to be induction ready, the bottom of the pot or pan needs to be made of a material that has magnetic properties. Regular and enamel cast iron and some types of stainless-steel cookware are induction ready.
Not all types of stainless-steel cookware are induction compatible. The nickel in certain types of stainless-steel can block electromagnetic signals. If a pot or pan is made of a type of stainless-steel with too much nickel, it will definitely not work on an induction stovetop.
Glass, Ceramic, Aluminum or Copper cookware doesn’t work with induction cooktops either, unless it has a layer on the bottom that has electromagnetic properties.
Look out for the ‘Induction Compatible’ Symbol
Most cookware that is made of a non-compatible material probably does not have an induction ready bottom. But manufacturers are ensuring that newer versions of cookware are equipped to be induction ready. A good way to tell if the cookware you are about to invest in is induction ready is to check the packaging or the bottom of the pan.
The ‘Induction Compatible’ symbol that appears on the bottom of most induction ready pans is most often either a zig-zag line or a coil representing the coils in induction stovetops.
The Magnet Test to Check if your Cookware is Induction Ready
This is a simple test that can easily be conducted by using things that you probably already have at home. All you need is the pan that you need to test and a small magnet. You can even use your fridge magnet for this test if you want.
Just take the magnet and try to stick it to the bottom of the cookware that you need to test for induction compatibility. If the magnet sticks strongly to the bottom of the pan, congratulations, your pan is induction ready!
If the magnet sticks to the pan weakly and keeps moving or falling off, your cookware might not get you the best results when cooking with it on an induction stovetop. If the magnet does not stick to the pan at all, then it is definitely not induction ready.
If you are using a double-sided magnet make sure you use both sides of the magnet to ensure your results are correct!
A few induction stovetops come with a compatibility detection system. If you have one of these stovetops and want to test if your favorite piece of cookware is induction ready, turn the stove on and place the pan on top with a little bit of water in it. If the display flashes, that means your pan is not induction ready.
If your cookware is not induction ready and you don’t want to replace your entire set of pots and pans after investing in a new induction stovetop range, there is a way you can solve this problem too.
You would have to buy an induction disc. Induction discs, when placed between the bottom of a pan and the induction stovetop, heat up the food in the pan by transferring heat from the stove to the pan using conduction.
When going shopping for induction cookware, it’s a good idea to carry a fridge magnet with you so you can test the pots and pans there and then. Most induction ready cookware will probably have the ‘Induction Compatible’ coil sign on the bottom or on the packing as we discussed earlier. But in case it doesn’t, carrying a fridge magnet can eliminate all confusion for you.
Shopping online is actually a great way to purchase induction cookware since the detailed descriptions and reviews available make it much easier to make the right choice. You can simply check the product specifications for your selected cookware and if the set is induction ready, the manufacturer will have mentioned it there.
Whether you’re looking to make a new purchase of induction ready cookware or trying to figure out if your old pots and pans will work on your new induction stovetop, I hope this helped you figure it out. Let me know if you liked reading this in the comments.