Do You Need A Specific Type Of Pan For An Induction Cooktop?

Whether you are renovating your kitchen, looking to purchase a new home, or simply need an updated cooktop, induction cooktops are a great option. Even though they have been around for a while, many are still a little confused by what they actually are. For starters, there are three main types of cooktops: induction, electric, and gas. While gas is the most traditional option, many are looking elsewhere to reduce costs and be more sustainable, per NPR. In fact, some places are even banning gas stoves. Given how similar electric and induction cooktops appear, many believe they are the same, but this isn't true.

Classic electric stoves have metal coils under the glass or ceramic surface that are heated by electrical currents. Induction cooktops, on the other hand, use electromagnetic radiation to heat the cookware placed on top of it (via Forbes). The cooking surface itself stays relatively cool to the touch and it's extremely efficient because 90% of the electricity consumed is used to cook the food. Given that the induction cooktop works by essentially creating a magnetic field between the coils underneath the cooktop and the cookware, specific pots and pans are needed, but which ones?

Ferromagnetic metals work best

While induction cooktops will cook food quite similarly to other types of cooking surfaces, a major difference is that they recognize cookware, meaning they will not heat up or turn on if nothing is on top of them. According to Allrecipes, cookware must be made with a ferromagnetic metal to be recognized by the induction cooktop. Ferromagnetic means that it is "magnetic in the fashion of iron," per Moley Magnetics. Although there are exceptions to the rule, a safe bet for compatible cookware is to go with cast iron or stainless steel. If you're not sure what material a pan is made out of, Consumer Reports notes that it is increasingly common for cookware to be labeled "induction-compatible," so be sure to check the labels before checking out.

When looking for cookware, be sure to find some with flatter bottoms so they can make full contact with the cooktop. According to The Spruce Eats, aluminum, all-copper, or glass cookware typically do not work on induction. However, certain manufacturers have started placing a magnetic layer onto the bottom of some of these pans to make them more versatile. Wondering if the cookware you own will work with an induction cooktop? Check to see if a magnet sticks to the bottom. If it does, you're ready to get cooking.