The Electric Stove Mistake That's Charring Your Food, And How To Pivot

Not all stoves are created equally, and there are some key differences between cooking on a gas versus an electric stove. In particular, you'll notice that electric stoves give you less heat control than gas ones. If you find yourself consistently charring your food on an electric stove, you might have forgotten that changing temperatures takes time. The flame on a gas stove instantly adjusts when you change the heat setting, allowing for quick temperature changes. But electric stoves take some time to heat up and cool down, resulting in a slower response. You might think you lowered the heat to low, but the electric stovetop is still on high until it cools down to that temperature, which can take anywhere between a few seconds to a couple of minutes. This gap could be what's burning your food.

The best fix for this issue is to switch burners. If you need to bring your boiling pot down to a simmer, turn on another burner and set it to low heat. Then you can simply move the pot over to that part of the stove, ensuring your meal doesn't accidentally overcook. If you need to kill the heat instantly — like when your pasta water is about to boil over — move the pot onto a cold burner to turn off the "flame." It's the easiest way to get a quick temperature change and save your meal.

Other ways to avoid scorching your food

If you want more protection from burning your food on an electric stove, you need to invest in your pots and pans. While electric stoves typically offer more even heat distribution than their gas counterparts, some pans are better at distributing heat than others while others are prone to creating hot spots, which can inadvertently burn your food. Examples of such cookware include unlined copper pots, thin aluminum pans, glass or ceramic pans, and nonstick pans with scratched or damaged coating.

To avoid that, invest in thick-bottomed cookware with multiple layers of prime heat-conducting materials, such as copper and aluminum. If you want to create a high-quality arsenal, your best bet is to stock up on cast iron pots and pans, Dutch ovens, clad stainless steel pots, and multi-ply cookware, which is made with several layers of different materials, such as stainless steel, aluminum, and copper. Cooking with these high-end tools will help you minimize the risk of burning your food on an electric stove.