What To Know Before You Use Cast Iron On An Electric Stove

A good cast iron pan or Dutch oven is a thing of beauty. Properly seasoned to a shining luster that is practically nonstick, cast iron is capable of many things — just be sure to follow our tips for cast-iron cooking. The weighty metal is able to retain copious amounts of heat and distribute it evenly to foods. What's more, it works just as well on the stovetop as it does in the oven; it's nearly unstoppable. So, crank up the gas and let her rip, right? Oh, but what if you don't have a gas range but rather electric burners or a glass-top electric range?

Rest assured that you can absolutely use your cast iron in conjunction with an electric range, you just need to follow our tips and be mindful of the differences that arise when compared to a natural gas burner. Gas is treasured for the amount of control it affords cooks and chefs; you can literally see the intensity of the flame that appears at the flip of a knob. With electric burners, patience is key as it takes a while for the power to heat the coils to the right temperature. Thus, it's going to take a bit longer for your cast iron vessel to come to temperature. Keep in mind, too, that contact is key. Don't keep lifting the cast iron to check on how it is heating, as this will slow the whole process.

Just be gentle

Another worry for those with glass top ranges is that a heavy cast iron cooking vessel is going to wreak havoc on their stovetop, potentially scratching it to shreds or altogether shattering the heat-conducting glass. While these scenarios are not beyond the realm of possibility, all that is required to prevent them is a healthy dose of kitchen mindfulness. It can be tempting to glide pans around that smooth, unobstructed surface from one eye to another as cooking dictates, but resist the urge with cast iron — really, with any pan — and instead carefully lift the skillet or Dutch oven and gently set it on another burner. Your mantra should be: Just Be Gentle.

Now for the good news: Gas is great for its quick response time and thorough heating, but that is not to say that electric ranges don't get the job done. If you leave your cast iron skillet undisturbed atop an electric range, the beautiful, even heating of the eye will render a pan that is thoroughly heated with less-pronounced hot spots. The result is a well-balanced cook surface that needs far less tending, especially when browning or searing meat.