Induction cooking is all the rage right now, and I am totally here for it! The energy you conserve using induction cooktops can save you so much money in the long run. In my eyes, making the switch to induction is a no-brainer.
Unfortunately, not all cookware is suitable for use on these innovative cooktops. Some of your existing cookware may work on it, but that comes down to what material it’s made out of. If it doesn’t, you will need to invest in some new induction-compatible cookware. But don’t worry; I am here to guide you through exactly what materials work on induction so you can buy the perfect pans for this cooktop.
In this article, I will give you the lowdown on precisely what induction cooking is and which cookware you can use on it. Then, I’ll recommend seven of the best induction-compatible cookware products on the market right now.
What is the Best Pan to Use on an Induction Cooktop?
Induction-compatible cookware must contain a ferrous (magnetic) metal like steel or iron at the base for it to function on your induction cooktop. The metal could make up the whole pan or be inset into the base of a nonmagnetic cookware material – like aluminum.
My top pick for induction cookware is the Made In Stainless Steel Cookware Set because it has every pan you need constructed from heirloom quality 5-ply stainless steel.
Made In Stainless Steel Cookware Set– Best Induction Cookware Set
If you need an all-in-one induction suitable set, then the Made In Stainless Steel Cookware Set is the answer to your prayers. This 10-pc set provides you with every pan you could need-constructed from fully clad, 5-ply stainless steel. This design sandwiches aluminum between layers of stainless steel to heat these pans quickly. I find this, combined with the induction’s heating speed, cuts my cooking time down significantly.
Even though the pans are made from heavy gauge stainless steel, the heaviest pan is only 4lb, so they are super light to maneuver. This is an important factor for me because heavy pans can easily scratch up my induction cooktop.
Tramontina Tri-Ply Base Nonstick Frying Pan– Best Induction Frying Pan
This Tramontina Tri-ply Base Frying Pan is my go-to for frying anything on my induction cooker. Since it heats up so quickly and evenly, I love using it to cook steak and eggs. It’s only 5lb, but it sits very firmly on the cooktop (even when I leave it unattended for a moment) which is important for your induction to work correctly.
What I love about this pan is that it’s super effective at a great price point. This pan’s lifetime warranty ensures it will last you just as long as a high-end frying pan if you take care of it.
But one factor I need to point out is that the 12” measurement is taken from the edge of the pan, not the base of the pan. Since this pan has such high, flared sides, it makes the cooking surface significantly smaller than I expected.
GreenPan Valencia Pro Hard Anodized Stock Pot– Best Induction Stock Pot
I can’t stand waiting forever for pasta water or soup to come to a boil, but I never have to worry about that with the GreenPan Valencia Pro Hard Anodized Stock Pot. I love the fast heating quality of hard anodized aluminum, but most aluminum pans don’t work with induction.
Thankfully, this pan is fitted with GreenPan’s “Magneto” induction technology base to solve this issue. This thick base is made from copper reinforced with ferromagnetic particles that make it induction-compatible, so you can have the best of both worlds.
The Magneto technology, along with GreenPan’s ceramic Thermolon nonstick coating, is the reason this pan won Good Housekeeping’s Sustainable Innovation award for 2023. I think all these factors make this pan a no-brainer for efficient induction cooking. I should also add that the nonstick coating is PTFE-free, which is a huge selling point for anyone looking to avoid Teflon.
Caraway Ceramic Nonstick Cookware– Best Ceramic Nonstick Induction Cookware
This Caraway Ceramic Nonstick Cookware Set first caught my eye because of how beautiful it is. I mean, who can resist a beautiful matching cookware set in a trendy color? But this set has more to offer than just looks. This 12-pc set is super versatile and offers you every pot you could need, along with some space-saving storage items into the bargain. I especially like the inclusion of a Dutch oven, which is often missing in these sets.
Like the GreenPan stock pot I mentioned, this Caraway set is aluminum with a hybrid stainless steel base that makes it work on induction. But what finally sold this set for me is the ceramic nonstick coating. The ceramic nonstick is free of harmful chemicals like PFOAs or PTFE. Fast heating, duction-ready, and free from forever chemicals? Sign me up!
Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven– Best Induction Dutch Oven
As an avid slow cooker, I need a Dutch oven in my cookware arsenal, no matter what cooktop I’m using. This Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven is a great option because it’s cheaper than its competitors, but the quality is just as good as shown by third-party testers. I love starting a dish in my Dutch oven on the induction cooktop, finishing the cooking in the oven, and then serving straight out of the pot, family style. This pan is perfect for that!
Although enameled cast iron is the perfect cookware material for induction, it does have its downsides. This pan weighs a heavy 15lb, so it’s difficult to move around, especially for those who have mobility issues. The weight also means that this Dutch oven can scratch the surface of your induction. You can avoid this by placing it down carefully and not moving it while it’s on the stovetop.
Lodge Cast Iron Skillet– Best Induction Cast Iron Skillet
While you’re checking out that Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch oven, why not treat your eyes to Lodge’s raw cast iron selection? Just like enameled cast iron, raw cast iron is naturally magnetic, so it’s ideal for use on an induction.
This Lodge Cast Iron Skillet is incredibly well-reviewed by reviewers and customers alike, and I completely agree. More expensive brands like Staub and Le Creuset both have great raw cast iron skillets on offer but for a much steeper price. Since this pan isn’t enameled, there is no reason to spend the extra cash just for the name. This pan seamlessly transitions from induction to an open flame, so you even bring it camping with you.
The only downside to this pan, and all raw cast iron pans, is that it is reactive. This means it will leach iron into your food, especially when cooking acidic food, which will cause a metallic aftertaste.
Yokusata Carbon Steel Wok– Best Induction Wok
In my opinion, no kitchen is complete without a good wok, and the Yokusata Carbon Steel Wok is one of the best.
I thought I’d have to give up wok cooking because of my induction cooker, but it turns out that all I needed was the right wok. Carbon steel is magnetic, so it’s perfect for induction. But it needs a flat, well-balanced base like this one to make a solid connection with the induction plate. Once the wok is in place, it will provide an even heat that reaches all the way up the sides of the pan.
I must admit that I miss being able to roll my wok around on the plate in the typical stirfrying motion, but once you adapt your technique, this wok will work just as well as the traditional round-bottomed versions. I recommend using a wooden or silicone spatula to flip the food within your pan rather than moving the oan itself.
How to Buy Induction Cookware
What is Induction Cooking?
The magic of induction cooking is all due to the simple science of magnets. Now, saying that, don’t think that your pan will magnetically attach to your cooktop; the magnetic activity is going on at a molecular level.
Regular electric cooktops use electricity to heat the plate, which, in turn, heats the pan. Induction cooktops use an electromagnetic field to heat the pan rather than the cooktop itself. But this magnetic field is only created when the pan is in contact with the cooktop. You can turn your induction cooker up to full, but it will not produce heat until you place the pan down. Once the magnetic pan comes into contact with the induction, an electromagnetic current is created. This field causes friction forces called Eddy currents that heat the pan. Once the pan is removed, a little residual heat from the pan will remain, but it will dissipate quickly.
Since solid contact between the pan and the cooktop is so key, it’s important to buy pans made from heavy gauge materials that won’t lift off the surface or warp. Another good tip is to always use a pan that matches the size of your burner. The cooktop will only heat the metal that makes contact with it, so using a pan that is too large for the plate can cause uneven heating.
Benefits of Induction Cooking
Induction cooking has become increasingly popular over the last few years because of how much energy it conserves. These cooktops don’t need to be preheated, which already speeds up the cooking process. They will also heat your pan very fast compared to electric or gas, so your overall cooking time will be cut down significantly. This swift heat can take some getting used to, so you will need to adjust your cooking techniques slightly for these cooktops.
Having a full induction cooktop installed in your house is a costly investment, but it will save you money on electricity in the long run. Induction cooktops are 90% energy efficient, while electric is 74%, with gas trailing behind at 40%.
But if you’re not in the position to buy a whole new stovetop, some induction cooktops are sold as small tabletop appliances that are easy to store away.
I can’t tell you how often I used a movable induction cooktop as a chef; it gave me the freedom to set up a cook station in any available spot, as long as I had access to a wall plug. Then, when I was done, I could neatly pack it away on a shelf and have my whole countertop free for rolling out cookie dough.
Duxtop 1800W Portable Induction Cooktop
What Materials Can You Use On Induction Cooktops?
As you can see, the material a pan is made out of is the determining factor for whether or not it is induction-compatible. The metal must be magnetic to function on an induction.
The quality of the pan also makes a big impact because less magnetic material means the pan will not function as efficiently. A light gauge pan is also more likely to be unbalanced and lift off the plate slightly, which will break the connection and cause you to lose heat.
Here is a breakdown of what materials are induction-compatible:
|Cookware Material||Induction compatible?|
|Raw cast iron||Yes|
|Enameled cast iron||Yes|
|Hard anodized aluminum||No|
|Ceramic coated nonstick – aluminum base||No|
|Ceramic coated nonstick-stainless steel||Yes|
Saying that, many brands use a hybrid design that makes incompatible materials usable on an induction cooktop. This usually takes the form of a ring or disk of stainless steel set into the base of the pan. With this feature, theoretically, any material can be made induction-compatible.
How to Tell If a Pan is Induction Compatible
When you’re buying new cookware, the packaging will indicate whether or not it is induction-compatible. But if you need to test your existing pots or a thrifted item, there are a few tricks you can try.
Start by looking at the bottom of your pan. There should be a series of symbols or text describing what cooktops it will work on. The induction symbol resembles four loops of wire.
Another easy way to tell is to place a magnet on the bottom of the pan; if it sticks, it’s magnetic and, therefore, induction-compatible.
I love cooking on induction because it streamlines the cooking process and saves me money. I hope this roundup has inspired you to invest in some great cookware to pair with your induction cooktop.
#1 Recommendation: Made In Stainless Steel Cookware Set
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