Glass top stoves are made of a tough combination of glass and ceramic that forms a surface that’s both good looking and cooks evenly. They’re easy to clean and nearly foolproof to use – but they have one major drawback – they scratch. That’s why there are some pans you can’t use on a glass stove.
Below, I’ll cover everything you need to know about choosing the perfect cookware for your glass-top stove, and share details on what kind of cookware you should never use!
What Pans Can’t Be Used on a Glass Cooktop?
You should avoid using very heavy cookware on a glass-top stove since it can break the glass if you drop it. Plus, if you use heavy cookware, you’re more likely to drag it over the surface instead of picking it up. This will scratch the glass surface, especially if the cookware has a rough base.
There’s no category of cookware that you should avoid wholesale; even cast iron can be okay if it has a smooth underside (such as enameled cast iron). Check each individual piece for weight, balance, and a rough or uneven base. Use pans with stay-cool handles that you’re less likely to drop.
You should also make sure that your pots and pans for a glass stovetop have perfectly flat bases that are the same size as the burners.
Let’s look at these points in more detail.
Heavy pots and pans can break a glass cooking surface if you’re not careful. Most glass ranges are tested to a weight limit of 50 pounds. A five-gallon stock pot filled to the brim with water would weigh about 42 pounds – but that’s not something you’ll place on the stove very often! Still, it’s important to stay mindful of the overall weight load on your cooktop, especially if you are cooking multiple things at once.
Handling and moving heavy cookware is more difficult than light pots and pans. So, you’re more likely to drag them on the surface while trying to move them.
Accidents can also happen with any cookware. When your pots and pans are heavy, they’re more likely to cause damage and break the surface.
This may sound counterintuitive, especially since we just talked about the risks of heavy cookware. But lightweight cookware can also damage your glass stove’s surface. Lightweight cookware tends to move and slide over the surface more often while cooking, especially if the bottom of the cookware is slightly convex.
If the pan is lightweight, it may slide back and forth with every movement, leaving visible scratches on the glass over time. So, the cookware has to be heavy enough to remain stable and light enough not to crack the glass with its weight.
Cookware with Rough Bases
Pots and pans with unfinished and rough bases are the biggest no-no for a glass cooktop. They can scratch the glass surface with their rough textures. Cast iron and enameled cast iron are the biggest culprits, but watch out for induction plates set into aluminum cookware as well. These can be helpful because they stabilize the bottom of the cookware, reducing the warping risk, so the cookware can make better contact with the flat cooktop. But they can also create ridges on the bottoms of the pans that can scratch the glass.
Cookware with textured or rough bases also collects more grime and dirt than pans with smooth surfaces. The built-up grease on the crevices can melt at high temperatures and stain the glass surface. So, keep cookware clean to avoid these issues. Or better yet, buy cookware with smooth bases.
Cookware with Curved Edges
A surprising number of pots and pans have slightly convex exterior surfaces. (In other words, they would be slightly dome-shaped if you held them upside-down.) They don’t necessarily damage glass cooktops, but they don’t offer effective heating either. A pan with a perfectly flat bottom comes in full contact with the stove’s surface, heating up faster and more effectively.
If your glass stove is induction, it’s even more important to use cookware with flat bases. Induction requires direct and full contact with the stove’s surface, so a 100% flat bottom is a must.
Cookware That Doesn’t Match the Burner Size
Uneven heat can cause aluminum and carbon steel pans to warp and brittle cast iron pans to break in half. (I’ve seen it happen!) This most often occurs on a glass stove when the pan doesn’t match the burner size. Make sure your pan matches the size of the actual heating element under the glass; not just the marking on top of the glass. Sometimes the marking doesn’t show the exact placement of the actual electric burner.
Best Cookware Materials for Glass Top Stoves
You can use most cookware materials on a glasstop stove. But pots and pans with high heat tolerance, resistance to warping, and smooth bases are better choices.
Here are the best materials for glass top stoves:
In Detail: Best Cookware Sets for Glass Stovetops
Worst Cookware Materials for a Glass Stovetop
Using Cast Iron on a Glass-top Stove
Cast iron is one of the most controversial materials for glass top stoves, but it’s not inherently incompatible with glass. For some home cooks, it’s a hard pass because it’s heavy and the rough bottom can scratch the glass surface. On the other hand, some believe that nothing can keep them from using cast iron.
Cast iron requires seasoning and cooking with quite a bit of oil. This can leave residues all over your glass stove. But if you select cast iron cookware with smooth bases, avoid dropping and dragging it across your stove, and clean up oil messes right away, you can reap the benefits of cooking with cast iron on your glass stove.
Or consider a 2mm carbon steel pan – which is lighter weight, but performs very much like cast iron.
✅ All cooktops compatible
✅ High heat than stainless steel
✅ Oven safe up to 400°F
How To Keep Pans From Scratching Glass Cooktops
Scratches don’t affect your glass top stove’s performance, but they can make it harder to clean. Here are some tips to prevent scratching:
When I say that most cookware is compatible with glass cooktops, I mean electric cooktops, not necessarily induction. Make sure any cookware you purchase for an induction cooktop is marked induction compatible.
Some cookware manufacturers, like Xtrema, offer extra caution when cooking on electric or glass stoves. For example, they specify a maximum temperature or warn against dry cooking methods. Similarly, porcelain enamel can melt at high temperatures or with dry cooking. So, always check the manufacturer’s recommendations and product reviews for tips.
Best Cookware For Glass Top Stoves
If you’re looking for the best cookware for your glass range, here are some of my favorite options. These check the boxes to give your glass top stove the best chance at remaining in good shape.
Best Overall Cookware for Glass Stove: All-Clad D3
Set Includes: 8” and 10” fry pans, 2 qt and 3 qt saucepans with lids, 3 qt sauté pan with lids, 8 qt stockpot with lid, and 4 qt soup pot with lid
If you want a hardy set that can withstand high temperatures on your glass-top stove without worrying about warping, this set is for you. The tri-ply construction offers great heat distribution, and the flat bottoms make it perfect for a glass range.
The brushed exterior makes it easy to clean, preventing grease and gunk from building up.
Best Nonstick: Caraway Nonstick Ceramic Set
Set Includes: 10.5″ frying pan, 3 qt. saucepan with cover, 6.5 qt. dutch oven with cover, 4.5 qt. sauté pan with cover, 4 pan racks, and a lid holder with hooks
This set combines beauty and functionality, which matches well with a glass stove’s sleek design. The bottom is completely flat, so you’ll get even heating. The entire set weighs 32 pounds, which is within the range that a glass stove can tolerate. The fry pan weighs 1.68 pounds, and the saucepan weighs 2.85 pounds.
Since the set is ceramic-coated, be careful with the temperature; glass stoves can get hot enough to damage the coating. Thankfully, the pan heats so quickly you only need to use medium heat for most applications.
Most cookware is compatible with glass-top stoves. However, weight and design are more important than material. Heavy cookware with rough bases should be avoided since they can scratch or crack the glass. If your glass cooktop uses induction, then you need to look specifically for pots and pans with magnetic, induction-compatible bases.
If you have any questions or comments regarding glass-top stoves and compatible cookware, please share them below.
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