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Induction Cooking: What’s the Right Cookware to Use?

Induction cooktops offer fast and efficient cooking by using electromagnetic energy to transfer heat to magnetic cookware. However, not all cookware is created equal, and only the right pots and pans will be suitable for use with an induction hob. Everything you need to know about how induction works and what cookware to choose for faster meals is here in our induction cookware guide.

Related: Ready to upgrade your cooktop to induction? Check out KitchenAid’s induction lineup.

If you’re looking for the hottest trends in cooking, check out our “Range Buying Guide.”

First, Let's Talk About What Electrical Induction Is

Electrical induction is a shortened form for electromagnetic induction. The way it works is that the cooktop has electrical coils under each cooking zone (usually indicated by circles). When the cooktop is turned on, the electricity passes through the coil and creates a high-frequency alternating magnetic field on the top.

When an appropriate pan is placed on top of the cooking zone, the magnetic field creates an eddy current in the metal, heating it up. The pan’s metal bottom will then conduct heat onto the food (and on the cooking surface itself). If you’re curious to learn more about induction cooking, check out the full guide that covers Everything You Need to Know about Induction Cooking.

Do I Need Induction Compatible Pots and Pans for My Induction Cooktop?

Yes, you do. Since induction relies on a ferromagnetic metal to induct the heat, pans need to have sufficient iron content. Induction cookware may have multiple layers of ferromagnetic metal on the bottom (and sometimes the sides) to help the induction process. If a pan doesn’t have any ferromagnetic metal present, the cooktop essentially won’t detect that it’s on the burner and no heat will be produced.

Here are the main types of induction pots and pans:
  • Cast iron
  • Enameled steel
  • Magnetic stainless steel or multi-ply with ferrous layers designed specifically for induction cooking
You won’t be able to cook on an induction cooktop with these:
  • Glass
  • Ceramic
  • Some aluminum or copper (without ferrous bottoms)

How to Test if Your Cookware Is Induction Compatible

You can check cookware to see if it has a stamped electric coil spring sign on the bottom. This stamp means it is induction compatible.

Not all pots and pans come with accurate stamps, which can make it hard to gauge their induction capabilities. The easiest way to check is to use a magnet. If the magnet sticks to the pot’s base, that means there is a ferromagnetic metal inside, and it will work with an induction cooktop.

Other Tips for Induction Cookware

When you’re on the lookout for new induction cookware, guide your choices by your cooktop element size. Induction pots and pans will usually have a magnetic layer built into the entire base, so pick cookware with a base the same size as the cooktop elements. This will maximize the heating potential.

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