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I'm struggling to find a solution for my apartments coil stovetop and its uneven heating. I've never run into the problem until I started working on my holiday hard candy recently. I can't keep the coils heating consistently at high temperatures. I need to measure the temperature but I can't do that when it varies drastically across the pot.

Is there anything I can do to buffer the heat from the coil before it gets to the pan?

I don't have any options for using a different stove so I need to make this work. I've considered some sort of heating stone that would help even the heat out but I figured that would take DAYS to heat up properly.

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Is the burner itself warped, so the pan sits at angle, or are you just noticing hot spots throughout your food while it's cooking? If the burner connectors are warped, replacing the plug-in burner is about $20, but if the socket where you connect it is the culprit obviously you've wasted that money. If all else fails maybe you could pick up a solo burner (mini-appliance with its own heat source)? –  MargeGunderson Nov 22 '12 at 3:16
    
The hot spots are appearing as a ring with the middle not to temperature. The coils on my stove don't go all the way to the middle so they only heat in a circle. Are solo burners safe enough to heat to that high of a temperature (~300°F)? –  Shawn H. Nov 22 '12 at 5:22
    
I'm not sure about these, other than they're usually rated at 1300-1800 watts. Obviously a different appliance, but my tiny electric skillet heats up to 400 degrees (quickly) and cooks evenly. –  MargeGunderson Nov 22 '12 at 18:26

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

A copper diffuser plate will help spread the heat more evenly.

Is it possible the coils are not all touching the bottom of your pot?

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I'll have to check one of those out. I'll post back when I have some results. –  Shawn H. Nov 22 '12 at 3:13
    
Or a disc of Aluminium –  TFD Nov 22 '12 at 4:41
    
Everything I read online mentions them being used for maintaining lower heat settings (simmer, etc.). Are these capable of handling the ~300°F needed for my candy making? –  Shawn H. Nov 22 '12 at 5:19

That's a real problem on electric stoves. Other than a diffuser as mentioned by @RyanAnderson, good cast-iron pots and pans will help distribute and hold the heat better, helping to smooth the fluctuations.

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I don't think you want to use cast-iron for candy making, but yes getting a thick bottom pot may solve the problem. –  Ryan Anderson Nov 22 '12 at 13:50
    
Better than having it burn, but ideally not. –  GdD Nov 22 '12 at 14:09
    
@RyanAnderson enamelled cast-iron is really good for candy-making. (I agree that I wouldn't use a seasoned CI pot). –  rumtscho Nov 23 '12 at 23:59

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