3

Let me just clarify I'm not asking for specific brands, but features.

We just got an induction stove and I want to pick up some new pots/pans etc. I know that I have to pick induction-safe materials. But beyond that, is there anything to consider different from the considerations when buying pans and pots for a gas or resistive stove?

  • Hello Merk, I am afraid I had to edit your question severely. The alternative would have been to close it outright. "Which sizes and types pans and pots do I need" is not something we can answer, it is both opinion based and too broad. If you already know what exactly you need, we could tell you which features to look for, but for pans etc. it's very likely a duplicate. So the only thing left from your question is the induction angle. I know it's disappointing, but the other question is really not answerable on a Stack Exchange site. – rumtscho Dec 11 '15 at 10:08
  • Sorry I thought something general like that would be an OK question. Do you want to delete this question and I'll try to ask a more specific one or should I just edit this? I was deliberately being broad before since I was curious what would be considered a good all purpose starter set of cookware. But I can be more specific if I need to. – merk Dec 11 '15 at 10:20
  • Now that there are good answers to the question as it is, please don't delete or edit it. It is interesting information and additional reputation for you and for the people who took time to answer. If you have a different wording in mind which will go away from the unanswerable "what pans do I need", you are welcome to ask a new question separately from this one. – rumtscho Dec 11 '15 at 17:00
  • Actually, I think Lars gave me enough good info that I don't really need to ask another question :) Thanks – merk Dec 11 '15 at 19:09
3

I will skip everything that does not work on an induction range, as it is pretty obvious when you purchase cookware whether it is marked as suitable for induction or not.

The benefit of induction is an immediate start and stop of energy transfer, from the point of view of the cook. There are other benefits, like safety, but we focus on cooking here. For a two-hour stew, it really doesn't matter whether you use induction or anything else.

Material-independent

Your cookware should really, really match the size of the induction plates, as all induction stoves check the flow of current and disable the induction plate, if there is something wrong. You can use larger cookware, but this increases the uneven heating.

So, buying a full set of cookware is often a bad idea, you will always end up with something that doesn't quite fit. So triple-check the diameter of your induction plates with the cookware. (Also, you always end up with something that you never use in such a set and with one particular pan that you always use and that is always dirty when you need it. Match the cookware with your cooking habits and servings.)

Stainless steel

For stainless steel, there are three available bottoms. The least expensive stainless steel products will be usually made out of type 3xx series with nickel, have no core at all and will not work on induction anyway. Cookware out of 4xx series stainless steel will work on induction, but this cookware is not as resistant to corrosion. I do not recommend either cookware.

The mid-range items will have a noticeable disk attached to the bottom of the cookware. This is a layer of magnetic steel and a slice of aluminium. Some manufacturers put a thin-layer of copper in there too. This is just marketing and has no noticeable effect. If it's a noticeable disk on the bottom, avoid it - it will work, maybe you won't even notice anything bad, but you will lose the benefits of the induction.

Then you have the standard sandwich bottoms. The inner layer is full 18/10 stainless steel, while the outermost layer is 18/0 magnetizable stainless steel and the middle layers are made out of aluminium, to distribute the heat. This is a sandwich bottom with an aluminium core. Again, some manufacturers will declare their core as being made out of 5 or more layers of aluminium, but this is again just marketing. Aluminium core is okay. This is the choice if you don't want to waste money, but do need to be price-conscious.

Finally, you have sandwich bottoms with a copper core. They are like the standard sandwich bottoms, but with a copper core between two aluminium layers. The mean thing is though now - manufacturers are smart, so they often make a standard sandwich bottom with a tiny layer of copper. This is not the same as a real copper core though.

If you want to reap most of the benefits of an induction stove and want stainless steel products, you need to get something with a copper core. Again, it is completely fine to get other stainless steel products that are suitable for induction cooking.

Cast-iron

Most cast-iron cookware producers will warn about scratching, because cast-iron will never be as flat as a steel/aluminium bottom. If you are worried and must slide the cast-iron cookware on an induction stove, there is a simple solution: parchment paper between the stove and the pan.

Otherwise, there is nothing special about cast-iron on induction.

  • Thanks for all that info. In regards to getting something with a copper core - is there some specific verbiage i should look for that will tell me a 'real' copper core versus a cheap/thin one? – merk Dec 11 '15 at 19:13
  • @merk Not really, that's the tricky part. Also all manufacturers have "cheap" basic product lines with thin layer. But... the price tells you. The rip-off happens more in the bottom disk area though, where they sell you a stainless steel product with attached disk for the price of a sandwich bottom. This is where money/value is questionable. For sandwich bottoms with copper core, your budget will limit the thickness, any major price difference will be due to the material, so you can safely get what your budget allows. – John Hammond Dec 11 '15 at 19:55
4

The things you need in a good induction pan are:

  1. The metal must be iron/steel, because induction stoves work using magetic fields
  2. they need a good sized flat section on the bottom, this is so that the material of the pan is as close to the field generator in the stove

When shopping for induction pans bring a magnet, if it sticks to the bottom of the pan it should work on your induction stove.

4

Considerations that apply to glass-ceramic cooktops also apply with induction:

-Bottom should be relatively smooth so it does not scratch or break the cooktop

-Bottom should be relatively flat (more important compared to gas, but less important compared to cast-iron electric)

-Bottom should have a heat capacity suitable to the task (since the cooktop does not provide its own thermal mass)

Induction-specific:

-Check WHICH parts of the cooking vessel will actually be heated - an aluminium pan with a steel disc embedded in the bottom will behave differently (probably slower) than an all-iron pan...

-Induction-SAFE is a misnomer... an induction cooktop is unlikely to damage the cookware, but it might not work or work well. Some pessimal combinations might stress the induction stovetop a lot...

-Metal handles that are near the actual cooktop surface might unexpectedly get strongly heated.

  • Side note to clarify the "pessimal" combinations: I had the impression that cheap induction plates often throw odd error codes when you use, say, a wrought-iron turk griddle or heavy cast wok on them, even when they heat fantastically (longevity of the induction plate is unimportant there since it tends to be cheaper than the cookware itself)... – rackandboneman Dec 11 '15 at 14:46
  • When you say 'induction plate' - you are talking about what's on the bottom of the pan? Or is this a part of the stovetop? – merk Dec 11 '15 at 19:06
  • What I meant was the common, plug-into-wall standalone type of induction device... the ones that you permanently mount into a counter will hopefully be designed a bit more robustly.. – rackandboneman Dec 12 '15 at 12:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.