The first thing to understand is that different vessels serve different purposes. While size, capacity and shape matter, including material (determining heating and cooling times), they all have their uses in the kitchen. However, when dealing specifically with an induction cooktop, you need only a handful of metal varieties or they will not conduct and distribute the heat effectively enough.
- Whether it is sauce or sauté pans, traditional or cast-iron skillets, pressure cookers or stockpots, stainless steel and cast-iron are the induction stove metals of choice.
- Chefs in general prefer metal cookware because they are obviously more efficient at conducting and distributing heat. They also use copper and aluminum but not for induction purposes. Even though they are highly heat conductive than steel, they lack the structural integrity.
- Ferrous material is highly magnetic, and that is the kind you need to compliment to the electromagnetic heating coils in induction cooktops.
- Base cladding is a form of manufacturing quite common in Europe that is aimed at making induction-ready cookware. It is layered like a sandwich and is thick enough to let its magnetized metal layers react to the electromagnetic coil and conduct heat.
- Even manufacturers who make non-mettalic cookware are fast catching on to the growing trend. They are fixing an 18/0 stainless-steel ‘slug’ on the bottom of non-ferrous cookware so they are compatible with induction stoves.
- The simplest advice: take a small toy magnet with you when you go shopping. Use it on the bottom of metal pans or pots you’re looking to buy. If the magnet holds tightly on to the base of the cookware, it is a good choice for your induction stove.
If you were wondering why anyone would opt for cookware that is not metallic, bear in mind that porcelain or ceramic has been in use for nearly two centuries and made great ovens that can cook meals readily on the stove. Unfortunately, induction stoves require metallic counterparts that are also available in the market.
Cast-Iron – The Classic Choice
You can cook so much on these pans, especially the ‘non stick’ variety on which pancakes, eggs, flatbreads and more come out looking and tasting ideal. From the smooth finish to the tough design, cast-iron pans and skillets are the best choice for induction stoves.
If your induction stove has ceramic plates on it, you cannot use the ‘pan slide’ technique of cooking lest you scratch the surface of the ceramic. A few slides is all it takes and you will have made permanent scratches. This is because cast-iron bases are rougher than stainless steel’s.
All-Clad or Normal Stainless Steel – Another Induction Favorite
Serious chefs or people who enjoy cooking to a great degree should get all-clad steel cookware, which can get a tad bit expensive but provide value for money. If your cooking is comparatively simpler, go for average stainless steel cookware.
Being a great magnetic conductor, steel is an ideal choice for induction stoves. Be sure you get the right shapes to go with the size of the heating plates on your portable induction cooktops.