Induction Cooktops: A Better Way to Cook


What are you waiting for?!

There is a stove out there that cooks faster than what you have. The heat is instantaneous and adjusts with precision. It steals a mere 2 inches of cabinet space when installed. It’s safer, cleaner, cheaper to run, and better for the environment than the gas or electric cooktop you are currently using.

We are talking about induction cooking.

A traditional cooktop gets hot so that it can heat the pan, and the pan heats the food. An induction stovetop does not get hot. There is a high-frequency electromagnet in place of a gas burner or electric heating element. Turn on the stove and it creates a magnetic field. Place a metal pan in the magnetic field and the energy transfers into the metal causing it to heat. Minute adjustments to the strength of the field control the heat being generated.

There is no ambient heat with induction cooktops. The energy transfer is extremely efficient; the stove stays cool to the touch. There are no accidental burns. Food spills don’t get cooked onto the surface.

Each burner operates independently, so they can be modularly arranged in any combination or configuration wherever there is a 220 volt outlet. You can keep fish smells outdoors, use one as a warmer on a buffet, or cook at the table.

The flip side.

The main drawback to cooking with magnets is that your pots and pans have to be magnetic. Old-fashioned cast iron, stainless steel, enameled pots (like Le Creuset); these will all work. Copper, pyrex, aluminum (like the anodized aluminum Calphalon pans); these materials won’t react with the magnetic field. When in doubt, hold up a magnet and see if it sticks. You can also adapt your non-magnetic pans with special induction disks.

Restaurants have been quick to recognize the advantages of induction cooktops. Burners can be re-distributed throughout the stations of a professional kitchen as the menu changes. They can be built into spaces where venting for gas would be illegal, impossible, or prohibitively expensive. Consumers have not been as quick, often daunted by the unfamiliar and intangible science of induction cooking.

Faster, cheaper, easier. It’s like music to our ears. The fear factor will be overcome. Need proof? Just look to the microwave.

Amazon carries a full line of induction cook tops, some starting below $100.

Electrolux has a good video introduction to induction cooking.

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5 Responses to Induction Cooktops: A Better Way to Cook

  1. Chef Tom says:

    Be very careful but they are great!

  2. induction cookers are great for display cooking, even heat and good heat!! I have used them for the past 12 years, always easy….now with the new ones that don’t need special pans , even easier to use!

  3. Janice says:

    It does take some getting used to, learning its rhythms. There are fewer pauses, no heating pans for a few minutes before the oil goes in, water boils so quickly. But once you get your comfort and skill level up there, there is nothing like it.

  4. Gourmande says:

    I have used induction cookers for more than 20 years now, and restaurants have had them a long time before (the restaurant in Tour Eiffel was one of the first as the risk of fire is particularly important there.
    If you live in 110 volt country, like me, you don’t need 220 volts, unless you cook for 20 persons everyday. If you can afford the big and sophisticated model, well go for it. But I cook with the basic small “one pan” 110 volt induction stoves (I have 2 for daily use) and I can do everything, from stir-fry to tempering chocolate.

    My first motivation to get one was because it is ideal for French cuisine. Our traditional stove was with wood, and many grandma’s recipes are for slow-cooking. You can’t do that conveniently with gas stoves or the other quick electric systems. And a woodstove in my appartment, that would be difficult…
    I have a small “camping” gaz stove in my closet, so no problem for the odd recipe that needs “real fire”, in particular, mostly when I roast coffee. And also, in case of electricity shortage.

    I could live without the microwave, but I’d take an induction stove to a desert island.

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