Induction is arguably the best cooking technology available today. It holds several advantages over gas and electric cooking, particularly how quickly and efficiently it cooks food and how safe it makes cooking for the user.
Still, induction cooking does hold its fair share of limitations. For instance, you can’t use any type of cookware with it. It requires you to use pots and pans with flat, ferromagnetic bases to effectively conduct magnetic fields.
That said, you would think that using regular pieces of cookware on your induction hob is out of the question. Fortunately, it isn’t. Let’s find out why.
Electromagnetism is the principle by which induction works to create heat. That makes induction-ready cookware the ideal fit for this type of cooking technology. With these kinds of pots and pans, alternating currents can pass through the wires and into the coils sitting beneath the induction hob’s cooking surface.
That creates a magnetic field around and above the surface where the pot is positioned. When you use a piece of cookware that’s induction-compatible, the magnetic field can penetrate, and cooking ensues.
Now, aside from magnetic and ferromagnetic qualities, a smooth and flat bottom is also a basis for determining induction-readiness.
You can check for induction compatibility through the simple magnet test. Just place a magnet on the base of the cookware and see if it sticks. If it does, then you should be able to use the piece for induction.
Some of the most widely-used pieces of induction-ready cookware are cast iron, enameled cast iron, carbon steel, and certain types of stainless steel pans.
If you’re purchasing new cookware, one surefire way to tell if it works with induction is to check the induction-friendly symbol. What’s great about these induction-friendly pieces is that they’ll work perfectly well with gas and electric stove appliances, too.
Copper, glass, and aluminum typically block the magnetic field’s passing, preventing electricity from being generated in the cookware. That results in the failure of the electromagnetic mechanism and, thereby, the generation of heat.
With this in mind, your cookware itself should be a source of heat. It has to hold the materials necessary for completing the induction cooking process.
Replacing your entire cookware collection to suit induction-cooking requirements can lead to quite a hit on your bank account. Also, there may be a few pieces in your collection you’re not willing to give up.
If you happen to own non-induction-friendly or odd-sized induction cookware you want to use on your induction cooktop, try applying these solutions:
Converter discs allow you to use regular cookware with your induction hob. They are flat and made of either iron or stainless steel, with heatproof handles to help you hold on to them easily. They also help distribute heat evenly throughout your piece of cookware.
Using a converter disc is pretty simple. You just have to place the accessory over the cooking surface, then put the non-induction pot or pan of your choice on top of it.
These iron and stainless steel discs are positioned between the cooking surface and the bottom of the cookware. They’re built ultra-thin to ensure there’s almost no chance of slipping or tipping.
Netted steel is typically used on doors and windows, and you can find them in your local hardware store.
Netted steel can help you cook non-induction cookware on an induction cooktop with relative ease. Just fold the sheet of netted steel twice, position it over the cooktop, and then turn on induction.
Of course, this method has limitations, depending on how much work you plan to put into your cooking. This solution supposedly takes quite a while to implement if you’re using one of the larger non-induction vessels. Plus, in some scenarios, it may lead to you encountering safety issues.
When it comes to cooking non-induction cookware on an induction cooktop, we have one more trick up our sleeve: computer thermal paste.
Add a layer of paste onto the bottom of your regular cookware and place it slowly on top of a converter disc. It will result in the spreading of a thin layer of paste, which fills the tiny hollows between the metal surfaces.
Although far from being the best method out there, it does offer a better conductor for heat. It’s also something that you have to do many times as you separate the cookware piece from the converter disc. That is because thermal paste breaks down at high heat frequencies and has to be scraped off and reapplied.
We all have our favorite pots and pans that we just can’t let go, even for something as impressive as induction technology. Well, luckily, the solutions made available today mean we don’t have to. Thanks to the converter disc, computer thermal paste, and netted steel, our most-loved non-induction pieces can remain part of our current cookware collection.
Still, it goes without saying that induction-ready pieces will always be the best fit for induction cooking. You will see no better example of this than in this review by inductionpros.com and other reliable induction cooking experts.