Induction cooking is an energy-efficient and safe way to make any type of meal quickly. But the specialized cooking surface won’t work with just any pans. So how to know when a cookware is compatible with induction cooking?
In this guide, we’ll share what to look for to ensure that your pots and pans are actually induction-ready cookware.
Do the Magnet Test
To tell if your cookware is induction ready, hold a magnet to the bottom. If it clings, the cookware is compatible with an induction stovetop.
What Is Induction Cooking?
Induction cooking is a form of cooking done by applying heat directly to cookware through induction. Gas or portable electric stoves use indirect thermal conduction, radiation, or convection.
During induction cooking, copper wire under the cooktop surface emits an electric current. This in turn creates a magnetic field. Unlike gas or electric cooktops, the cooking vessel itself is heated almost instantaneously as the field passes through it. So it’s imperative that your pot or pan is made of a magnetic material.
Very little heat energy is lost in induction cooking because no outside heat source is used. This makes it more efficient than both gas and electric cooking (1).
How To Tell If My Pan Is Induction Ready?
It’s actually really easy. First, look for the induction symbol. Then do the magnet test to check for induction compatibility.
Check for the Induction Symbol
One of the simplest ways to be sure that your pans are induction compatible is to check for the induction symbol. This symbol looks like a series of 4 vertical loops or coils inside of a box, with the word induction printed below.
You can find this symbol on the cookware packaging. It’s also sometimes etched on the bottom of the pan by the manufacturers.
Do the Magnet Test
If you don’t have the manufacturer’s packaging or if there is no symbol on the pan, don’t worry! You can still perform what’s called “the magnet test”.
To proceed, simply take a magnet and hold it to the bottom of your pot or pan.
- If it’s truly compatible, the magnet clings strongly to the bottom of the cookware. Touch a magnet to the flat bottom of your pan. (This surface should be perfectly flat). The strength of the magnet cling determines the strength of the magnetic field. A strong attachment means that the pan will work well for induction cooking.
- There are some pots that a magnet will cling to softly. If this is the case it MAY work with an induction hob, but the chances aren’t great. A weaker magnetic pull means that the field produced by the pan will be smaller. Sometimes this will be enough to use the pans with an induction cooktop, but more often it won’t work.
- If the magnet isn’t pulled to the pot at all, then the cookware is not compatible.
You can watch this video to see how the magnet test works.
What Types of Cookware Are Compatible?
Your cookware must be magnetic to be induction compatible. So you want to get pans made of magnetic material. The types include cast iron, magnetic stainless steel pans, and cookware made of carbon steel.
These metals are all excellent conductors. They interact with the induction cooktop to create the magnetic field that heats them.
Cookware that’s not made from magnetic materials doesn’t work with induction stoves. It includes glass, aluminum, and ceramic. All copper cookware is also not induction ready.
While great for electric or gas cooking, these pots and pans won’t work with an induction stove. The materials aren’t good conductors. And they’re unable to create the magnetic field necessary for heating. They need indirect heating sources like electricity or flame.
Yet, manufacturers clad them with a layer of metal with magnetic properties like stainless steel. This added layer of conductive metal allows for the creation of the magnetic field. They’re then compatible for use with induction stovetops.
How Do I Make My Cookware Induction Compatible?
You can make your cookware induction compatible by investing in pan adapters, also called induction disks. Here is an example of an induction disk.
This thin disc is made of metal that interacts with the magnetic field of induction stoves. You simply place it on the flat surface of the induction cooktop and it will heat up. Then you can place your stainless steel cookware on top of the disc. It will generate heat to the cookware.
These disks also work on portable induction stoves.
So, investing in an induction disc is an easy way to make your cookware induction compatible. And it avoids you buying a whole new set of pots and pans.
Deduction About Induction
How to tell if your cookware is induction compatible is pretty simple if you know what to look for.
Induction Cookware works when the electromagnetic field heats the magnetic layer of the pan’s base. So check for the induction symbol or do the magnetic test.
There is a little extra cost involved if your current cookware doesn’t work with an induction cooker. This means you’ll have to purchase an induction disc. But by setting your pan base on this flat base that sits on the heating element, you can cook with any cookware.
Induction stove is great for safety and performance in cooking. And you don’t have to throw away your cookware set now that you know how to identify induction compatible cookware.