The Best Pans for Induction Cooking

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The Best Pans for Induction Cooking
You can only use steel and iron pans on an induction cooking surface. (Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Induction cooking involves placing a metal cooking vessel on a surface that is charged by an electromagnetic field to produce heat. It is a fairly new way of cooking that is an alternative to traditional gas and electric methods. Because of the type of heat that induction cooking surfaces emit, they only work well with specific types of pans.

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Process

An induction cooker uses an element--the equivalent of a burner on a traditional stove--with a high frequency electromagnet to produce heat through the induction's ceramic surface. When a metal pot or pan is placed on the ceramic surface, the magnetic field underneath generates heat and transports it into the pot or pan. As soon as you remove the metal cooking pot from the induction heater or turn it off, the generation of heat automatically stops.

Cookware Requirements

The nature of heat generation produced by an induction cooker prevents its use with some types of pots and pans. Cooking vessels must be made of ferrous metal, such as iron, to withstand the power of a magnetic field. Materials, such as aluminium, Pyrex or copper are not suitable for use with induction cookers because they have poor heat conductivity properties.

Best Pans

Pans for induction cooking are made of steel or iron. Many exclusive brands such as All-Clad and Le Creuset offer iron and steel cookware specially designed for induction cooking. Their cookware is usually considered top-of-the-line and the cost is quite high. But there also are lower-end brands that offer less-expensive options. Whether you invest in expensive pans or more economical ones, make sure that the material is iron or steel and that the packaging specifies suitability for induction surfaces.

Advances

New technology boasts of induction surfaces that are compatible with any metals, including aluminium and copper. Some Japanese manufacturers already produce units with this capability. In September 2005, the Matsushita Group, a Japanese technology company, introduced an induction unit with a double, all-metal finish that is usable with aluminium and copper cookware. In 2011, first generation all-metal induction cookware became available for purchase in Japan, but this technology is not yet universally available.

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