Ceramic hob heating elements fall into two categories, according to the Utah University Cooperative Extension: a ceramic-glass top with induction coils just below it, and a ceramic-glass top that hides traditional electric coil-type burners. Turning on an induction element creates a magnetic field that produces heat instantly and transfers it into a magnetic cooking pan. On a ceramic-glass topped electric coil stove, the coils generate heat that warms the glass and passes into the cooking pan.
The Utah Cooperative Extension website states that if a magnet sticks to the bottom of any metal cooking pan, it can be used on a ceramic induction hob. Magnetic cooking pans include cast iron, steel and stainless steel. Pure copper is only suitable if a layer of magnetic material has been added to the bottom of the pan. The magnetic component does not apply in the case of electric coil-type ceramic hobs. The Cookware Manufacturers Association recommends selecting heavyweight pots with flat bottoms for all ceramic-glass hobs. Avoid painted pans, as coloured bottoms can melt off from the high heat and fuse with the ceramic top. Another important thing to remember, according to the cooperative extension website, is to match flat-bottomed cooking pots to the size of the burner.
Cast iron pans are old kitchen standbys that heat evenly but slowly and hold on to heat longer than other cookware after the stove element has been turned off. Today's flat-bottomed cast iron pans are safe to use on any ceramic top as long as they have no rough spots that can scratch the stove's surface, according to the Cookware Manufacturers Association.
Stainless Steel and Aluminum Pans
Stainless steel cooking pans should be heavy and of good quality if used on a ceramic hob. The Cookware Manuracturers Association warns against buying inexpensive store-brand pots and pans that are poorly made as they can warp from the intense heat of a ceramic hob. When choosing aluminium pans for a ceramic hob, the Cookware Manuafacturers Association recommends heavier anodised or cast aluminium types, which feature smooth cooking surfaces and heavy flat bottoms.
"Pans of soft metal such as aluminium can rub off on the harder glass surface, making grey or black marks," warns The University of Michigan Extension website. Heavyweight and hard aluminium pans mark the cooking surface less than lightweight pans. The extension also recommends smoothing the bottoms of new aluminium pans with a mild abrasive cleanser to remove any rough spots, and lifting pans from the glass cooking surface rather than sliding them across.