Yes, stainless steel can work on induction cooktops!
Stainless Steel On Induction Cooktops
In the world of kitchenware, stainless steel has become a popular choice for its durability and versatility.
One application where stainless steel truly shines is in induction cooking. Induction cooktops use electromagnetic fields to heat the cookware directly, making it a fast and efficient method of cooking.
Stainless steel, with its magnetic properties, is a perfect match for induction cooktops. The stainless steel material is not only resistant to rust and corrosion, but it also distributes heat evenly, ensuring that food is cooked uniformly.
Additionally, stainless steel cookware is easy to clean and maintain, making it a favorite among professional chefs and home cooks alike. With its ability to withstand high temperatures and its compatibility with induction cooktops, stainless steel has proven to be an excellent choice for those seeking reliable and efficient cooking equipment.
The key thing is that the stainless steel must be a ferritic or martensitic type of stainless steel. These types of stainless steel alloys are magnetic and will work well with induction cooktops.
The most common grades of ferritic stainless steel are 409 and 430.
Martensitic stainless steels, such as 410 and 420, are also commonly used on induction cooktops.
If you’re not sure if your stainless steel is ferritic or martensitic, you can check with a magnet – if the magnet sticks to the pan, then it will work on an induction cooktop.
How Does Induction Cooking Work?
An induction stovetop works by transferring heat via electromagnetism.
Induction-compatible cookware includes those made from magnetic metals.
A magnetically induced current creates heat. The heat is transferred directly to the cookware and not to the stovetop.
The great part about induction cooktops, is that because they use a magnetic field to heat your cookware, the stove itself doesn’t get hot.
Induction cooktops work by exciting iron atoms in cookware, meaning your stainless steel cookware needs to have a sufficient amount of iron in it to work (and hence the test with magnets).
How does this work?
All matter is made up of atoms, and those atoms are constantly in motion. When you add energy to atoms, they gain kinetic energy and vibrate faster.
If you apply a magnetic field to cookware with sufficient amounts of iron, the atoms line up with that field. This lowers the amount of energy needed to make the atoms vibrate, so they can get moving faster with less effort.
When you bring a pot made of ferrous metal (one that contains iron) close to an induction coil, the magnetic field from the coil induces a current in the pot.
That current makes the atoms in the pot vibrate so quickly that they bump into each other and create heat. The heat then transfers to your food and starts cooking it.
The Difference Between Regular Stovetops and Induction Cooktops
Induction cooktops are much faster than other forms of heating, like gas or electric stoves.
Regular stoves transfer heat via thermal conductivity while induction cooktops transfer heat via electromagnetic induction.
A regular stove top heats things directly, whereas an induction cooktop heats things indirectly. With an induction cooktop, a magnetic field is used to heat the pan itself, and then the food in the pan. The stove top stays relatively cool to the touch because the heat is not being transferred to it.
They’re also safer as there is no open flame and also no risk of electrical shock.
The safety features make them a good choice for families with young children.
Induction cooktops are more environmentally friendly because they don’t produce harmful emissions. Their eco-friendly nature makes them ideal for using indoors as they’ll help maintain quality air indoors.
What Are Some Benefits of Using an Induction Cooktop?
Faster Cooking Time
With an induction cooktop, cooking zones don’t require any preheating or calibration, which saves time.
Auto sizing lets you know exactly how much space there is in your pot or skillet before you put anything in it
No Risk of Burns from Hot Surfaces
Several safety features make induction cooktops even safer to use than traditional stovetops.
First, the cooking surface itself stays cool to the touch. This means that there is no risk of burns if you accidentally touch the surface.
Second, induction cooktops have built-in sensors that will automatically shut off the cooktop if it detects there’s no cookware on the surface, thus reducing the chances of accidental fires happening.
More Energy Efficient
Induction cooktops require less energy than other electric ranges. Because the heat is generated directly in the pan, less energy is lost in the process, making it more efficient.
Additionally, induction cooktops can be turned off immediately when the cooking is finished, so no residual heat is wasted.
Easy to Clean
The smooth surface of an induction cooktop is easier to wipe down than a traditional stovetop. Spills and splatters are less likely to occur on an induction cooktop since the cooking elements are completely sealed.
Chances of food particles and grease sticking to an induction cooktop are less since it uses magnetic fields to generate heat.
As a result, cleaning an induction cooktop is typically a quick and easy process.
Note: Just like with the cooktops, cleaning cookware used on an induction cooktop is a breeze. Induction cooktops generate a very specific and even heat, which means that there’s less risk of food burning or sticking to your pan making it effortless to clean.
Cookware That’s Guaranteed to Work with Induction Cooktops
Once you have installed the safe, energy-efficient, fast, and eco-friendly induction cooktop, you’ll need to overhaul your set of cookware to something compatible.
Although induction cooking is gentle on pots and pans, they must contain magnetic steel or iron to work.
Compatible cookware includes:
- Cast Iron – This cookware is the most compatible type of cookware with induction cooktops. The material is a slow heat conductor that’s excellent at retaining heat for even cooking. Avoid cast iron cookware with a rough surface to prevent the cooktop from being scratched.
- Stainless Steel – Stainless steel, in addition to being easy to clean and durable, is induction compatible. However, you MUST find one that’s magnetic to avoid uneven cooking.
- Porcelain Enamel on Metal – Porcelain enamel on metal is durable and strong. It works on an induction cooktop provided the cookware’s base material is magnetic metal. Ensure magnetic test for induction compatibility.
Note: Before initially using an induction cooktop, apply a cream/cleaner to the surface. This not only protects it from scratches but also makes it effortless to clean.
Cookware That Doesn’t Work with Induction Cooktops
Some of the cookware that doesn’t work with induction cooktops include;
- Carbon steel cookware
- Aluminum on its own
All the above cookware won’t play nice with induction.
Testing for Compatibility
To check if the stainless steel is compatible with induction, just put a piece of stainless steel in the induction cooker and see what happens.
You can also hold a magnet to the bottom of the pan to see if it’s compatible with your induction stove.
The magnetic attraction between the two metals tells you whether or not the pan works on your induction stove.
Does Stainless Steel Work On Induction?
Yes, stainless steel works on induction, provided it has a higher composition of iron in the alloy.
Ferritic stainless steel does not absorb much carbon, therefore, it can work on an induction stovetop.
Annealed austenitic stainless steel cannot absorb any carbon, therefore, it cannot work on an induction stove.
Note: While most stainless steel pans will work just fine, some cheaper sets may not be compatible.
Stainless Steel Types
Cookware made out of triply stainless steel works well on induction. This is because the steel has a layer of aluminum or copper sandwiched between two layers of stainless steel.
The aluminum or copper conducts heat quickly and evenly, making it ideal for use on induction cooktops.
Cookware made out of ferritic or martensitic stainless steel will also work on induction, but not as well as triply stainless steel.
These types of stainless steel do not conduct heat as well as aluminum or copper, so they will not cook food as evenly on an induction cooktop.
However, they are still better than using cookware made out of non-magnetic materials.
Stainless Steel Grades
Stainless steel grades are based on the amount of chromium and nickel in the alloy.
- Type 304 and 316 are nonmagnetic alloys.Type 304 is the most common grade of stainless steel.Type 316 is an upgraded version of 304 stainless steel.
Tips for Using Stainless Steel On an Induction Stovetop
- You should choose cookware that fits the size of the cooktop. Cookware made out of stainless steel will work better if it is smaller than the cooking area of the induction cooktop because it will heat up faster.
- If the cookware is too large, the heat will not be distributed evenly. Stainless steel cookware with a flat bottom is ideal for use on an induction cooktop.
- Make sure that the bottom of the cookware is smooth so that it will make good contact with the surface of the cooktop. Rough or uneven surfaces can cause the cooktop to work less efficiently.
- If you are using stainless steel cookware that has a plastic or wooden handle, you need to be careful not to let the handle touch the surface of the cooktop. The high temperatures generated by the induction process can cause these materials to melt or catch fire.
- When cooking with stainless steel on an induction cooktop, you should use low or moderate heat settings. If you use too much heat, the cookware can become discolored or warped.
- If you are using stainless steel cookware that is not specially designed for induction cooking, you may need to use a magnetic disk beneath the cookware to help it work properly. These disks are available from most kitchen supply stores.