Since most people switch to induction stoves, many have been wondering and asking, “Does cast iron work on induction stovetops?”
When you’re shopping for cast iron pans, most manufacturers and sellers will tell you that it is compatible with induction cooktops. However, can it really work if you place it in an induction stove? Can it still provide the even heating functionality that you want?
Let’s find out if your cast iron pans would really work properly with this type of stove. We’ll also determine if your induction stove can bring out the full potential of your cast iron pan and a few tips on how to use it properly.
- What Is Cast Iron?
- Does Cast Iron Work on Induction?
- Why You Shouldn’t Use Cast Iron on Induction Stoves
- Is There an Alternative to Cast Iron Pans and Pots?
- Cast Iron Cookware and Induction Cooktop
What Is Cast Iron?
Cast iron is an iron alloy containing two to four percent carbon, so usually, there’s more carbon than steel. It also can be readily cast into a mold.
To create cast iron cookware, it needs to undergo casting. It is a process where a liquid material is poured into a mold. Once it takes the shape of the mold, manufacturers allow it to solidify.
Basically, cast iron will be melted and placed into a mold to create cookware.
How Do Induction Stoves Work?
Induction stoves work by generating heat to the cookware through a magnetic field produced by the coil of wire on the cooktop.
The current is passed through the coil and creates a magnetic field around and above it.
If you place cookware on top, the magnetic field will penetrate the metal, creating an electric current. This electric current will be the one to generate the heat in the cookware.
Does Cast Iron Work on Induction?
Cast iron works perfectly with an induction cooktop because of the material used to create the cookware. As mentioned, the iron will draw all the electromagnetic current, heating the cookware during the process.
The best thing about cast iron is that it can retain the heat from the induction stove. Since it is made from iron, you can expect that it will always work properly as long as the bottom of the cookware is flat. However, there are proper ways of using your cast iron cookware in your induction stovetop.
How to Use Your Cast Iron Cookware in an Induction Cooktop
Here are a few reminders to keep in mind when using your cast iron cookware in your induction cooktop:
- Don’t Let the Cast Iron Pan Slide
Most induction stoves have a glass-ceramic surface. It is a translucent material with a similar composition as glass, but it comes with better heat resistance and durability.
The only catch is that this kind of surface is prone to scratching. That’s why the bottom of your pans should always be smooth. On the other hand, cast iron pans have rough bottoms that are made by pouring liquified iron into casts made of sand.
When you put your cast irons in an induction stove, you risk scratching its glass surface. You don’t have to worry because there are a lot of solutions to allow you to use your cast iron pans on your induction stove without damaging it.
The best trick to prevent your induction stove surface from getting damaged is to prevent the cast iron pan from sliding. You have to place the pan firmly on the surface and make sure that you do this in a swift movement. When the pan is set, don’t move it around.
The cast iron pan is a bit heavy compared with traditional pans, so you can just move the food inside the pan instead of moving it. Doing this can prevent the cookware from scratching the glass surface.
- Try Using Parchment Paper
Before you say something about fire and the paper getting burned, you should first understand how induction stove works.
The heat produced by the induction stove is directed on the cast iron pan and not on the stovetop. It means that the stove will not get hot while you are cooking. It’s why you can still hold the induction stove when it’s heating up. As such, the parchment paper will not burn; after all, this paper type is also heat-resistant.
By putting a paper towel in between the pan and induction stovetop, you can prevent the rough surface of the pan from damaging the glass surface of the induction stovetop.
- Try to Make the Bottom Smooth
As noted, cast iron is not always smooth. It has a rugged appearance, is heavy-duty, durable, and hardy, but it will never stay smooth for a long time.
As you all know, cast iron is often used for different heating methods. You can use it for campfires, grills, and more, which would make its surface rougher.
If you feel the bottom of the cookware, you will notice rough bumps and scratches. You can make the bottom smooth, but you have to do it regularly, especially if you always use your cast iron pan. This would prevent any damage or scratches on your induction stove.
- Clean Your Induction Stove and Cast Iron
The most important step you need to do before you start cooking is to make sure that the surface of the induction stove and the bottom of your cast iron are both clean.
There are instances where food leftovers would spill on your induction stove or stick to the bottom of your cast iron. These dips and spills can scratch your induction cooktop and prevent proper heat generation.
Cleaning a cast iron pan can be a bit challenging, as you need to do it manually. However, the amazing quality that this kind of cookware can bring to your food is worth all the efforts and time you’ll spend in cleaning it.
Why You Shouldn’t Use Cast Iron on Induction Stoves
Apart from the tips and tricks on using your cast iron on induction stoves, there are a few drawbacks to keep in mind. Some of the most notable ones are:
Induction Stove Damage
Your induction stove is prone to damage. Accidentally sliding the cast iron pan while cooking can scratch the surface.
If you accidentally dropped the cast iron pan onto the induction stove, you can expect that the surface will shatter.
Cast iron pans are extremely heavy and sturdy, so dropping them on your induction stove will completely shatter its surface.
Cast iron has exceptional heat retention, which allows the cookware to become heated evenly to high temperatures, including the iron grips.
However, an induction stove will not heat the cast iron fast.
The heat gets transferred gradually, so it will travel from the center to the border of the cookware. Since the induction component is minimal, the cast iron will not heat evenly.
This is a big problem because one of the reasons we use a cast iron pan is its ability to cook your food evenly.
Doesn’t Respond to Fast Heat Changes
Cast iron warm up slowly, so it also cools down slowly. Its amazing heat retention is why it will not easily respond to heat changes.
Your cast iron cookware will keep the same temperature for a long time, so if you reduce the heat, it will take time before it reaches the temperature you want.
Based on this fact, the answer to “Does cast iron work on induction?” is a resounding no. Meaning it’s not advisable to use your cast iron pan in an induction stove if you plan to cook food that requires changing the temperature from time to time.
Is There an Alternative to Cast Iron Pans and Pots?
If you prefer cast iron but unsure if you can stick to the guide above, you can opt for an enameled cast iron instead.
It is a great alternative to standard cast iron cookware, especially if you’re using it on an inductive stove. It is a sleeker and more modern version of the cast iron pans. It is also lighter and smoother, making it a great choice for induction cooking.
This type of cast iron cookware is as conductive as the traditional cast iron, but the enamel coating can slow down the heating process.
It goes without saying that the enamel coating can affect the performance of the cast iron. You will not achieve the high temperatures that you can get from a normal cast iron cookware.
That said, an enamel cast iron can definitely cover the disadvantages of using traditional cast iron cookware, but you have to compromise. That is especially if you don’t want your glass induction stove to get damaged.
Cast Iron Cookware and Induction Cooktop
Looking at the facts mentioned above, you can easily conclude that cast iron and induction cooktop is like a match made in heaven. With all the positive aspects of using a cast iron on an induction stove, it is very easy to get swayed and do it.
Remember that there are many things that you should do to make sure you get the most out of your cast iron pan without damaging your induction stove. Also, cast iron pots and pans aren’t free from drawbacks, so you need to keep those in mind as well.