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Induction cookup on island

What is Induction Cooking?

Induction cooking has many benefits, including faster cook times and less energy expenditure. We'll walk you through the pros and cons of induction cooking and compare it to other cooking methods.

Understanding Induction Cooking

The first step when thinking about purchasing an induction cooktop is to understand how the cooking technology works. Induction cooking employs electromagnetic energy that heats pots and pans on the cooktop directly, rather than heating the surface of the cooktop. The electric current travels through a coiled copper wire underneath the cooking surface, which then directly heats the pot or pan. As the heat is transferred directly to your cookware, cook times are much faster and energy efficiency is greater. There is no residual heat with this cooking method. Additionally, because the surrounding space isn't being heated, induction cooking has the potential to be safer than opting for a cooktop that uses gas or electricity as fuel. Because this cooking method uses electromagnetic energy, your cookware must be magnetic to be able to use these cooktops.
Induction Cooktop with Cookware on Top

What are the Benefits of Induction Cooking?

Before investing in a new cooktop in your kitchen, it's important to weigh your options. If you've cooked on an electric or gas cooktop in the past, you might be wondering if it's worth it to make the switch to induction. There are several reasons why induction cooking is easier or more convenient for home cooks of any skill level. The main benefit of induction cooking is that it works faster; because the cookware is heated directly rather than being heated indirectly via the cooktop, cook times can be up to twice as fast. Direct heating also means more precise cooking, producing better results—even in recipes you've made countless times. Traditionally time-consuming tasks, such as boiling water for pasta, will also take far less time. By cooking food faster, this method also uses less energy, reducing your utility bills and your environmental impact.
Another benefit of induction cooking is enhanced safety. As the surface of the cooktop doesn't get hot, you're far less likely to burn yourself while cooking (or cleaning up afterwards). Additionally, the lack of an open flame reduces the likelihood of burns or kitchen fires. If you're used to cooking with gas, you know that proper ventilation is required to remove harmful fumes from your home. As induction employs electromagnetic energy to cook food, you don't have to worry about air quality.
These cooktops are also incredibly easy to clean: the smooth glass top, devoid of burners, burner caps or control knobs, can easily be wiped down after dinner. As we've mentioned, the surface doesn't get hot, which also means that food splatters won't get burnt on, making your appliance incredibly difficult to clean. You can wipe the surface immediately after cooking so you don't forget to do it later.

Induction vs. Gas

Of course, if you've never cooked with induction before, you might be wondering why you should make the switch. While gas is a popular cooking method amongst pros and amateurs alike, induction can offer even more. Gas cooktops are known for the power and speed with which they can cook food because you can control the flame. However, induction can still cook food up to twice as fast. There is also a safety consideration when deciding between induction and gas cooktops: using a gas cooktop requires proper ventilation to reduce air pollution in your home and prevent the inhalation of harmful materials. Not having to install a range hood or downdraft will save you time, money and space in your kitchen. Induction cooktops are also easier to clean because they don't have burners or grates.

Induction vs. Electric

Electric cooktops feature metal coils under the cooking surface that heat up, subsequently heating the cooktop above. Electric cooktops can take a long time to heat up, which also means they don't use energy efficiently. The surface can remain hot after you're done cooking, which poses safety risks, particularly in houses with young children. On the other hand, they're easy to use, easy to clean and are often the most affordable options available. While induction cooktops are more costly, the energy and time you'll save cooking with electromagnetic energy will make up for the initial investment. These appliances are similarly easy to clean like their electric counterparts. If energy efficiency is a priority in your home or you're just looking to try something new, induction is the way to go.
Induction Cooktop with Stainless Steel Saucepan

Q & A Summary

Is induction cooking safe?

Yes, induction cooking is safe. As this cooking method heats cookware directly instead of the surface around it, there is actually a reduced risk of injury. The absence of a flame further reduces the chance of injury, burns or kitchen fires. Moreover, the lack of gas also means there is a decreased chance of air pollution with this cooking method; you don't have to worry about having the proper ventilation to remove potentially harmful gasses from the air.

What types of cookware can be used with induction cooking?

Your cookware must be magnetic in order to work on an induction cooktop. Some compatible materials are cast iron, enameled cast iron and stainless steel. Typically, you cannot use all-copper, aluminum or glass cookware on these cooktops unless they have a magnetic layer on the bottom. An easy way to test your existing cookware is to see if a magnet sticks to it.

What is the best cookware for induction cooking?

The most important factor when purchasing cookware for induction cooking is that it is magnetic. Stainless steel pots and pans are a great option and are available to purchase at most homeware stores.

What are the disadvantages of induction cooking?

As discussed above, only certain types of cookware work with induction cooktops. Therefore, if you want to purchase one of these appliances, you may also have to invest in new pots and pans. These cooktops also tend to be more expensive than their gas or electric counterparts. Additionally, there is a learning curve if this is your first experience with induction cooking.