What Is Induction Cooking?

Learn all the facts about cooking on an induction stovetop.

By Team Made In
Jul 28, 2022
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Restaurant owners and home cooks alike are always looking for ways to speed cooking times and serve up better tasting food. It stands to reason, then, that induction cooking has grown in popularity among both professional and at-home chefs over the past several years. This method not only speeds up cooking times, but is also a cost-effective and energy-efficient option. The price of induction cooktops has also decreased significantly over the past several years, making this technology more accessible than ever before.

So, how exactly does induction cooking work and what makes it such a great choice for restaurants and home kitchen? We're covering this and more, with a bonus trick for quickly determining whether a piece of cookware is induction compatible.

How Does Induction Cooking Work?

Specifically, induction cooking refers to the use of an induction cooktop that provides direct heat to the cookware itself. Electromagnets located inside the cooktop itself are used to stimulate the atoms inside conductive cookware, which generates heat that is passed through as radiant energy to food.

Compared to gas and electric stovetops (which must heat a separate element before passing energy through to the food), thermal conduction offers direct heat. And because induction cooking is done through electromagnets and coils, there is no flame to worry about. There is also no loss of heat to the atmosphere because the heat is passed from the coil directly to the cookware (and, subsequently, the food).

Advantages of Induction Cooking

There are many reasons as to why restaurant owners, chefs, and cooks prefer working with induction cooktops over other types of cooking appliances. For starters, induction allows food to be cooked quickly鈥攂ecause heat is transferred directly from the power coil to the cookware, meals can be cooked faster than with electric and gas options.

Some other advantages of induction cooking include:

  • Greater temperature control
  • Excellent energy efficiency
  • Improved safety (cooktops don't get hot to the touch)
  • No gas supply needed (only a power source for the coil)

What Cookware Works on Induction?

One of the most important things to be aware of if you're considering the switch to induction cooking is that you can't use just any cookware on an induction stovetop. Specifically, you'll need to make sure that the pot, pan, or other cookware you use has a magnetic base. This is required in order for the cookware to be properly heated.

Some examples of common cookware materials that are compatible with induction stovetops include cast iron, Carbon Steel, and certain types of Stainless Steel (such as 18/10 grade). However, cookware that is made of non-magnetic materials (such as copper, aluminum, or nickel) will not work with an induction cooktop.

How to Test for Induction Compatibility

If you're not sure whether the cookware you have in your kitchen is compatible with an induction stovetop, there is a simple test you can perform to determine whether this is the case.

All you have to do is take a magnet and place it at the bottom of your pot or pan. If the magnet sticks or repels, then you can use the cookware on an induction stovetop successfully. If the magnet doesn't stick, then it's not induction compatible. Try this with a Stainless Clad pot and then a Dutch Oven to feel the difference.

The Bottom Line on Induction Cooking

Compared to other common methods of cooking (such as electric and gas stovetops), induction cooking offers unrivaled temperature control, speed, energy efficiency, and safety. With so many benefits to induction cooking and with pricing being more affordable than ever, it makes sense that many restaurant owners are looking to make the switch.

The good news is that switching to induction cooking can be an easy transition, especially since you only need access to an electrical outlet to power an induction cooktop.

Ready to explore your induction cookware options? We have plenty to choose from here at Made In Cookware. No matter what your needs or specific price point, we've got you covered with a wide selection of professional-quality induction cookware.