If you’re new to induction hob cooking, you may be looking at the pans you’ve been using for years with a skeptical eye. You’ve probably heard by now that induction hobs actually require special cookware. That may mean that some or all of your current pans are out. However, it’s not necessarily the case if you’ve already been using hob-friendly pans this whole time without knowing! Let’s cover the pans you can use on an induction hob.
Why Do Induction Hobs Need Special Pans?
Unlike electric and gas hobs, induction hobs use magnetic energy delivered via electrical current to heat up food. The catch is that the hob needs a pan with a magnetic base containing steel or iron. That’s why you’ll notice that nothing happens when you place the wrong pan on an induction hob.
How Do I Know If My Current Pans Will Work With My New Induction Hob?
Typically, the way to know if you have the right induction pans is to check the inscriptions on your pans, or hold a magnet against it. Manufacturers typically include induction compatible information on the base or packaging.
If you don’t see anything on your pan that provides a clear answer, you can move on to the magnet test. You can easily check to see if a pan is an induction pan by placing a magnet at its base. You’ll know that you are indeed working with an induction pan if the magnet sticks! If you don’t feel any force, it’s simply not an induction pan.
What Types of Pans Work With Induction Hobs?
Shopping for new pans for an induction hob is actually pretty simple because many of the most popular pan materials work with this cooking method. Induction cookware is typically made from ferrous metals. That covers pans made from stainless steel and cast iron.
Unfortunately, pans that are made from copper, glass, ceramic and aluminum won’t work because they just can’t produce that magnetic energy needed to trigger the induction process.
However, there is a caveat. The growing popularity of induction hobs has caused some manufacturers to broaden the horizons of customers by adding induction plates to the bases of non-compatible materials. That means that it’s technically possible to do induction cooking with pans that are not made from induction-friendly materials as long as they have that added plate.
Beyond Materials: Don’t Forget About Size
It’s not always a done deal just because you have induction pans in your kitchen. Induction hobs can be a bit finicky when it comes to coverage. It’s really important to make sure that the pan you’re cooking with has as close to the same diameter as your hob as possible.
That’s because a pan that’s too large won’t actually be in your hob’s cooking zone. As a result, you’ll have cold, unevenly cooked food. The goal is to have as much of the pan stay in contact with your hob as possible while food is being cooked. Of course, this becomes less of a problem if you opt for a hob with “flexible” cooking zones that allow you to enjoy larger heating spaces.
What About Style?
This is actually a question that most people forget to ask when shopping for new induction pans. As we covered, the goal is to have as much of the base of the pan directly on the hob as possible while cooking for the best results. This is also why you want to pay attention to the shape of your pans.
A pan with a flatter base is going to provide better heat distribution and even cooking. If your pan has a rounded base, less of the pan will be in contact with the hob. The parts that aren’t in contact with your hob won’t be heating up during the cooking process!
Final Thoughts on Using the Right Pans for Induction Cooking
When moving to induction cooking, start by checking to see if your current pans will work. If you’ll be buying new pans, stainless steel is the most popular option. Remember to choose pans that will allow for the maximum amount of contact between the pan’s bottom surface and the surface of your hob for even, fast cooking!