When induction cooking first hit the scene, induction was considered a high-end appliance feature. Now, with more models hitting the market, it’s within reach for just about anyone interested in making the switch to induction.
In case you want to give induction cooking a try without installing a full cooktop, portable, one-burner induction appliances or even hybrid surfaces are available.
While the percentage of electric surface cooking units and electric ranges that include induction is still relatively small, it has risen steadily in recent years. According to AHAM factory shipment data, 15 percent of electric surface units included induction in 2016, up from 8 percent in 2010.
The difference: Unlike gas and electric ranges, induction ranges use a magnetic field to transfer heat directly into the pan. Neither the burner nor the air around the burner are heated, meaning what you’re cooking heats up faster. But only the pan, and what’s in it, will get hot. Not having hot burners reduces the potential that nearby materials can ignite while cooking, according to the National Fire Prevention Association. Also, it’s unlikely that the burners will be accidentally turned on, since they won’t heat without the proper cookware on the burner, the NFPA says.
You may need to buy new cookware. Induction burners will only work with cookware made of magnetic metals, such as iron or stainless steel.
Hint: The cookware package will normally state which type of range the cookware can be used with—gas, electric or induction. Cookware with a flat bottom will get you the best results.
Induction also offers more precise temperature control. You can even cook delicate items like dairy or chocolate for long periods, without worrying about fluctuations in temperature. It will take some practice, though, as induction cooking gets you to your desired temperature faster than gas or electric. Water, for example, will boil in about half the time. You’ll need to get used to the faster heating times.
The design of induction ranges, and the fact that they don’t get hot during cooking, can also lend itself to easier cleaning. Since the burners don’t heat up, spills aren’t going to burn onto the cooktop. (Though gas and electric ovens are easy to clean, if you do it right.)
Thanks to AHAM member Viking Range for the information on induction cooking.