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Induction Cooking

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Induction cooking uses 90% of the energy produced compared to only 55% for a gas burner and 65% for traditional electric ranges.

By Greg Seaman Posted Jan 28, 2009

Cooking food at home may have just gotten safer and easier, thanks to the help of an induction cooktop that controls and intensifies heat using electromagnetism. However, this is no new phenomenon. Induction cooking has been around for decades but until recently never made it past a restaurant’s kitchen.

How does it work?

Traditional electric cooktops use some form of electric resistance to create heat, which is transferred to the saucepan and its contents. Induction cooking is based on magnetic fields: each ‘element’ (an induction coil) generates a magnetic field that induces heat in steel cookware placed on top of it. In essence, the pot becomes the element that cooks the food, so the cooktop surface doesn’t get as hot as other cooktops. Induction cooktops have the same instant control as gas and are the fastest of all cooktop types to heat and cook food.

The only stipulations include:

  • pots and pans must be made of steel, cast iron or other combinations of metals that will react with the magnetic field.
  • a kitchen must be wired for 220 volts (which is not likely if you are using gas).

What’s more, the induction cooktop is more energy efficient:

  • Induction cooking uses 90% of the energy produced compared to only 55% for a gas burner and 65% for traditional electric ranges.
  • Induction provides extremely fast boil and re-boil, over 50% faster than gas or electric

The surface of the cooktop does not heat up, so overflows and spills do not stick. The cooking surface stays cool even during the cooking cycle.

The Magnetic Factor

Induction cooking uses the transfer of magnetic energy (magnetic coils) — rather than flames or electric elements — to generate heat. Within this magnetic field, molecules in the pan jumble around at very high frequencies; the friction creates instant heat.

If consumers are curious if the pans they already own are capable of induction cooking, all they have to do is hold a magnet to the bottom of the pan. If the magnet sticks, the pan will work with induction.


Induction cooktops are easy to clean. They have a continuous surface with no dirt traps, and the controls are touch-sensitive, so there are no knobs to clean around. Because the surface doesn’t get as hot as other electric cooktops, most spillages won’t bake on, although you do have to be careful with sugar because it can still pit the surface. On the downside, some models don’t have a lip around the edge to contain spills, and you may have to buy a special cream to keep it streak-free.


Induction cooktops are expensive. Typical price: Twin-element: around $1700; two radiant ceramic and two induction elements (as one unit): $1800–$2500; four induction elements: $3000–$4000+.

More information: Induction Cooktops

Posted in Food and Health Tags , , , ,
  • anand kumar

    I had purchased induction cooking stove and when put to use ,i am getting power to my tester,that means if i touch the container ,it will give shoke. please explain .

  • jiu jitsu

    very nice cooktops… I want one too

  • Ann Marie

    Thank you so much for posting this blog on Induction Cooking. For whatever reason, there doesn’t seem to be anyone promoting this technology, even though it is the best way to cook on the top of a range. Feb 2014 Consumer Reports just published their rating of ranges. The two TOP rated ranges were both with induction cooktops. But you had to search through the chart for the highest ratings to find this. By the way they were the only ranges with induction cooktops on the list. BUT, both ranges are now being replaced by their manufacturer. I hope it is with another version. The popular(incorrect) notion seems to be that gas is preferred. With the recent spike in propane costs this winter, I have convinced a small town senior center in the CO mountains to replace their old ranges with convection oven/induction cooktops. But it really isn’t a hard sell. They are so efficient, controllable and easy to clean, they sell themselves., especially since they are getting cheaper. WHY isn’t anyone promoting them? When I talk with sales people at big box appliance store, the first thing out of their mouths is, “You have to have special pots.” What a lame excuse. You need special pots for microwaves, too, but no one ever mentions that. Also what’s so special about cast iron? That works fine. Anyways, thanks for blogging. I hope people are still reading this blog

    • Thanks for this great comment.
      We’ll be posting a new article about induction cooking in the weeks ahead.

  • I’m planning on using an induction cooktop for a cruising sailboat. They are so efficient and have the added benefit of being safe.

  • Jamie Hobbs

    I can’t get over how helpful this post is. I’m looking for a smaller induction cooktop and was looking into the Paragon from FirstBuild. They have been featuring recipes making me think it is fully functional. What are your thoughts?

  • nisha verma

    Induction cooking is the hottest new technology in the kitchen. It helps to utilize LPG and in a less time we get desirable food. With a good induction cooker one can get this benefit of energy saving at lowest prices.

  • I disagree about the cost. Ofcourse this article was published seven years ago. Now good, feature rich induction cooktops are available even below $100.

  • Victor Cardamone

    This is a very straight forward and helpful explanation of induction cooking that I’m sure the introductory user will find very useful. Since they do not require exhaust systems or fire suppression, we’ve used these fantastic pieces of equipment in several of our restaurant projects . Besides reducing overall capital costs, they are very useful since most units are portable and chef’s can easily relocate them around their kitchens as necessary.

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