Recently, we have been answering many questions concerning induction cooktops. Induction cooktops are becoming increasingly popular and more serious home cooks looking to renovate their kitchens are rightly considering having them installed. While an induction cooker is very efficient and reliable, not all metal products will work with them.
As I discussed in my article on heat sources, magnetic contact with iron or magnetic steel cookware is needed. This applies to any stovetop cooking implement, including teakettles and even Bialetti espresso makers.
Please don’t assume your current stainless steel cookware will automatically work with an induction cooker. It isn’t common knowledge, but not all stainless steel is magnetic. If 18/10 stainless steel is approved for use on induction cookers, the manufacturer will clearly say so in writing and will put a symbol on the box or pan.
Additionally, neither copper nor aluminum is magnetic.
However there is one thought to consider with aluminum. Aluminum core cookware, also known as tri-ply, may still be usable if the exterior layer is magnetic.
For owners of copper cookware (or any non-magnetic metal for that matter), there is an option available that doesn’t require purchasing all new cookware. Two companies, Mauviel and Max Burton, have created induction disks which sit on top of the induction cooker hob and beneath the non-magnetic pan. The energy is transferred through the disk to the pan. The induction cooker will not work with maximum effectiveness and adjustments may be necessary, but you won’t have to buy new cookware.
One final word of warning on induction cookers. If you have a digital temperature probe, you may experience problems with the probe if you clamp the thermometer to the side of a pan. I detailed this phenomenon in my article Induction Infarction.
For many people, buying an induction cooker means buying new cookware and replacing other kitchen products, which is a cost they didn’t consider when purchasing the cooker.
****Spring 2011 Update****
Due to the negative connotations associated with being incompatible with induction cooker technology, many cookware manufacturers are addressing the issue. The easiest solution for most is to place a magnetic disk on the bottom of aluminum (or other non-magnetic) pans. In addition to that quick fix, others have taken advantage of this concept to create next generation cookware. Revol, the French porcelain manufacturer, has placed an induction capable disk on the bottom of its ceramic cookware.
The warning remains, confirm compatibility before buying cookware for your induction cooker.
Also, read down the page, in the comments area, for a little more information on stainless steel.
All links in this post are associated with affiliate partners who pay a commission to this site if you purchase products from them.