Upgrade your cooking style with high quality induction fry pans
Induction cooktops are a popular feature in many kitchens throughout Australia and are considered to be more energy efficient, easier to clean and generally safer to use.
If you have an induction cooktop, you’ll know how important it is to find the right pans for your cookware collection. There can also be a lot to decipher, like whether or not you should go for stainless steel instead of non stick frypans, or how to tell which frying pans are more than just induction compatible, but built especially for induction cooking. We’re here to help!
Best cookware materials for induction cooking
Cast iron. Cast iron cookware is very durable and delivers even heat distribution and retention, meaning you can cook at a lower setting (or in some cases off the heat completely) and it will continue cooking. It may take a little longer to heat up completely, but once hot it stays that way.Some cast iron pans have an enamelled cast iron base that helps prevent rust, but must be handled carefully to avoid the base becoming brittle and chipping.
Stainless steel. Stainless steel frypans are a popular cookware choice for induction stoves because they’re strong, hard and non-corrosive. Stainless steel induction frying pans often have multi-layered bases with a layer of aluminium in the middle to conduct heat more efficiently, and so you will often see aluminium listed in the construction alongside stainless steel.
Aluminium. Anodised aluminium conducts and retains heat well thanks to the thick layer of aluminium oxide on the surface of the pan. It’s lightweight, safe, affordable and doesn't rust. Typically, hard anodised aluminium is not suited to induction cooking, unless it has an iron or magnetic steel disc built in, so always check the specifications.
Other aspects to consider when buying an induction frying pan
Size. Consider the quantity, spacing and sizes of the cooking zones on your induction cooktop to ensure multiple induction frypans and pots can cook simultaneously.
Compatibility. Look for the compatibility symbols on the base of the cookware to ensure it’s safe to use. Please note, aluminium, glass and copper pans don’t work with induction stoves, unless they are made with a layer of a magnetic material on the bottom.
Durability. Look for quality materials such as cast iron which will withstand daily use and cleaning.
Cooking zones. Choose an induction cooktop with flexible cooking zones such as extra-large or small zones which will be better suited to a variety of cookware sizes. Cooking zones in most classic induction cooktops are defined and have clear size guidelines such as 24cm frypans or 28cm frypans.
Safety features. A safety sensor monitors the temperature of the bottom of the cookware. If an empty pan is left on a switched on cooking zone, the temperature adjusts to avoid damage to the cookware and cooktop.
The difference between induction and non-stick pans
Regular stovetops heat non-stick pots and pans through contact with flames or electrical heating. This heat is then transferred through contact from the burner to the base of the pot in a process known as thermal conduction. These pans have a non-stick coating designed to prevent food sticking and burning.
Induction pans have a coiled wire just below the ceramic surface, which generates an oscillating magnetic field to create an electric current from the induction stove top which generates the heat for cooking.
Types of non-stick coating in pans
Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) coating - This is the oldest nonstick coating. PTFE is slippery which makes a good non-stick surface for cookware.
Ceramic coating (Sol-Gel) - Ceramic coatings became popular in the 1960s as an alternative to PTFE coatings. It is made from a mixture of silica/clay which is hardened together with binders, oxygen, reinforcing chemicals and colour.
Superhydrophobic coatings - This type of coating is not common yet on cookware, but some manufacturers have begun incorporating it. It is considered the future of non-stick coatings in cookware because it has a nanoscopic layer which is able to resist water.
Silicone non-stick coating - Silicon is extracted from silica to produce a flexible non-stick coating commonly used in bakeware and other kitchen utensils.
Enamelled Cast Iron
Enamelled coating is applied to the traditional cast iron cookware which is the most preferred cookware pan by professional chefs.
Pros and cons of induction cooking
Induction cooktops heat up extraordinarily fast, conveying energy to the cookware faster than any other method of cooking. When you change the temperature, this change is reflected immediately.
Since the element itself doesn't get hot, it's safe to touch unless you've had a hot pan on it for a while. Most have automatic switches that detect when there's nothing on the element, meaning less energy is wasted from leaving them on and their flat surface makes induction cooktops easy to clean.
As the cooktop surface itself doesn't get hot, spills and splashes are less likely to burn onto the surface.
Your cookware must be suitable for induction cooking and so you may need to replace your pots and pans if they're not suitable.
Not all pots and pans will work on this type of stove so you will have to shop around more than you normally would.
The right pan for your cooking style
For slow and steady cooking such as casserole dishes, use heavy-based induction cooking pots as they will react more slowly to the cooking zone. While they may take longer to heat up, they will also provide even and consistent heating. Pans with glass lids also allow you to monitor your cooking without disturbing the concentration of heat.
For fast cooking like stir-fries, stainless steel-layered base induction woks are best – they heat up quickly and react to changes in the temperature setting. These pans tend to have thinner bases and could be more prone to burning, overcooking and sticking (unless it's a non-stick pan). These pans are ideal for boiling water and steaming.
Riveted vs rivetless frying pan handles
Riveted. Riveted handles are the sturdiest handles available as they are permanently attached. However, they do require thorough cleaning to prevent bacterial build-up around the rivets.
Rivetless. Having rivets pop out of the side of the pan’s interior isn’t always favourable as it makes it easier for food to get caught and requires more cleaning. In which case, you’d turn to rivetless handles.The smooth surface ensures easier cooking as well as less interference, while enhancing the frying pan's strength and durability.
Multiple-piece cookware sets to have in your home
Purchasing a full induction frypan set is ideal to ensure you have the right quantity and sizes for your induction cooktop so every meal can be made with ease and efficiency.
Many induction cookware sets include multiple pieces with varying configurations so look out for ones that include the main pieces you need and fill any gaps by purchasing an individual induction frypan here or an induction stock pot there.
Maintenance, cleaning and care
To clean a nonstick pan, wash it by hand after every use with mild detergent and a soft cloth or sponge.
Since hot temperatures can shorten the life of your pan, it's best to rinse it with lukewarm water. If you find that food has burnt onto the pan, soak it in warm soapy water for 10 to 20 minutes, then continue to hand wash. Soaking it for any longer or leaving it overnight might weaken the pan and is not recommended.
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What are induction pans made of?
Induction cookware pans have thick bases and are usually made of aluminium (with a steel cap in the base) or cast iron.
What are the benefits of induction fry pans?
Induction pots and saucepans heat up very quickly and distribute heat evenly for fast, safe and easy cooking.