This Is Why Your Induction Hob Needs Special Pans

This Is Why Your Induction Hob Needs Special Pans

We explain why only certain pots will work with your induction hob. Don’t worry, they are not that special – you probably already have some!

An induction hob needs special pans because of the way it generates heat. Each cooking zone has copper coils that create a magnetic field once the power is switched on. When cookware with magnetic properties is placed on the zone, the field makes the pot heat up.

So, what type of pots do you need? Are they atrociously rare and expensive? Not at all – here is why you probably already have one or two pots that you can use. 

This Is Why Induction Hobs Cannot Use Any Pots Or Pans

Other stoves like electrical cooktops and gas stoves can accommodate all types of metal cookware. But induction hobs are different. They do not use gas, fire, or direct electricity to heat up a pot. Instead, an induction hob uses a magnetic field. 

In order to work, this magnetic field needs to react with the cookware. The cooking process starts when you switch on a cooking zone. Electricity then flows through the copper coils and causes them to create a magnetic field. If a pot or pan is non-magnetic, there will be no reaction – and no heat. But if you use a vessel with a ferromagnetic bottom, the field will directly heat it up. 

Read more about the advantages and disadvantages of cooking with induction hobs.

What Types Of Pots And Pans Work With Induction Hobs?

Right off the bat, we can give you several examples of the different types of pots and pans that can be used on an induction hob. As you will shortly see, some of them are very common in the kitchen. For this reason, the chances are that you already own something that you can use to cook delicious meals with on your induction hob!

You can use the following cookware but at the very least, their bottom has to consist of one of these materials:

  1. Cast iron without an enamel coating.
  2. Cast iron with an enamel coating.
  3. Magnetic-grade stainless steel.
This Is Why Your Induction Hob Needs Special Pans

A set of cast iron and stainless steel pans.

What Types Of Pots And Pans Do Not Work With Induction Hobs?

Induction hobs offer many benefits that make them better to cook with than regular electric or gas stoves. They are safer, present a lower risk of burning yourself, can be cleaned quickly, and they also save energy by cooking food faster. 

But their one weakness – if one can call it that – is the fact that they cannot work with all types of cookware. If you do not have a compatible pot or pan in the house, this could lead to the extra expense of having to buy an entirely new set of pots and pans. 

The following types of metal and other materials cannot work on an induction hob (because they do not engage with the magnetic field).

  1. Glass pots.
  2. Stainless steel that is not magnetic-grade.
  3. Stainless steel that is weakly magnetic-grade.
  4. Cookware with a high nickel content.
  5. Earthenware vessels.
  6. Aluminium pots or pans.
  7. Cookware that is made entirely of copper.

Is your induction hob chatty? Find out why induction hobs make noises.

When Can Non-Induction Cookware Work On An Induction Hob?

Let’s say you have pots and pans made with the materials we just listed in the non-induction cookware section. There is one caveat that you should be aware of. Some of them can indeed work on an induction hob but only if they have a magnetic layer. If the bottom is magnetic in some way but the rest of the pot or pan is aluminium or copper, for instance, your hob will heat them up.

How Do I Test For A Magnetic Bottom On My Cookware?

If you are not sure how strongly magnetic your pot or pan is, it is essential to test the vessel before you start cooking. A simple test could save you a lot of frustration. You know, waiting for the rice to cook but it never does! You get the idea. Here is how you can quickly determine which pots and pans are perfect for your induction hob.

  1. Take a fridge magnet that you know is in good working order. Some are weak and could give a false reading regarding your pot. Only choose a fridge magnet that has some proper “stick” to it. 
  2. Make sure that the bottom of the pot is clean and dry.
  3. Touch the fridge magnet to the bottom of the pot.
  4. If the magnet refuses to cling at all then the pot will never work on an induction hob. If it clings weakly, the chances are that the pot will also not work well. But should the magnet stick like a champ, then you have got a winner on your hands. 
This Is Why Your Induction Hob Needs Special Pans

A magnet that can comfortably hold a paper is strong enough for your test.

I Don’t Want To Replace My Non-Induction Cookware. What Can I Do?

Whatever the reason, many people do not want to buy a whole new set of cookware when they get an induction hob. That is understandable. Cooking sets can be pricey or maybe your kitchen space cannot take one more pot. In fact, why let perfectly good pots and pans gather dust on a shelf just because they are non-induction cookware?

There is a solution. 

You can use a tool called an induction converter disk or an induction adapter plate. These serious-sounding devices are pretty nifty. They look like a pan but only the bottom and a handle. The fact that it has no sides allows you to place a pot or a pan on top of it. The adapter has a magnetic bottom and heats up on a hob’s cooking zone. This heat is then transferred to the non-induction cookware sitting on the disk. 

Can I Use An Adapter Plate With Induction-Ready Cookware?

You sure can. But some of you might wonder, “Why on Earth do I need an adapter plate if I can just place the induction-ready pot directly on the hob?” 

The issue here is size. Sometimes, a pot or pan does not fit the diameter of the hob’s cooking zone. This can mess with the results that you want. Adapter plates come in different sizes and allow you to comfortably cook on a zone that does not fit your pot. As long as the adapter plate and the pot fit, you can cook without a problem!

Speaking of problems, here are some of the most common problems people experience with induction hobs.

A Quick Summary On Why Induction Hobs Need Special Pans

  • Only ferromagnetic cookware can directly work on an induction hob.
  • Other materials fail because they cannot react to the hob’s magnetic field which is used to heat the cookware.
  • Compatible pans or pots include those made from magnetic-grade stainless steel and cast iron.
  • Incompatible vessels include earthenware, glass, aluminium, and copper pots. 
  • Incompatible vessels will work on an induction hob if they have a magnetic layer at the bottom.
  • You can also use a plate adapter to act as a magnetic go-between to cook with incompatible cookware. 

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About the Author Harry Thompson

Involved in home renovations throughout his life, Harry is an expert in everything to do with home and garden DIY. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking and tending to his garden.