The 10 Best Induction Pan Sets
This wiki has been updated 19 times since it was first published in May of 2016. Induction stovetops are among the more interesting culinary developments of the last century because they use electricity and magnetism rather than open flames. This means safer, more consistent, and more efficient cooking, but you'll need the right pans for the process to work properly. One of these cookware sets will fit the bill nicely, even if you don't want to spend a whole lot. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best induction pan set on Amazon.
June 17, 2019:
Induction cooktops are safer and cook far more quickly than gas and electric ranges, but they do have a couple drawbacks. Because the pan only gets hot when it's sitting directly on the burner, you can't quite use all of the same techniques that you might normally try out on a quality gas burner. More importantly, because induction burners work so well, it's easier to overheat pans, which adds even more to the eternal "nonstick vs. stainless" debate. Either way, with induction, you have to pay close attention to the pan's heat, because it can spike rapidly. Steel can discolor, warp, and causing major sticking if it suddenly hits 600 degrees Fahrenheit, so you want to make sure you get good equipment if you're using stainless. All-Clad is known as a quality brand, as is the popular Cuisinart. You can get by with something inexpensive, but it will require even more care and attention to keep it in good shape.
If you prefer to go with nonstick, The T-Fal and Circulon are both great choices that look like traditional nonstick pans but are actually made with anodized aluminum that's highly resistant to damage and flaking. Alternately, the NuWave uses a modified ceramic coating that doesn't perform quite as well as old-school Teflon, but is completely inert and safe to cook with. In fact, if you have birds in your home and want some nonstick pans, we'd recommend the NuWave set because it is completely bird-safe.
Either way, in order to keep your pots and pans (and really, all of your kitchen equipment) in good working order, make sure to practice good technique. Stainless, in particular, requires a little bit more know-how to prevent sticking and burning. But if you pay attention to what you're doing and read recipes thoroughly, you should have no problem.
Inducted Into A New World Of Cooking
Even though an induction stovetop heats up more quickly, it cools down just as fast and transfers the heat only to the pan and the food inside.
Induction cooking is a faster, more efficient form of heating food than electric.
Induction pans are specifically-designed to be compatible with induction stovetops. However, many of them can be used with electric, gas, and wood stoves as well. In order to qualify as an induction pan, the cookware must be made of stainless steel or other ferrous metal and have a flat bottom. If it is not made of a ferrous metal, it can still be considered induction cookware when equipped with an induction disk on its bottom.
Induction cooking is a faster, more efficient form of heating food than electric. It can be as precise as gas cooking, but is more energy-efficient and includes safety features such as automatic shutoff when the pan or other cookware is removed. It is much easier to control the temperature on an induction cook top than on an electric or wood stove top. There is much less risk of burning food with an induction cook top, and spills are incredibly easy to clean because they don't burn to the surface.
Even though an induction stovetop heats up more quickly, it cools down just as fast and transfers the heat only to the pan and the food inside. This is why it is possible to cook food on an induction cook top with paper or other flammable material because the stove will not ignite it. It is also an excellent option for homes with small children because it reduces the risk of a child touching a stove burner that has yet to cool after removing the cookware.
To Splurge Or Not To Splurge
It's best to determine if your chosen cookware is compatible with your cooking style and induction stovetop before purchasing. The higher cost cookware might be expensive in the beginning, but it's more likely to last in the long run. You can often choose between stainless steel, cast iron, and aluminum.
Ceramic-clad pots and pans are okay, so long as there is magnetic iron embedded inside.
Your cooking style will go a long way in determining what type of induction pans you should get. If your cooking style is slow and steady, you will need pans with a heavy base. They will heat up more slowly, but they will produce more consistent heat. They're also ideal for cooking complicated meals requiring focused attention. In this case, you will want cast iron or an aluminum pan with an induction plate.
If you prefer faster cooking, go with stainless steel. It heats up quickly, changes temperature almost immediately, and will easily adjust to any changes you may need to make. However, also be aware that it's thinner at the base and can burn food easily if you don’t keep your eye on it.
Don't purchase aluminum, glass, or copper pans unless they are fitted with induction plates or other magnetic material. Ceramic-clad pots and pans are okay, so long as there is magnetic iron embedded inside.
Finally, you need to consider the cost of the induction pan set. Some sets are very affordable with only a few pieces. These are great for someone who is new to induction cooking (or cooking in general) and simply needs something to get started. However, if you are an experienced chef or have a large family that you cook for often, you might want to go with a larger, longer-lasting set that is also dishwasher safe. Even the larger, more intricate sets can often be found at affordable prices, depending on the type and style you choose.
In general, you will likely need at least one skillet, one saute pan, one sauce pan, and one stock pot to get started. If you have an induction pan set that includes all of those items, you will be ready to use your induction stovetop in no time.
A Brief History of the Induction Pan Set
Induction cooking is a fairly new invention, dating back to only the early twentieth century. In the 1950s, Frigidaire created demonstration stoves in an attempt to generate interest in induction cooking technology. They used a pot of water and their induction cooker with a sheet of paper between them in order to demonstrate the heating technology and its safety features.
Induction cook tops and cookware is now a lucrative market in both the United States and European nations.
However, it wasn’t until the 1970's that induction cook tops were eventually put into production and made available to the general public. The Westinghouse Electric Corporation near Pittsburgh developed an induction cook top for display at the 1971 National Association of Home Builders convention in Houston, Texas. The company named it the Cool Top Induction Range and also produced a line of induction ranges for general sale named the Cool Top 2 Induction ranges, which were priced at around $1,500 each. The company also produced a range of cookware that was compatible with its own stovetop.
By the mid-1980's, Sears Kenmore began selling their own version of an induction cook top that included a self-cleaning oven, kitchen timer, and touch-control buttons. Despite its efficiency and obvious convenience and safety features, induction cooking took a long time to catch on due to the high price of the stovetop units and cookware.
In 2009, Panasonic tried to solve this issue by developing an all-metal induction cooker that could be placed inside non-ferrous metals, essentially turning any metal into suitable induction cookware. Induction cook tops and cookware is now a lucrative market in both the United States and European nations. Even those consumers not currently using induction cook tops will often express their intention to upgrade in the future.
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