Unlike gas or radiant electric stoves, induction technology heats pans directly and very quickly. Because the cooktop surface itself doesn’t get that hot, it’s also especially easy to clean. The only issue is that you need induction-ready magnetic pans to use induction burners. Partly because induction cooking is becoming more popular, you’ll find a good selection of cookware sets designed for this high-tech heating method. For our part, we think the Le Creuset Cerise 16-Piece Set is one of the best and most stylish induction cookware sets around.
What to know before you buy an induction cookware set
- 1 What to know before you buy an induction cookware set
- 2 How induction cooking works
- 3 How to care for induction pots and pans
- 4 Induction cookware set features
- 5 Non-warping induction cookware
- 6 Nonstick induction cookware
- 7 Induction cookware set cost
- 8 Induction cookware set FAQ
- 9 Are nonstick coatings safe?
- 10 Can I use a nonstick pad on my induction cooktop?
- 11 Which induction cookware set should I get?
- 12 Best of the best induction cookware set
- 13 Best bang for your buck induction cookware set
- 14 Honorable mention induction cookware set
How induction cooking works
Traditional burners, both gas and electric, create heat and apply it to the pan. Induction technology uses powerful magnets to cause the pan to heat up directly. There are numerous benefits to this method, including higher efficiency and faster heating times than traditional burners offer. High-end induction cooktops also usually allow for more precise temperature control, with some even allowing you to set a specific temperature with an accuracy of about 10 degrees.
How to care for induction pots and pans
Even when a pan claims to be dishwasher safe, it’s usually a good idea to clean it by hand. Putting pots and pans in the dishwasher will usually leave the most stubborn caked-on food residues behind, so you’ll need to scrub them yourself anyway. Plus, the movement of other pans, dishes and utensils inside the dishwasher can cause nicks and scratches in some materials.
Another important part of cookware care is storage. It’s highly recommended not to stack pots and pans directly inside one another because of the risk of damage. Scratches make pans noticeably worse at releasing food, whether you’re using stainless steel, carbon steel, hard-anodized or traditional nonstick cookware.
There are a few good ways to store nonstick pans safely. All-Clad makes specialized pan dividers that are highly effective, if somewhat expensive. A good alternative is the nonslip rubber mesh often used to line drawers. Yet another worthwhile storage aid is a simple terrycloth towel, which is good for a huge list of other tasks aside from simple pan protection.
Induction cookware set features
Non-warping induction cookware
Because induction technology requires close contact with the surface, a warped pan will perform significantly worse than a flat one. Pans that are designed with induction cooking in mind generally have thick, sturdy bases that will remain flat for years.
Nonstick induction cookware
High-end, stainless-steel pans work great if you know how to use them and are willing to put in a little extra effort, but not everyone has the time or attention for them. On the other hand, traditional nonstick coatings can lose their effectiveness and flake off over time. Hard-anodized aluminum and titanium-infused nonstick coatings are extremely popular right now and for good reason. They’re remarkably durable and can even stand up to light use with metal utensils, as long as you’re careful.
Induction cookware set cost
For just over $100 you can get a functional set of nonstick induction cookware. You can also spend as much as $800 on a collection of premium pots and pans.
Induction cookware set FAQ
Are nonstick coatings safe?
A. Despite what many bloggers will have you believe, nonstick coatings are entirely safe for human beings. Regardless, it’s incredibly difficult to chip the coatings off modern nonstick pans, and in the rare case that it happens, there’s nothing to worry about unless you let your damaged pans get a lot hotter than you’d ever need them to be for cooking.
The only exception to this is if you own any pet birds. The trace fumes given off by overheated nonstick coatings can cause illness in birds. Keep in mind, though, that this actually does not apply to strictly hard-anodized aluminum coatings. If you do opt for a hard-anodized set, though, make absolutely certain that it doesn’t have any additional coatings. Because it’s sometimes ambiguous, most bird owners opt for stainless-steel pans.
Can I use a nonstick pad on my induction cooktop?
A. You can, and there are some heat-resistant pads made for just that purpose. They’re especially effective for preventing scratches when using heavy cast-iron pans on induction burners. The problem with these pads is that they can move the pan too far out of the magnetic field, which massively hurts performance. Also, they’re only really safe up to 400 degrees or slightly above, and there are frequent reports of them smoking or otherwise breaking down during use. If you’re careful and attentive enough, a nonslip pad can improve your cooking experience and protect your cooktop.
Which induction cookware set should I get?
Best of the best induction cookware set
Le Creuset Cerise 16-Piece: available at Amazon
Our take: Ultra-premium cast iron and enamel pans built to last a lifetime.
What we like: If you’re willing to make the investment, these pots and pans are legitimately nice enough to hand down through your family over the years. Their cast-iron body sports a ceramic coating that’s remarkably nonstick and won’t significantly scratch most cooktops. All the included pans are safe for oven use as well, and the set comes with a variety of heat-resistant and scratch-free cooking utensils.
What we dislike: The high cost is really the only drawback to this premium collection.
Best bang for your buck induction cookware set
T-fal Professional: available at Amazon
Our take: A low-cost set of highly effective pans with a reliable nonstick coating.
What we like: The nonstick pans are made with a safe, PFOA-free process that holds up far better than older nonstick formulas. The selection includes just about every size and shape needed to cook almost any meal, and their thick bases resist warping very well. They even claim to be dishwasher safe, although it never hurts to wash your pans by hand.
What we dislike: They aren’t as thick as some others and, therefore, won’t retain heat as well. Also, the “One-Egg Wonder” pan is not compatible with induction burners.
Honorable mention induction cookware set
Our take: High-end tri-ply cookware that’s no stranger to a professional kitchen.
What we like: About as thick and heavy as can be, this set is perfect for quick searing as well as braising. Safe at up to 600 degrees, the pots and pans can be used for just about anything on the stove or in the oven. With proper care, this collection should look and function great for many years.
What we dislike: The lack of a nonstick coating means it will require a lot more attention while cooking and effort to clean.
Chris Thomas is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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