Can Cast Iron Be Used on an Induction Cooktop? Yes – Here’s Why

Induction cooktops came into vogue in modern kitchens due to their safety and sustainability – and they look sleek to boot! However, one of the drawbacks of this technology is that some types of materials used in cookware are not compatible with induction cooking. This state of affairs may raise some questions on whether home cooks can use their beloved cast iron pans on their induction cooktops.

Fortunately, yes, cast iron can be used on an induction cooktop – and that goes for both enameled and unenameled cast iron cookware. However, since cast iron cookware are heavy, you must be careful with handling them while cooking on an induction cooktop lest scratch its surface.

To better understand why this is so, let us delve deeper into what induction cooktops are and how they work.

What Are Induction Cooktops and How Do They Work?

Induction cooktops are a type of electric cooktop that utilizes copper coils underneath its glass ceramic surface that emits electromagnetic waves to generate heat. 

As opposed to burners using gas and electric coils that transfers heat from the burner to the surface of the pan, the electromagnetic waves generated by induction cooktops are absorbed by the pan if it’s made from a ferromagnetic material. The electromagnetic waves excite the molecules of the pan, making them vibrate widely, thus generating heat. This means that the cooktop itself does not get hot; heat will only get generated when a compatible material sits on top of the induction cooktop.

Can Cast Iron Cookware be Used on an Induction Cooktop?

Since cast iron is a ferromagnetic material, it can be used on an induction cooktop. Enameled cast iron cookware are also compatible with induction their base material is also magnetic. However, heating it may be less efficient compared to the unenameled version as the enamel coating may interfere with the electronic magnetic waves.

If you want to test whether your enameled cast iron pan is suitable for cooking on an induction cooktop, you should place a magnet on the bottom of the pan. 

  • If the magnet sticks, then it can be used on an induction cooktop
  • If the magnet does not stick, then it cannot be used on an induction cooktop
  • If the attraction is weak, then you may find it hard to cook with it on an induction cooktop

While cast iron cookware is traditionally used over flames (it can be used on an electric hob too!), cooking with an induction hob offers many benefits to its users, this includes more precise temperature control, faster cooking times, and it also does not generate as much ambient heat in the kitchen. 

With that said, there are some precautions that you must be aware of while using a cast iron pan on an induction stove.

Will Cast Iron Scratch The Surface of an Induction Cooktop?

When used carelessly, cast iron cookware can create scratches on the induction cooktop’s glass ceramic surface. While this can be said with any other type of cookware that are used carelessly, those made from cast iron deserve a special mention as they are heavy and usually have rough surfaces underneath.

While these scratches are mostly just cosmetic damages, they can be annoying to deal with and may negatively affect the cooking process in severe cases.

The best course of action here is to avoid sliding your cast iron pan along the burner’s surface to prevent scratches from developing. You can try smoothening the bottom of your pan using a polishing pad, or use an enameled cast iron cookware instead as their bottoms are typically smooth. It is also best to properly season your cast iron pan to prevent its seasoning from flaking, especially at the bottom.

Some people also place parchment paper between the hob and the bottom of the pan, however, keep in mind that this reduces performance, and that this should only be used for low heat cooking as high temperatures may burn the parchment paper.

Can You Use a Cast Iron Griddle on an Induction Cooktop? 

Yes, you definitely can! When using a cast iron griddle on an induction cooktop, it’s important to ensure that the griddle is the right size for the burner and that it has a flat bottom for better contact with the cooktop. 

With that said, you may run into problems when you are using a grill and griddle combo, as while the flat griddle side faces up, the ribbed structure of the grill side is facing the burner, which presents a smaller surface area to be in contact with the induction hob which may decrease performance. The raised ribs of the grill side may also be more likely to lead to scratching on the surface of the induction cooktop, so best stick with a flat-bottomed or enameled griddle for now.

Wrapping up

Overall, cast iron pans can be used on induction cooktops but with care and proper usage, they won’t scratch the cooktop surface. It’s important to be mindful of the pan’s size, flatness and the utensils used with it when cooking.

If you’re still hungry for more info about cast iron and other cookware made from carbon steel, stainless steel, copper, and aluminum, then be sure to check out the rest of my blog!

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