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How Does Induction Cooking Work?

Last Updated Dec 6, 2011 · Written by Jaclyn Fitzgerald

Induction cooking is the latest innovation in the kitchen and it seems to work like magic – cooking food without the cooktop itself actually becoming hot!  Here’s what you need to know about induction cooking.

About Induction Cooking

An induction cooktop consists of a series of elements.  Each element is actually a powerful high frequency electromagnet located underneath the ceramic surface of the cooktop.  Sophisticated electronics inside the element create an electromagnetic field that is transferred or induced into the item of cookware that is placed on top of the element.  The transferred energy causes the metal in the cookware to become hot and it’s the heat created by the cookware that cooks the food inside – the cooktop itself remains cool. By controlling the strength of the electromagnetic field, you control the amount of heat being generated. The response to the heat change is instantaneous, just like it is in gas cooking.

Get the Right Cookware

For induction cooking to work, the cookware being used must be magnetic.  Most cookware items or sets these days will say on the box if it is compatible with induction cooktops but if you are upgrading your cooktop to induction and are not sure if the cookware you already have is compatible, there’s a very easy way to check.  All you have to do is to get a cheap magnet – even a fridge magnet will do! – and see if it sticks to the bottom of the cookware.  If it does, it’s magnetic and it’s suitable for use on your induction cooktop.  If it isn’t, then you will need to go out and buy new cookware.

Induction Cooking Gives You Control

Induction cooking is becoming incredibly popular because of the precise amount of control it gives to the person doing the cooking.  You can cook at very low temperatures, or you can have complete control over the heat being generated. That is, you can turn it from high to low and the cookware will respond instantaneously. In fact, induction cooking is becoming known for being more responsive than even gas cooking, which previously held the crown for best temperature control.  Of course, induction cooking is also very energy efficient as it creates almost no waste heat at all; only the pan itself is being heated.

Induction Cooking is Safe

Another reason why induction cooking is becoming so popular is due to the fact that it is safe.  The actual cooktop itself does not become hot at all, so there is no risk of children or pets or the cook burning themselves on it.  The smooth flat surface of the induction cooktop also looks great in the kitchen and it’s ridiculously easy to clean.
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