Do you need special pans for an induction hob? Quite simply, yes. The entire process of cooking with an induction hob depends on heat generated by a magnetic field being activated by a specific type of pan.
It may sound complicated, but it’s a really simple system to use. And the advanced technology of induction heat has several advantages, including saving time, lower running costs and a hob that is incredibly easy to keep clean.
However, it’s important that anyone who has a pacemaker should seek medical advice before investing in an induction hob as the powerful magnetic field it produces can seriously affect the pacemaker’s mechanism.
What is an Induction Hob?
An induction hob has a sleek, seamless surface of specially toughened ceramic glass. The heating element lies beneath it in a similar way to an electric hob, but it’s how it cooks food that makes it so advanced.
Instead of heating the hob in order to then transfer heat to cook the food as with conventional electric and gas hobs, an induction hob heats the food directly.
Remarkably, the glass surface remains cold as ninety percent of the generated heat is directed towards cooking. Even spillages can easily be wiped away as there is no risk of them becoming burned on. It’s a system that saves energy, time and money.
Types of pans to use on an Induction Hob
Due to the innovative technology of induction hobs, only pans containing ferrous metal can be used to activate the magnetic field. Suitable materials include stainless steel and cast iron with or without an enamel coating.
Other metals such as aluminium can only be used if the pan contains a magnetised layer of iron in the base. Pans with a high level of iron are preferable as they make an improved connection with the magnetic field inside the hob.
You can test the effectiveness of a pan with a magnet. If it connects but pulls away easily it will provide good culinary performance. But for the best results choose a pan that won’t release the magnet without a struggle.
Pans designed specifically for induction hobs include optimal amounts of iron to ensure an excellent magnetic connection.
Types of pans to avoid using on an Induction Hob
Any pan you use on an induction hob that doesn’t include any ferrous material won’t activate the magnetic heat source. Suitable pans containing ferrous metal need to be of good quality to maximise the efficiency of the system.
Magnetised iron or stainless steel bases need to be reliably flat to ensure a solid connection with the magnetic field. Any pans that are too thin can warp and cause cold spots leading to slower, less efficient cooking times.
How an Induction Hob Works
When an induction hob is switched on it immediately creates a magnetic field beneath the ceramic surface, but to produce any heat it still needs the presence of a compatible ferrous pan to complete the circuit.
Place a non-magnetic pan on the hob and nothing happens as the system remains on hold and the food stays uncooked.
Once the right type of pan is in place, the hob immediately begins to directly heat its contents through the pan’s base.
The system significantly reduces the time spent on cooking because you no longer have to wait for the hob to reach a certain temperature before the heat is transferred to the ingredients.
Some induction hobs have designated circular areas that take the place of electric elements or gas burners. They can often include two or three sizes with varying strengths to accommodate small and large pans.
But choose a sophisticated zoneless model and you can literally cook food with saucepans placed in any location on the hob.
With an induction method, conventional elements and burners are replaced by an electric current passing through a coil of copper wire to fill the area beneath the hob with a magnetic field.
When you place a magnetised pan on the surface it immediately draws the current to it. The heat is activated by the completed magnetic field constantly alternating between positive and negative charges.
If you should move your pan to another area on the hob the current simply relocates.
An induction hob allows you to have greater control over cooking as it’s a fast, highly responsive system. For instance, if a saucepan is about to boil over it can usually be immediately prevented by stopping the power as the hob itself hasn’t stored any heat.
If the same situation occurs with a conventional gas or electric system, you might have cut the power, but boiling continues as the hob is fully heated and hasn’t had time to begin cooling down.
Any ingredients that accidentally fall onto an induction hob won’t burn and stick on the hob as they land on a cold surface. The only heat that’s present is directly beneath the pan. It makes the chore of cleaning your hob quick and easy.
Greater energy efficiency
Cooking with an induction hob uses far less energy than conventional methods. It’s a precise system that doesn’t need to heat large sections of the hob to cook your food, only the base of the pan. Adopting this cost-effective system could lower your energy bills.
Best Induction Hob pans
Best Frying Pan for Induction Hob
The Comfort Max frying pan from Tefal is manufactured from the best quality 18/10 gauge stainless steel for long-lasting durability. The thick, layered base includes aluminium for superior heat distribution. It also includes magnetic stainless steel, making it the best frying pan for an induction hob as its strength prevents the pan from distorting.
The advanced non-stick coating is textured for improved performance and features Tefal’s Thermospot Technology that indicates when the pan has reached an ideal temperature.
A soft-touch handle of Bakelite is contoured for a comfortable grip. The versatile 30 cm induction frying pan has a large capacity of 2.35 litres and can be placed directly in an oven with temperatures of up to 180 degrees Centigrade.
Best Pressure Cooker for Induction Hob
The Tefal Secure 5 Neo is currently one of the best pressure cookers for induction hob you will find on the market today. Backed by over 5000 positive reviews on Amazon, the Tefal Secure 5 is compatible with all types of hobs, including your shiny induction hob.
Safety is a key factor that makes this induction hob pressure cooker so popular, the built-in auto-lock system provides an audible sound to notify you when the lid is securely in place. Capacity is 6-litres.
Best Griddle Pan for Induction Hob
The professional quality Aiglefeu griddle pan is sturdily constructed of cast aluminium and weighs 1.21 kilograms. It’s one of the best griddle pans for an induction hob as it has a solid base with a depth of 4.5 mm. It contains several layers including an aluminium alloy for even heat distribution and a magnetic ferrous layer.
The non-stick Greblon coating is completely free of harmful chemicals and heavy metals, ensuring it is both healthy and ecological.
The deep ridges provide an improved flow of oxygen to tenderise steaks. A convenient lip on either side allows excess fat to be poured away. The pan can be used in the oven once the innovative, ergonomic handle has been detached.
Best Wok for Induction Hob
The Tefal 28 cm wok is part of the Comfort Max collection. It has a highly durable Power Resist non-stick coating. Thermospot Technology enhances the wok’s performance as it indicates the right temperature to begin cooking.
The relatively wide base contains a layer of stainless steel to provide an excellent magnetised connection, making it one of the best wok for an induction hob.
The layer of aluminium in the base ensures the heat is evenly distributed to eliminate hot spots. This induction-compatible wok weighs 1.06 kg and has a generous depth of ten centimetres for easy stir-frying.
The high-quality 18/10 gauge stainless steel gives the wok a sleek appearance. The ergonomic Bakelite handle is soft to the touch and easy to grip.
Best Chip Pan for Induction Hob
This 22 cm Deep Cook chip pan is manufactured from 18/10 gauge stainless steel for strength and durability. It’s the best chip pan for an induction hob as its encapsulated base contains layers of aluminium and stainless steel to ensure reliable, magnetised contact with the hob.
The base evenly distributes heat for perfect deep frying while remaining resistant to distortion. The curved, ergonomic handle is made of stainless steel and Bakelite.
There is also a small handle to provide a secure, two-hand grip when lifting the pan. The removable inner basket is made of stainless steel wire and has a large capacity for making home-cooked chips.
Best egg poacher for Induction Hob
This is a nice pick if you’re looking for a 6-egg poacher pan (it comes in a 4-egg version too). The large 75-millilitre cups on this model ensure you won’t be dealing with overflow if you’re cracking larger eggs. Overall, this is a very sturdy and substantial unit.
The body of the pan is stainless steel that has a three-ply aluminium bottom to even out hot spots for very steady heat distribution. The poacher’s sturdy glass lid offers a window into how your eggs are cooking while also locking in the ideal amount of moisture for creating perfectly poached eggs!
The attention to detail in this design extends to the way you’ll handle the cups after your cooking time is up. This poacher pan features a special “quick cool” knob for lifting out your eggs that cuts down on your wait time for digging in!
This poaching pan easily converts to a sauté pan that allows you to whip up other breakfast favourites with ease. Dimensions are 41.4 x 26.7 x 12.7 (centimetres).
Cooking food on an induction hob has many advantages including speed, effective results and an easy-to-clean kitchen.
Although induction hobs are more expensive than their gas or electric counterparts, the investment can usually be quickly recouped by a significant reduction in operating costs.
Changing to this technologically advanced, ecological system may mean recycling some of your existing pots and pans.
However, affordable pans that are perfect for an induction hob are usually of such an impressive quality they can last a lifetime and are also suitable for use with any other system.