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Aug 27, 2008 07:50 AM

Induction Cookware

So, I was planning on getting a portable induction cooktop as well as some induction cookware for dorm room cooking. I was wondering if you guys could help me out with what exactly I'd be looking for.

Right now, the plan is to get some Lodge cast iron for the majority of cooking. Probably their three main skillet sizes, maybe something deeper for frying. But that still leaves some things that I would need, hence asking about what Induction Cookware to get.

As far as I can tell, stainless steel, aluminum, and copper all would not work unless coated with a layer of magnetic steel. Which means basically means that very few pans work. This leaves what tend to be mutli-ply cookware. But is there any way or place to find out whether or not the cookware I'd be considering is magnetic other than to find a store and get my hands on it?

I'm looking for a 6" nonstick pan, mostly for eggs, a larger stock pot, big enough to get most jobs done. I would add to the pans that I would want later. I know that I could get All-Clad, but that's just a bit too pricy for what I'd like to be spending. If there really are no other options, I suppose I would splurge.

Also, any idea on which portable induction cooktop is the best? Price is a factor too here.

One last thing, Lodge makes a cast iron trivet. Any good on an induction cooktop?

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  1. Most stainless steel cookware is induction-compatible. Just take a magnet with you to the store. If it sticks to the bottom of the pan, it will work with induction. Carbon steel works too. Anodized aluminum and copper cookware are not compatible.

    Some stainless steel cookware lines that are induction-compatible include Sitram's Profiserie (my favorite for price/performance) and Cybernox, Paderno's Grand Gourmet, Demeyere's Apollo, Atlantis, and Sirocco.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Buckethead

      I have a Cybernox pan that for the life of me I simply cannot get to work correctly. I believe it is either their 9.6 or 10.2 inch fry pan. It is gorgeous with a mirror like finish and EVERYTHING sticks to it. Does anyone have any idea what I could be doing wrong? I get it very hot first and use plenty of fat to prevent sticking to utterly no avail. Kinda annoying when my 10-12 dollar cast iron skillet can do a better job than something 10x more expensive. Not shocking, but very annoying. Are these ONLY to be used on inductive surfaces? I certainly am lacking one of those.

      1. re: MaxCaviar

        It sounds like typical stainless steel stickiness. Have you tried nonstick cooking spray? That, plus oil or clarified butter, at a fairly high temperature (to start with) should tame the SS surface.

        1. re: MaxCaviar

          Cybernox isn't supposed to be non-stick, just 'stick-resistant'. What are you cooking in it that's sticking?

          1. re: Buckethead

            Chicken breasts, fish, et cet. The stuff that I thought was supposed to cook well in this type of pan. I got it very hot on Md-High and the oil was always shimmering.

            BTW, I am going to the 11/22 Buckethead show in Anaheim. Psyched

            1. re: MaxCaviar

              I guess I'd question why you're trying to cook fish and chicken on med-hi. Since both need to be cooked through, you should probably turn down the heat a little, let them get a good sear on one side (and ideally be cooked at least half through), then flip and finish cooking on the other side. Flip only once -

              When meats are properly seared, they should virtually "release" themselves from a properly oiled and heated pan. If you're cooking a beef steak, it can take a higher heat for a shorter time. But chicken and fish should be cooked for a longer period of time at a lower heat.

              I seem to remember that when I first got my AC, the book said not to "crank up" the heat all at once when using stainless or food will stick more easily. Instead, gradually bring the temp up to the higher end - as needed. But don't get the pan blazing hot to cook everything.

      2. I have a portable induction hot plate, 1300 w. It came with a flat-bottom wok style pan. Interestingly most of it non-magnetic stainless steel; just the base add on is magnetic.

        While I have used my 10" Lodge skillet on it, more often I use inexpensive enamel steel pots, a small one for boiling coffee water, and a 2qt for large quantities. What I'm talking about are the blue speckled stuff you can find in the camping gear section of many stores.

        A well seasoned steel crepe/omelet pan also works. However, I have to resist the temptation to lift the pan off the burner to distribute batter, since the burner shuts off when no pan is present.

        On my cooktop, the induction coil is about 6" in diameter. So the pan bottom beyond that diameter does not heat evenly.

        1. Look for 18/0 stainless. 18/8 or 18/10 won't work. You really don't need good thick cookware with induction, cast iron is nice but probably a bit overkill. The cheapie dimestore pans work just as well as high end stuff, provided the 'active area' of the induction cooker is at least as large as the pan you're using. That's one great benefit of induction, it spreads the heat quite evenly across the bottom of the pan, no matter how thick or thin it is. Spend your money on a decent induction cooktop, and just get some cheap stainless cookware with flat bottoms.

          I've tested steel 'trivets' on induction in an attempt to see if they'd work as an intermediary so I could use aluminum or other cookware. Miserable failure, DO NOT try it. In order to heat up whatever you place on the trivet to a significant degree, the trivet has to be hot enough to potentially damage the cooktop surface.

          1. Induction cooktops are naturally quite expensive but really efficient; more suited for stocks and reductions that day to day dorm cooking. But I imagine they are really safe in terms as a firehazard.
            I agree- the ONLY reliable way is to stick a magnet to the bottom of it (just find one at the store so you don't accidentally erase your credit cards) A lot of manufacturers are magnetizing the cookware to make them compatible with induction cooktops. Cast iron is the best cookware but heavy to drag around in a dorm situation. Also impractical to keep smells down and to keep seasoned in a small dorm space.
            I have a lot of experience with dorm room cooking. My advice would be to find a small, sturdy wooden bureau (with drawers) so you can work on top of it (cutting, preparing, then finally drying dishes- get a flat dishdrain that doubles as a tray). Ideally the top would be belly-buttom high. The top drawer would have your flatware, utinsels, and spices; mid drawer, your Corell dishes; bottom (open shelf) cutting board and pots that nest.
            Supplies: Microwave, electric kettle, single burner stove- double if you are a complex cooker, slow cooker, toaster oven, G Foreman grill. Most of these things are not allowed in dorms.
            Remember not to aquire too much things as you might move often. Get inexpensive things- they might walk off...

            1. I got a starter set of Circulon Infinite cookware when I bought my range. I loved them so much I bought a bunch more to complete the collection. Heavy, flat bases and even heating. No metal utensil restrictions and you can throw them in the dishwasher. Excellent construction quality. No ringing on my range top. Total home run in my book. When one of the small frying pans got scratched in shipment, Circulon sent me a new one and told me to keep or chuck the old one. Good old fashioned customer service and commitment to quality. Highly recommended.