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Apr 28, 2009 08:30 PM

Cast Iron on Ceramic Cooktop?

We have a stove with a ceramic cooktop. Is it safe to use enameled cast iron on it without scratching the cooktop?

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    1. re: Politeness

      Thanks, there is surprisingly little information out there about this combination.

      1. re: Sporkman

        Sporkman, we bought a ceramic cooktop, Jenn-Air, in 1999, used it for the better part of ten years, used cast iron (both enameled and naked) on it all that time. We had to replace the cooktop this year, because of an electronic problem, and Jenn-Air had been orphaned, no part available to fix it. The old cooktop did not have a single scratch on it when we removed it. In fact, one of the pots we used frequently was not even flat-bottom, had three feet; no scratches, but we were careful not to slide the pots across the surface.

        1. re: Politeness

          Sporkman, despite the upper right corner of this message, I am not replying to myself. In another thread on this board, I have posted pictures of the non-scratching three-footed cast iron pot, just in cast you are interested:

          1. re: Politeness

            Will the footed pot actually heat up without contact with the glass? If one of my pans warps even a little it becomes useless on the flat glass top. I guess that in your pic the range heats by induction instead of radiation.

            1. re: phantomdoc

              phantomdoc, yes and yes. Our cooktop (hob) is induction, and induction transfers the energy in the form of a magnetic field that requires no physical contact between the energy source and the cookware.

              But that is only half of the answer. Our previous cooktop was a hybrid, with two induction cooking areas and two rapid response ribbon radiant cooking areas, and that same pot with its small feet worked on the ribbon radiant cooking areas as well.

              For cooktops that transfer energy in the form of heat (that is, cooktops other than induction), heat may be transferred through conduction (as when you place your hand on a hot griddle) or through convection (as when you place your hand in front of a forced air furnace vent) or through radiation (as when you remove protective clothing at the beach) or through any combination of the three. I think that most glass top cooktops these days use ribbon radiant burners, which (despite the claims you sometimes will read), relying primarily on radiation, do not need physical contact to transfer heat -- after all, the sun can still give us a sunburn even though it is separated from us by 93 million miles of vacuum. Of course, if there is physical contact between a radiant cooktop and the pot, then there is a second, conductive, path for heat transfer, which can accelerate the transfer.

              1. re: Politeness

                Thanks for the response. I temporarily forgot my High School physics about heat transfer. Conduction, Convection, and Radiation. My cooktop is definitely conduction. I send back pans to Calphalon when they warp. They have been very nice about sending replacements without any trouble. My cast iron does not warp.

                1. re: Politeness

                  Ahhh... the part about glass cooktops using radiant heat makes sense. I have a french steel skillet that I got free, but the bottom of it is very convex, so only a small part of it touches the burner. Despite that, it makes a great omelet pan, and it cooks evenly to the edges on my GE Profile smoothtop range. Must be radiant heat from the glowing burners. I don't use it much because it spins around too easily, but am hanging on to it in case I move to a place with a gas stove.

                  Still, I don't mind holding my hand close over top of the burner, but my brain tells me not to touch it, thinking that conduction would be more effective than radiation at burning me. I never did very well in physics.

                  1. re: BruceMcK

                    Sending back a 12 inch fryer to Calphalon tomorrow. Convex bottom, not enough conduction. No convection or radiation.

        2. re: Politeness

          Or drop.

          I shattered a halogen hob / cooktop.

        3. Against manufacturer rec I have been using my 10 1/2 " Wagner Cast Iron frypan for the last 9 years. No scratches.
          BTW use medium heat for best results.

          1. I've been using my 3 qt and 7 qt enameled cast iron dutch oven on my ceramic cooktop with no problems at all. As mentioned in previous posts, I take extra care not to slide the pot.