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Jun 8, 2009 03:43 PM

Electric stove vs. cast iron

I always used my much loved cast iron pans until I moved to a Florida condo. Gas stove cooking was the only way I knew. Can I use cast iron on electric? It just doesn't seem like you could control the heat as well. Ready to take your advise.

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  1. I thought cast iron reacted rather slowly to heat changes anyway? Maybe not. Dunno. An electric burner (whether it's coil element or flat top or whatever) is going to react more slowly to turning the heat down (or up, but down is probably the one that causes more issues). It is something you'll have to adjust to with all your cookware, cast iron or otherwise. We have some enameled cast iron we use on our electric stove sometimes, but I can't say we use it for anything that's sensitive to those heat changes.

    When something needs to go lower in heat and clearly will react badly to being left on a burner that is still very hot, you either move it away from the heat for a moment while the burner cools, or, if you have room, move it to a new burner set to the lower heat level. Be prepared to spend some time getting used to it, but once you get used to it you should be able to do anything you need on the electric stove.

    1 Reply
    1. re: CrazyOne

      I use cast iron on my electric but as the first responder said - it wouldn't do for anything that requires quick reaction to heat changes. But the same issue equally applies to using cast iron on gas even though the gas responds instantly the cast iron does not. I have also used it frequently on a gas cooker. You will need a small adjustment to account for the slower response of an electric coil but ultimately the cast iron is going to hold heat anyway and you probably won't be using it for any application where it is important to use quick changes in heat.

    2. JOJOGIRL, cast iron -- generally -- is like an ocean liner that gains speed slowly, garners great momentum, then turns with a wide radius. When there is a source of HEAT under a cast iron pot or pan, it does not make a lot of difference whether the source is an electric resistive burner or a gas flame: the momentum is the same. The underside of the pot is heated, and it takes a while for the heat to be conducted through the thickness of the pot to the inside where the food is. But, overall, cast iron will work just as well on an electric resistive burner as on gas -- so long as you take overshoot into account just as you had to do with gas. That is, when heating up the pot, you turn the burner down before you get all the way to the desired temperature, because, like an ocean liner turning slowly, you have to prepare in advance.

      When the source of energy is not heat but induction -- which operates on an electrical circuit, but transfers the energy to the pot in the form of magnetism rather than in the form of heat, the mechanics change a bit. The inside of a cast iron pot starts to heat up at the same time as the outside; the slowness of cast iron as a conductor of heat is not a factor in that case. If you have the option of substituting an (electric) induction cooking surface for a resistive electric heat cooking surface, you will discover that cast iron can be more responsive on electric -- if the electric is induction -- than it is on gas.

      1. That was a great explanation Politeness. Good analogy on the ocean liner and good advice too.