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Best cookware for smoothtop electric stove?

I just bought a smoothtop electric range (can't get gas at home, very sad, I know...) to replace my old coil range, but after doing alot of reading on the board, am trying to determine whether I need to replace my cookware as well.

I have a number of pots and pans, but primarily use a Lodge cast iron skillet (non-enameled), a calphalon non-stick small dutch oven, and a le Creuset enameled large dutch oven. I've always been pleased with the quality of the pans on both gas and electric coil, but this smoothtop will be new to me.

For folks who have experience with smoothtop electric ranges, which do they recommend both for quality of cooking, but also for preventing damage to the surface?

Do I need to switch to all enameled cookware, or should I use something else?

Thanks!

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  1. Give this a look.

    http://www.cutleryandmore.com/usa-mad...

    1. I think your pans will be fine. I use CI, non-stick, stainless, anodized aluminum with no problem. I think the main concern is if the pan is totally level or not. If the bottom of the pan is warped, or if you have a round bottomed wok, then you have a problem. I don't know if a round bottom wok with a ring will work, but I presume it will not. I have encountered warpage with CI and plain aluminum (think old fashioned Wearever) but not with modern stainless or anodized aluminum. I'm not saying it doesn't happen though.

      If the pan sits level on the stove, it should be OK.

      I would never use Pyrex on the stovetop, and frankly wouldn't use the old Corning Ware either.

      I would respectfully suggest that you boil water on the various settings to see how fast things come to a boil, and if the low setting will maintain a simmer. I wish I had been smart enough to do this when I got my new glass cooktop.

      I really like cooking on my cooktop, and I hope you have a good experience too.

      1. Personally I find cast iron a great match for glass top stoves. You can't bang around pots and pans in the way you can with coils or gas and you should try to keep it clean to reduce scratching.

        1. With most pots and pans you should be fine. I use aluminum and stainless steel as well as anodized and who knows what else with no problems. I am a chef so I constantly slide my pans and keep them moving and haven't scratched the surface at all. I have used enameled cast iron but it was a large dutch oven so i didn't move it around. If it was just a large pot or whatever then i'd not be worried about cast iron, but if you constantly moved it about without lifting i'd be a little concerned, but otherwise just do what you normally do and you should be fine. My mom's seems to have been resistant to all my abuse so far :P

          1. I have a lot of trouble using pots with shiny bottoms - like copper. It seems to reflect the heat back at the unit and fool it into thinking everything is too hot. The element will cycle on and off right away so I don't get a lot of heat. This is a big problem if you need max heat like boiling a pot of water.

            A dark pot like calphalon anodized aluminum, or cast iron, seems to not reflect back and the element will stay on.

            1. I use mostly older All-Clad stainless steel pans. Occasionally I will use a Lodge Cast Iron dutch oven and once in a great while, I will use a stupid lightwieght non-stick griddle.

              The only pan that gives me problems is the lightweight griddle. It doesn't sit flat and heats unevenly. All other pans are fine.

              We have had two flat glass cooktops over the past 5+ years. I have never had a problem with scratches or staining. We are not careful at all.

              That being said, we have broken two tops. The first broke when an almost empty, small plastic spice container fell from less than 24 inches. It was the strangest thing. The container was so light and the distance so short yet it cleaved the top in half with a huge crack.

              The second time wasn't a surprise, a huge glass jar of honey fell from the top shelf of the cupboards. It broke in a place that lets us still use the top so I will not replace it until we remodel the kitchen.

              1. You should be able to use virtually anything as long as you don't drag the pot across the surface and scratch it. I use stainless steel, copper, cast iron, enameled cast iron, and anodized aluminum on mine. I have had problems with pure aluminum, as it tends to leave little metal splinters on the cooktop that take a really long time to remove, so stay away from unfinished aluminum -- like the kind you see on big stock pots. I also have some problems with my Calphalon anodized aluminum skillets, as these don't sit flat once heated, and tend to "spin" around on the burners much too easily. As for stainless steel, I like using disk-bottomed construction on these cooktops more than clad because they tend to sit very, very flat. One of my favorite pots is clad, however, but it is very expensive and well made.You can buy whole cookware sets for the price I paid for this Demeyere sauteuse, but it is a great pan. All Clad is great too. You should be able to use other good brands of clad constuction as well, as long as they are well made and sit flat.

                7 Replies
                1. re: RGC1982

                  We should not be using anything made of aluminum, by drinking, cooking, eating out of it.. enough aluminum affects the brain.. not good

                  1. re: Spitfire60

                    No.

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/905821

                    Restaurants around the world cook food for billions of people everyday using almost exclusively aluminum.

                    1. re: TeRReT

                      And this makes aluminum safe?

                      1. re: sinikat

                        No, Aluminum is not safe.. it affects your body/brain.. teflon heated at high temps is not safe either.. I got rid of all my pots/pans and bought stainless steel.. There are canning pots made out of aluminum.. I wouldn't chance it even with bottled food to seal..

                        1. re: Spitfire60

                          Prove it.

                          1. re: Spitfire60

                            With such sweeping claims, it would be wise to cite your sources. Otherwise, what you claim sounds like urban folklore.

                      2. re: Spitfire60

                        This is a myth. No harmful effects of aluminum cookware have been scientifically demonstrated, despite widespread usage of such cookware for many decades.

                    2. I have cooked on several different kinds of flat tops over the years and have not had a problem with any kind of pan so long as it is: fairly flat on the bottom, and does not have any ridges on the bottom to hold the pan away fromt he burner--like some two burner griddles. I have used cast iron, old Calphalon, all-clad, stainless, and enamel. my mom-in-law had a very early version of a flat top, and she used Visionware--that pyrex-like stuff that is not pyrex. mostly because it was flat, I think, and she is not a cook out of love, if you know what I mean. I prefer smoothtop to coil for electric, and I think you will do fine. oh, the other thing is to make sure that your pan fits the burner fairly well. I have a cast iron that overhangs a lot, and it does not heat nearly so well on the edges, although it's no problem with my dutch ovens (not trying to sear).

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: cocktailhour

                        I actually use both a cast iron two burner grill (with griddle side on reverse) and an All Clad LTD griddle, also two burner, and both have raised edges that keep the pans from direct contact with the burners in the middle. I actually use both of these with no problem on my cooktop. Now, I do have a "bridge" unit between the two burners, but I can assure you that the really small space between the actual burner and the bottom of the grill/griddle has not impacted performance at all. Note that in my use, both pans have flat "raised" bottoms that are only raised at the edges of the pan, not grill lines in contact with the burners. In othe words, even on my reversible grill/griddle, the grill side is never on the bottom because I do not use it that way, I used the All Clad instead.

                      2. Thanks for all the advice! I'll avoid the unfinished aluminum. The CI skillet has a small raised logo on the bottom, but otherwise is flat. Hopefully that won't cause a problem. Interesting about the reflective metals.

                        And also, now a little freaked out about falling condiments that might break the cooktop.

                        It's a GE Cafe Series, and arrives tomorrow! Hooray!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: cuisnatrix

                          NO. I've dropped things on the stove top and it's not broken yet

                        2. Two of my daughters have had smooth glass cooktops, we're not big fans. With that said, the most important things are to use pots and pans with flat bottoms, you need surface to surface contact to heat well. Above all be patient, they don't heat up as fast and it's really easy to overheat a pan and warp the bottom by getting in a hurry and turning the power up too high. That then warps the bottoms and now you don't have the heat transfer you need.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: mikie

                            There must be a great variety of smoothtops out there, because my burners heat water pretty fast. I advocate doing a test early on using 2 C of water in various vessels on various burners. But I consider my stovetop responsive and fast.

                            1. re: sueatmo

                              +1, and I moved to this from gas via a short stint on horrid electric coils. My GE is great, and heats water really fast. I really like the flexible burner configuration.

                              I never thought I would like it, but I couldn't have gas here. I had used lower end smooth tops in summer rentals, and they were terrible, so you do need to pick a quality unit.

                              1. re: RGC1982

                                I don't believe either of my daughters had or have high end smoothtops, they just got what was in the house when they bought it and both were just starting out at the time, so they weren't buying high end. What I do know is they have both ruined relatively good cookware, anodized aluminum in both cases I believe, because they were in too much of a hurry and turned the burners up too high. This isn't for boiling water, but for other cooking where you don't have a pot full of liquid. Now the skilet only touches in the very center, spins on the cooktop and doesn't get good heat transfer.

                                The other experience we had with smooth tops is making candy, and again, it was determined the response time was just too slow on these particular cooktops to be successful at candy making. My wife had used our electric coil stove tops for years and years to make English Toffie and could not make a batch on the smothtop, came home and made batch after batch successfully on the coil top we had.

                                1. re: RGC1982

                                  Since I might have to make a decision about a stove or cooktop in the future, I wonder if you would share the GE model you are liking. Thanks.

                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                    I purchased the GE Cafe Series CS980SNSS, and am in love with it. The cooktop has been great, once I figured out the calibration. It tends to run a little hotter than I'm used to. The smooth cooktop has a variety of burner sizes, which has been really great for days when I've got stock simmering while doing other things (boiling water, stove top braising). But the real joy has been the double ovens. The upper oven has a built-in meat thermometer and you can set the oven to cook it until meat reaches the desired temperature, at which point it turns itself off. I made a standing rib roast for new years, roasted at low temperature (200F) and between the convection and the meat thermometer I had perfect medium rare meat from edge to edge in 3.5 hours. What in other ranges would only be a warming drawer is a second oven.

                                    I would highly recommend this model (as consumers reports does), but sadly GE is discontinuing it, so it may be tough to find.

                                    1. re: cuisnatrix

                                      It sounds as if you have a winner. I hope you get years of wonderful cooking experiences from your new range.

                            2. I use my cast iron, SS and even my Emile Henry on my ceramic top stove. They work fine. I've even used my Emile Henry tagine, which is footed on it without issue even though though they say you shouldn't.

                              1. For a reasonble price the best cookware I have found to use on my smooth cooktop is the Infinity cookware. It heats up quickly, and the bottom of pan is weighted well. Even the small pan stays flat on service. I purchased a set of Infinity for my daughter, and purchased only a small pan for myself and I love it. I just purchased thru 7th Avenue a set of Cast Aluminum heavy cookware set which is on way and will give you an update on these when I receive them. I had prior purchased an Paula Deen set of the speckled red set. They do not seem to work as well as I would like as they take forever to heat up on my flattop and the little fry pan is not heavy enough so when nothing is in pan the handle wants to make pan unbalanced.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: venalennox

                                  Any update on the 7th Avenue set? If you'd recommend them, would you mind sharing which brand they are?

                                  1. re: auntielo

                                    Yes, I will be happy to share my experience w/set of post and pans I purchased at 7th Avenue. They are a Ginneys Brand which was in their most recent catalog, but unfortunately is no longer available. They were squared. As you know 7th Avenue and Ginneys are sister companies. The cast aluminum has worked wonderful, they also have another cast aluminum set that has round rather than square pans. They clean beautifully. I also have a set of Rachael Ray pots and pans that work wonderfully too.

                                2. Not a recommendation but a caveat: when I laid a hot wet lid on my glass cooktop it set up such a strong suction that the cooktop cracked diagonally all the way across. (My scientist husband and a scientist neighbor both looked at it and said in unison "I would not have thought that was possible") We had to replace the cooktop. So when you take a hot steamy lid off a pot, lay it so the edge is over the side of the cooktop so air can get under it. The other essential thing to know is to keep a single-edge razor blade handy at all times as you MUST scrape off spilled goo ASAP.