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May 20, 2013 07:58 PM

Induction on non-stick pans...harmful?

I understand that using high heat (especially too fast) is harmful to non-stick pans. I'm considering buying an induction range. It seems that induction will heat a pan much faster than gas or electric.

Is going induction too risky on good non-stick pans? I'm afraid that my kids or wife will throw it to level 9 and ruin a pan.


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  1. Hi, Kyle:

    I think your concern is a valid one, but I would be more fearful of harming your family's health in the event a pan gets unintentionally smoked than I would be of replacing the pan. The combustion products of PTFE are extremely toxic.

    One suggestion for you is Demeyere's ControlInduc technology, which they offer in both non-stick and Silvinox interior'd pans. The specific ferritic steel alloy used in the outer layer becomes non-magnetic above 485F, and so causes the induction appliance to decouple from the pan--no magnetism = no more heating. See, Reasonable minds can differ whether 485 is still too high for non-stick, but the manufacturers and trade groups say that it is not.


    2 Replies
      1. re: kylebendor

        Hi, Kyle:

        You're very welcome.


    1. If you happen to have a pet bird in the house, I would definitely recommend against it. Once a non-stick pan reaches, I believe, 500 degrees, it will give off toxic gases that are deadly to birds.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Christina D

        Only if the bird is close to the coooktop.

      2. If you, or they, have the habit of leaving a pan on the burner for a long time waiting for it to warm up, then, yes you'll need to break that habit. A pan will be hot enough to use within 30 seconds. Sometimes I put the food in the pan before putting it on the burner. I usually put a sheet of paper (parchment or paper towel) on the burner surface (under the pan) to make cleanup easier. Only if I'm doing some extended searing does that paper start to char. For sauteing and cooking that involves water, the paper gets dirty before discoloring.

        Try to find out what is the default heat level. With my induction hotplate, it is 5 (out of 10). That is fine for boiling some water, but I usually reduce it to 3 or 2 to saute.

        Another point - when you turn off the burner, or lower the heat level, the effect is instantaneous. It stops heating the pan.

        There are some good induction compatible cast aluminum nonstick pans on the market. They heat evenly.

        1. < It seems that induction will heat a pan much faster than gas or electric.>

          No, not if you learn to use the new setting. Your question is no different than asking "Is an nonstick pan more harmful on a more powerful gas stove vs a less powerful gas stove?" I suppose that you can say yes, but that is really more of an user technique problem.

          If you are concern, you can always get less powerful induction stove too. However, to me, this is not really an induction issue.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            I agree with chem.

            I don't know of anyone we know, here or in North America that has not had to learn to adapt to Induction cooking. We have done this with new pots and pans, so why not induction ? A few minutes to a few meals only, I think.

            It is a change, but not a challenge, nor taxing. Fun actually. We always left a little water or broth in the pans the first few times, just in case, and always started at first on the low settings. Quite frankly today, we never go over the medium settings with our pots and pans even to boil water for pasta.

            Take the time to experiment using Induction, and then take the time to teach the kids, the wife, Auntie, or anyone else. Keep it fun.

          2. Actually, I've not seen any non-stick pans which would work on induction. Most of the pans, in my neck of the woods, are aluminum, and therefore not induction-friendly. What brand of pans are you using?

            4 Replies
            1. re: KarenDW

              The nonstick pans that I have are cast aluminum with a steel insert in the base that makes them induction compatible. They have distinctive bare metal pokeadot pattern on the base.

              I've bought all mine at TJMaxx, a discount chain (in the Seattle area). Berndes is one European brand that makes good pans like this (as well as stainless steel).

              1. re: KarenDW

                I have a number of induction-ready non-stick pans - some fancy ones, like All-Clad and Swiss Diamond, some cheap off-brand ones. They all work fine. The key is not to use them for anything involving very high heat.

                For the record. I've also bought them all at the local T.J.Maxx (if there's no T.J.Maxx near you, look for a Home Goods; they're owned by the same company and often have similar merchandise).

                1. re: BobB

                  Just to be clear - not using non-stick at high heat is the safest approach regardless of the type of stove, nothing to do with induction per se.

                  1. re: BobB

                    Very easy to find nonstick, induction capable cookware these days.

                    I think the only time I use the two hottest settings is when boiling pasta water. But the nonstick/health issue seems to have been totally put to rest.