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Dec 3, 2013 02:35 PM

Gas vs Electric

I hear all the time that real "cooks" prefer gas stovetops over electric. And I don't get it.

The main reason seems to be that gas burners react instantly when you modulate the heat? That's fine and all, but...

Gas stovetops are flawed. They don't have a "low" setting. I've probably used a dozen over the years and on all of them, even with small burners designed to cook on low, its been like they've had 4 settings. Med-High, High, ultra-High (too hot to cook with), and off. How do you even cook rice on a gas stove? Cooking it with the cover on, never stirring, on the lowest setting just doesn't work on a gas stove!

You also can't turn the burner off and let the food stay warm with just the residual heat....not an option at all on gas stoves.

Any annoyances with using an electric stove are easily dealt with. Don't like how the burner stays hot after you turn it off? Move the food to another burner. Don't like how it takes so long to heat up? Try starting it on high and backing it off as you reach the correct temperature. The key to using an electric stovetop is anticipating temperature fluctuations and needs of the food. When cooking on an electric stovetop, I always have the food at the exact right temperature and I never burn it. On gas its always like medium high or higher, or off, and its impossible for me to cook properly. Way too easy to burn food.

Electric oven is also better....all my baked goods come out PERFECT. Nice and even, not burnt on the bottom or anything.

Gas is also dangerous. Can't tell you how many times at previous houses I'd "turn off" a burner after cooking to have it still slightly on, with me waking up in the middle of the night to the smell of gas in the air. NOT FUN. You also can't set anything on the side of a pot, have to be careful about touching the sides of pots/etc, or you get easily burned. I've never been burned cooking with electric! And it just seems stupid having most of the heat going AROUND the pot and not up into it!

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  1. You clearly aren't familiar with induction cooking. Maybe do a little reading and see that there's a third option that, IMO, is better than either gas or electric.

    3 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      Not for broke guys like me, I'm afraid. I've looked into it, and its very expensive. I also didn't mention it here because I have ZERO experience cooking on it.

      1. re: njames3w

        I've got two Samsung ranges with induction cooktop and convection oven. Cost about $1700. And I've had far more success with a low simmer on gas than electric. I've cooked on all three types for over 40 years btw.

      2. re: c oliver

        An ideal home cooking set-up--for me-- would be 2-3 gas flames, PLUS an induction cooking surface. An electric oven. And a wood-burning (aka "pizza") oven.

      3. Hi, James:

        Well, you certainly have decided which is superior, so are there any questions left to answer?

        You realize, I hope, that you are in the minority in preferring electric--among home cooks and chefs alike. Reasonable minds can differ of course, but you aren't likely to persuade anyone who already prefers gas.

        If you search, you'll find a couple dozen existing threads on gas-vs-electric where the issue is hashed out in numbing detail.


        7 Replies
        1. I had gas for a number of years, and then I had electric. I prefer gas if I am limited to only two options. I've cooked on coil electric-not my fave at all, and on smoothops. I love my induction, which is electric, but with none of the disadvantages of coil or smooth top.

          But when I cooked with coil or smoothtop, and for a few years on cast iron, I managed just fine. I was OK with my old smoothtop, except for the way it was laid out. Pans bumped into each other when on the cooktop.

          My point is, you can burn your food on any sort of cook top, and you can produce great things as well. It depends on the know how of the cook.

          i suspect your gas experience has been on a cheaper stove, or one that doesn't perform well because it needs service.

          1. re: sueatmo

            Like I said, I've used many gas stoves, from cheap older units to practically brand new. I've never noticed much of a difference or improvement between them, none were in bad shape. Big difference from electric stoves I've used, some have used the horrible coils and some are AWESOME with a smoothtop.

            And people saying stuff like, them tossing their electric stove on the street with a free sign, are why I got angry enough to make this thread. Its made me feel that way, but about gas. I never knew this was such a sensitive topic.

            1. re: njames3w

              I didn't "toss" it "on" the street. I laid it gently on the edge of the driveway with a free sign on it. It was a Jenn Aire IIRC. I didn't realize that your OP was because you're angry. Sorry.

          2. re: kaleokahu

            You misinterpreted my post. I do think electric is superior, but I'm open to discussion about it and I posted the strongest argument I could.

            1. re: njames3w

              Good luck charring a pita on electric.

              And I can simmer a pot of rice just fine on all 3 of the gas stoves I have owned. Without lifting the lid.

              1. re: autumm

                I have no trouble charring whatever I want on electric. Its all about knowing your equipment. For instance I know how to cook on electric because I can anticipate my foods' cooking needs ahead of time and adjust heat accordingly. I don't need instant heat control to cook food perfect.

                Another point. To me, gas cooks too fast. To cook a very complicated meal, it works out better for me if everything cooks steadily. Gives me time to have 5-6+ things all going at once without messing anything up. To me, electric with its steadier heat, and wider range of temperature, is superior at this.

                I'm not looking for advice, maybe looking for info I don't know, maybe there's things I've overlooked? Maybe ways that gas could be useful in MY life and what I cook? Cause right now, I don't see a point to any of the benefits of gas stovetops.

                1. re: njames3w

                  I grew up on electric stoves and always hated them. They never got hot enough to sear steaks to my liking. Switched to gas and never looked back. I even bought a Weber Genesis outdoor grill for blackening fish and pushing it past 800 degrees for pizzas.

                  I've never had a problem with maintaining a low enough temperature. Long ago, I had a gas cooker that cooked hot even at the low setting, but fixed it with a Lodge Iron Trivet that did a great job disipating the heat.

                  And unless you have an emergency generator, an electric oven is pretty useless during a power outage. My mom has electric and I bought her one of those portable gas grills with the disposable gas cartridges. She loves it.

          3. Obviously you are not alone in preferring electric stoves. If nobody liked electric stoves, they'd only be sold to people who have no gas service and don't want to deal with propane tanks. (Personally, I love my gas stove, but each to his own.)

            Is there a particular question that you have? Are you planning to purchase a new stove and looking for some advice?

            1 Reply
            1. re: PinchOfSalt

              Good point. Until I became aware of induction, I had a home with no gas service and didn't want to deal with propane. I had a decent electric cooktop. But not close to as good as gas gave me later.

            2. PinchofSalt is correct. Obviously there are many people prefer electric, as are many people prefer gas. Electric has a few more advantages beside what you have mentioned. Electric stoves require a small exhaust fan, and electric stoves generate less wasted heat to the kitchen -- more energy goes to the cookware. Electric stoves also produce a more even heating source.

              However, electric stoves are slow to react and also have a lower maximum heat output.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                I've never had a problem with the lower max heat output. Please explain to me why I'd need the extra heat? I have no trouble charring/browning food as it is, at worst it just takes a little longer. I could possibly see a use, if you're trying to char something quickly while leaving the rest of it undercooked? In all my years of cooking I've never had a problem doing that on electric. If you need more heat, well, you can just leave the burner on high and heat will build up. Just because its not hot when you first turn it on doesn't mean it doesn't get red hot.

                I think I forgot to mention what I'm using. A glass stovetop, no coiled electric. I've had problems with uneven cooking, etc, from using coiled. You'd have to pry my electric glass stovetop from my dead hands though.

                1. re: njames3w

                  And I put mine out at the street with a free sign on it :) Different strokes.

                  1. re: njames3w

                    <Please explain to me why I'd need the extra heat?>

                    I cannot. It is your preference. I am not out to convince you to need extra power. However, it does not change the fact that this is true in most cases. My current coupe has a much higher acceleration speed than my previous sedan. This is a fact. As to you need it or not, that is your own personal decision.

                    <Just because its not hot when you first turn it on doesn't mean it doesn't get red hot>

                    I fully understand that part. I am talking about maximum heat output. Joule per second. Btu per hour.

                2. In many areas of Latin America and most Caribbean Islands, electrical supplies are of low capacity, very expensive per KWH, and often unreliable. I have had pretty good chow from gas stoves! You do the best you can with what you've got.
                  Another plus for gas in Mexico: you get to use those purty hand-wrought copper pots and pans.