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Dec 16, 2013 04:21 PM

Does anybody LIKE their ceramic cooktop?

Recently remodeled our kitchen, swapping out an ancient rusted "stainless" steel cooktop for a ceramic top. Unfortunately, natural gas is not an option at this house, and I grew up cooking with gas. I had gotten used to the erratic old electric cooktop (any port in a storm), but was really looking forward to the modern technological advances of the ceramic cooktop. Man. I really have an active dislike of that ceramic thing. I've had it for 5 months now and I still can't wrap my brain around it. I HATE that you can't take a lid off a pot and put it down on the cooktop without risking cracking or shattering the top. I still feel like there's way less control than gas burners. AND what's up with the myth of easy cleaning?! Mine already has weird stains that I can't get off. Any advice on how to stop hatin' and learn to love the ceramic cooktop? Also, have you noticed how hard it is to buy and electric cooktop with coil burners? You either have to go super flimsy and cheap or super duper high end! Very frustrated.

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  1. I'm pretty sure that induction cooktops are made with glass-ceramic and I have no problems. I put all sorts of things on the cooktop. See attached photo. It cleans like a dream. I'm just wondering if they ARE the same material.

    38 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      I've had one for 15 years and it's THE-BEST-STOVE-EVER!!

      Cleans like a dream.

      It's a myth about the lid and about cast iron.

      1. re: C. Hamster

        My GE non-induction smooth top cracked once about 5 years ago, splitting it across about half its surface. I'd put a domed lid (filled with condensation) on the front burner that was not in use. (I knew better, but had dropped my potholder and burned my other hand.) I immediately tried to lift the lid and it was suctioned down. About 5 seconds later, the stovetop cracked.

        It was still under warranty, though, as the cooktop was covered for 5-ish years as opposed to everything else on the stove that had a 1-year. GE came out to replace it within a couple of days.

        1. re: KrumTx


          I put lids on the stove all the time. I put all kinds of sh*t on it regularly.

          It still looks pretty new. It has one small scratch and one thumbnail size sugar syrup burn that I couldn't get off.

          1. re: C. Hamster

            I wish I understood the chemistry, but sugar/heat/glass ceramic top just don't do well together. I can't forget the story the appliance guy told me about the lady that set a sugary spoon on her ceramic top, fused to the surface for life.

            1. re: C. Hamster

              I've had good luck getting burned sugar off with a razor blade.

              1. re: jeanmarieok

                Yes, a razor blade works pretty well. There is just one little place where its discolored from sugar. Cant get it off no matter. It might actually be the cooktop itself that discolored and not something burned on.

                i'm ok with that.

              2. re: C. Hamster

                hamster, mine is a non-induction GE that I only paid about $800 for ten years ago when I bought my house. I use the stove almost every day and it's only happened once, and it was with a domed lid.

                Your stove sounds much better built than mine, so I'm not sure how often an occurrence it is, though my repair guy said he'd seen it before.

                After reading your post about your induction top, I googled them and now I want one. I'll send you the $3K bill:))

                1. re: KrumTx

                  I WANT an induction but I want to shed this house first. I think it c.oliver with induction.

                  Bucket list item.

                  I am a lifetime gas girl but my 20 year old Whilpool is hands down the best stove I've ever cooked on (save cooking school commercial stuff).

                  My SIL has a Viking gas 6 burner with 2 ovens. I cook here and drive it over. It sucks.

                  1. re: C. Hamster

                    《My SIL has a Viking gas 6 burner with 2 ovens. I cook here and drive it over. It sucks.》

                    LMAO hamster. I have a really nice gas cook top now, but in my next kitchen would like to have both a gas and an induction, as well as a walk-in fridge, commercial dishwasher, convection ovens with steam, plate warming drawer, a plancha, salamander and did I mention a sous chef and pot-washer?

              3. re: KrumTx

                That is a good cautionary tale to pay attention to, about a heated lid possibly cracking the smooth top.

                1. re: KrumTx

                  Thank you for your post as I have been trying to find a way to break this thing without putting a hammer to it
                  I hate it more than words can say

                  1. re: bevsau

                    I got my GE induction cooktop to crack within 6 months of purchase. I think it was from moving pans off the hot hobs to park them elsewhere on the cooktop. I seem to think it's just another counter top. I'm trying to change me ways.

                  2. re: KrumTx

                    How old was your model perhaps they improved it?

                    1. re: drcarlos

                      I was curious if the newer ones have improved from older models. I just had my new stove installed this evening, ceramic. Seems like there should be something more study about this!

                2. re: c oliver

                  Induction uses magnetic something or other and since it doesn't get hot around the pot, spills are not as much or an issue.

                  1. re: wincountrygirl

                    Yep. I didn't know about how not good regular ceramic electric cooktops can be. Spills are NO issue at all on induction. YAY!

                    1. re: c oliver

                      I almost went induction and may next time. Can you reduce to simmer on induction?

                      1. re: wincountrygirl

                        Oh, gosh, yes. When I make Hazan's Bolognese sauce she says something like "only let an occasional bubble break the surface." No problem :)

                        1. re: c oliver

                          Hi, C. Oliver:

                          Does Marcella Hazan have a liking for induction?

                          I'm just starting her "Essentials...", and early on she addresses microwaves in language which captures one of my basic feelings about induction:

                          "I believe with my whole heart in the act of cooking, its smells, in its sounds, in its observable progress on the fire. The microwave separates the cook from cooking, cutting off the emotional and physical pleasure deeply rooted in the act, and not even with its swiftest and neatest performance can the push-button wizardry of the device compensate for such a loss."

                          For me, I need the *heat* of the stove or hearth to feel fully involved. And the interposition of electronics and keypads between me and my food is an affront.


                          1. re: kaleokahu

                            And that's why you should never use it. Since I don't need those things, I'm good to go.

                            1. re: c oliver

                              Hi, c oliver:

                              It's *one* of the reasons I get no satisfaction. ;)

                              I thought you might know Hazan's opinion of induction because I know you do a lot of her preparations.


                              1. re: c oliver

                                Kaleo, my friend,

                                <For me, I need the *heat* of the stove or hearth to feel fully involved. And the interposition of electronics and keypads between me and my food is an affront.>

                                What about your radiant range? It most certainly interposes electronics between hob and cook. What is your tipping point? When we move from a knob to a touchpad?

                                1. re: DuffyH

                                  Hi, Duffy:

                                  There are no obvious electronics on my radiant that get in my way--the knobs are potentiometers like on my coil stoves. If there are electronics buried deeply inside it, they require no reading glasses, funiculation, or flight simulator on my part. *That* would be my tipping point.

                                  My radiant also generates *heat*, which I like to judge with the palm of my hand before placing the pan on the hob (it standardizes things, I think, moving from stove to stove). I also love a bit of heat on my face, to remind me that my kitchen extends beyond the pan.

                                  I hear digital wristwatches are making their return. You can have them, too.


                                  1. re: kaleokahu


                                    I get the appeal of knobs. They don't matter to me, but I get it.

                                    I do not get the appeal of holding a hand over an empty hob. I hold my hand over a pan on a hob to judge the heat.

                                    Heat on my face is exactly what I'm trying to get avoid. In my world, it serves no purpose and only heats up an already-warm kitchen.

                                    You can have the digital watch, I'll keep my Tag. Even though it runs on a battery.

                              2. re: kaleokahu

                                Marcella is dead now, sadly.

                                She was likely too nfirm to opine about induction cookery ...

                                And induction cookery doesn't cut off the cook from the food

                                1. re: C. Hamster

                                  Hi, C. Hamster: "[I]nduction cookery doesn't cut off the cook from the food[.]

                                  IYHO. I know a hearth-cooking Eccellenza in Cortona with whom I'd like to see you debate that point.

                                  Yes, Ms. Hazan died in late September of this year. My bet is that she was un-infirm enough to have an opinion. In fact, if you look at this link, it appears to me that Marcella is pictured standing in front of... no, it can't be true...



                                  1. re: kaleokahu

                                    And in her own home, no less. Why, it's almost as if she might have chosen to cook on... Oh, the horror!


                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                      Hi, Duff:

                                      It may well be, that's why I asked.

                                      i knew an old lady once who cooked every day of her adult life on large a wood cookstove like mine. Upon her return home from a short convalescence, her well-meaning and exceedingly unthinking son and D-I-L surprised her with... a brand-new builder's grade electric coil stove! It broke her utterly, but she kept her kind mouth shut.

                                      So I won't presume to know Ms. Hazan's opinion on the subject of induction without something more than her posing in her retirement home.


                                    2. re: kaleokahu

                                      I'm a little late to this party, but I recall reading something some years back -- think it might have been in one of the Taunton CO. mags like Fine Homebuilding or Fine Cooking -- that the Hazens had moved into a condo in a multi-story building in Clearwater, Fla. The building did not have gas lines to the units and did not allow any open flame appliances or bbq grills, either. Marcella had picked out a 36" induction cooktop and said it worked pretty well for her. IIRC, she had it set-up so she had a view over the harbor while cooking. I think a brand was mentioned but I do not recall it and cannot find the article.

                                      1. re: JWVideo

                                        Hi, JWV:

                                        Thanks, that rings a distant bell for me, too. IIRC, there was also some concern about her forgetfulness. No gas, forgetfulness--pretty powerful arguments for induction.


                                  2. re: kaleokahu

                                    Scoffs. I enjoy Marcella Hazen recipes but that note about microwave use is bunk. You get plenty of aroma from micro-cooking foods. And unless you're cooking over a campfire, Kaleo, you have plenty of controls (electronic or otherwise) between you and primal cooking. Knobs for gas or buttons/keypads for anything electric -- all variations on a theme.

                                    1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                      Scoff, SCOFF, Midwesterner!

                                      Her view on MW is the same as mine. So we disagree, and I'll take Ms. Hazan's knowledge base over yours without even having had the pleasure of meeting you.

                                      For the record, most of the time I cook on a wood cookstove. It, too, "has plenty of controls", but no knobs in the sense you meant. Moreover, my present gas setup has no electronics whatsoever, just three valves.


                                  3. re: c oliver

                                    You are so right! Such a good simmer without difficulty. Just bring the temp down gradually. Induction does simmer well.

                                    1. re: sueatmo

                                      We're house exchanging right now. What I assume to be a good Wolf range but maintaining a low simmer last night was really tough.

                                  4. re: wincountrygirl

                                    Dear Lord...we can reduce to a single bubble every second or so.

                              3. re: c oliver

                                NO! I really dislike them. I'd rather use a regular electric with the coils or a gas stove. Gas is good for wok cooking.

                                When we bought ours we were told they last about 8 years. Even if it gets double that, it cost over $1000 while a typical electric coil or gas cost about 2/3 that or less. On top of that, they last 25 - 50 years. The electric we had lasted 25 years, and then some control for the heat got messed up and we decided to get the flattop. Within 1 year there are already stuff caked on to it that won't come off. An electric coil will BURN anything off, and if you get the tray too dirty underneath the burner, they cost very little to replace.

                                We do all kinds of cooking and part of that cooking is open pan, and there is grease and water landing near the pot, which means you can't clean it until the surface cools. We were making a dessert item and spilled something that had dissolved sugar, and that's what wont come out.

                                They look neat, but I find I have to do MORE cleaning with it than I did my stainless steel electric coil stove top.

                                Lastly, ours only has one big burner. It has the ability for fast heating which is great for getting water to the boil, but since there are two sets of heating elements that kick on after you turn the heat up more than half way, and only one set for less than half heat, the manufacturer (our is a Kenmore) didn't do a good job designing the coils, and when the knob is turned up right before the mid point (med. heat), it isn't hot enough to saute, and if you turn it up right past the middle point and the second set of heating elements kicks in, it's too hot to saute. Considering we saute all the time, this is the worst stove top I have ever had.

                                1. re: peanutsncarmel

                                  <When we bought ours we were told they last about 8 years. Even if it gets double that, it cost over $1000 while a typical electric coil or gas cost about 2/3 that or less.>

                                  I think someone was pulling your leg, or projecting their own negative experience with one unit onto them all. When I dabbled in real estate I saw a great many electric radiant cooktops and ranges that were 10-15 years old, and a few that were much older.

                                  What you wrote about pricing also didn't sound quite right to me. On the Whirlpool website tonight, the least expensive unit in each fuel type is:

                                  $499 - Coil
                                  $599 - Radiant
                                  $699 - Gas

                                  For GE, the numbers are:

                                  $450 - Coil
                                  $550 - Radiant
                                  $550 - Gas

                                  Please don't take this as an endorsement of radiant ranges; I hate them and cursed every meal for the 3 years I had to cook on one in our current home. For the record, it was 13 yrs old and in perfect working order when we ripped it out and donated it to Habitat. I also despise coil ranges, saving all my cooking love for gas and induction. But I wouldn't want someone considering radiant to get a skewed view. There are plenty of reasons to dislike them, price and build quality aren't among them.

                              4. I've had a GE profile smooth top electric stove for about ten years now. I find it amamzingly easy to clean. I do keep a bottle of windex on the counter and after I sponge glop off after cooking, I give it a spray and a wipe with a clean towel. If there are serious burned on stains, I'll use one of those paste cleaners specifically made for glass cooktops. I guess I do put the lids to my pans down so they're not going to suck down on the glass, I never read that, it just seems logical and would on any flat, smooth surface. And while we live in the country, in the last few years we have installed propane on the property to run a generator for the house and barn and heat. But in spite of having grown up with gas, and having used it for years, I decided not to get a gas stove. They look very professional and all, but in the home (and especially in the country) they are very inefficient -- a lot of the heat goes out the side of the burner into the air. The most efficient, most responsive, and my next stove, will be an induction (Like c oliver has, I guess). And perhaps you should consider getting one of those -- since the stovetop itself does not get hot, it would be very unlikely to stain.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: junescook

                                  I never heard that about lids 'sucking." And as you can see from my photo, I obviously do it :) And that's a heavy Staub pot. Yeah, maybe OP is getting the staining cause of too much heat and, yes, I have induction and LOVE it. That photo was in a post I made about the unexpected benefit of using the whole cooktop for non-cooking stuff.

                                2. I don't have gas available, either, so have had a ceramic smooth top for a little over five years.
                                  Other than having to take a pan off the burner to instantly reduce the heat, I'm okay with the smooth top.
                                  Gas was a pain in the ass to clean, and it was impossible to get a super low simmer. My Kitchenaid ceramic top can go right down to 'keep warm'.
                                  If I had a choice, it would be a toss up now. I am pretty good about making lemonade from lemons, so I look at the good features of the stove and ignore the rest. I don't care about a few stains, and I am a whiz with a single edge blade to scrape the burned on crud off now and then.

                                  1. I've never had issues about lids or cast iron. I put them on the top all the time. no scatches, no cracking, no shattering, so far.

                                    it's not hard to clean, but it takes effort to make it spotless. a sudsy sponge or some windex or cerama bryte and a ceramic cooktop scaper and it's good.

                                    my biggest complaint is it takes forever to heat up and cool down.

                                    I did look into the coil burners, was appalled at the cheap units that they seem to only be available with now.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: filtered

                                      My experience is pretty much the same as yours. I'm stuck with electric and I remodeled my kitchen when I bought my condo a year ago. For my budget, I chose ceramic. For me it still beats coil burners, which would've been the only other option I could've afforded. Induction wouldn't have been in my budget.

                                      1. re: SaraAshley

                                        My house is so old I have gas light fixture apparatus sticking out of some of my walls but someone took out the gas line at some point so Im stuck with electric too.

                                        1. re: C. Hamster

                                          In the future you may want to be "stuck" with induction :)

                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            My goal is to get out of this big house! Next house will certainly have induction.

                                    2. Had one for 3 years and never really got comfortable with it. I burned my self a couple of times on what I thought was a cool burner, Having learned to cook on a regular coil electric stove, you would think I would like the easy cleaning. But I could never get it clean. Not like replacing the pans.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                        Obviously my induction gives me another reason to be grateful :) Still looks brand new after three years.