Does Cast Iron Work On Induction Cooktops?

Cooking with induction cooktops is increasingly popular because of its advantages, including faster heating, easier cleanup, and precise control. Cookware must contain conductive, ferrous metals to transfer heat to work well on induction. As a result, cast iron is an excellent option for induction method cooking. Below is everything you need about how well-cast iron works on induction cooktops. 

How Induction Cooktop Work?

An induction cooktop using electromagnetic induction heats the cookware directly. Therefore, you don’t need gas or electric coils like traditional methods. Here is how an induction cooktop works:

  • An induction cooktop has a flat glass ceramic surface and beneath are induction coils, which produce a high-frequency alternating current (AC).
  • When you switch the induction cooktop on and put suitable cookware on it, an electric current passes through the coils, producing a rapidly shifting magnetic field.
  • Electromagnetic induction happens when the rapidly shifting magnetic field generates an electric current to flow through the cookware base. 
  • As the induced electric current flows through the cookware’s base, it encounters resistance, causing it to heat rapidly. The heat is now generated directly within the cookware itself, not transferred from a heat source like the common method using gas.

Does cast iron work on induction cooktops?

Yes, cast iron works well on induction cooktops. Cast iron has a ferromagnetic material, which contains iron and magnetic-field-responsive components. Due to its magnetic properties, it is highly compatible with induction cooktops. The cooktop’s induction coils, combined with the cast iron, generate a strong magnetic attraction, enabling heat transfer and cooking evenly. 

Cast iron also has excellent heat retention and distribution properties, ideally when cooking in induction cooktops. It’s best to use enameled cookware with smooth finishes to help protect the induction cooker’s surface.

Type of Cookware to Use on Induction Cooktops 

If you want to choose the suitable types of cast iron cookware for induction cooktops, refer to the recommended ones below: 

  • Cast iron skillets – Skillets heat up quickly and distribute heat evenly. It is ideal for vertical cooking tasks, including searing, frying, sautéing, and baking. 
  • Cast iron griddles – Griddles have a large, flat, and smooth cooking surface, ideal for cooking dishes like pancakes, grilled sandwiches, and steaks.
  • Cast iron Dutch ovens – This pot is deep and heavy with a tight-fitting lid, ideal for slow cooking, braising, and making stews. 

Besides the listed items above, iron pans or types of black metal, such as carbon steel, are good choices. Most cast iron cookware works well on induction cooktops thanks to ferromagnetic properties. However, doing a magnet test is a good idea, which can help check whether your cookware is compatible with induction. If a magnet sticks firmly on the cookware’s base, it has a strong magnetic attraction that works well on induction cooktops. 

It’s best to ensure that the bottom of the cookware is smooth and flat enough to get a strong magnetic connection and transfer heat efficiently. Cookware with rough or textured bottoms can scratch the induction cooktop’s glass-ceramic surface.

FAQ relate to Cast Iron and Induction Cooktops

How do protect cast iron from induction?

Here are some guidelines to protect the cast iron from scratching or damage when using it on an induction cooktop: 

  • Use a protective barrier such as a silicone mat, induction disc, towel, or cloth. Put them between the cast iron cookware and the glass-ceramic surface of the induction cooktop to avoid direct contact and potential scratching. 
  • Lift the cookware and place it gently on the induction cooktop surface; avoid sliding or dragging the cookware that causes scratches. 
  • Clean the cooktop surface regularly to remove food debris or residues after use. Following the cleaning and maintenance of the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Do chefs prefer gas or induction?

Depending on the chef’s cooking style, preferences, and priorities, each will have a different choice between gas and induction cooktops. Those who prefer precise control and traditional experience will choose a gas cooktop. While others prefer efficiency and safety, an induction cooktop is better.

Why is my cast iron not heating evenly on induction?

If your cast iron is not heating evenly on induction, there are several reasons below: 

  • The size of the cookware does not match with the size of the induction cooking zone. Much smaller or larger than the cooking zone may result in uneven heating.
  • The cookware is thin or has uneven thickness. Thicker cast iron cookware transfers heat more evenly than thinner ones, which may lead to hot spots or uneven heating.
  • The cookware warps due to temperature changes or careless maintenance. This case can lead to not making complete contact with the induction cooktop.

What pans won’t work with induction?

Pans without a magnetic base or non-magnetic materials will not perform effectively on induction cooktops. Some examples include aluminum, copper, glass, ceramic pans, and non-stick pans with non-magnetic bottoms.

Using cast iron on an induction cooktop gives excellent heat retention and even heat distribution. However, when choosing cast iron cookware, look for one in good condition with a flat and smooth bottom. Any warping or damage to the bottom surface may reduce heat transfer efficiency and cause uneven cooking.