Can you use cast iron on an induction/glass stove top? Here’s how!


When traditional cast iron meets the sleek surfaces of induction and glass-top stoves, it’s natural to have questions. Cast iron cookware is reclaiming its place as a kitchen staple worldwide with its unmatched durability and naturally non-toxic, non-stick properties… So it’s time to ask: Can you use cast iron on induction or glass-top stoves?

While you may have heard stories of cast iron cracking on induction stoves, the answer is a resounding yes – with a few basic precautions. 

In this simple guide, I’ve broken down the essentials and top tips to ensure both your trusty cast iron pans and your sleek glass stovetop stay in perfect condition when used together. 

A simple guide to cast iron on induction glass stove top

Before you use that cast iron on an induction or glass stove top…

Since cast iron is magnetic, it’s generally compatible with induction stoves which rely on magnetic fields to generate heat, but there are a few considerations to keep in mind before you start:

Use high-quality cast iron

Opt for high-quality cast iron pans from reputable brands. High-quality pans are crafted with more precision and are more durable, efficient, and consistent in cooking. Unlike cheaper or poor-quality cast iron pans, high-quality pans are less likely to warp, maintaining that much-needed solid contact with your stove surface. 

Plus, cheaper or poor-quality cast iron pans may have construction flaws like uneven bottoms or thickness inconsistencies. This can mess with their compatibility with induction or glass stovetops, and potentially lead to issues like cracking, especially with high temperatures or quick temperature changes.

Use a flat-bottom pan

Your cast iron pans should ideally have a flat bottom for the best performance on an induction stovetop. 

Why? Well, induction stoves create heat by using magnets. These magnets make the base of your cookware heat up, and a flat bottom ensures your pan makes perfect contact which delivers faster even heat to your pan. Plus, it helps prevent those annoying scratches on your sleek glass surface. 

Some induction-compatible cast iron may have design variations, like heat rings, that create a small gap between the pan and the stovetop. Luckily, this tiny gap won’t significantly impact performance, but a flat bottom is still best for more consistent and efficient heat transfer. 

Avoid dragging the pan

The heavy rough surface of cast iron can scratch glass stove tops if not handled with care. Avoid dragging the pan across the surface and instead, lift it gently. Also, avoid jiggling or shaking the pan while on the burner.

Avoid quick temperature changes 

While cast iron is a very durable material, it’s generally best to avoid quick temperature changes, especially extreme ones. 

For example, avoid placing a hot cast iron pan on a cold glass surface or vice versa, because rapid temperature changes may cause either the glass stove top or poor-quality cast iron pans to crack from thermal shock. This risk is generally low, but higher when the temperature change is extreme, so it’s best to always introduce temperature changes gradually.

But keep in mind…

You should care for and maintain your cast iron properly with regular seasoning, proper cleaning methods, and more.

How to use cast iron on induction or glass stove top

  1. Pick the burner that best matches the width of your pan.
    This advice applies to gas or electric stovetops, but it’s especially important for induction cooking to ensure uniform heating across the cooking surface.
  2. Preheat your cast iron pan over low heat for a few minutes before increasing to the desired temperature.
    This creates a gradual and even heating process, minimizing the risk of hot spots. Quick extreme temperature changes should be avoided with cast iron since it can potentially lead to issues like cracking or warping. 
  3. Add your cooking oil to the pan.
    When the oil shimmers and ripples, your skillet is ready to go.
  4. Handle with care while cooking.
    When moving a cast iron skillet on a glass stovetop, lift it and place it down gently, as you would on a gas stove. Avoid shaking or shifting the pan around. Also, be careful to not drop your pan onto your stovetop to prevent the risk of glass cracking!

Should you use cast iron on an induction or glass stove top?

We now know cast iron works wonderfully with induction so long as a few precautions are in place. But is it worth it? Let’s weigh out the pros and cons:

Pros:

  • Even Heat Distribution:
    Cast iron has superior heat retention and distribution.
  • Durability:
    Cast iron cookware is highly durable and can withstand high temperatures. It’s not likely to warp or scratch, making it a long-lasting kitchen companion that can make its way through many generations.
  • Versatility:
    Cast iron pans can go straight from the stovetop to the oven, which is so versatile and practical. This is particularly helpful for dishes that require both stovetop searing and oven finishing.
  • Naturally Non-Stick:
    With proper seasoning and maintenance, cast iron develops a natural non-stick surface without the use of toxic chemicals.
  • Easy to Use with Induction:
    Cast iron is magnetic, making it compatible with induction stoves that rely on magnetic fields to generate heat.

Cons:

  • Weight:
    Cast iron cookware is pretty heavy, which can be a drawback, especially when cleaning or pouring out of the pan.
  • Potential for Scratching:
    If not handled with care, the heavy slightly rough bottom of cast iron can scratch glass stove tops. Dragging the pan across the surface is a common cause of scratches.
  • Temperature Changes:
    Quick temperature changes, like placing a very hot cast iron pan on a cold surface or vice versa, can potentially damage glass stove tops or even lead to your pan cracking with lower-quality pans. Handle temperature transitions gradually whether using an induction stove or not.
  • Maintenance:
    Cast iron requires specific care, including seasoning and hand washing to maintain its non-stick properties. Improper care can lead to rusting or loss of its non-stick properties
Cast iron pan on induction glass stove top

ALSO SEE: What Oil to Season Cast Iron With (Ultimate Guide + Crucial Tips)

Will cast iron scratch the glass on my induction stove?

If your cast iron pan has a rough texture, there’s a higher likelihood of scratching your induction or glass stovetop. While most cast iron pans are generally pretty smooth and less likely to scratch, it’s best to use gentler handling practices like lifting the pan across the stovetop instead of sliding it. 

Can cast iron be used on portable induction hot plates?

Yes, you can use cast iron on portable induction hot plates. Just be mindful of the cast iron pan’s weight, avoid dragging, and avoid fast extreme temperature changes.

Could my cast iron pan crack if I switch temperatures too quickly?

While it’s possible, I have on multiple occasions let my cast iron get too hot and smokey and moved it outdoors onto a cold cement step without any warping or cracking. The risk is primarily the damage it can cause to the induction stovetop.

While there’s a possibility that a cast iron pan may crack due to a rapid and extreme temperature change, I’ve personally done so on multiple occasions without any issue. A few times I’ve left my cast iron get too hot and smoky on my induction stove top and had to move it outdoors onto a cold cement step in the winter without experiencing any warping or cracking.

However, the primary concern lies in the potential damage it can cause to the induction stovetop when placing a very hot cast iron pan on a cold glass stovetop.

What will happen to my induction glass stove top if I place a hot cast iron pan on it?

While rare, placing a hot cast iron pan directly on a cold induction glass stove top can cause the cold glass stovetop to crack from thermal shock. It’s always best to gradually heat your cast iron on any stovetop.

What about enamel-coated cast iron on glass stove tops?

Enameled cast iron cookware, unlike traditional bare cast iron, has a layer of smooth enamel coating applied to its surface. This enamel layer provides a few advantages:

  • No Seasoning Required:
    Enameled cast iron doesn’t require seasoning like bare cast iron does. However this does mean that you lose the incredibly effective non-stick properties that bare cast iron offers.
  • No Reactivity:
    The enamel coating acts as a barrier between the iron and the food, preventing any reactivity between acidic ingredients and the metal. This makes enameled cast iron better for cooking acidic dishes like tomato-based sauces than cast iron.
  • Color Options:
    Enameled cast iron comes in a variety of colors, which offers more customization and aesthetic choices in the kitchen.

The disadvantages? They tend to stain easily, can chip/scratch and require replacement, are more costly, and will not have that natural non-stick surface that bare cast iron offers.

Enameled cast iron is also compatible with induction stovetops. The magnetic properties needed for induction cooking are present in both the cast iron base and the enamel coating. While the enamel coating helps prevent scratching of glass surfaces, it’s still best to handle enameled cast iron with care to scratches over time because of its weight.

It’s also still essential to avoid extreme temperature changes, like transferring from high heat to very cold, since this can stress the enamel and potentially lead to chipping or cracks.

RELATED: Hard Nitriding Cast Iron Cookware: No More Non-Stick Chemicals!

Still worried? Double-check the manufacturer’s manual

The manufacturer’s guide or website will clearly let you know if your cast iron is compatible with an induction or glass stovetop. 

Common myths about cast iron on glass stove tops

Myth: Cast Iron Doesn’t Work on Induction Stoves

Reality: Cast iron is compatible with induction stoves. The key is ensuring the cookware has a magnetic base, which is present in most cast iron pans.

Myth: Cast Iron Can Damage Glass Stove Surfaces

Reality: While it’s crucial to handle cast iron with care on any stovetop, including induction, the risk of damaging the stove surface is minimal if you handle it with care. Using a smoother flat-bottom pan and avoiding dragging the cookware will prevent scratches.

Myth: Cast Iron Must Have Full Contact with the Induction Burner

Reality: While full contact is ideal, some induction-compatible cookware, including cast iron with heat rings, may have small gaps. This doesn’t significantly impact performance. A flat bottom is still recommended for optimal heat transfer.

Myth: Induction Cooking Causes Uneven Heating in Cast Iron

Reality: Induction stoves are known for precise temperature control and even heating. As long as the pan makes good contact with the induction surface, cast iron can achieve consistent and uniform heating.

Myth: Cast Iron Takes Longer to Heat on Glass Stove Tops

Reality: Cast iron heats up pretty quickly on induction stoves, thanks to the magnetic properties that facilitate efficient energy transfer. Preheating over low heat before turning up the temperature is a recommended practice for gradual and even heating.

Myth: Enameled Cast Iron Isn’t Suitable for Induction

Reality: Enameled cast iron is indeed suitable for induction cooking. The enamel coating doesn’t interfere with the magnetic properties needed for induction, making it a versatile choice for induction stovetops.


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