The Most Recommended Induction Cookware

Published on 11/22/2023 · 9 min readEquip your kitchen with the finest induction cookware! Kitchen Expert Di Doherty lists the top-recommended pieces for your induction stove.
Di Doherty, Kitchen Expert
By Kitchen Expert Di Doherty

Photo by Africa Studio

Induction cooktops and hotplates caused a splash when they were first released, and several cooks who swear by them. Induction stovetops are sleek; they can be just a glass top with circles to indicate where the burner is.

While I don’t have an induction stovetop (I live in an apartment, so I’m stuck with the stove it came with), I eagerly follow new tech advances in kitchen equipment. Induction uses a different method to heat pans, which I find fascinating. My mom also tried out an induction burner when she lived somewhere without a stove, so I have seen them in action.

How to Pick the Right Induction Cookware for the Job

An induction burner works differently than an electric or gas stovetop, so you need special cookware to work properly. Thankfully, that doesn’t mean you need a specialized kind that only works with induction burners; just that not everything that works on a gas or an electric stove will also work with induction.

How Does an Induction Burner Work?

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The basic idea behind an induction burner is simple. Unlike a standard cooktop, induction stovetops don’t heat the burner in order to heat up the pan. Instead, there’s a copper coil under the burner that creates a magnetic field, which is used to heat the pan directly.

Because induction cooktops use magnetic energy, only magnetic pots will work on them. If you aren’t sure about a pan you own, you can always test it with a kitchen magnet. If it sticks to the bottom of the pan, it’s induction-compatible.

What Material Should Your Induction Cookware Be Made From?

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Due to the nature of induction cooking, this isn’t completely a matter of personal preference. Non-magnetic materials, like aluminum, aren’t compatible with induction cookware. However, there are still a few other options for someone with an induction stovetop to choose from.

  • Stainless steel: Stainless steel is the most prevalent and practical material in terms of induction cookware. It’s lightweight, durable, magnetic, and affordable. When looking at stainless steel cookware, you’re likely to run into a few industry terms, like:
    • Clad: A clad pan is one that has a layer of conductive material in between two sheets of stainless steel. This is usually either aluminum or copper, as they’re both highly conductive, though graphite is occasionally used. You may be thinking: but neither copper nor aluminum is magnetic, does that mean it isn’t induction compatible? Thankfully, that isn’t the case. The stainless steel outer reacts to magnets, so as long as the bottom of the pan is made of steel, it’s induction-safe.
    • Fully clad: A fully clad pan has a layer of conductive metal in the sides of the pan as well as the bottom. A pan that’s labeled as clad will only have the additional layer in the bottom. Fully clad is preferred, but clad pans will still function perfectly well.
    • Ply: A ply is a layer. When looking at stainless steel pans, you’re mostly seeing 3-ply or 5-ply. That means that it has three or five layers, respectively. The plies refer to both the stainless steel and the conductive material sandwiched between, so a 3-ply pan has, say, a layer of aluminum between two stainless steel layers. A 5-ply pan has two layers of aluminum and three layers of stainless. More layers are supposed to be better for heat conductivity, but for most home cooks, how well-made the pan is going to make a much bigger difference.
  • Cast iron: Cast iron cookware is magnetic, meaning that it works with induction cooktops. It isn’t just seasoned cast iron, either – being enameled doesn't stop the induction process. This material has excellent heat distribution, is durable, and long-lasting. Its weight, however, can be a problem, particularly with a glass stovetop.
  • Carbon steel: Carbon steel has a slightly different makeup than cast iron and is better known as a knife blade material. However, its rigidity makes it so that it can be made into much thinner cookware while still having many of the qualities of cast iron. Carbon steel is usually seasoned or enameled in the same way as cast iron, and it’s ferromagnetic, so it works on induction cooktops.
  • Nonstick: A nonstick coating won’t prevent a pan from being induction-compatible cookware so long as it’s made out of a magnetic material. Hard anodized aluminum won’t work, but a coated stainless steel pan will function just fine.

Induction Cookware Construction

As with all cookware, there are some aspects that make it clear it’s a well-made piece of cookware. While these aren’t a guarantee, here are some things to keep an eye out for when buying a new pot or pan.

  • The bottom: Always check the bottom of the pan. A welded-on bottom is often the sign of an inferior pan, and when looking for an induction-compatible pan, it’s also a sign that it isn’t the same material as the top. While it’s less common now, some pans would add an aluminum piece on the bottom for better conductivity, but that prevents the pan from working on an induction cooktop.
  • Handles: Handle size and shape are extremely important. If you can, test the handles before you buy the pot or pan. Remember that it’ll be a lot heavier when you’re using it, as it’ll be full. You want the handle to be securely attached, comfortable to hold, and for the pot to feel balanced and not like it wants to tip.
  • Lid: If you’re buying a pot or a sauté pan, it should come with a lid. Make sure that the lid is well-made, too. I should be one piece with a securely attached handle (unless it’s glass). Glass lids have a metal rim, and that’s a good thing! I prefer that the lid be made out of the same material as the pan, as it makes it more durable and oven-safe, but glass lids have the advantage of being transparent and more aesthetic.
  • Weight: How much a pot or pan weighs is very important. Remember that you’ll be toting it around when it’s full, so the weight will increase, too. However, your pan shouldn’t feel too light to you, as that’s a sign of the metal being thin, which generally means it's cheaply made and not durable. And with cast iron, the heavier, the better. Just make sure that it’s a size and weight that you feel you can handle comfortably, even when it’s hot.

My 6 Top Picks for Induction Cookware

Cookware covers a wide range of items, so I did my best to make recommendations for the different types of cookware that I consider essential. This list should help point you in the right direction when it comes to finding the best induction cookware for you

1. Lodge 10.25-Inch Cast Iron Skillet

Lodge is known for having some of the best cast iron that’s American-made. This skillet is made entirely of cast iron, making it induction-compatible, oven-safe, and stovetop-safe. This 10-inch fry pan is medium-sized, making it excellent for families or having a few friends over. It’s safe up to high temperatures, making it great for searing or the broiler. However, cast iron is heavy, meaning this pan can be unwieldy, and Lodge’s designs are utilitarian.

2. Le Creuset Signature Round Dutch Oven

For those looking for a high-end Dutch oven, it’s impossible to go wrong with Le Creuset. It’s made entirely from high-quality cast iron and enamel, making it induction-safe and long-lasting. Dutch ovens are versatile pieces of cookware that are excellent for sauces, soups, and braising. However, a premium brand comes at a premium price. And while the manufacturer says it’s dishwasher safe, that’s hard on the enamel, meaning that hand washing is preferable.

3. Staub Cast Iron 12-Inch Square Grill Pan

Staub is a high-end brand of cast iron in France. Their enameled grill pan is induction-safe, oven-safe, and handsome. Grill pans are great for when you want to get grill lines on what you’re cooking – like sausage or chicken breasts – but it isn’t a good day for the grill. That being said, as with all cast iron, the pan is heavy, and enamel doesn’t do as well as cast iron at high temperatures, so it’s best to avoid the broiler.

4. Zwilling Spirit 3-Ply Stainless Steel 3-Quart Saucepan

Saucepans are highly versatile tools excellent for rice, small quantities of pasta, and, of course, sauces. 2-quart or 3-quart are pretty much the standard sizes, though Zwilling does offer 1-quart and 4-quart options. Its 3-ply construction ensures even heating and a faster cooking time, and it can go in the dishwasher for easy cleanup. However, the glass lid is fragile and can’t stand high temperatures in the oven as well as the pot itself.

5. Le Creuset Enamel on Steel 8-Quart Stockpot

Le Creuset doesn’t only make cast iron: this pot is made out of enameled carbon steel. Carbon steel is excellent for its strength and heat retention, but is prone to rust – hence the enamel. This stock pot is attractive and comes in a variety of bright colors. Le Creuset makes high-quality cookware, though some purchasers have complained that the enamel is easy to chip.

6. All-Clad D3 Stainless 3-Ply Bonded Cookware, Fry Pan with Lid

All-Clad prides itself on all its cookware being fully clad. This pan also has excellent heating distribution, is one solid piece, and has great balance. The stainless steel lid adds versatility to the pan and is oven-safe. The downsides are that it lacks a helper handle, which makes taking it out of the oven harder, and it isn’t cheap – though you do get a lot of bang for your buck.

Let Us Help You Find the Induction Cookware for You

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It can be overwhelming to find the right induction cookware choice for your needs, particularly with the variety on the market. As it’s something you’ll use a lot over its lifetime, don’t be afraid to take your time. If you need more information or advice, reach out to one of our Curated Kitchen Experts! Any of our Kitchen Experts would be more than happy to help you find the induction cookware set that’s just right for you.

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Have a question about the article you just read or want personal recommendations? Connect with a Curated expert and get free recommendations for whatever you’re looking for!

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