What Kind of Pots for a Glass Cook Top?

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Cooking on a stove with a glass cooktop differs from cooking on other types of appliances due to its completely flat configuration that distributes heat evenly from the burner to the cookware. With a few exceptions, as long as your pans are made of materials that conduct and retain heat properly, are not warped or dented and sit firmly on the burner, you should not need to invest in new cookware.

Cookware Requirements

The ability of a glass-top cooking range to transfer heat directly from burner to pan dictates the type of cookware you should use, and the skillet or saucepan should fit the size of the burner with not more than 2 inches of overhang. Cookware should be heavy with completely flat bottoms because even the least bit of warping allows heat to escape, creating cooler spots in the materials that lead to uneven cooking. A smart way to check for warping is to turn a pan upside down and place the edge of a ruler across it. There should be no spaces at any point where the ruler touches the pan.

Cookware Types

If you decide to replace your cookware, steer clear of cheaply made store brands that aren't designed to take the intense heat that a glass-top stove generates. Focus on medium to heavy stainless steel, plain or anodized aluminum, porcelain, copper-bottom or enamel cookware. The Cookware Manufacturers Association advises against using color-clad cookware because the coating can melt at high temperatures and fuse with the glass top.

Cast Iron

Pots and pans made of cast iron are heavy and durable and can last a lifetime if given the proper care. If your cast iron pans are solid, rust-free and have no burrs protruding from the bottom, you can use them on your glass cooktop. Pick up rather than slide the pans across the stove to avoid scratching the glass, heat the pans slowly so that the heat is transferred evenly, and avoid overheating because this may cause the cooking element to shut down.

Do's and Don't's

Learning how your pots and pans perform on a glass cooktop is crucial to achieving desirable results in your cooking. Many stoves with glass cooktops have warning lights that stay on until the surface is completely cool and safe to touch, and you can make efficient use of this residual heat by turning the burner off sooner than you might have on a stove with coil burners. Keep in mind, too, that the burners on glass cooktops heat up almost instantly, so it's wise to heat all types of cookware slowly and build up gradually to the heat setting called for in a recipe.