Glass top stoves are the go-to option for most people when equipping their kitchens, and why not? They’re easy to use, hassle-free to clean and have sleek designs that will earn admiration from your guests. It’s no wonder that glass top stoves quickly took the place of conventional coil heating elements. However, you’ll soon find out that the tricky aspect of glass top stoves isn’t how to use them, but rather what to use on them. So today, we’ll be answering the question: “what is the best cookware for glass top stoves?”
You see, every type of stovetop works particularly well with certain types of cookware. Glass top stoves are no exception. This isn’t just about getting the best possible performance from your glass top stove. It’s also about not ruining the stove by accidentally scratching or cracking its surface when you use the wrong cookware.
But hey, don’t freak out just yet! We’re here to save you the money and hassle of such scenarios by introducing you to the best cookware for glass top stoves. First, let’s explain how glass top stoves work.
What are Glass Top Stoves and How do They Work?
Ever heard of glass-ceramic? Well, to those who didn’t get the memo, glass-ceramic is made just like regular glass, but a nucleating agent is added to the recipe to create a crystalline structure. Then, it undergoes heating to achieve the same appearance as glass, only much stronger with slower reaction to temperature changes.
Glass top stoves are made of glass-ceramic (which by the way, isn’t transparent like normal glass) and they’re typically either electric or induction. Both types of glass top stoves run via electricity instead of gas in old-school stoves, but they don’t use electricity in the same way.
On one hand, electric glass top stoves have coils that heat up when electricity passes through them. These coils heat up the cooktop which ultimately heats up the cookware. Electric stoves are less expensive but they’re also less heat efficient.
On the other hand, induction glass top stoves operate through electromagnetic induction.
The coil beneath the glass-ceramic surface produces an electromagnetic field that causes any magnetic cookware placed on top of the stove to heat up. Note that neither the coil nor the surface of the cooktop themselves actually gets hot.
How to Choose the Best Cookware for Glass Top Stoves?
Now that you have a better understanding of how glass top stoves run, you can probably see why not every type of cookware works well with them. So the question at hand is: what’s the best choice for cookware when it comes to glass top stoves?
The answer, ladies and gentlemen, lies in 4 main features: the surface, the material, the weight, and the diameter. Let’s breakdown each aspect.
The shape of the cookware surface plays a huge role in your experience as a user. Glass top stoves have flat surfaces, which means they’ll effectively distribute heat only to the parts of the cookware that come in direct contact with the stovetop.
Consequently, if you place pots or pans with a curved or dented surface, the glass top stove won’t deliver heat across the entire cookware, which will result in unevenly cooked food. What you need is cookware that’s as flat as possible to touch the stovetop at all spots.
It goes without saying that old, warped cookware won’t be suitable for glass top stoves. So take a shortcut and go buy proper pans and pots.
The material of the cookware is a crucial factor to decide whether or not it’ll work for your glass top stove. Generally speaking, the most popular materials to be used on glass top stoves are aluminum, copper, titanium, stainless steel, carbon steel, and cast iron.
Aluminum is durable, lightweight, and affordable compared to other cookware materials. It resists corrosion, so it’ll last you a long time before it even begins to rust. Aluminum also doesn’t scratch or wear out, so it won’t damage your glass cooktop.
However, you should keep in mind that aluminum tends to corrode when exposed to acidic and alkaline foods. Leaching into such food is also a possibility, so be sure to use it responsibly.
Alternatively, you can always opt for anodized aluminum pots and pans which are chemically treated to become extra resistant to corrosion as well as non-stick.
A great feature of copper cookware is that it offers outstanding heat conductivity. This means that the temperature of the pot or pan you’re using will change almost instantly with the change of the temperature of the stovetop. In short, they’ll heat up and cool down quickly.
Besides being highly responsive, copper cookware has a decent weight that allows you to handle it with one hand without it being too light that it gets knocked off the stovetop.
The downside of cookware made of copper is that they often react with foods as well as moisture in the air. So make sure yours is coated with tin, stainless steel, or silver layer for protection.
Known for its incredible strength, titanium is also non-reactive, non-allergic, and non-porous. It’s also scratch-resistant and very stable so it’s definitely going to stand the test of time.
Moreover, titanium cookware is non-stick and heats up quickly yet evenly on any type of stovetops, not just glass.
The catch? Well, titanium will cost you some hefty money. But if you can afford it, then it’s a winning investment!
Another popular choice for manufacturing glass top cookware is stainless steel. It’s durable, non-reactive, lustrous, and budget-friendly. Such cookware often features flat surfaces, which is surely a plus.
However, pure stainless steel doesn’t conduct heat very well, which is why conductive cores (usually aluminum or copper) are added to enhance heat distribution.
A distant relative to cast iron, carbon steel is also highly durable and efficient when it comes to retaining heat. But carbon steel is thinner, more lightweight, and comes with a smoother finish.
This one is up for debate. Many people like how cast iron evenly distributes and holds heat, while others don’t appreciate the fact that cast iron can easily rust, as it reacts with some foods, air, and moisture.
Cast iron cookware can also be heavy to maneuver with one hand, which increases the chance of accidentally breaking the glass cooktop.
Weight of Cookware for Glass Top Stoves
As for the weight of the cookware, your mission is to find something that’s heavy enough to sit securely on top of the stove for better contact with its surface. However, it shouldn’t be too heavy that you have a hard time lifting it. Remember, you must avoid sliding pots and pans along the top, so they should be lightweight enough to easily maneuver.
Diameter of Cookware for Glass Top Stoves
The diameter of any cookware is an indication of its size, and since we’re talking about glass top stoves, size is of the essence.
However, it’s not really how big or small your pot or pan is, it’s actually how they’re sized in comparison to the size of the burner you place them on. What you should look for is cookware that doesn’t go past the burner by more than 1 inch.