Whether you are looking for an upgrade in your home or moved to a new home with an induction cooktop, you probably want to know whether or not your current cookware is compatible?
Aluminum cookware is one of the most common materials you will find pots and pans are made of.
So, will aluminum cookware work on induction stovetops? The short answer is that unfortunately, pure aluminum won’t work on induction plates. This is because the material isn’t magnetic. However, you can find convertor discs that will make it work, or a cooking vessel with a magnetized base.
Today, we will look at the ins and outs of induction cooktops and the materials you can use on them. Specifically, we will explore how aluminum cookware works, where you can use them, and how to properly take care of them when cooking.
What Are Induction Cooktops?
Before diving deep into exactly what works on these cooktops and what doesn’t, it is important to understand exactly what induction cooking is and how it functions.
Because the technology has only recently become more accessible and affordable, most people are still pretty unfamiliar with it and why it is such a great investment!
But first, let’s have a look at the cooktops most of you are more familiar with, like gas! Gas cooktops work with, well, gas.
Once the gas has been lit, it creates a flame that supplies direct heat to the pan and ultimately the food. For this form of cooking, you need cooking materials that can handle the hot flames.
Then, we have electric cooking, which doesn’t apply such direct heat. These cooktops use electricity to generate heat. It works with heating elements that warm a plate which then transfers the heat to the pan. Simple enough!
Induction cooking on the other hand works in a completely different way. It also uses electricity to functions but doesn’t heat elements to create a heat source. Instead, the electricity is used to create magnetic fields.
Now, while we won’t go into too much science behind this technology, in a nutshell, the electricity passes through a coiled copper wire. This creates magnetic currents which produce high temperatures.
By using this technology, you instantly create high heat that is much more stable and easier to control.
It works directly with any type of magnetic material as it doesn’t have to transfer heat through other materials first. Once the pan is heated, it can immediately be used to cook food items.
If you’re interested in seeing a direct comparison between induction and gas cooking, here’s a great video on the subject!
Benefits Of Induction Cooktops
There are many benefits of cooking with induction cooktops. This is why it wasn’t just an overnight craze!
More and more people are making the switch, especially because induction cooktops have become a lot more affordable than what they used to be.
The biggest advantage of these cooktops is how quickly they heat up as compared to old-school electric cooktops. This also directly saves you a lot of money and time.
And, instead of the elements first being conducted through a bunch of materials, the magnetic currents directly heats the magnetic pot or pan. No heat is wasted during this time.
Furthermore, this technology helps you more precisely control the temperature. Not only can you instantly increase it, but it also instantly reduces the temperature.
This feature allows you to perfectly cook your items. It also lowers the risk of overcooking or burning food.
And finally, these cooktops are very easy to clean. They have been designed to look futuristic and modern, so generally, they are completely flat.
This means you are simply giving them a wipe and you don’t have to scrub around nooks and crannies.
Does Aluminum Cookware Work on Induction Cooktops?
Unfortunately, aluminum cookware doesn’t work on induction cooktops. This is because pure aluminum isn’t magnetic due to its crystal structure. This also goes for any type of pot or pan that is made from only aluminum.
If you remember, induction cooktops create magnetic fields in the copper wire. These currents react with the magnetic elements in the cookware, which then directly heats it. Non-magnetic pans will not heat on induction cooktops.
However, there is a loophole! If your aluminum pot or pan has a magnetized base, it can be used on induction cooktops. Now, these pans are generally harder to find. Aluminum cookware is so well-loved for its affordable price tag.
So, the magnetized bases will obviously make the pot or pan more expensive, but still cheaper than cast iron for example.
Where Can You Use Aluminum Cookware?
Aluminum pots and pans can be used on electric stovetops. We wouldn’t recommend using just any type of aluminum cooking vessel on gas, because it isn’t the strongest material.
But, if the material has been anodized (hardened), it will definitely be fine on a gas cooktop.
Do not use aluminum on open fires. These flames are far too hot and will cause the material to warp and weaken.
And again, aluminum cannot be used on induction cooktops because the material isn’t magnetic, so it won’t heat. But, if the base has been magnetized, it will work just fine.
You can also have a look at pans made from a mixture of metals. There are loads of materials that use aluminum for their conductive abilities. Cast aluminum is a popular example and has many benefits.
Tips for Using Aluminum Cookware
- Do not use very acidic foods or liquids in aluminum cookware. The acid reacts with aluminum and causes the food to discolor and get a metallic taste.
- Don’t use aluminum cookware on extremely high heat. Because it is such a good conductor, the extreme heat can reduce the shelf life of the pans or pots. So, only use the amount you need to do the job.
- When washing your aluminum pot, wait for it to cool completely before soaking it in hot or cold water. The sudden temperature changes will shock the metal and cause it to weaken.
- Do not use metal scours or even rough scouring pans on this material. It will scratch it and ruins any non-stick coating that the pan may have had.
Which Materials Can You Use on Induction Cooktops?
As we have mentioned, because of the magnetic fields that allow the pans to directly heat, you can only use magnetic materials on induction cooktops. Luckily, there are quite a few options to choose from that vary in price.
Stainless steel is arguably the most common material you will find. Many pots and pans are made using stainless steel and the material also offers a ton of other benefits, including heat conduction, durability, and affordability.
Furthermore, a lot of stainless steel pans are built-in with aluminum or copper cores (bases), which help the heat evenly distribute throughout and cook the food.
A ton of pots and pans are made from a variety of non-magnetic materials. However, some of these materials have magnetic bases.
Another alternative you will find is that the actual core is made from aluminum, and the rest of the pot is made from a magnetic material.
This allows the pan to still evenly distribute the heat while being able to work on induction tops. You will find this option especially common in non-stick pans.
We are obsessed with cast iron cookware. It is a heavy-duty metal that is magnetic.
It can work on any heat source including open fires! Furthermore, it is a fantastic heat conductor and retainer and has a naturally non-stick property too.
But, it does have its downfalls. It is extremely heavy, takes some time to heat, and is often expensive. But, this cookware will last you a lifetime if you properly look after them. And, they are also available in a wide range of shapes and sizes.
You can easily get pans, pots, Dutch ovens, griddle pans, and casserole dishes. These are also sometimes coated in enamel to give them a prettier appearance.
Now that we’ve gone over what you can use on an induction cooktop, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!
Is it safe to use aluminum utensils on an induction cooker?
It is completely safe to use aluminum utensils with conduction cooking and they won’t heat up instantly.
But, the heat from the food or steam will still cause them to heat, so they aren’t heat-proof. Also, don’t scrape the bottom of the pans, especially if they are non-stick.
How can you test whether your pan or pot is made from aluminum?
The easiest way to check whether your pot or pan is made from aluminum is to check the make and model online.
If you don’t have that information, then you can test it on an induction plate. If it doesn’t heat up well, it is made from a non-magnetic material, most likely aluminum.
Can you make aluminum pots work on induction cooktops?
There are converter discs you can buy that will heat up and transfer that heat to the non-magnetic pot or pan (we’d recommend this one).
But, keep in mind that this is extra money you will have to spend. Often, you may just want to buy a new pot or pan – they could even work out cheaper than these discs.
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