With so many people making the transition to induction cooking, many are still unsure if it is worth the move. This is not only because of the actual cost of induction cookware but also the equipment needed.
Dutch ovens are an especially useful cooking vessel to have around the house, but many are wondering whether all of their favorite pots and pans can still be used if they make the switch.
So, can Dutch ovens be used on induction cooktops? Yes, Dutch ovens can be used on induction cooktops. Most Dutch ovens are made from cast iron which is a great heat conductor and therefore can work on an induction cooktop.
In this article, we will discuss exactly how induction cooking works and why certain cooking vessels and materials work on it while others don’t. Then we will look at the type of Dutch oven that will work best on these cooking surfaces, as well as discuss some tips and tricks when cooking on induction.
What Are Induction Cooktops?
Many people may have heard about induction cooking, but most people still don’t understand how it works, how it should be used, and when it can actually be used. Luckily, as always, that is why we are here to help clarify things!
Induction cooking is a newer and more modern type of cooking. First, think of older forms; you get gas stovetops and electric stovetops – these are the two most common types today.
Gas cooking uses controlled gas to create flames that act as a direct heat source. This form of cooking can be used with most cookware materials that can handle the high direct heat.
Electric cooking is a less intense form that uses electricity to heat very conductive elements. These elements then heat a type of plate upon which the cookware is placed. It is a less direct heat source and virtually all cookware materials can handle this type of cooking.
Induction cooking is completely different. Even though it uses electricity to work, it does not heat any elements.
They heat pots and pans directly through magnetic induction technology. This has a very scientific explanation, but the bottom line is that electricity is passed through a coiled copper wire which creates magnetic currents that produce heat.
This creates a much quicker heat source that is more stable, easier to control, and works directly with the magnetic material, instead of transferring heat through various materials first.
Advantages of Induction Cooking
1. Heats Quickly
It heats much quicker compared to old-school electric cooking appliances, meaning it saves you time and money. No heat is wasted by first heating an element, then a plate, then a pot. Instead, heat is directly applied to the pot or pan.
2. Precise Temperature Control
You have much more accurate temperature control. If you have ever worked with an induction appliance, you will find that its temperatures rise and cool almost instantly.
This is because of the amazing magnetic technology that is used. The ability to more precisely control your temperatures means you can cook food better and reduce the risk of over or undercooking.
3. Easy To Clean
These surfaces are completely flat and smooth, giving it not only a more modern look but also making it much easier to clean. You don’t have to scrub between grooves, and because it cools so quickly, whatever si spilled won’t burn and can be cleaned almost immediately.
Do Dutch Ovens Work on Induction Cooktops?
Okay, so it is pretty obvious that induction cooking is amazing, but can your regular Dutch oven work on an induction cooking surface?
The short answer, yes. As long as your Dutch oven is made from a magnetic material like most Dutch ovens are, it will definitely be able to work on induction cooktops using magnetic currents.
Choosing a Dutch Oven that Will Work on Induction Cooktops
Before even choosing a Dutch oven specifically for induction cooking, it is important to understand what they are and what they are used for.
1. Outdoor Vs Indoor Dutch Oven
There are two main types of Dutch ovens namely indoor and outdoor versions. Outdoor Dutch ovens also referred to as traditional Dutch ovens, are made from thick cast-iron that is extremely heavy, usually very large, and has a tight-sealing lid.
They are almost always large round vessels, similar to a cauldron, and often have three to four peg legs they stand on that provide some distance from the heat source. Outdoor Dutch ovens are used on open fires, and not suitable for indoor use.
This brings us to indoor Dutch ovens. They too come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and designs, but all of them are specifically made for use on stovetops or ovens.
Indoor Dutch ovens always have flat bottoms – no exception. This allows the heat source direct contact with the vessel to help heat it quickly and evenly. They’re very similar to stock pots.
Indoor Dutch ovens are still made from cast iron, but most of them are covered with a ceramic or porcelain enameled non-stick coating. This coating is what gives indoor Dutch ovens their sleek and modern look, as well as the many unique colors they can be bought in.
Despite this coating, the cast iron allows the Dutch oven to be used on induction cooktops without any problems.
2. Shape and Size of Dutch Ovens
Now that we have established the type of Dutch oven that has to be used on induction cooktops, let’s have a look at how shape and size will possibly affect your choice.
Dutch ovens are all similar in design, regardless of shape and size. They have very high walls and all come with a tight-fitting lid which helps trap moisture and creates a more even internal cooking temperature.
Dutch ovens can be either round or more oval-shaped. They do differ in size a lot and some can be as large as 12 quarts.
For induction cooktops specifically, we wouldn’t recommend the biggest Dutch oven, as it may be bigger than the actual induction cooking surface. This could potentially cause cold spots on the areas that don’t touch the induction plate
Rather choose one around 7 or 8 quarts. It is large enough to make a ton of food, but can also make smaller portions.
The other great thing about induction cookware is that most of them are made to only heat the area where there is a pot.
So if you are using an 8-inch pan on a 20-inch induction surface, only the 8 inches under to pan will heat. This feature will save you some electricity by not always heating the entire surface.
In terms of shape, we prefer using round Dutch ovens in induction cooking. This is only because they will heat evenly and less energy will be wasted on the areas that don’t have a pot on them.
Other convenient features that will make your induction cooking a lot more convenient are handles. A lot of designs include two grab handles on each side. It also helps a lot if the lid of the Dutch oven is an easy-to-grab handle.
Choose handles that aren’t plastic and are heat resistant so you can still place the Dutch oven in the oven.
Tips and Tricks For Using a Dutch Oven on Induction Cooktops
Even though virtually all Dutch ovens will work on induction cooktops, there are still a few things to keep in mind when doing so.
- Dutch ovens have to heat slowly in order to work and keep their durability. Because induction cooktops heat extremely quickly, rather start heating your Dutch oven at a lower temperature. This will also help prevent your food from immediately sticking or even burning.
- Keep in mind that Dutch ovens are very effective at distributing heat evenly throughout the whole vessel. This means that even the top, including the lid, can get extremely hot. Make sure to always use oven mitts when handling your Dutch oven.
- Because induction cooktops can get extremely hot, never place a cold Dutch oven over that heat. The extreme and sudden temperature changes can cause the enamel coating to crack.
- Induction cooktops always have beautiful glass surfaces. Dutch oven, even though many of them have a smooth enamel coating, can scratch this surface. Even worse, by not gently working with these two pieces, you can also easily break the glass with the heavy Dutch oven.
- Always be careful when working with them and also work gently. Pick up the Dutch oven when you need to move it, do not slide it around. You can also keep something between them, like parchment paper or silicone mats, to prevent them from scratching.
- You can test if your cookware, of any type, will work on an induction cooktop by seeing if a magnet sticks. If it sticks, it contains a magnetic metal that will heat. If it doesn’t, like clay cookware, for example, it won’t heat on an induction surface.
- When cooking with Dutch ovens and induction cooktops, always coat your vessel with a non-stick product like oil, butter, or non-stick spray. The surface will get extremely hot extremely quickly and you don’t want your Dutch oven burning.
When food sticks to the enamel coating, it is very difficult and time-consuming to remove without chipping or scratching the coating itself.
So, now you know that your Dutch oven will definitely work on an induction cooking surface, and if you are still unsure, try our magnet test.
The best types of Dutch ovens to use for induction cooking are definitely indoor ones with flat bottoms.
We also prefer using round Dutch ovens that are roughly between 7-8 quarts in size. You can however choose any type you’d like, in any style, or shape.
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