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What Is Induction Cooking?

Long popular in Europe and in commercial restaurant kitchens, induction cooking is trending in high-end kitchens in the United States, and it's not hard to see why. They offer a sleek, attractive look while delivering precision and power comparable to gas cooking. Learn more about this emerging trend and whether an induction cooktop may be right for your kitchen.

Table of Contents

Definition
What are induction cooktops?

How It Works
How does induction cooking work?

Pros
What are the benefits of induction cooking?

Cons
Are there disadvantages to induction?

Compare
How does induction compare to electric and gas?

Choosing
Is an induction cooktop right for your kitchen?

What are Induction Cooktops?

Induction cooktops heat pots and pans placed on its elements directly, unlike electric or gas-fueled cooktops, which heat the cooking surface and air as well as pots and pans.

How Does Induction Cooking Work?

Induction uses the principle of magnetic induction to directly heat cookware, instead of using thermal conduction. Essentially, when you turn the cooktop on, an electric current flows through the copper coil under the glass surface, creating a magnetic field.

When you then place your induction-compatible pan on the cooktop, that magnetic field transfers the current to the pan, which turns the cookware into its own heat source. Thanks to this technology, induction cooktops bring food and water to temperature quickly, and the cooktop will cool rapidly when you remove your pan from the surface.

Sensor Boil

Quickly brings water to boil and notifies you.

Bridge Function

Flex elements fuse to suit cookware like griddles or braisers.

Pan Detection

Elements activate and deactivate upon contact with right-sized cookware.

36-inch induction cooktop: JIC4736HS

What are the Benefits of Induction Cooking?

They heat quickly

Because induction cooktops directly heat cookware, they are an efficient option. The pan heats quickly, and because the cooktop doesn’t lose as much heat to the surrounding air or surface, it helps the kitchen stay cool and comfortable.

They’re responsive and react quickly to temperature changes

Induction cooktops cut out the step of heating up the element before heating the cookware, so they react quickly to changes in temperature. For example, a precise induction cooker or cooktop will transition more quickly from a roiling boil to a gentle simmer, or vice versa.

They’re easy to clean

 While the cookware will still transfer some heat into the cooking surface of the cooktop, they tend to stay relatively cool compared to an electric radiant cooktop. That cooler surface can help to reduce baked on spills or burnt on grease, so your cooktop stays clean. Always allow the cooktop to cool completely before cleaning.

Are there disadvantages to Induction?

They require specific cookware

Because induction uses electromagnetic energy, you need special pots for induction cooking. This cookware is ferromagnetic, like cast iron or steel. Non-magnetic materials like copper, glass, aluminum and ceramic are not compatible with an induction cooktop—unless they have a layer of magnetic material. Nonetheless, this layer may not guarantee full performance compared to a full steel material pot.

If you need to test whether your current cookware set is compatible with induction, the simplest test is to use a magnet. You can also look for an induction-ready icon on the bottom of your pans.

There’s a learning curve

If you’re used to cooking on an electric or gas cooktop, it might take a little while to master your new induction cooker, since they heat up and cool down quickly. Simply watching your pan closely and checking the doneness more frequently will help ease you into cooking with induction.

How Does Induction Compare to Gas and Electric?

Induction vs. Gas:

Gas cooktops are immensely popular, and often a first choice for high-end kitchens, due to their reputation for responsiveness and precision control. The flame from the burner heats your cookware, in turn cooking your food. 

When choosing between gas and induction, there are a few things to consider:

Precision & Responsiveness

Induction and gas have comparable control and responsiveness

RENOVATION

Induction is a great alternative for kitchens that don’t have an existing gas hookup

Cleaning

The smooth surface of induction gives them an edge over the heavy, large grates common to gas cooktops when it comes to cleaning

Learn more about gas and induction cooktops from JennAir.

Induction vs. Electric:

Electric radiant cooktops are a popular, sleek choice for homeowners who don’t have or want a gas hookup. They’re versatile, and can be used with any type of cookware. The element below their ceramic glass surface heats the surface, which in turn will heat the cookware and your food.

When choosing between electric and induction, there are a few things to consider:

Safety

The surface of an electric cooktop can get quite hot when in use, while an induction stays relatively cool in comparison

Responsiveness

Electric tends to respond slower to a change in heat, so you have less precise control than gas or induction

Learn more about electric radiant and induction cooktops from JennAir.

Is an induction cooktop right for your kitchen?

If you love the sleek black ceramic glass and cleanability of an electric cooktop, but are looking for the fast, powerful and precise cooking of gas, an induction cooktop offers the best of both worlds, with few trade offs.

Learn more about JennAir® induction cooktops in sizes ranging from 15 inches to 36 inches. Or, learn more about our induction range.  Discover all JennAir® cooktops to find the right one for your lifestyle and kitchen.

Shop JennAir® Induction Cooktops

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