You would think given that I own both a full sized, induction range as well as a portable, that I would get it when I should know, what cookware will work and what won’t. But of course, I make mistakes as well. I was at my sisters apartment, and we decided to do hotpot. Now portable induction cookware is great for doing home hotpot. You can plug it in, let it sit in the middle of the table and we don’t have to worry about flames. So I had my sister purchase my preferred portable induction range, which usually runs around $50.

Older Stainless Steel Cookware

So part of the reason I told my sister to get an portable induction cooktop is because she has had a stainless steel cookware set for many many years. The great thing about stainless steel cookware sets is they litterally can last a lifetime. And because she already had stainless steel, I told her not to purchase a hot pot pot (say that three times fast). I knew we could just use one of the pots.

Not all Stainless Steel works with Induction

Needless to say, I mixed the broth together, did the initial boil on the stove and then moved it to the induction cooker that was on the table. And to my chagrin… it wouldn’t work. I kept getting an error message and then it would shut down after about 30 seconds.

Of course my sister is upset, this stupid thing doesn’t work. But I pulled out the instruction manual and of course the error message says, no cookware found. So I pulled another piece of stainless steel out of her cabinet, and tried a magnet on it. And of course… the magnet wouldn’t stick. This older stainless steel cookware set was not induction compatible.

Most of the tri-ply stainless steel is two kinds of stainless steel that sandwhiches aluminum to help with heat distribution. But 10 years ago when this set was purchased, induction wasn’t even a thing. And so unlike today’s stainless steel which includes one layer that is ferro-magnetic, these older ones don’t.

Make sure its induction compatible

That is why it is always important to make sure if you buy used cookware or are buying new, that you make sure it is induction compatible. The easiest way is by bringing a magnet with you and seeing if it sticks. The other option is to look for the induction symbol on either the cookware itself or on the box when you buy it. This is what it looks like.

So how did we fix it?

So instead of giving up I rummaged through all my sisters cupboards with a magnet in hand and I was lucky to find one pan that was induction compatible. My sister makes crepes sometimes and she had a crepe pan that was induction compatible. And because it is a crepe pan, the sides are low which means, I put the crepe pan on the cooker, then the pot of broth on top of it.

Believe it or not, it actually worked better than the induction cooking hot plates you buy for $20 on Amazon. My only worry is long term use and ruining the non stick coating.

So before your next hotpot use, confirm that the cookware is induction compatible.