I have discovered most people who purchase induction ranges enjoy cooking. And when you enjoy cooking, you tend to buy lots of cook equipment and utensils. You have many choices for your induction range including induction compatible stainless steel, aluminum with an induction plate attached, carbon steel or cast iron.
Cast Iron for Induction
Proponents of cast iron swear by them. A nice heavy cast iron steel pan can literally last you a lifetime if you take care of them. And there is a lot of reason to like them. They can get super hot for searing steaks and if seasoned properly they can be super slick.
There are several issues I have with cast iron which is why, while I have bought them in the past, I never stick with them. First, they are extremely heavy. And while I don’t have an issue lifting them, my wife can’t stand how heavy they are. And because they are heavy, its easy to drop them which can crack the hard glass or what happened to a friend, it cracked one of their tiles.
And because they are so thick and heavy, they end up holding their heat for way to long which means it is harder to control the heat which is one of the advantages to using an induction range in the first place. Finally, I have an issue cleaning them. Either because I did not season them properly i have no choice but to scrub t hem in the sink which means the seasoning gets washed off and next time I use it, rust has formed.
If you want to use a cast iron pan I would recommend you get one that does not have the ridges on them. They are infinitely easier to clean. I would also recommend you get a silicon sleeve for the pan because the handles can get extremely hot and I have burnt myself many times when the towel I was using had a wet spot that steamed my hand. The ones from crueset are large enough to fit the wider handles on some cast iron pans.
Carbon Steel for Induction
Carbon steel pans are now starting to become very popular in home kitchens. The thing is they have been used in commercial kitchens for years. The trusty woks you see in chinese kitchens are almost always made of carbon steel and are work horses which can take a lot of heat.
If you go to higher end commercial kitchens and especially french kitchens you will see they use carbon steel pans. And there is a reason they do. First, they are work horses that can be used on both induction ranges as well as traditional gas hobs. They are very easy to maneuver around the kitchen because they are light. They are also easy to control the heat since an induction cooktop can make them heat up very fast and by moving the pan around or even off the range the heat can be controlled.
Like cast iron, when seasoned properly they can be very slick. I find them better for cooking things like eggs but can heat up fast for searing a piece of fish or a nice piece of steak. And they can also be placed in the oven.
Gordon Ramsey uses carbon steel
Don’t just take my word for it. If you watch any youtube videos of Gordon Ramsey, he almost exclusively used carbon steel pans for his cooking videos. Below is the pay he uses in his kitchen and it is reasonably priced for a work horse.
Why use carbon steel or cast iron?
Many people like using either carbon steel or cast iron because they can be great non-stick style pans without having to worry about Teflan or other non-stick coatings that either wear out or people are worried are a health risk.
What to remember about carbon steel and cast iron pans
There are a few things to remember about cast iron and carbon steel pans for everyday use on your induction range. First, you have to remember to season them. Seasoning creates the sticky coating that makes it non stick. Second, you can’t put them in the dishwasher. Just rinse them out and scrub with a non-abrasive sponge. You can wipe them down with oil if you don’t expect to use them for a while. Finally, be careful cooking things that are very acidic like tomatoes which can react with the pan.
Not for everyone.
Carbon steel and cast iron pans are not for everyone. They can be difficult to work with, difficult to keep clean and some just don’t want the hassle. If that is the case, just get yourself a larger, heavy induction compatible non-stick pan. The one I use is linked below.