Induction cooking is the most energy-efficient and speedy technique used to cook food. It allows instant control of food energy better than gas burners.
An induction cooker uses induction heating for cooking.
For cookware to work with an induction cooktop, it needs to have a ferromagnetic material – something that a magnetic would stick to.
This means that many types of cookware will not with induction.
And an aluminum pan or pot is one of those.
Aluminum alone does not work on an induction stove because of the material’s magnetic and electrical properties.
An aluminum must contain an iron insert in its base to work with an induction unit.
To cut the long story short – you can use aluminum cookware on induction, but it needs to have a coating that can work on induction cooktops.
If you’re looking to buy an aluminum pan that works on induction cooktops, I recommend checking out the Cate Maker aluminum frying pan on Amazon.
In this article, I will cover all you should know about aluminum cookware and what to look for when buying one
Is Aluminum a Good Choice For Cookware?
Aluminum is lightweight, conducts heat well, and is fairly inexpensive.
This makes it a popular choice for cooking (especially for people using gas stoves or electric cooktops).
Aluminum is an excellent conductor of heat and works perfectly with gas and electric cooktops.
But when it comes to using an aluminum pan on an induction cooktop, it would not work – unless it has a base of stainless steel that can work on an induction cooktop.
How Can Aluminum be Used on Induction Cooktops?
Here are a couple of ways you can use an aluminum pan on an induction cooktop
Buy an Aluminum Pan That is Already Induction Ready
The easiest way would be to buy an aluminum pan that already works on an induction hob.
Aluminum is desirable in cookware due to its excellent heat conduction and distribution.
But since a pan that is all aluminum will not work on an induction cooktop, you can buy one where it’s made of aluminum-clad stainless steel (which has an inner layer of aluminum and an outer layer of stainless steel).
It is also referred to as tri-ply cookware.
The high thermal conductivity of aluminum makes the temperature more uniform across the cookware. It spreads heat quickly and evenly.
The preferred base of cookware is usually a steel plate pressed into aluminum or a layer of stainless steel over aluminum.
Use Induction Disks
If you already have an aluminum pan that you want to use, and that pan is not induction-ready, you can try using an induction disk.
For this to work, your aluminum pan should have a flat and smooth base.
While this technique works, it is not very energy efficient.
Also, if the aluminum pan you have does not have a completely flat base, it would trap air between convertor discs which slow down the heat transfer from the disc to the cookware.
Another method of using aluminum on induction is to apply a layer of computer thermal paste on the bottom of the cookware and then place the cookware on the disk.
This will fill the air gaps between the disc and the cookware effectively.
The downside is that each time it has to be scraped off and applied again for another round of cooking.
Nowadays there is also something called all-metal models.
Panasonic Corporation has developed a consumer induction cooker that uses a high-frequency magnetic field and different oscillator circuit designs to allow use with ferrous metals.
The model was released in 2017 named met-all and aimed at commercial kitchens.
Inside the induction cooktop lies a coil of copper.
When an alternating current is passed through the coil of copper, it results in the generation of an oscillating magnetic field.
This magnetic field penetrates the base of the cookware ( which is why the material of the base should be ferromagnetic) and induces strong eddy resistive currents. These currents produce heat and are responsible for cooking.
The induced current can heat any type of metal, but the magnetic properties of the steel vessel concentrate the induced current in a thin layer near the surface, which makes the heating effect stronger.
In materials like aluminum, the magnetic field penetrates too far, and the induced current encounters little resistance in the metal.
Only that part of the induction cooktop remains hot which is below the cookware. The rest of the cooktop remains cool to touch.
The cooktop surface is made of glass-ceramic material which is a poor conductor of heat.
This way only minimal heat is transferred from the pot to the cooktop surface.
How To Check Which Material Will Work On Induction?
The heat that can be produced in cookware is a function of the surface resistance.
A higher surface resistance produces more heat for similar currents.
It can be used to rank the suitability of a material for induction heating.
The surface resistance in a thick metal conductor is proportional to the resistivity divided by the skin depth.
Where the thickness is less than the skin depth, the actual thickness can be used to calculate surface resistance.
An easy method is to look for the wave sign or a horizontal zig-zag which is usually displayed in induction-friendly cookware by many manufacturers.
Some have ‘inducktion” word written.
Take an ordinary magnet and place it near the base of the cookware on the outer side. If it clings, it is induction friendly.
If the magnet grabs the pan softly, it may not be very successful on induction.
If there is no pull on the magnet, it doesn’t contain the right metals and will not generate heat.
This is an easy method to check which of the cookware can be used on induction.
Side Effects Of Aluminum Cookware
While aluminum may prove to be an excellent choice for cookware due to its properties, there is a huge issue with it that you must know
Aluminum, for a long time, has been linked to Alzheimer’s. Aluminum as metal gets easily dissolved in food.
The longer the duration food is cooked or stored in aluminum, the more amount of aluminum gets leached into the food.
Acidic foods such as tomatoes and citrus absorb aluminum the most.
To avoid this, some manufacturers use the method of anodization.
Anodized aluminum cookware conducts heat as well as aluminum cookware and reduces the leaching of aluminum from cookware into foods, particularly acidic foods like tomatoes.
Also, in case you’re using cookware that has aluminum but it’s coated with some other metal, then it’s fine to use it.
Ferrous materials such as iron and stainless steel have relatively high electrical resistivity.
Because of their high resistivity, they produce heat faster and more efficiently than aluminum when the electrical currents are induced.
According to joules law, the heat produced is directly proportional to the electrical resistivity of the conductor.
The electrical resistivity of aluminum is pretty low along with being non-ferrous making it unsuitable for induction cooking.
However stainless steel or iron-clad aluminum cookware can be used quite efficiently on induction.
You may also like the following articles:
- Can Induction Cookware be used on Gas Cooktops?
- How to Use a Non-Induction Cookware on an Induction Cooktop
- Best Induction Cookware For Your Kitchen
- Does Cast Iron work on Induction Cooktops?
- Does stainless steel work on Induction Cooktops?
- Will Granite rock pan work on an induction cooktop?
- Will copper-based Pans work on an induction cooktop?
- Will hard Anodized cookware work on an induction cooktop
- Will All Clad Cookware Work on an Induction Cooktop?