Yes, induction cooktops heat evenly.
But that yes is also dependent on some factors:
- Quality of cookware you use
- Power-sharing between different burners on your induction hob
- Cookware placement
In this article, I will cover what you need to know to make sure your food is heated evenly when using an induction cooktop.
I also compare heating of induction with gas and electric cooktops.
Factors that Impact even heating with induction cooktops
Let us look at the factors that directly affect even heating of an induction hob.
When using induction cookware on the induction hob, the cookware itself becomes the heat source, and so all the base that is in touch with the induction heats evenly.
To give you a quick overview of how the cookware the induction cooktop works, when an alternating current is passed through the copper coil, it results in the generation of a magnetic field.
As soon as that happens, a resistive current begins to flow in the cooking vessel. All the molecules start banging on each and that creates heat in the cookware instantly.
All of this happens in seconds, something like switching on a light bulb.
Talking about cooking vessels, they should be sturdy and made of good quality pure metals such as magnetic grade stainless steel, cast iron, and aluminum encapsulated stainless steel.
Cookwares that are thin, not sturdy, and made of poor metal quality vibrate unnecessarily making a lot of sounds. The vibrations cause an uneven balance and that can cause uneven heating.
You do not have to move around your pan following the flame to get maximum heat at all corners. All of it heats up quickly within seconds.
Cookware Built + Base of the Cookware
Coming back to the cookware built, at times, and this happens in old cookware mostly, the base may be warped due to previous use on gas.
It might be also not coated evenly with ferrous material or just sprayed with ferrous metal at the base in some parts.
In other words, the base is uneven or textured. In all such cases, the induction cooktop is not in complete contact with the cooking vessel and that can lead to uneven heating.
To heat evenly, you need to work with flat, and stable pots and pans on the hob. It should also have a lot of iron content to work on induction.
Multiple Cooking Zones and Power-sharing
If you have three or four burners on the induction hob, there are high chances of power-sharing. Most of the inductions have right and left heating elements.
Those on the left share power and those on the right share power. It is like being operated on one generator on the left with as many burners as designed and one generator on the right that is giving power to burners on the right.
Sometimes the inductions are also designed in a way that you have only two burners and both are powered by one generator below.
So what happens is that while all burners heat evenly, maximum heating temperature may only be possible on one burner at the same time.
At the same time, you cannot heat all four burners evenly at the same temperature due to power-sharing.
Also, under really high temperatures, the induction tends to cycle on and off to maintain the temperature. But the heat remains constant and evenly distributed.
Correct Placement of Cookware
As the cookware itself is the heat source, for even and well-balanced cooking, I would advise to always cook on medium-high.
You need to keep the pot in the center of the burner if you want it to be heated evenly. Also, make sure the bottom size of your cooking vessels matches the dimension of the burner on the induction for even heating.
An ideal would be a maximum of one inch out from the burner cooking surface. Anything further can lead to uneven heating.
Fault in Induction Cooktop
At times and due to bad luck, you may have purchased a faulty induction cooktop. Like all technology, this too can be defected or become defected over time. It could be the copper coil not working properly, heat sensors defect, or faulty circuit breakers, or controls not working properly.
It can be a manufacturing defect or the induction going kaput after using for some time.
All such situations can cause the cooktop to not work or not heat evenly. Often and most of the time these can be fixed professionally but sometimes replacement of the induction hob is the only solution.
Some tips to get even heating on an induction cooktop
When you are looking at an induction hob, you are looking at a lot of power. Firstly because you get to control the temperature no matter how cold or hot it is outside. For the electromagnetic induction process to take place smoothly, make sure the cookware is ferromagnetic like magnetic stainless steel, cast iron or aluminum encapsulated stainless steel.
If you are new to induction cooking, I would suggest you cook on medium-high for an even and well-balanced cooked food.
You can go up to level 4 or 5 and then gradually use different power levels. The response time is immediate, within seconds, and it will take time for you to get a hang of the temperature adjustments.
The control panel is very smooth to operate. Most of the induction comes with the latest technology of touch controls.
Make sure to place your ingredients into the cooking vessel before switching the burner on. As it heats up fast, your food or oil may end up getting burnt.
Timing is essential as the induction heats up quickly.
With multiple burners, you can make more than one dish at the same time. Just make sure to place the cooking vessels correctly in alignment with the burner. The size of the base should match the dimensions of the heating element.
For the magnetic technology to give consistent and even heating, the base of the cooking vessel should sit firmly on the hob.
Make sure the base of the cookware is flat, smooth, and thick. Thin bottoms end up vibrating on the cooktop.
As the magnetic technology ends up heating the pan and not the surrounding atmosphere, you end up having a much cooler kitchen.
All the burners will not give you high-temperature settings at the same time. It is better to cook alternatively if you wish to cook two or more dishes in high-temperature settings.
With a lot of competition in the market, you get updated versions every few months that help in smart cooking.
Just make sure to take a demo so you are saved from any manufacturing defect.
Depending on your budget and your cooking styles, you can choose from a variety of available options.
Go for the induction that has a good warranty so if the hob breaks down, you are covered.
Comparison of even heating on gas, electric, and induction
When you compare gas cooktop, electric and induction cooktop for even heating, an induction cooktop wins hands down.
Let us see how:
Heating on Gas cooktops
Gas cooktops use food to heat food. To heat evenly, you need to have a big burner or move the pan around a bit for the flame to reach all over.
The total heat produced that is transferred to the pan is 40%.
The center of the cooking vessel directly above the flame heats up faster when compared to the edges that take time to heat up.
Heating on Electric cooktops
Electric cooktops use heating elements that turn hot when resistive current is passed through them leading to radiant heating zones. The heat transferred to the cookware on top is 74%.
The radiant heating element takes time to heat up. Once heated, it indirectly transfers its heat to the cooking vessel on top. Only the pots and pans that are flat and directly in contact with the element heat up.
The edges of the pans that are away from the radiant cooktop heat up slowly when compared to the center of the pan directly under the source of heat.
Induction cooktops are the leaders when it comes to even heating. As the heat is directly generated within the cooking vessel, it results in an even distribution of heat. The heating efficiency of inductions is 84%.
The only requirement is for the cookware to be ferromagnetic and have a flat base. A flat base enables electromagnetic induction to take place evenly. Also, the base dimensions of pots and pans should be according to the heating zone dimensions or one inch larger for even heat distribution.
Magnetic stainless steel, cast iron, or aluminum encapsulated stainless steel works quite well giving you even heating all across the cookware.
I hope I was able to give you a brief understanding of how an induction cooktop heats evenly and the factors you should keep in mind for an even heat distribution on an induction cooktop. All the best!
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