Can You Use Cast Iron on Induction? What to Expect

The short answer is yes, you can use cast iron on induction cooktops. Cast iron is one of the best materials for induction cooking, as it has excellent heat retention and distribution properties. However, there are some things you need to know before you start using cast iron on induction, such as how to season it, how to clean it, and how to prevent scratching your cooktop. In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about using cast iron on induction, and give you some tips and tricks to make the most of your cast iron cookware.

What is Induction Cooking?

Induction cooking is a method of heating food using electromagnetic fields. Unlike conventional electric or gas stoves, induction cooktops do not produce any flames or direct heat. Instead, they generate an alternating current that passes through a coil under the surface of the cooktop. This creates a magnetic field that induces an electric current in the cookware placed on top of the cooktop. The electric current then heats up the cookware and the food inside it.

Induction cooking has many advantages over other methods of cooking, such as:

  • It is faster and more efficient, as it transfers heat directly to the cookware, without wasting energy on heating the air or the cooktop surface.
  • It is safer, as it does not produce any open flames or hot surfaces that can cause burns or fire hazards.
  • It is cleaner, as it does not produce any smoke or fumes that can stain or damage your kitchen.
  • It is more precise, as it allows you to control the temperature and power of the heat with a touch of a button.

However, induction cooking also has some limitations, such as:

  • It only works with cookware that is made of magnetic materials, such as iron, steel, or some types of stainless steel. Cookware that is made of non-magnetic materials, such as aluminum, copper, or glass, will not work on induction cooktops.
  • It can be more expensive, as induction cooktops and compatible cookware tend to cost more than conventional stoves and cookware.
  • It can be noisy, as some induction cooktops and cookware can produce a humming or buzzing sound when in use.
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Why is Cast Iron Good for Induction Cooking?

Cast iron is one of the best materials for induction cooking, as it has several qualities that make it ideal for this method of cooking, such as:

  • It is magnetic, which means it can work on any induction cooktop, regardless of the size or shape of the cookware.
  • It is durable, which means it can withstand high temperatures and frequent use, without warping or cracking.
  • It is versatile, which means it can be used for various types of cooking, such as frying, baking, braising, or grilling.
  • It is non-stick, which means it can prevent food from sticking to the surface of the cookware, if properly seasoned and maintained.
  • It is flavorful, which means it can enhance the taste and aroma of the food, by retaining and releasing the natural oils and juices of the ingredients.

How to Season Cast Iron for Induction Cooking?

Seasoning is the process of creating a thin layer of oil or fat on the surface of the cast iron cookware, that protects it from rusting and makes it non-stick. Seasoning is essential for cast iron cookware, as it improves its performance and longevity. To season your cast iron cookware for induction cooking, follow these steps:

  • Wash your cast iron cookware with hot water and a mild soap, to remove any dirt or residue. Do not use any abrasive or harsh cleaners, as they can damage the surface of the cookware.
  • Dry your cast iron cookware thoroughly with a clean cloth or paper towel, to prevent any moisture from causing rust.
  • Apply a thin layer of vegetable oil or shortening on the entire surface of the cookware, including the handle and the bottom. Do not use any butter or animal fats, as they can go rancid and cause bad smells or flavors.
  • Place your cast iron cookware upside down on a baking sheet, and put it in a preheated oven at 375°F for an hour. This will allow the oil or fat to bond with the metal and form a protective layer.
  • Turn off the oven and let your cast iron cookware cool down inside it, until it reaches room temperature. Do not touch or move the cookware while it is hot, as it can cause burns or cracks.
  • Repeat the process of applying oil or fat and baking the cookware, until you achieve a smooth and shiny surface. This may take several rounds of seasoning, depending on the condition and age of your cookware.
  • Store your cast iron cookware in a dry and cool place, away from any moisture or heat sources. Do not stack or cover your cookware with anything, as it can trap moisture and cause rust.
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How to Clean Cast Iron after Induction Cooking?

Cleaning cast iron cookware after induction cooking is easy, if you follow these simple tips:

  • Do not wash your cast iron cookware with cold water or put it in the dishwasher, as it can cause thermal shock and crack the cookware. Wait until the cookware cools down before washing it.
  • Do not use any soap or detergent, as it can strip away the seasoning and expose the metal to rust. Use hot water and a soft brush or sponge, to gently scrub away any food particles or residue. If there are any stubborn stains or stuck-on food, use coarse salt or baking soda, to gently scrape them off.
  • Dry your cast iron cookware thoroughly with a clean cloth or paper towel, to prevent any moisture from causing rust. You can also heat it up on the stove or in the oven, to evaporate any remaining water.
  • Apply a thin layer of oil or fat on the surface of the cookware, to restore the seasoning and prevent rust. You can also rub a clove of garlic or an onion, to add some flavor and aroma to the cookware.
  • Store your cast iron cookware in a dry and cool place, away from any moisture or heat sources. Do not stack or cover your cookware with anything, as it can trap moisture and cause rust.

How to Prevent Scratching Your Induction Cooktop with Cast Iron?

One of the main concerns of using cast iron on induction cooktops is that it can scratch or damage the surface of the cooktop, due to its rough and heavy nature. To prevent this from happening, you can follow these precautions:

  • Use a silicone mat or a parchment paper, to create a barrier between the cast iron cookware and the induction cooktop. This will protect the cooktop from any direct contact with the cookware, and prevent any scratches or marks.
  • Do not slide or drag your cast iron cookware on the induction cooktop, as it can cause friction and abrasion. Lift and place your cookware carefully and gently, and avoid any sudden movements or impacts.
  • Do not use any metal utensils or accessories, such as knives, forks, spoons, or whisks, on your cast iron cookware, as they can scratch both the cookware and the cooktop. Use wooden, plastic, or silicone utensils or accessories, that are safe and gentle for both surfaces.
  • Do not use any abrasive or harsh cleaners, such as steel wool, scouring pads, or bleach, on your induction cooktop, as they can scratch or discolor the surface. Use a soft cloth or sponge, and a mild soap or vinegar, to wipe and clean the cooktop. Rinse and dry the cooktop thoroughly, to prevent any streaks or spots.
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Conclusion

Cast iron is a great material for induction cooking, as it offers many benefits, such as durability, versatility, non-stickiness, and flavorfulness. However, it also requires some care and maintenance, such as seasoning, cleaning, and preventing scratching. By following the tips and tricks we shared in this article, you can use cast iron on induction cooktops without any problems, and enjoy the best of both worlds. Happy cooking!