For many, the first encounter with induction cooking is eye-opening. Though it may be difficult to wrap one's head around using magnetism to cook and heat food, the benefits of induction cooking are easy to understand: heat is almost immediate, less heat is lost into the surrounding environment, and induction cooking surfaces are almost immediately cool to the touch after the induction-ready pan is removed.
How Induction Cooking Works
Induction cooking uses electromagnetism to create heat energy inside the pan itself rather than firing it in from the outside. When you stand a suitable cooking pan on top of an induction cooktop that's turned on, the magnetic field produced by the cooktop penetrates the metal of the pan. Induction is the fluctuating magnetic field moving within the base and the sides of the pan.
Inside each induction cooking zone, there is a tightly wound coil of metal. When you turn on the power, an alternating current flows through the coil and produces a high-frequency magnetic field all around it. Unless there's a pan on the cooking zone, no heat is produced and the cooking zone will remain cold.
Advantages of Induction Cooktops
Induction is roughly 25% to 50% faster than using other methods. The heat is created directly within the cooking pan which transfers quickly to the food. With other methods, in addition to heating the pan and food, the heat moves from the cooking surface or flame to the surrounding area. With induction, less heat is lost.
More than efficiency, induction cooktops are very easy to clean and very easy to control. They are usually built into ceramic/glass cooktops and can simply be wiped with a moist towel and stove-top cleaner. Induction cooktops create almost immediate heat within the cooking pan and when the magnetism is no longer present, that heat disappears almost instantly. There is less chance of burning your hands.
Induction cooking only works properly with cooking pans that are induction-ready. This means they must contain iron. Copper, aluminum, and glass cookware don't work. Induction-ready cookware is readily available, but it might be difficult to give up the collection of traditional cookware that you accumulated over the years.