For a long time, the answer has been that cast iron skillets are designed to be suitable for traditional cooktops, with the grate or burner directly on the pan. It is still true for a grill, but any other surface will radically shorten the life of a skillet. However, a new generation of cookware called induction cookware has changed the game.
Can cast iron be used for induction?
Short answer; yes.
For any pot or pan to work on an induction hob, it must contain a high proportion of ferrous metal (iron). Therefore, a cast-iron skillet works perfectly on an induction hob.
In fact, many stainless steel cookware made for induction cooking has a thick plate on the bottom, which is made of ferritic stainless steel (iron-chromium alloy) or an iron plate.
Why do some induction hobs manufacturers say that cast iron should not be used?
Mostly for liability reasons, as many cast iron cookware is not manufactured as they should. Many suffer from design and production errors and are made of questionable alloys.
A combination of these problems cause cracking problems that can cause fires or severe burns. To eliminate these adhesion problems, it’s in the interest of the induction manufacturer to include the warning not to use cast iron cookware with their product.
The second reason is that some cast iron cookware is made with less than ideal bases where an outer ring or other cast design features could leave a gap between the induction hob and the bottom of the pan, which would cause the induction to differ too electrically or magnetically charged.
These characteristics can cause scratches or scratches on the glass hob, which can lead to breakage of the hob.
Does cast iron scratch on an induction hob?
Despite what the manufacturers’ brochures say, unfortunately the answer is yes, unless you are extremely careful.
Note two important things:
- An induction hob is usually coated with glass to make it safe against heat, but it is still quite fragile.
- Any cast iron cookware is heavy compared to stainless steel or old-fashioned aluminium, for example. It’s even harder with several litres of water and a lot of food on it. The risk of dropping the container on the plate and seriously damaging it is quite high. You should have very strong arms and shoulders and completely fat-free hands, which of course is not impossible, but accidents do happen.
Better news: The same risk does not apply to oven-specific cast iron cookware because the shelves of an oven are usually made of metal.
Does enameled cast iron work on induction?
Because induction burners use magnetic currents to operate, anything with a strong magnetic pull will work well with induction burners. Induction burners work well with any ferrous metal that conducts magnetism.