How to use Cast Iron on an Induction Stove

Cast iron has been a cooking pan that has been touted for generations, and for good reason. The flavors and sear that you get with this type of pan can’t be rivaled. So, how do you use cast iron if you have an induction stove?

cast iron pans on a smooth top stove

We’ve all heard of families who grew up eating off of “grandma’s pans” and how the food tasted unlike any other. It creates a memory that forever changes the family table.

So many wonder if it matters what kind of stove they have when it comes to using cast iron?

Can they be used on glass stove tops, such as using cast iron on an electric stove or using cast iron on induction stoves?

What I found is that it was fine to use them, as long as you were careful.

I’m going to share with you my tips on using these amazing skillets on glass top stoves. First, let’s answer the burning question…

two cast iron pans stacked on a stove

Can you use cast iron on an induction stove?

The short answer is- yes, you can use cast iron on an induction.

Cast iron is so versatile and has many benefits, so it’s a huge plus that it can be used on any cooking appliance.

Since an induction stovetop works by transferring a magnetic current to a metal pan, cast iron works well for this.

This cookware is made for slow and flavorful cooking, so using it on an induction stovetop is a bonus for any home cook.

stainless steel pot on a stove in a white kitchen

What is an induction stovetop?

While induction stovetops are electric stoves that have a glass cooktop, they heat pans in a different way than your traditional electric stovetop.

With an induction stovetop, you have copper coils beneath the surface that use magnetic current to heat the pan.

Some bonuses for this type of cooktop is that it heats up quickly and cools quickly. It also only heats the bottom of the pan, so the surface of the stove stays cool.

You do need a special kind of pan, though. Your cookware needs to be able to carry a magnetic current.

Cast iron is magnetic, so it will work on induction cooktops.

cast iron skillet with butter and a pancake

What type of cookware must you use on an induction stovetop?

When cooking on an induction stove, you must cook with pots and pans that are made of a magnetic-based material.

There are many brands that offer such cookware as induction cooking is becoming more and more popular due to the quick heating of the pan and lack of worry of burning oneself on the stovetop.

The most readily available pans for induction cooking are cast iron or magnetic stainless steel cookware, such as All-Clad, Le Creuset, or any enameled cast iron.

colorful bell peppers and sliced sausage in a cast iron pan

What is Cast Iron cookware?

Cast iron pans are made from molten iron and are one solid piece when they are made.

Their handle and pan are one piece of iron which makes them super durable, but it also means the handle heats with the pan.

They have been around for generations and are great pans for the from scratch cook.

seared sausage links in a cast iron pan

How to use Cast Iron on Induction Stovetops

  1. Don’t Drag– The simplest way to use this type of skillet on an induction stove without scratching the smooth top is to it when moving it and not to drag it. I don’t shake the cast iron on my stove or scooch it across the surface. I pick it up and have had no issues with a scratched cook top.
  2. Don’t Drop the Pan– This goes along with the first tip, but don’t drop the cast iron on the glass cook top. The cast iron is heavy, so make sure you have a good grip when you’re moving it from place to place.
  3. Allow the Pan to Heat Slowly- Cast Iron cookware heats slower than other pans, so it will take time for the glass-top to heat the cast iron. You want a fully heated cast iron before putting food in it, so make sure you give the stove time to get it nice and hot.
  4. Start with a Clean Pan- Be sure your pan doesn’t have any food or grit stuck to the bottom of the pan. This will ensure that you don’t accidentally scratch the surface of your range.
  5. Protect the Induction Stovetop– Because the surface of the stovetop doesn’t get hot, since it is all about magnetic heating, you can put a piece of heat-resistant paper, such as parchment paper, in between the cast iron skillet and the induction stovetop to help prevent scratching. Since the heat is transferred through a magnetic current, you don’t have to worry about the coils heating anything that isn’t metallic.
  6. Scratch Protector Mat– If you would rather buy something specifically made for induction cooking, you can purchase a scratch protector mat that will prevent your pan from scratching your cooktop. These cannot be used on any electric stovetops, just induction stovetops. Be sure to only use these for low temperature cooking as they are normally made with silicon and will melt if you use them at too high of a heat.
cook looking at a cookbook and stirring on the stove

Induction Stove Cast Iron Cooking Tips

The versatility of these pans is amazing, so make sure you get started using them the right way so you won’t go back to your other pans.

Follow these easy cooking tips and you will be set!

  • Preheat your cast iron without anything in it– Remember, it retains its heat, so don’t heat it too much. I like to heat mine to “medium”.
  • Add your fat- butter, lard, avocado oil, etc.
  • Add your food– Don’t fuss with the food too much. Allow the cast iron to do its work. Tossing the food too much will cause it to stick.
  • Cast Iron Utensil Tip– I love using stainless spatulas when using these pans. It helps to lift any leftover food bits off of the bottom of the pan and also helps me in the cleaning process.

Good Cast Iron Cookware Brands

There are a lot of places you can find cast iron for a good price.

If you are industrious, you can get lots of good pans at the thrift store and restore them.

Maybe you’d rather just buy the cast iron new. There are options for that, too.

  • Lodge Cast Iron– This is a great brand that won’t break the bank. You will love that it is American made.
  • Staub Cast Iron– This brand is a bit on the high-end side, but it’s for good reason. It’s a great brand.
  • Le Creuset Cast Iron– Le Creuset is another brand that is on the high-end, but has beautiful pans and is well worth the extra money.
cast iron on electric stove tips

Frequently Asked Questions

Do induction stovetops get hot to the touch?

Induction stovetops shouldn’t get hot to the touch because they work by transferring energy to a metallic pan. The surface of the stovetop won’t get hot since it isn’t magnetic.

Why do cast iron skillets work on induction stovetops?

Since cast iron is made from molten iron, it will work very well with the electromagnetic current that is used to heat pans on induction stovetops.

What are the biggest concerns with using cast iron on induction stovetops?

The biggest concern is the rough, porous underbelly of the cast iron on a smooth top stove. It is also a heavy type of cookware, so many worry about cracking or scratching their cooktops. If you are careful, you will be able to use your cast iron on your stove with no issues.

How to you keep cast iron from scratching an induction or electric stovetop?

Do not drop or shake your cast iron pan around on your smooth top stove. Take time to lift your pan with two hands and gently set it on your stove to prevent scratching.

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One Comment

  1. I’ve had a Thermador induction cooktop for at least 10 years. Everyone warned me how difficult they’d be and I’d have to buy all new cookware. I did have to give up they couple of very old Calphalon pans, but happy to replace them with new Demeyere and All-Clad.
    Not sure if it was the brand of induction I had or not, but I was never super careful at all. Shaking a stainless pan or cast iron never scratched my cooktop. I thought I loved gas, but absolutely love induction. The very fast heat and ability to change temps on my pans is awesome. My previous Viking range had one burner which had high BTU did pretty well but can’t complete with the induction. I do use my outdoor kitchen’s gas burner when I want to char corn tortillas, but that is the only thing I miss and the everyday cooking outweighs that.
    So while you can’t drop something heavy on it like a cast iron pan, I’m sure that isn’t advisable for any surface, it’s been an awesome choice. No need to worry anyone about being super careful. This is the kind of workhorse appliance I use daily with no regard to careful. That’s been my experience with it for the last 10 years.

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