Can You Use Cast Iron on a Glass Top Stove?

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Ever since the cooking world discovered that Teflon-coated pans were actually pretty dangerous, thanks to the toxic gasses they release, some health-conscious chefs have ventured into the world of cast iron cookware as a way to get the same non-stick benefits out of their cookware without the added chemicals. Who wouldn’t want that, right?

Well, cast iron cooking is a new skill for many cooks and households, so when making the switch, people may have lots of questions about the process and care of cast iron. One of the commonly asked questions that arises when it comes to using cast iron cookware is “can you use cast iron on a glass top stove?” This article will answer this question and several other common concerns when dealing with and making the switch to cast iron cookware when you have a glass top stove.

Different Surfaces

Cast iron cookware is notoriously versatile. Many cooks love their cast iron cookware because it is a healthier non-stick alternative than cooking with Teflon-coated pots and pans. Cast iron can be used on virtually any type of cooking surface or burner.

Gas burners are preferable because they will heat up the pan or grill plate evenly, which protects the metal from warping or bending.

Glass top stoves are fine to use with cast iron, but it is wise to heat up a cast iron skillet slowly, so as not to damage the plate with uneven heat. The only surface that is not recommended for using cast iron on is a ceramic stovetop. This is because electric stoves with ceramic burners are notorious for creating hot spots, and not an even spread of heat.

Another preferable method of heating cast iron cookware is throwing it onto the fire. While this may sound like a joke, many avid campers love to make cobbler, stew, and other cast iron goodies in the coals of a dying fire. Since the cookware can withstand high amounts of direct heat, this material can be buried in fresh coals and suffer no damage at all.

Warnings with Cast Iron Cookware

In addition to not using cast iron cookware on ceramic stovetops, there are some other aspects of taking care of cast iron that you should keep in mind to maximize the longevity of your cookware. Cast iron pans and skillets do not do well with moisture, so make sure your cookware is totally dried out before storing away for the night. You can ensure this by baking your cookware in the oven for a few minutes after towel drying.

Cast iron cookware needs to be properly “seasoned” to work properly. Seasoning a cast iron pan refers to the process of rubbing it with some type of fat (usually lard or oil which can be animal- or vegetable-based), and then baking it for an hour at a time and repeating these steps a few times to create a non-stick layer on the surface of the pan.

Some frequent cast iron users say that this is not necessarily a separate step required in using cast iron cookware and that the cookware will develop its own seasoning with repeated use. It sounds very much like depending on what you cook should dictate whether or not you choose to include this step in your cooking process. If you like to cook meat and potatoes, like a Neanderthal caveman (who doesn’t?), this might not be a necessary step in your kitchen. If you like to cook eggs and veggies like a health conscious, carb conscious gym nut, consider seasoning your cookware before use.

Utensils to Use with Cast Iron Cookware

When investing in cast iron cookware, you will also most likely have to upgrade your cooking utensils. Crappy thrift store plastic spoons and spatulas are no match for the rough-and-tumble surfaces that cast iron provides.

Since you will no longer have to worry about scratching your Teflon pots and pans, you can finally splurge on that metal flat-edged spatula you have been dreaming about, and upgrade your kitchen.

Flat-edged utensils are preferable for cast iron cooking, because they will allow you to scrap the edge of the pan when cooking and it will not be damaged by the walls and bottom of your pan or plate.

Final Thoughts

Cast iron cookware is a very useful item to have in almost every kitchen. When considering whether to buy cast iron pans or not, first examine your stove and determine if it would be a suitable surface for your cookware. Switching to cast iron cookware requires a total switch of cleaning practices and cooking utensils, so be prepared to make a major change in your kitchen habits when making the switch.

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