More and more chefs, both professional and domestic, are choosing induction cookers over gas or electric. If you want to make the switch to induction, you'll need some compatible induction pans. There's lots of induction cookware to choose from at a whole range of price points, so it can be difficult to decide what to buy. In this article we compare and contrast our most popular induction pans to help you choose.
What is induction cooking?
Induction cooking is a method of generating heat by using a magnetic field. It's a faster, more energy efficient type of cooking than gas and electric. This is because it doesn't rely on waiting for the indirect heat of a flame or electrical heating element to conduct heat through your pans.
With induction cooking the pans heat up or cool down almost instantly after any changes to the cooking settings. This gives you far greater control over your cooking and you can be much more precise with timings. It's no wonder that induction cooking is so popular!
Choosing your induction pans
Not all pans are compatible with induction cookers. If you have aluminium cookware, or stainless steel cookware with a very low iron content, they will not work on an induction hob. To be compatible with induction cookers, pans need to be magnetic.
As soon as you start looking for induction compatible pans, you'll notice just how many are available. Some are very affordable and are great for getting started right away, while others are investments that will see you through a lifetime of cooking and beyond.
To help you choose what pans are right for you, we've put together our induction pans buyer's guide. Here, we compare and contrast the different induction pan brands available at Sous Chef. First use this table to see at a glance what pans sound suitable for you.
Now read on to find more information about each brand, tips for what the induction pans are best for and the star buy from each brand.
Netherton Foundry pans are handmade in Shropshire from spun iron. Spun iron is much lighter than cast iron but has the same great properties. It heats and cools quickly and evenly, and develops a non-stick patina over time that gets better and better.
Netherton Foundry pans are ideal for high temperature searing and frying. For best results, it's recommended that you match the ring size on your induction hob exactly to the base of a Netherton Foundry pan. This is because spun iron pans are very thin and are therefore extremely susceptible to changes in temperature. If your pan is larger than the cooking area, the 'overhanging' parts of the pan can cause the temperature to drop and affect your cooking.
The 10" frying pan is great for cooking a batch of eggs & bacon for a hearty fry-up. It's also ideal for omelettes and searing steaks. A brilliant frying pan for everyday use, this is our Netherton Foundry star buy.
The Affinity range is one of the highest quality stainless-steel cookware ranges by French cookware experts, De Buyer. Affinity pans are made from multiple layers of magnetic stainless steel with an aluminium core. Heat is induced throughout the entire pan – sides included – for faster and more even cooking.
Affinity pans are designed to shine in a professional kitchen environment - so you can imagine the great results you'd get at home, too. They're durable and react almost instantly to changes in temperature. Affinity pans are particularly good for caramelising meat and reducing sauces.
If you're someone who likes to make a lot of their own sauces and gravy, this is our top De Buyer Affinity pick for you. Because the entire pan heats up evenly, you can cook and reduce sauces faster than ever before. A pan of water will come to the boil before you know it, making simple weeknight dinners of pasta, rice and vegetables an absolute breeze.
With such remarkable heat conducting properties, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the stainless steel handles on Affinity pans get hot as well. In fact, they remain cool enough to touch. How clever is that?
Sleek, elegant and reassuringly solid, Crane pans are as stunning to look at as they are a joy to cook with. The cast iron pans heat extremely evenly and retain that heat for a long time. The black vitreous enamel coating serves two main purposes. First, it promotes the development of a non-stick patina - so eventually you'll barely need to use any extra fats or oils for cooking. Secondly, it gives Crane cookware an exceptionally high resistance to both thermal and physical shocks. This means that Crane pans are almost indestructible - they'll be your favourite pans for a lifetime.
Crane pans are ideal for searing meat, fish and vegetables over a high heat. Their heat-retention properties also make Crane pans great for lower temperature cooking over a long period of time - for example when cooking stews, casseroles, pasta sauces and curries.
If you're looking for a 'pan-of-all-trades', look no further than the Crane saute pan. Frying, sauteing, simmering, stewing - this pan does it all. You can even use it as a shallow Dutch oven for making bread.
De Buyer's Prima Matera range is unique on this list - the range is formed of copper cookware that's fully compatible with induction. This is because De Buyer have added a layer of ferromagnetic material that's bonded to the base of the pans. Copper is highly responsive to changes in temperature, and conducts heat faster and more evenly than any of the other materials on this list. Prima Matera pans are therefore excellent for reducing sauces and making caramel, where even small changes in temperature can greatly affect the outcome.
The above table shows that these pans are not reactive to food acids - when copper generally is - and this is because Prima Matera pans are lined with a 0.2mm thick layer of stainless steel. This greatly reduces the likelihood of acid corrosion on the inner surfaces and makes the pans easier to clean.
Prima Matera copper pans are an investment, but you'll never need to buy any other pans again. These are the pans for cooking connoisseurs, whether you're into classic French cuisine or are keen to try the latest recipes & techniques from Michelin-starred modernist restaurants. This is the range to choose for control and longevity - not to mention design. The glowing copper pans with riveted cast iron handles will look stunning in any kitchen, whether your aesthetic leans more towards rustic & rural or ultra modern.
A kitchen essential for cooks who make lots of sauces, gravies and jus. The shape of the pan allows for fast, efficient reduction of sauces. The small base heats up quickly, and the sides flare out to a wide mouth that provides a large surface area for evaporation.
For your best boeuf bourguignon yet. Thanks to how evenly copper conducts heat, you can gently simmer a stew or casserole all day and not have to worry about hot spots causing burnt bits or stuck on food.
Other induction pans and accessories
This could be your perfect induction wok. The tri-wall wok is used by the Sous Chef founders on their induction hob every day at home. You can’t get a better testimonial than that!
A conductive aluminium core – the thermocore – is sandwiched between the stainless steel outer surfaces. This means that even when you heat only the wok’s flat base on an induction hob, the heat quickly and evenly conducts up the sides. The entire wok surface area gets hot, for perfect stir-fried dishes every time.
A large frying pan with De Buyer's best and most durable non-stick coating yet. It's ideal for gentle cooking and reheating on induction cookers. The non-stick induction pan is great for frittatas, Spanish omelettes, shakshouka, and anything that needs simmering over a low heat like pasta sauces or even poaching fish.
Pans with non-stick coatings aren't suitable for searing or frying at high temperatures, as this shortens the life of the coating.
If you've got a pan that's not compatible with induction hobs - but you just can't bear to part with it - an induction interface disc is your friend. Pop this on your new induction cooker and then place your pan on top. Voilà - you can now use your aluminium or copper pans on induction!