Best Induction Pan Sets
While induction cooktops have plenty of benefits, including speed and energy efficiency, the downside is not all pans work on them.
If you’ve recently switched to an induction stove or your cookware simply needs a refresh, you may need to buy a full induction pan set.
This can be trickier than it sounds. Not only do you need to figure out which pan sets work on induction stoves, you should consider the types of pans you want in your set, which pan sizes you’ll need to cook for your household, and the best pan material for you, to name a handful of important factors.
10-Piece D5 Brushed Stainless Steel Cookware Set
Constructed of patented five-ply bonded stainless steel that can withstand temperatures up to 600°F. A generous 10-piece set with practical pieces that sport an appealing brushed finish. Dishwasher-safe. Lifetime warranty.
15-Piece Hammered Copper Collection
Pots and pans are made from granite stone covered in nonstick coating. Oven- and dishwasher-safe. With a solid aluminum core, foods cook evenly throughout, even in larger pieces of the set. Bonus points for the muffin pan.
17-Piece Professional Stainless Steel Cookware Set
We love that this set is made with high-quality stainless steel. Detailed design includes well-crafted pieces. Built-in measuring systems aid with cooking. Safe for ovens, freezers, and dishwashers. Customers are consistently pleased with results.
12-Piece Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel Cookware Set
Stainless steel cookware does not discolor. Features cool grip handles. Boils water especially well. Dishwasher- and oven-safe. Engineered for serious chefs who desire to cook faster and more evenly.
8-Piece Premier Stainless Steel Cookware Set
Beautiful stainless steel that’s crafted with three layers for lasting durability. Built for temperatures up to 450°F. Pan bottoms distribute heat evenly for nice results. Dishwasher-safe.
WHAT IS AN INDUCTION COOKTOP?
First things first: what is an induction cooktop? Induction cooktops are surfaces that heat pots and pans directly using magnetic induction. A coiled copper wire creates a magnetic electrical current that goes directly to the pan, heating it quickly while keeping the burner itself relatively cool. Some stove models feature induction stovetops, or you can purchase induction cookers as a single burner.
WHAT’S INCLUDED IN AN INDUCTION PAN SET?
There’s no such thing as a standard induction pan set — every set contains a variety of pots and pans. While this makes picking out a set more complex, it allows you to select one that only contains what you need rather than being forced to buy a set that contains items you’ll never use.
Items that may be included in an induction pan set include frying pans, sauté pans, saucepans, skillets, steamers, woks, grill pans, stock pots, and Dutch ovens. At a bare minimum, most people will want an induction pan set containing a saucepan or two and a few frying pans or sauté pans of varying sizes. However, if you’re an avid cook, you may want a set featuring a larger array of items.
CONSIDERATIONS FOR SELECTING INDUCTION PAN SETS
Only certain pan materials work on an induction cooktop, but manufacturers can insert stainless steel plates in the bottom to make them induction-friendly. Unless you opt for a stainless steel or cast iron pan set, check that the pans are listed as suitable for use on an induction cooktop. That said, you can find pans made from a range of materials suitable for induction stoves and cookers.
Stainless steel: Stainless steel pans are durable and easy to care for. You can achieve professional results if you know how to use them, but you need to cook with a decent amount of oil to prevent sticking.
Cast iron: Cast iron pans are so durable that some people are still using their great-grandparents’ 100-year-old skillets. What’s more, they even leach iron into your food, which can help boost your levels. On the other hand, they’re extremely heavy and require seasoning before the first use. Enamelled cast iron pans negate the need for seasoning, but the results aren’t quite the same.
Copper: Copper pans heat and cool quickly, which gives you greater temperature control when cooking. However, they dent easily and require more care and maintenance than stainless steel.
Hard-anodized aluminum: Hard-anodized pans are made from aluminum that’s undergone a special hardening process. They’re extremely tough and scratch resistant and are non-reactive, but there is a potential health concern with aluminum leaching into your food.
Number of pieces
Choose an induction pan set with the right number of pieces to suit your needs. If you’re a one-pan kind of cook, you might not require a huge number of pots and pans. However, if you like to prepare complex meals with plenty of components, you may find a larger set makes the job simpler. It’s worth noting that the number of pieces listed often includes lids as pieces. So, a five-piece set might contain three pans, two of which have lids.
Pan sizes are important for two reasons. First, they should be the correct size for the heating areas on your induction cooktop (unless you have a stove with flexible induction capabilities), and second, they should be the right size for the amount of food you generally cook. If you have a household of one or two, you don’t need many large pans — just a few for when you’re cooking for guests. Conversely, compact pots and pans aren’t much use to a five-person family.
Your induction pan set should contain at least two lidded skillets and saucepans, as the lids are useful for bringing liquids to a boil, simmering without reducing, braising, and more. Although it’s not essential, you may prefer glass lids, as they let you check what’s going on inside the pan without lifting the lid and letting heat escape.
INDUCTION PAN SET PRICES
The cost of an induction pan set varies depending on the size and overall quality of the set.
Small stainless steel, copper, and nonstick induction pan sets can start at as little as $30, whereas a large cast iron set from a high-end brand can cost as much as $1,000. As a rule, basic induction pan sets cost between $30 and $60, mid-range sets between $60 and $100, and high-end sets between $100 and $300.
Although you can find more expensive induction pan sets, they’re uncommon and are overkill for the majority of home cooks.
Consider what you usually cook when choosing an induction pan set. If you’re more likely to whip up a stew or boil pasta than you are to pan fry, there’s no point in buying a set that’s heavy on skillets and frying pans but light on saucepans.
Decide whether you want oven-safe pans. These are great for starting dishes off on the stove and finishing them in the oven. If you want to use your induction pans in the oven, you’ll need to choose ones with oven-safe handles.
Think before buying an uncoated cast iron induction pan set. Each piece will need seasoning before use to build up a nonstick coating, which will be time-consuming.
- Make sure your pans have a completely flat base. While some pans can have textured, patterned, or curved bases, these aren’t the best choice for an induction surface.
Q. What makes a pan work on an induction stove?
A. The plates on an induction stove don’t actually heat up. Instead, they transfer heat to the cooking pan using a magnetic coil. As such, only pans made from ferrous (iron-containing) metals (such as stainless steel and cast iron) work on induction surfaces. Usually pans made from aluminum, copper, ceramic, glass, and other non-ferrous materials won’t work on an induction stove. However, some pans have plates made from stainless steel or cast iron set into the bottom of the pan so you can use them for induction cooking.
Q. Is there anything I can’t cook with an induction pan set?
A. Although induction cooktops work differently, the effects are ultimately the same. You can cook anything you’d normally cook on the stovetop in your induction pan set.
Q. Is there a simple way of telling whether a pan would work on an induction surface?