It’s about time someone unravelled the myths surrounding cooking with induction. How does an induction hob work? Is it really cheaper than gas or electric? Can I use it with my existing pans?
Here’s everything you need to know about your new kitchen investment before you make the switch.
1. Top-notch fast food
Speed is one of the greatest selling points for induction cooking. Thanks to some pretty cool technology, your pans will heat up quicker which means it takes less time to cook the foods you eat every day — 25 to 50 percent less time, in fact.
Induction removes the middleman – flames and electric – to transfer heat to the pan. It uses electromagnetic activity to generate heat directly in the pan instead.
That means it takes less time to sear your steak to medium, bring your soup to serving temperature and brown your onions.
2. Stay in the heat of the moment
Generating heat directly in the pan means more heat gets to the food and less of it warms up your kitchen. As you’d expect, this comes with increased energy efficiency with an added bonus of increased personal comfort when you cook (i.e you’re less likely to work up a sweat while cooking). So you can cook a romantic dinner for two in more than just your apron — some may call this a downside, others call it a blessing in disguise.
At the time of writing, that means lower electricity bills compared to an electric hob and a healthier environment.
Notice how I didn’t mention gas cooking? Let’s bust that myth….
Right now, gas is still cheaper than induction. To put this into numbers, the average annual running cost of a gas hob is £16, electric a staggering £50 and induction is a middling £34.
3. Safety first
There are no open flames and cooking surfaces cool quickly. So you can wave goodbye to one of the most dangerous places in the kitchen. Hot surfaces no longer pose threat to little hands or pesky paws. Plus, no flames mean no chance of grease fires. Or, the occasional mishap with tinfoil when you pull your tray of chips from the oven.
The heat is instantly under control. Since the heat is created in the pan itself, induction hobs don’t get all that hot. The pan’s response to turning off the ring is almost instant. As soon as you turn off the heat the pan cools down.
4. Be the head chef every night
There’s a reason you’ll hear the likes of Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver say they prefer gas to electric. It’s because gas burners are more responsive. But what they don’t mention is that induction hobs are just as responsive as gas to a turn of the dial. Gas has less choice. You’re stuck with the lowest heat you can get out, which, even on the smallest ring, often isn’t low enough to create the perfect slow-cooked bolognese.
With more settings, induction makes cooking delicate sauces or just keeping food from burning much easier. You can use a built-in electronic timer to make overcooking your food a thing of the past. The rings switch off automatically when the timer goes off. Now that’s smart cooking!
5. Bang! And the dirt is gone
Get your dinner to the table faster, with less wasted heat, less forehead sweat, less risk of burning yourself and a less intensive cleanup exercise after. A spitting pan, a pasta sauce splatter or a boiled over mess will not burn on. All you need to do is give it a quick swipe of the sponge — it can be as easy as an ad for Cillit Bang.
You can avoid the cleanup altogether by placing a tea towel or kitchen roll under your pan. Yes, I said it and no it won’t burn. If your pan boils over, then the mess is absorbed. It’s amazing what technology can do these days…
6. A hob for the design-conscious
Looks are important when planning your new kitchen. You spend a lot of time in there — a lot of life’s important conversations are started in the kitchen.
With induction, you no longer are bound by the same dated design. An induction hob is designed to blend into the decor of your kitchen seamlessly and look like it’s part of the worktop. There’s a degree of flexibility and a contemporary feel.
Induction won’t burn a hole in your pocket
Let’s not beat around the bush here. Induction hobs will cost you more to buy than traditional electric or gas. It’s like buying a smartphone over a basic mobile phone — the technology is more advanced. However, the price of induction is inching downward. You have to think about how induction enables you to cook any type of dish faster. Add that to the potential savings you can make on your energy bills and you’ll start to see your return on investment.