When a homeowner remodels their kitchen, the stove top is often the first thing to go. Glass stovetops are now more popular than ever. They’re also more affordable and can add some instant appeal to your kitchen, at a price that won’t break the bank. People often choose glass top stoves for their heating efficiency and the sleeker, more polished look that complements a modern looking kitchen. But it’s no secret that glass stovetops have different needs compared to a traditional coiled stove top. So, what cookware is best for glass stove tops? What cookware should you avoid using and why? What are the real benefits of using a glass stove top?
What cookware is the best for glass top stoves? Copper. Copper cookware features a flat bottom, which is essential for the flat surfaces of glass stovetops. Copper cookware won’t fuse to the surface of the stovetop like other materials, such as ceramic, can. Copper is also durable, features a decent weight for improved contact with the surface of the stove, and it’s easy to clean and maintain. If maintained properly it will not leave marks on the stovetop’s surface.
The other popular option for glass stovetops is aluminum. It’s more affordable than copper, and conducts heat relatively well, but not quite as well as copper can.
With the right type of cookware, you can easily avoid scratching, chipping, burning, and seriously damaging your new glass stovetop. Of course, even with the right type of cookware, it’s still possible to damage your stovetop, however, using the proper cookware for this delicate cooking surface can significantly minimize the risk of damage.
Glass top stoves require more care and maintenance in some ways when compared to a traditional metal stovetop. You can’t use just any type of cookware and during use, you need to carefully lift a pot or pan off a burner as opposed to sliding it. But in the end, you’ll find that cleaning a glass top stove is actually much easier compared to a metal stovetop, especially considering there are no burners to deal with.
Glass stovetops come with pros and cons, just like any type of stovetop, but many cooks feel that the pros easily outweigh the cons.
Continue reading to learn more about the best pots and pans for glass top stoves and what you can do to keep your stovetop looking new and scratch-free.
The Modern Kitchen
Glass stovetops first became popular back in the 1970s, but they still remain widely in use today, mainly because they offer a more elegant look for in a modern kitchen. However, they can also be easier to care for and clean compared to coiled stoves. They can be a better option for homes with small children because only the burners heat up, leaving the other surfaces of the stove cool to the touch, and they also have a reputation for heating up faster than other types of stovetops.
However, they can be difficult to keep looking new. Scratches with this type of stovetop are very common, but it’s often a result of using the wrong type of cookware on this delicate surface.
We’ll go over the common reasons these stovetops get damaged, what you can do to prevent pitting, chips, cracks, and other damage, and the type of cookware you need to use in order to keep your stovetop looking new for several years to come.
Why People Still Love Glass Stovetops
The only real downside associated with glass stovetops is the fact that they require special care and in some cases, they can be difficult to maintain. You must be extra careful to preserve and protect the surface. To do so, you have to choose your cookware carefully and use only the best cookware for glass stove tops, otherwise, you’ll end up with cracks and scratches, essentially ruining your new stove.
Regular cleaning will also be important because burnt oil and food can also severely damage the surface.
While it’s true, these stovetops can be tricky to take care, especially if you don’t have the right cookware, they do offer many benefits that coiled stovetops don’t.
- You won’t have to waste time cleaning out the burner plates since the burners are sealed under the glass of the cooking surface.
- This type of stove top also heats up much faster than a coiled stove top. Once you switch the stove on it heats up within seconds compared to coiled stovetops that can take two to three minutes to heat up to the desired temperature.
- They also have a reputation for cooling down at a much faster rate compared to other styles of stovetops. The elements under the glass will cease glowing within a few seconds after you have switched off the burner. The flat surface of the stove top also helps to promote a faster cool down time.
- Improved heat control is one of the biggest reasons cooks choose this type of stovetop. In fact, many pro cooks claim that glass topped stoves offer superior heat control compared to gas flamed burners.
- These stovetops pass radiant heat easily, however, they don’t conduct heat well. Because of this, only the burners themselves will be hot to the touch while the remaining surfaces on the stove remains cool. This is a great safety feature in homes with small children.
Cookware Design Flaws
Just like any other style of stove, the glass stovetop comes with its own pros and cons. Since the stove top is totally flat it’s only able to heat the surface of the pots and pans that come in direct contact with the cooking surface. This can pose a problem is you normally use cookware with rounded bottoms.
The flat surface of the glass stovetop will not evenly distribute heat to surfaces slightly around or above it like a gas stove top can. So, if you’re using outdated cookware, or warped pots and pans, then you’ll need to upgrade to flat-bottomed pots and pans for dishes that are cooked more efficiently.
This limitation also includes oversized stock pots and pans. The edges of these larger pots and pans may extend over the edges of the burner. Unlike a gas stovetop, the glass stovetop will not heat any surface of cookware that isn’t placed precisely over the burner. Finding appropriately sized cookware for your specific stove top can take a little research on your part. Keep in mind that the pots and pans should not be one inch smaller or one inch wider than the burner. If you use pots and pans that are one inch smaller than the burner, the sides of the pot or pan can burn. You can also cause severe damage to the handles.
Aside from the size of the pots and pans you use, you must also avoid using cookware that’s dented or warped, as this can also result in burned or unevenly cooked food.
What Cookware Material is Compatible with Glass Stove Tops?
If you look online, you’ll find a lot of conflicting information regarding what’s the best cookware for glass cooktops. Some chefs recommend using aluminum, others claim copper is the best option. We have to agree with the pros that recommend copper pots and pans. We’ll delve more deeply into our reasoning for this choice, later on in the article.
There are many options out there in regard to the right type of cookware to use for glass stovetops, but for the most part, cooks tend to agree that cast iron is not one of them. However, there are some chefs out there that claim that cast iron is a better choice because it places more weight on the burner, ensuring improved contact. However, this can backfire if the weight of the cookware causes cracks in the stove top. If you’re not sure what cookware to use on glass top stoves we’ll clear that up for you right now.
The go-to cookware for the pros, copper offers top of the line heat conductivity. While most types of cookware have hot spots that prevent food from cooking evenly, with copper, you don’t have to deal with hot spots, ever. Copper cookware is a popular choice among cooks and chefs of all skill levels. Not only is it beautiful and often hung from pot and pan racks in the kitchen, but it’s also very heat efficient. This cookware heats up quickly and cooks food evenly. As soon as you change the temperature on the glass stove top, the temperature of the cookware will change immediately. Basically, if you regularly cook delicate dishes, copper is a perfect choice.
Copper cookware also has a good weight, which is one of the reasons it’s the go-to choice for glass stovetops. It’s light enough that a cook can lift it comfortably but heavy enough that it will sit securely on the burner.
It’s a great choice for use on glass stovetops, mainly because most styles of copper pots and pans feature a flat bottom, it won’t fuse to the surface of the stove top, and with proper care, it won’t leave marks behind, or scratch the stovetop’s surface. However, if you decide to use copper cookware, make sure you stay on top of polishing it in order to avoid tarnish. Tarnished pots and pans can leave a residue behind on a glass stovetop.
The Mauviel M’heritage M250B Copper Cookware Set is a popular option and our top choice. It’s also a set that comes with plenty of pots and pans, making it a perfect starter set. The cookware itself features a flat bottom for improved burner contact, resulting in food that’s cooked perfectly, and faster.
To learn more about leading copper cookware sets, click here to read our buyer’s guide.
Aluminum is another great choice and a more affordable option than copper. Sturdy, lightweight, and very heat responsive, aluminum pots and pans can be a great choice for glass stovetop use, but it’s not without its drawbacks.
Aluminum is a very common metal, which is why it’s a more affordable choice compared to ceramic or copper cookware. Aluminum cookware is also very lightweight, so even larger stockpots are easier to move around and use even when they’re filled to capacity. It conducts heat well and quickly, although not quite as efficiently as copper.
Aluminum can also easily warp if it’s placed in cold water right after it’s removed from the stovetop.
Aluminum cookware can react to highly alkaline and acidic foods. This can cause the food to absorb the aluminum and can also cause the cookware to corrode over time. However, this problem can easily be avoided if you purchase anodized aluminum cookware. Anodized aluminum cookware has received a type of chemical bath that works to increase the oxide layer’s thickness. This makes the cookware more durable, stick-resistant, and more resistant to corrosion. Anodized cookware is more expensive compared to traditional aluminum cookware, but it also means you won’t have to worry about the aluminum leaching into your food or corrosion, especially if you cook acidic foods such as tomato sauce, regularly.
Carbon Steel Cookware
People usually gravitate toward old-fashioned cast iron cookware or Teflon cookware when they’re shopping around for nonstick cookware. However, carbon steel is a great alternative and one that most people aren’t familiar with. Carbon steel is much lighter than cast iron, it’s induction oven friendly, easier to lift, and it’s much easier to clean than stainless steel or cast iron. It can also retain heat well, just like cast iron and is considered very durable. However, carbon steel is nowhere near as thick as traditional cast iron cookware. Carbon steel pots and pans feature a smooth surface, so it won’t scratch the surface of the stove. However, there are older carbon steel sets that aren’t quite as smooth as newer sets.
Now for the real drawbacks.
Carbon steel cookware must be seasoned in order to have a nonstick surface. While this isn’t necessarily a difficult process, it can be a hassle for some.
Another issue involves foods that are highly acidic.
When you use a carbon steel pan, you cannot cook foods that are highly acidic, such as vinegar or tomatoes because the acid can break down the pan’s natural seasoning. This doesn’t mean you have to totally steer clear of any acidic foods, it means foods that are heavily acidic should be avoided in order to preserve the coating. If you do decide to cook highly acidic foods just be prepared to reseason the cookware more often.
This cookware is also not dishwasher safe. However, most high-end cookware isn’t. Even if the manufacturer claims that their cookware is dishwasher safe, we still recommend washing the pots and pans by hand in order to prevent scratches and minor damage to the exterior and lining.
While this style of cookware can offer a few benefits, it’s definitely not the best cookware for glass top stoves.
Stainless Steel Cookware
Stainless steel is commonly chosen for glass stovetops because it’s more affordable than copper and aluminum, and more durable to boot. It’s also low maintenance, doesn’t react to acidic or alkaline foods, and will not warp as easily as aluminum can under higher temperatures. But stainless steel isn’t as heat efficient as copper and doesn’t have a reputation for heating up as fast as copper or cooking food evenly. Fortunately, if cost is an issue, you can purchase tri-ply cookware. Tri-ply cookware often features an aluminum core, a stainless steel construction, and a copper bottom, offering some of the same benefits you’ll enjoy with copper or aluminum cookware, at a price that’s more affordable.
If you decide to use stainless steel cookware keep in mind that not all stainless steel is created equal. Just because the cookware is made out of stainless steel doesn’t mean it’s designed to last. Alone, stainless steel doesn’t do the best job in terms of transferring heat. It’s also not able to withstand extreme temperatures. When you’re shopping around for stainless steel cookware sets, make sure you purchase cookware that’s three hundred series or higher. If possible, go with four hundred series stainless steel. Three hundred series stainless steel cookware and higher contain a higher amount of nickel and chromium. Usually, a higher grade of stainless steel will also have aluminum or copper bottoms, both of which will improve the cookware’s heating efficiency and durability.
Cookware to Avoid
Most manufacturers will include the cookware you should steer clear of using with your new glass stovetop.
This typically includes:
Enamel and porcelain cookware generally have a great reputation for use on most types of stovetops, however, they can cause major issues when used on a glass stove top.
Accidents in the kitchen can happen. When you’re cooking a large meal, preparing multiple dishes, answering the phone and dealing with the kids, boiling a pot dry can easily happen. We’ve all been there.
However, if you make this mistake with porcelain or enamel cookware on a glass stovetop you can actually severely damage the stovetop. Both types of cookware can actually melt, fusing to the glass surface.
What Happens When Cookware Fuses to Your Glass Stovetop?
Obviously, when a pot or pan fuses to the stovetop, you’ll want to work carefully to remove it, in order to prevent shattering or scratching the glass. If you’re not careful you can also damage the heating elements below the glass.
If you’ve made the mistake of using ceramic or porcelain cookware on your glass stove top, you’ll need to use an aerosol lubricant in order to remove the stuck cookware safely, without causing significant damage to the stove top. You can find a spray lubricant at any local home improvement store.
The first step is shutting off the burner and giving the stovetop time to cool off before you attempt to remove the cookware.
After about twenty minutes, the stove top should be cool enough to work on. Liberally spray the lubricant along the edges of the pan. Next, use a razor to carefully scrape along the bottom of the cookware, as close to the cookware as possible. If you caught it early enough, this method should be enough to remove the cookware, but if the pot remained on the burner burning for several minutes you may need to replace the entire stovetop.
As you work on the stuck pot, move the razor blade back and forth slowly, working your way around the pot. If you’re having trouble getting the pot free you may need to spray more of the lubricant.
Once the cookware is free, now is the time to assess the damage.
Wipe the stovetop off with a non-abrasive towel in order to remove any debris. Next, use a gentle cleaner and carefully wipe the surface of the stove top evenly. Wait one hour before you remove the cleaner.
Next, use the razor blade on the dried cleaner, gently scraping it off. Make sure you keep the blade as flat as possible in order to avoid further damage to the stovetop.
Wet a warm cloth and carefully rinse off any remaining cleanser. Use a lint-free cloth to dry off the surface.
If you’re lucky, your stovetop will look at new as it did before the accident. If you aren’t so lucky then you’ll be left with a cracked, scratched, or chipped stovetop. If you weren’t able to remove all of the material you must avoid using that burner until it can be repaired or the stovetop can be totally replaced.
Stoneware can pose problems as well. The surface of pots and pans made out of stoneware is often rough, which can easily scratch or chip the surface of a glass stovetop.
Cast iron is probably the worst option. However, some chefs will beg to differ. There is actually an ongoing debate regarding whether or not cast iron is a good choice for glass stovetop use. There are many cooks that prefer using cast iron on this type of cooking surface because it’s much heavier compared to cookware for glass stovetops that are more commonly used, such as copper or aluminum. It’s believed that the weight of the cast iron cookware places more pressure on the burner, thus improving cooking efficiency compared to when you use lightweight cookware.
But the biggest issue here is damage to the cooking surface, which can easily happen with cast iron cookware if you’re not extra careful. This can involve simply sliding the pan off the burner once the food is finished cooking.
Another problem with cast iron is that it’s able to hold onto a lot of heat at higher temperatures than other types of cookware. If the pan becomes too hot you can run the risk of overheating the stovetop, causing it to shut down.
Bottom line, using cast iron can easily scratch the stovetop. Sure, with proper care you can avoid damaging the stovetop when you’re using cast iron or other types of stoneware, but at some point, you’ll end up scratching the surface.
Even the Right Cookware Can Leave Behind Stains
Out of all the choices, types, and styles of cookware out there, it all boils down to two types of cookware that offer the most benefits and are the least likely to cause severe damage to your new cooktop.
Copper and aluminum pots and pans are the best options for glass stovetop use. But both types of cookware can leave behind dark stains on the stove top’s surface. This usually occurs when the cookware boils dry or overheats. In some cases, these stains can be permanent. As we mentioned earlier, porcelain and ceramic cookware can actually bond with the surface of the stove top if it overheats, leaving behind a permanent mark or more serious damage.
Basically, any type of metal pot or pan can leave behind a mark if it slid across the surface of the stove. Some marks can easily be removed with a little elbow grease and a mild cleanser. If you run into this issue, make sure you read the stove top’s user guide for product recommendations. You should never use an abrasive cleaner on a glass stove top.
Some types of food can leave behind iridescent or white stains whether the food or water overboils and spills down the sides of the cookware or the pot is wet when you place it on the burner. Mineral deposits can be difficult to remove and require more than just a wipe down with a wet rag. Often, a mild cleanser used on both the bottoms of the cookware and the surface of the stove can be enough to get rid of most stains.
How to Avoid Scratching the Surface of the Stove Top with Your New Cookware
Most scratches that occur happen during routine use. While using the best cookware for glass top stoves can severely reduce the risk of scratches and other types of damage, it can still happen.
Below you’ll find some tips that will help to prevent damage to your glass stove top:
- Clean up spills as soon as the stove top has cooled and it’s safe to wipe down.
- Sugary spills are notorious for causing pitting in glass surfaces, make sure you wipe away the residue carefully.
- Only use cookware that has smooth bottoms
- Pay special attention to the condition of the cookware itself. Spend time cleaning the bottoms of pots and pans in order to avoid leaving marks on the stovetop.
- When you’re cooking, avoid moving the pots and pans back and forth.
- If your cookware is warped or pitted, avoid using it.
- Invest in a top of the line glass stovetop cover, which will protect the surface when the stove is not in use.
If you make a mistake and scratch the surface or the surface becomes pitted, you’ll still be able to use it. However, if the surface becomes cracked, avoid using it immediately. Make sure you contact the manufacturer if the stovetop is still under warranty. If it’s not covered you can order a replacement, but you’ll have to pay for it out of pocket.
Can T-Fal Be Used on Glass Stovetops?
Yes and no. There are a couple of basic T-fal styles:
- Stainless steel
Stainless steel T-fal should work just fine on a glass top stove if you use the cookware correctly. But the nonstick variety of T-fal should never be used on glass stovetops for a couple of important reasons.
The glass cooktop is made out of a mixture of ceramics and glass or tempered glass. While these cooktops can handle a variety of cookware, chips, pits, and scratches are a common problem, especially if you’re not familiar with this style of stovetop and end up using the wrong type of cookware.
T-fal cookware is a popular choice because it has a reputation for providing evenly cooked food and is available in both stainless steel or nonstick varieties. Highly functional, this type of cookware can come equipped with built-in sensors that indicate when an oven has reached the desired temperature, and some types can even withstand high oven temperatures.
Usually, this cookware can be used on glass stovetops, however, not all T-fal cookware is designed for glass top stove use. Nonstick T-fal should never be used on this type of stovetop. This cookware contains a metal plate located in the bottom of the pots and pans. This metal plate can scratch the surface of the stove. Another issue is the cookware’s enamel coating, which can easily fuse to the surface of the stovetop if it overheats or dry boils.
Stainless steel T-fal can be a good choice if used correctly. This style of T-fal is designed for use on all types of range surfaces. However, damage can still occur if the pots and pans are roughly moved back and forth on the burner or you drag the cookware over the stovetop’s surface.
Can I use Cast Iron on Glass Stovetops?
You can, but we don’t recommend it. The rough bottoms of cast iron pans can easily scratch the surface of the stovetop. It can also lead to pits and chips, especially if you don’t carefully lift the pan off the burner and slide it across the surface instead. There is some debate regarding the weight of cast iron cookware. Some chefs believe that the heavier weight of cast iron cookware should be seen as a plus since it places more pressure on the burner, equally improved heating efficiency. However, the heavier weight of the cookware can also be seen as a negative. Should you accidentally drop the pan on the stovetop, you can easily crack or shatter it. As you can see, using cast iron cookware can end up costing you in the end.
Are Glass Stovetops More Efficient Than Metal Stovetops?
Many models of glass stovetops are considered more energy efficient because they feature a faster heat up time, however, there are some newer models of metal stovetops that feature a rapid heat up option. Overall, glass stovetops are said to be more energy efficient in several ways, but this can depend on many factors.
Some people mistakenly believe that the only real difference between a glass stovetop and a metal stovetop is cosmetic. But aside from the appearance, there are many differences between these two stovetops such as special features, ease of use, maintenance, and the types of cookware that can be used.
Typically, metal cooktops are more affordable compared to glass. The price of glass stovetops tends to vary depending on style, brand, and features. On average, a glass stovetop will cost one to two hundred dollars more than a metal top stove.
Generally speaking, glass stovetops are considered more energy efficient compared to metal models. This can depend on the frequency of use and the stove’s energy rating. Special features can also have an impact on energy efficiency.
In terms of care and maintenance, glass models are considered easier to clean, with the right tools. There are no burner plates to scrub and no coils to deal with since the coils or halogen lights are located beneath the cooktop’s surface.
In terms of special features for metal stoves, options are basically limited to coil size and type. However, newer models do feature adjustable burner size options and rapid heating. Glass models come with a wider range of options including heat sensors, automatic pot and pan size, rapid cooling and heating, and touch controls.
What is the Difference Between a Range and Cooktop?
The words cooktop and range are often used interchangeably. The term range refers to a one-piece setup that includes a cooktop with zones that cook using induction, electricity, or gas. Below the range is the oven.
Cooktops are built into countertops and often come with a separate wall oven. The cooktop can be powered by induction, electricity, or gas. To install a cooktop you must cut out a chunk of the countertop allowing the contractor to safely lower the cooktop into the counter’s surface.
Is Copper Cookware Safe to Use?
In the past, cooking with copper pots and pans was potentially dangerous because the cookware didn’t have an interior lining. Without an interior liner, the copper was able to leach into foods, causing copper poisoning. When copper alloy and copper surfaces come into contact with foods that are acidic, such as tomatoes or processed foods, the copper may leach into the food. But why?
This occurs because foods that are acidic react to the copper, which causes it to dissolve. In cases of copper cookware, the copper dissolves directly into the food, causing copper toxicity.
Because of this, copper pots, pans, cups, and dishes now contain a lining that’s not made out of copper. In the past, the lining was often made out of tin. However, it was discovered that once the thin tin metal became scratched, copper toxicity became a problem. Some copper cookware manufacturers still use tin lining for their cookware, but caution against using abrasive cleaners and recommend using special utensils while cooking, in order to prevent scratching the tin lining. Additionally, if you own tin lined copper cookware, at some point the pots and pans will need to be relined every few years or immediately after the cookware is damaged.
These days, most manufacturers now use stainless steel or aluminum lining. Both types of lining material can prevent copper toxicity while providing the same benefits of copper cookware the pros and home cooks love.
If you’d like to learn more about the different types of cookware that are safe to use, click here to read our article on what cookware is safe?
So, what cookware is best for glass top stoves? This will include copper and aluminum, followed by stainless steel.
Damaging the stovetop is possible, even if you have the right type of cookware. However, using cookware made out of copper or aluminum can significantly minimize the risk of scratching or chipping the stovetop’s surface.
Glass stovetops can instantly update the look of any kitchen. They’re easier to clean compared to other styles of stovetops, and they can heat up your cookware faster. But keeping your stovetop looking new can be a real challenge, especially if you don’t know what cookware is best for glass top stoves.
As you can see, there are only a few types of cookware that you can consider safe for glass stovetop use. While copper cookware tends to be on the pricey side, it’s actually the best choice and one that won’t fuse to the stove top or scratch, chip, or crack the surface.