How to Tell If a Pot or Pan Is Induction-Compatible

Here's a simple test you can use to be sure

By Mary H.J. Farrell and Paul Hope

Wondering if your favorite frying pan will work on your shiny new induction range? Here’s the key: magnetism.

“The most important consideration for cooking with an induction appliance is owning cookware that’s made of ferromagnetic metal, such as cast iron or some types of stainless steel,” says Gill Stansfield, assistant dean of the College of Food Innovation & Technology at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I. He recommends a simple trick to check for induction compatibility: Grab a magnet from your fridge and place it against the bottom of any pan in your current collection. If the magnet sticks, the pan will work on an induction appliance.

You may discover that many of your existing pots and pans can be used with induction. Exceptions include a few nonstick pieces that are made of aluminum, a material that won’t work with induction stovetops. But they’re still worth testing with a magnet because some nonstick pans are clad with another magnetic metal, which makes them compatible. Most copper pans are also not ferromagnetic, but some of those, too, are clad with magnetic metals and work on an induction cooktop.

If you find you’ll need to replace a few pots and pans that aren’t compatible, the good news is that induction cookware has become ubiquitous. And cookware manufacturers have become a lot better at noting whether their wares are induction-compatible on the box. But when in doubt, you can always take a magnet with you to the store and check. In our cookware ratings, we note for our members whether a pot or pan can be used with an induction cooktop based on the material it’s made of and the manufacturer’s recommendation.

More on Induction Cooking
CR’s Complete Guide to Induction Cooking
• Best Cookware for Induction Cooktops
Best Induction Cooktops
Best Induction Ranges
Pros and Cons of Induction Cooktops and Ranges
The Surprising Things I Learned When I Ditched My Gas Stove for an Induction Range
What the Inflation Reduction Act Could Mean for Your Next Appliance Purchase

Editor’s Note: This article also appeared in the November 2022 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

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