Serious Eats / Grace Kelly
As more people make the switch from gas to glass (for a myriad of reasons, including health and environmental concerns) you might find yourself wondering which cookware to choose for your glass-top range (be it electric or induction). While it might be tempting to just sling whatever pots and pans you own onto your burner, taking note of a few considerations can help preserve that shiny glass top for years to come.
Firstly, What’s the Difference Between Electric and Induction Glass Stovetops?
An induction burner allows you to cook without literal heat.Serious Eats / Ashlee Redger
Glass-top electric cooktops transfer heat via a hot coil under a smooth glass cooktop—pretty straightforward. Induction cooktops, on the other hand, employ an electromagnetic coil below the glass surface, which generates a magnetic field that reacts with magnetic cookware, heating it up (you can read more about how induction burners work here). It’s important to take this into consideration when purchasing cookware since not all cookware is induction-friendly (if it’s not, your pan won’t heat up).
What to Look for In Glass Stovetop-Friendly Cookware
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly
Most cookware is compatible with glass-top stoves, though induction can make things a little dicier (it’s best to check by using a magnet or reading manufacturer notes). But, overall, look for cookware that has a flat bottom and matches up with the size of your burners to ensure good contact with the stovetop and even heating with no cold spots. Glass and stoneware cookware can scratch glass cooktops and are not compatible with induction burners, so we don’t recommend cookware made of these materials. There is also a middle-ground of cookware, like cast iron skillets, that you can use with glass-top stoves, but may scratch the surface due to their heavy, rougher bases. In this case, it’s up to you to decide if a few scratches are worth it.
Cleaning and Caring for a Glass Stovetop
Serious Eats / Grace Kelly
Glass stovetops are some of the easiest to clean. While traditional coil electric and gas stoves have curved drip pans where the burners are positioned, glass-top stoves are flat and can be wiped down with spray and a towel or sponge. Before cleaning, ensure the cooktop is completely cool. Spray with an all-purpose cleaner that contains a degreaser, wait a minute or two for the degreaser to do its thing, then wipe with a non-abrasive sponge. Finally, rinse the sponge well, wipe away any residue, and dry the cooktop with a microfiber towel. Done!
Inevitably, food will spill and get burned or caramelized into a sticky mess on your glass stovetop. Don’t be tempted to use abrasive scouring pads or scrub brushes in these instances, as they can scratch the glass surface of your stove. First, check your manufacturer’s instructions before embarking on a deep clean, and don’t use any tools or products on your stovetop that they advise against. Try treating tougher stains with a mixture of distilled white vinegar and baking soda. Spray the stain with vinegar, followed up with a hefty sprinkle of baking soda (it will foam). Then, let the mixture sit for 10 to 15 minutes before wiping with a non-abrasive cloth and repeating as needed. Finally, wipe your stovetop with a cloth or non-abrasive sponge and clean water. For the most stubborn of stains, there are many commercial cleaners specifically designed for use on glass-top stoves. You can also carefully scrape burnt-on food off with a razor blade, but this method is risky as you can scrape your stove top (or cut yourself), so check your manufacturer’s instructions before attempting this, and consider a safety handle to hold the blade if going this route.
The Best Cookware for Glass Stovetops
No cookware collection is complete without at least one good stainless steel skillet; they can go from stovetop to oven without missing a beat. You can even roast a whole chicken in a 12-inch version, ensuring crisp skin, an evenly cooked bird, and an easy vessel to create a dynamite sauce while your bird rests. During our testing of stainless skillets, Made In’s 10 and 12-inch skillets came out on top, with a reasonable price point that gave them the edge over more expensive models from All-Clad and Le Creuset. Stainless steel is compatible with both electric and induction ranges, so you can sear, toss, and saute your heart out without worrying about scathing your cooktop.
Material: Stainless steelTemperature range: Up to 800°FCare instructions: Dishwasher-safeInduction compatible: YesPrice at time of publish: $119Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik
A nonstick skillet is great for cooking anything that’s likely to adhere to a conventional skillet, including things like eggs and delicate fish. Our winner from T-Fal is compatible with both electric and induction glass-top stoves, has a comfortable handle, and isn’t too expensive (we don’t think you should spend a ton of money on a nonstick skillet since the coating wears out over time).
Material: Stainless steel base; titanium nonstickTemperature range: Up to 400°FCare instructions: Dishwasher-safe, though we recommend hand-washingInduction compatible: YesPrice at time of publish: $40Serious Eats / Donna Currie
Woks are versatile pans that can be used for a variety of dishes, including fried rice, deep fried foods, and even for smoking proteins indoors. Woks come in many materials, but we like carbon steel because it heats quickly and efficiently, and is durable and affordable. Flat-bottomed models, like our winner from Yosukata, also sit nicely on glass-top stoves, so make sure you look for that quality.
Material: Carbon steelTemperature range: Up to 600°FCare instructions: Hand-wash only, dry immediately Induction compatible: YesPrice at time of publish: $61Serious Eats / Tim Chin
Sauté pans have a wide, flat bottom like a skillet, but with high, straight sides. This makes them a great choice for shallow-frying, wilting a big ol’ bag of greens, or saucing pasta. Our pick from All-Clad has tall sides, a tight-fitting lid, and is suited for glass stovetops. For a more budget-minded pick, we recommend this model from Tramontina. Both will sit nice and flat on a glass-top stove, so the choice is yours.
Material: Stainless steelTemperature range: Up to 600°FCare instructions: Dishwasher-safe, but hand-washing is recommendedInduction compatible: YesPrice at time of publish: $180Serious Eats / Jesse Raub
Stock pots are handy for larger-scale projects that require more volume, like chili for a crowd, boiling lobsters or, you know, making stock. Our pick for the best 12-quart stockpot from Cuisinart has wide, comfortable handles, and performed well in testing, ensuring perfectly browned mirepoix and boiling water quickly. It also sports a tight-fitting lid—no gaps to be seen. If you’re looking for an even larger stockpot, this 16-quart model from Tramontina is also great for electric and induction stoves alike. Both the Cuisinart and the Tramontina also sit nice and flat on glass-top burners, ensuring even and quick heating.
Material: Stainless steelTemperature range: Up to 550°FCare instructions: Dishwasher-safeInduction compatible: YesPrice at time of publish: $140Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik
While we normally recommend building your own array of skillets, pots and pans, during our test of sets we really liked this comprehensive one from All-Clad. Every piece was heat responsive and easy to maneuver and clean. Plus, all of the pots and pans included are induction and glass stovetop-friendly, so you don’t have to stress about any pans scratching things.
Material: Stainless steelTemperature range: Up to 600°FCare instructions: Dishwasher-safe, though we recommend hand-washingInduction compatible: YesPrice at time of publish: $700Serious Eats / Russell Kilgore
Carbon steel is made from a mixture of carbon and iron and shares a lot of the same features as cast iron: they’re induction and electric-compatible and have excellent heat retention, which makes them a great choice for tasks like searing steaks. Our winner from Mauviel is lightweight and has sloped sides, so it excels at sautéing, too. Carbon steel is very durable and can withstand high temperatures for hours, going easily from stovetop to oven. Carbon steel skillets are also lighter and thinner than cast iron, and a well-seasoned one can be more nonstick.
Material: Carbon steelTemperature range: N/A (manufacturer doesn’t specify)Care instructions: Hand-wash only, dry immediatelyInduction compatible: YesPrice at time of publish: $95Serious Eats / Taylor Murray
A straight-sided saucepan is great for more than making sauces. It’s perfect for boiling water for pasta, cooking grains, blanching vegetables, and more. Our pick from Zwilling has a handle that stays cool to the touch while boiling water, allowing us to hold the pan and pour with ease. Its glass lid lets you monitor food during cooking, and the measurement markings on the interior were also helpful. It also sits nice and flat on glass-top stoves, ensuring even heating.
Material: Stainless steel; aluminum; tempered glassTemperature range: Up to 400°F (with lid)Care instructions: Dishwasher-safeInduction compatible: YesPrice at time of publish: $110Serious Eats / Ashlee Redger
Cookware That’s Fine to Use, But May Scratch the Glass
Cast iron is a staple in many kitchens. It’s extremely versatile, works with induction and electric stoves, and can go from stovetop to oven without a hitch. This makes it great for searing steaks or even baking cornbread or pan pizza. And while non-enameled cast iron is heavy and can scratch a glass cooktop, we still think it’s a wonderful addition to your cookware collection—plus cast iron is induction-compatible. We tested 22 cast iron skillets and this one from Lodge came out on top. It performed well in tests, has a great price point, and comes pre-seasoned.
Material: Cast ironTemperature range: N/ACare instructions: Hand-wash only (head here for a cast iron cleaning and care how-to)Induction compatible: YesPrice at time of publish: $25Serious Eats / Joy Kim
Want pretty char lines but don’t have a grill? Enter the grill pan, friend of apartment-dwellers everywhere. While the flavor won’t mimic that of a charcoal grill, this cast iron pan can get quite hot, searing in char lines on your choice of meat, vegetable, or panini. Like a traditional cast iron skillet, a cast iron grill pan is prone to scratching glass-top stoves, so be careful when placing it on the burner or moving it around. They’re also often heavy, though our winner from Lodge was on the lighter side at a little over seven pounds.
Material: Cast ironTemperature range: N/ACare instructions: Hand-wash only (head here for a cast iron cleaning and care how-to)Induction compatible: YesPrice at time of publish: $74Serious Eats / Ashlee Redger
A good enameled cast iron Dutch oven is a workhorse suitable for any range. Braises, soups, stews, deep-frying, and even bread baking—a good Dutch oven can do it all, and more. After extensive testing, we named this model from Le Creuset as our winner. We also liked this one from Staub, and this model from Cuisinart, if you’re on a budget. Dutch ovens come in a variety of sizes from 1/4-quart all the way up to 13.5 quarts. A 5- to 6-quart pot is the most practical for most homes and can make enough food for four to six people, plus they usually fit nicely on your burner. That said, choose the size that works best for you and your stovetop. The enamel coating on cast iron Dutch ovens makes them much less likely to scratch your glass-top stove, but if the bottom is rough or unfinished, there is a slight risk of scratching. Not to mention they can be heavy (our winner from Le Creuset is a little over 11 pounds), so if you clunk a Dutch oven on your stovetop, it could crack the glass.
Material: Enameled cast ironTemperature range: Up to 500°FCare instructions: Dishwasher-safe, but hand-washing is recommendedInduction compatible: YesPrice at time of publish: $400Serious Eats / Will Dickey
Enameled cast iron offers a few advantages over uncoated cast iron: the enamel coating protects the pan from rust, and it helps shield your glass stove top from potential scratches, though it does still have the potential to scratch. Enameled cast iron can withstand the same high temperatures as its uncoated counterparts and doesn’t need to be seasoned, making it a good choice for those unwilling to care for uncoated cast iron. Our winner from Staub was relatively lightweight and heated quickly and evenly in our testing.
Material: Enameled cast ironTemperature range: Up to 900°FCare instructions: Dishwasher-safe, though hand-washing is recommendedInduction compatible: YesPrice at time of publish: $200Serious Eats / Taylor Murray
Similar to a Dutch oven, braisers are squatter and are often used to, er, braise! Their wider, shallower surface area also means they’re great for shallow frying, searing, and even baking (think casseroles and the like). And, like Dutch ovens, they are coated in enamel, which can help protect a glass stovetop. However, they are a bit heavy, so care is needed when maneuvering to ensure you don’t drop the braiser on the stovetop and damage the surface.
Material: Enameled cast ironTemperature range: Up to 500°FCare instructions: Dishwasher-safe, though hand-washing is recommendedInduction compatible: YesPrice at time of publish: $368Serious Eats / Taylor Murray
How do you know if cookware is induction compatible?
The most reliable way to know if your cookware is induction compatible is to check its product listing: the manufacturer should tell you. Another option is to grab a magnet. If it sticks to the bottom of the pan, it’s magnetic and induction-friendly.
Can you use glass stovetop-compatible cookware with gas stoves?
You sure can! All of our above recommendations can be used with electric and induction glass-top stoves as well as gas ranges.
Can you use cast iron on glass stovetops?
Cast iron is compatible with induction stoves, which feature glass-tops, and you can use this style of pan on glass-top electric stoves as well. However, uncoated cast iron skillets have a rough surface and are more prone to scratching glass than, say, a smooth-bottomed stainless steel skillet.