Good Question: Help Me Feel Better About My Electric Stove

Good Question: Help Me Feel Better About My Electric Stove

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Faith Durand
Mar 27, 2008

We bought a house with an electric glass stovetop. I am used to cooking on gas and have always turned my nose up at an electric stovetop thinking it far inferior to gas for serious cooking. We can't afford to switch it out, so can someone make me feel better about our stove?

- Jenny

Jenny,

Thanks for sending in your question.

Your question made us think of this excellent quote we just picked up from Mark Bittman: "We make do. Home cooks must make do." Bittman was lamenting his lack of a stove that threw off high heat for this wok, but this line holds true for all the challenges home cooks face. You can totally make do with an electric stove. "Make it work," as Tim Gunn says.

Some of us cook with electric stoves too. We think the biggest difference is that electric stoves tend to take longer to heat up than gas burners. Try to remind yourself to turn on the burners to heat up for a few minutes before you need them. As you adjust to the cooktop you'll get used to giving the stove an extra minute or two to come to temperature.

If you're still frustrated with the time your electric stove takes to cook, you might want to invest in testing the stove with one high-quality pan from All-Clad or another top of the line maker. In All-Clad pans, the heat conducting core runs up the sides of the pan, helping to cook evenly.

Don't despair completely. Some things cook better on an electric stove. We find they do a better job cooking low and slow than similar gas stoves. Have you tried braising on your new cooktop? That might cheer you up!

Now the really bad news: the biggest draw back of flat-top electric stoves is cleaning them. In the show room, they seem all shiny and futuristic. The flat surface -- made of a ceramic and glass blend -- seems like it should be a breeze to clean. It isn't. Take care that you don't use pans that scratch the surface of your stove. Here's a post full of advice on how to clean your electric stove.

One reader reminded us of another benefit of owning an electric stove: one less bill to pay. Since the stove runs off electricity, you won't have to pay a separate cooking gas bill. We're still doing some research on the energy efficiency of different types of stoves and will post what we find.

Don't be discouraged. We think everything that can be cooked on an gas stove can be cooked on your electric cooktop too. Well, maybe there's one exception: you can't blister the skins off red peppers on an electric stove and that bugs us every time we see a bushel of red peppers.

Readers, what do you think? Do you have more words of electric stove encouragement for Jenny, or should she save up and swap this cooktop in for a gas model asap?

- Chris

From Our Archive:
What's the Best Electric Stove?
My Electric Stove Burner is Tilted -- Help!

(Image: General Electric via The Buttery)

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