While there are pros and cons to both gas and electric stovetops, there's one thing you can feel good about regardless of which cooktop you're using: cooking with cast iron. Yes, it's true — electric stovetops (even ones with glass tops!) can handle the trendy, trusty, and yes, very heavy, cookware, both regular and enameled.
We understand the fear: You've spent money on a shiny new glass-top stove (or are renting a space that has one), and you're hesitant to use cast iron for fear of scratching, cracking, or staining it. But if you pay attention to the following reminders, you'll be searing and sizzling away in no time.
Don't Slide Cast Iron on an Electric Stove
The test kitchen team at Lodge Cast Iron, the oldest manufacturer of cast iron cookware remaining in the U.S. (and a favorite among Kitchn staffers), cook with cast iron on glass-top ranges every day. That being said, they still recommend exercising a certain amount of caution. "As with any heavy cookware, we take care not to drop it or slide it across the surface," they wrote in a thread on their Facebook page dedicated to the topic. Be extra gentle with cookware that is chipped or has rough edges, although engraved skillets or ones with designs on the bottom are also fine to use on glass-top stoves.
Check it out: Our tour of Lodge Manufacturing in South Pittsburg, Tennessee
Wash Cast Iron Before Heating on an Electric Stove
Oil and other residue on the bottom of cast iron cookware can carbonize when heated, leaving a black mark on a glass-top stove. To avoid any marks or stains, remove the cookware from the stovetop immediately after using, and thoroughly wash both the interior and exterior of the pan after every use.
Wipe the glass off after every use, too. We've created a handy step-by-step guide to cleaning a glass electric stovetop — but also check out the comments below, where dozens of readers have shared their favorite methods and products.
Remember: Cast Iron Heats More Slowly on an Electric Stove
Because an electric cooktop needs to time to warm up (whereas heat from a gas flame is immediate), a dish made in a cast iron on an electric stove may take slightly more time than the same dish cooked using gas. During the testing for their book Cook It In Cast Iron, America's Test Kitchen cooked each recipe twice: once on a gas stove, and once on an electric range. Their conclusion? "If you're using a cast iron skillet on an electric range, you may find that you need to cook things slightly longer — use the upper ends of the timing ranges given in our recipes."
Lodge recommends heating cookware on low, and slowly bringing the heat up to medium or medium-high for the most consistent results and even heat distribution. If you're using a cast iron griddle that spans two burners, allow the griddle to preheat for several minutes before cooking.
Ready to get cooking? We have plenty of recipes to get you started.