Cast iron skillets are a popular choice for home cooks and professional chefs alike. They’re sturdy, last a long time, and are great to cook all sorts of delicious foods with.
But many of us worry that using cast iron will damage glass electric stovetops. Will it break the glass, or ruin the surface with scratches?
Well, you can go ahead and use your favorite cast iron skillet and still keep your glass top stove as shiny as the day you got it.
There are a few simple things you can do when using cast iron on glass stove tops. Keep reading to find out what you need to do to cook with cast iron, and when you should choose other cookware instead.
The Risks of Using a Cast Iron Skillet on a Glass Top Stove
There are several risks you take if you use cast iron if you cook with a glass top stove.
The main downside to glass cooktops is the worry about damage.
A ceramic cooktop is actually made from LAS glass-ceramics that contain Lithium Aluminum and Silica(1). This gives them that smooth surface for a sleek kitchen design. And they’re strong enough to handle frequent use. It also makes them resistant to impacts and thermal shock. This means that glass cooktops can handle high heat and the weight of a heavy pot, which is why they’re so popular.
But it’s easy for something to fall on it and crack the surface. And a lot of people worry about scratching the glass surface.
On the other hand, bare cast iron tends to have rough and jagged edges. So it’s easy to scrape it and leave ugly scratches on glass tops if you’re not careful. This is why it’s not recommended for glass top stoves.
Certain stove manufacturers even warn against using pans with a rough surface on glass stovetops for this exact reason. For example, the Whirlpool user guide says “Rough edges or burrs may scratch the cooktop”.
As well as this, if you drop something heavy on your glass cooktop it could cause it to crack. Cast iron pans are known for being heavier than other types of cookware, so it increases this risk.
How To Correctly Use Cast Iron Cookware on a Glass Top Stove
Even though it’s not recommended to use cast iron on glass, it’s still fully allowed.
It might take a bit longer than using a gas stove, but you’ll be fine if you handle your cast iron cookware with care.
And besides, glass cooktops can withstand hefty use and they’re shock resistant. So you’d have to drop heavy cookware with some force to actually break it.
Use Enamel Cast Iron
An enamel cast iron skillet is a skillet where an enamel glaze has been applied to give their outside a smooth surface. This gets rid of any rough spots and makes it less likely to scratch your glass top stove.
Just make sure your cast iron pans are completely covered by the porcelain enamel coating. If not, there could still be rough areas and you still run the risk of scratching your glass cooktop.
Do Not Drag
Even though it’s tempting, don’t drag or slide cast iron pans on a glass top electric stove. If it’s a habit you’re used to, make sure you stop. Dragging is more likely to cause etches in the glass stove top.
Instead, lift the pan off the stove top altogether if you’re cooking sauté dishes or tossing pancakes. This reduces the risk of any damage happening.
Use Heat Diffusers
A heat diffuser is a handy gadget to have. Put one between the glass cooktop and your cast iron pots to protect the glass surface. This way, the smooth flat bottom stays in contact with the stove and won’t leave any scratches or marks.
Plus, the smooth base on a heat diffuser will help with even heat distribution. In fact, this can be a problem when cooking with cast iron because it’s not as even.
Use Parchment Papers on Induction Cooktops
If you’ve got an induction glass top stove, put a piece of parchment paper straight onto the burner. This adds a protective layer between your pan and the glass.
Unlike electric stoves, induction stove tops don’t heat up so the paper won’t burn. Pop your cast iron skillet on top and you’re ready to start cooking.
This simple solution will protect the glass top from scratches.
Smooth the Bottom of Your Cast Iron Pan
Also, before using glass stove tops, make sure the bottom of your cast iron pan is smooth and doesn’t have any burrs or ridges.
Not only will it help to stop damaging your glass cooktop, but it helps prevent uneven heating, too. A rough surface is more likely to create hot spots.
And if the bottoms of your cast iron pots are rough, it’s easy to smooth them down. You can hand sand them using 70 or 80 grit sandpaper. Then apply a couple of coats of oil for seasoning. And you’re good to go!
You’re aiming for flat bottoms on your cast iron skillets, as these will help to avoid any damage to the glass top surface.
General Advice to Keep Your Glass Top Stove in Good Condition
Clean the Cooktop After Each UseFirst, consider cleaning your cooktop after cooking.
Cleaning the glass top after cooking stops any residue building up from spills that could cause permanent stains.
It will also help you to prevent any abrasions, pitting, or scratches and it will condition the glass surface.
But you should avoid using abrasive cleaners or harsh chemicals. Instead, stick to soap and hot water, or ceramic glass stove top cleaner with a special scraper for stubborn burnt food.
And if you’re cooking with sugar ingredients, you need to clean all spills as soon as you can. It’s easy for them to burn onto the stove and they’re even harder to clean off when cool. If this happens, they can cause pitting and marks that you won’t be able to get off.
Remove Cookware CarefullyThen, make sure to remove the cookware very care-fu-lly.
Since you can’t remove scratches with cleaning products, you need to be super careful with how you handle your cast iron cookware. And flat bottom pans can still have rough areas capable of damaging your glass stove top.
So, to prevent any damage, you should lift your pans straight off the cooking surface. Don’t slide them as this could still cause deep etches.
Plus, it’s best to use both hands for this. Cast iron cookware is heavy. You really don’t want to drop the pan and risk shattering the glass stovetop.
Increase Heat GraduallyCast iron holds heat better than most other types of cookware. It’s great for distributing heat evenly. But it may take some getting used to. So it’s best to preheat your cast iron skillet before you add food.
However, you should increase the heat gradually. In fact, once your pan is hot it will hold its heat, so it ends up transferring this heat back to the stove top. And if your pan gets too hot too quickly, the heating element will overheat and could shut down.
The best way to avoid this is to gradually increase the heat setting. Keep an eye on the stove and don’t turn the temperature up above medium-high heat. It’s better for your cast iron cookware as well as your food!
Follow These Care TipsIf you’ve invested in a glass top stove, here’s a few examples of best practice to minimize any risks to it.
- Avoid storing anything heavy, like jars or cans, above your electric stove. Dropping a hefty object onto the stove top could crack it.
- Don’t place anything that could melt onto the heating element. In fact, it’s better to keep these away from the electric stove altogether. Plastic and aluminum foil are common things to use in the kitchen, but make sure they’re kept away from the oven.
- Although a cooktop is perfectly flat and sturdy, don’t use it as a cutting board. It’s easy to scratch the surface, so sharp knives should be used on a separate wooden or plastic cutting board.
- Check the bottoms of your pans are clean before cooking. Food residue, spills, or even water can leave marks on the surface. When they heat up, they can burn on and make it harder to clean up any stains. Make sure you wipe the bottom of your pans down to avoid this.
- Don’t cook any food directly on the cooktop. Instead, you should always use a pan when cooking. This will help to prevent any damage to your glass top stove.