Cast Iron VS smooth top ranges

jasdipFebruary 2, 2012

I tried doing a Search before asking, in case this has been a topic that's been done-to-death.

I've just read that cast-iron cookware, or enamelled cast-iron shouldn't be used on smooth-top/ceramic electric ranges.

Something about the skillets and pots would heat too hot and break the cooktop. Is that right? Can a pot actually heat hotter than the element and crack the top? I can see not using or being very careful, when using them, so they don't scratch, but break because of the heat??

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It would probably be better to cross-post this in the Appliance forum as well, to reach the largest # of people.

It sounds like a thermal mass problem, but beyond that I can't help, sorry. But I'm sure someone can come up with an answer.

Can you post a link to where you saw this statement? That would probably help.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 9:32PM
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Hi, Jasdip,

I cook almost exclusively with Le Creuset enameled cast iron, and plain cast iron on a smooth top range. Have never had any problems and have been doing so for maybe 8 or so years. I have a regular old GE, nothing fancy.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 11:01PM
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I used cast iron pots all the time when I had a glass top electric range. I never had any trouble with scratching, chipping, or overheating. However, after reading lots of discussions on the subject over the years, I'm inclined to think that maybe all smooth tops are not created equal, and one should follow the manufacturer's advice.

While my old cooktop was good looking, and a breeze to maintain, I cheerfully consigned it to the landfill when I renovated three years ago. It was positively the worst cooking appliance I have ever had the misfortune to use. I was sooooooo slow to heat up, and just as sloooooooow to cool down once the power was cut. I'm now cooking with gas, and am continually on the look-out for extra cast iron pieces to add to inventory.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 11:04PM
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I've used both types of pots on an induction glass top for 6 years with no problems.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 1:28AM
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No problems here, enameled or not. A few months ago I forgot about a dry CI skillet on high heat long enough to the point where it smoked and "self-cleaned" a lot of the seasoning right off the bottom of the pan. If that wasn't enough to overheat and shatter the cooktop, then I don't know what is.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 2:57AM
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I use both Le Creuset and a regular old cast iron skillet with no problems. However, I am extremely careful not to slide or drag it on the surface to avoid scratching, also am extra careful not to 'drop" it onto surface either (that pan is HEAVY!) As for overheating, I haven't had that problem either, I just allow a proper time to get hot enough to cook and then turn the temp down. Le Creuset warns about high heat on their pans and recommends using medium heat because cast iron retains heat so well.
But as cooksnsews suggests, follow what the manufacturer recommends. Oh mine is just a basic GE cooktop that I would not give up for anything!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 6:38AM
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Cast iron has carbides in its composition. Carbide is almost as hard as diamond and can scratch glass. I would use fine silicone carbide sand paper to smooth out the bottom, just in case.

Glass is actually a good electrical conductor in it's molten state. For an induction cook top, that could theoretically be an issue. However it is extremely unlikely that is going to happen with a home cook top with built-in thermal controls. In industry, induction heating is used to heat treat metal or to melt metal.


    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 8:20AM
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Thanks guys!!!
The landlady is wanting to replace the stove here and we went looking, and saw a GE on sale for $398. A smooth-top.

Last nite I read about not using cast iron etc, and I wanted to get your opinions. Thanks for chiming in so quickly!
I knew about not sliding them, but the heat thing got me worried.

Oh, I just this minute read that you shouldn't put something hot from the oven on the stove. Hmmmm does this mean that I can't rest my roasting pan on the stove or a skillet that has meat cooking through after browning? Heaven forbid.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 8:31AM
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The only way I could see that being a problem is if the glass was very, very cold, and you put something hot on top of it, but that's not likely to happen. To me, that warning just doesn't make sense.


    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 10:12AM
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I use cast iron on my ceramic cook top all the time. That said, I DID manage to crack the top with a little help from my hubby:

I'd left an empty skillet with the burner on under it (accidentally, obviously, and I was sick at the time, so I have a good excuse), and the skillet caught fire. Hubby found it and picked it up off the hot burner and set it, still flaming, on a cold burner. I'm not sure if it was the contrast in temperature or if he dropped it on the cook top (he probably grabbed the flaming skillet in his bare hands), but the crack runs all the way through the two eyes on the left side of the stove.

I understand the top can be replaced, but I haven't done it yet, and the stove still cooks just fine on the two remaining eyes. Have to do something about it before canning season, though, because I'm afraid to put a big, heavy pressure canner on a cracked top :P

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 2:50PM
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