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What is an induction range?

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Quick Answer

An induction range replaces a conventional range's electric or gas burner elements with elements containing a powerful, high-frequency electromagnet. When turned on, the electromagnet creates an electromagnetic field that sets up a circulating electric current in an iron or steel cooking vessel, generating heat in the vessel to cook food.

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Cooking on a range top involves transferring heat from the burner to a cooking vessel, which in turn cooks food by direct heat transfer or by transferring heat to a liquid that heats the food to cooking temperature. Induction ranges, in contrast, cause the cooking vessels themselves to generate the needed heat. Induction ranges are more energy-efficient than conventional ranges and usually have sealed ceramic tops that are easy to clean. However, they are still expensive compared to conventional ranges and can work only with cooking vessels made of ferrous materials; also, tall vessels or those with rounded bottoms may not heat evenly.

Cooking with an induction range requires precise use of the controls to ensure the proper amount of heat is generated. A cook may also need to adjust her cooking techniques because of the rapid heating provided by induction. For example, if she typically chops vegetables for cooking while the oil heats in a cooking vessel, she should now chop the vegetables before turning on the induction burner to avoid the risk of an oil fire.

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