Will copper-based Pans work on an induction cooktop?

Copper-based pans are the stuff inheritances are made of. Not only are they sturdy and durable, with proper care they can last ages.

Copper is the fancy sports car of the cookware world. It’s fast and flashy and it doesn’t come cheap. It is an excellent conductor of heat spreading heat evenly all across.

Heat goes in and out of copper as you want and need it (due to high thermal diffusivity) and this responsiveness gives it an agility that can be very useful for delicate proteins like fish and seafood as well as sauces.

Does copper-based Pans work on an induction cooktop?

Now, if you’re using an induction cooktop, it’s important to know whether that flashy copper pan that you’re planning to buy will work on an induction cooktop or not.

And here is the answer…

Copper-based pans will not work on an induction cooktop as they are not ferromagnetic. A good option is to clad it with a ferromagnetic metal like stainless steel so the magnetic conduction can take place. 

Alternatively, some companies like the De buyer prima Matera have spent millions of dollars in research and development for the perfect solution to cooking with copper on induction.

They have come up with 1.8mm copper layered pans sandwiched between thin stainless steel layers and also copper pans with a magnetic disk attached to the underside of the copper pan.

This way the copper pans become the most responsive and evenly heated pan in the market for induction cooktops.

Why Copper Cookware Is Not Induction Friendly?

Induction utilizes the properties of an electromagnetic field to vibrate the atoms in the cooking vessel to create heat through molecular friction. What happens is that alternating electric current in the copper coil creates a magnetic field. This magnetic field ions pass through the base of the cookware.

Now for the atoms to enter inside, the pan must be made up of a metal or at least contain a metal that reacts to the magnetic field.

Unfortunately, copper does not share this ferromagnetic property.

An all clad pan with a copper core works very effectively on induction. Although copper pans with a magnetic disc work equally well, but all clad copper core pans are more effective, easy to maintain and are easy on the pocket.

The combination of layers keeps the advantage of good heat distribution along with avoiding some downsides of the copper pan. The most important one to polish, clean and maintain. The second, the high cost. Copper pans are more expensive compared to all clad with a copper core.

The stainless steel layer makes the pan ferromagnetic thus making it ideal for induction usage. The general rule is that copper should be at least 2mm thick for good effective heat distribution.

An all clad copper pan or a copper pan with a magnetic disk needs to fulfill a few criteria before working on the cooktop. Let us find out what they are.

When can Copper Cookware work on with Induction Cooktops?

After fulfilling the basic criteria of having a magnetic layer at the base or an all clad with stainless steel, the next step is a flat base.

The base of the pan is where the copper coil is kept beneath the surface of the cooktop. So the copper pan must be flat in order to effectively maximize the induction process.

The diameter of the pan should fall in line with the proposed built-in diameter of your induction’s heating element. It can be an inch or so bigger but not smaller in any way. Remember, inducement of heat will occur from the base of the pan, the part touching the heating element. The rest of the area will be cool to touch.

Next lemme tell you an easy way to figure out if your pan/pot will work on an induction cooktop. Look for the induction friendly sign on it. Nowadays, almost all cookwares have the mark embedded.

If you cannot see the induction friendly mark or are unsure, perform the magnet test.

Note: In case your copper cookware is not induction friendly, you can still use it on an induction cooktop. You can use an interface disk that will be magnetic between the copper pan and the induction cooktop. One of the drawbacks of using interface disk is that heat gets transferred slowly and cooking food takes a long time. It isn’t the same as cooking on an induction-compatible pan.

How to Check whether Your Copper Cookware will Work on Induction?

This is an easy test to find out whether any particular pot or pan will work on the induction or not.

Take an ordinary fridge magnet. Place it near the base of the cookware. If it sticks, it is induction compatible and can be used on induction.

If it does not stick or falls off, that means the base does not have any ferromagnetic metal and therefore cannot work on an induction cooktop.

Few lines about Copper Cookware

Copper has an antibacterial effect because germs and bacteria cannot survive on copper.

Copper does not scorch and conducts heat evenly about five times better than iron and about 20 times better than stainless steel.

One of the key things to know about copper is that it’s reactive. Acids like vinegar and tomatoes can leach copper into the food and over time, the ingestion of copper can be toxic. That is the reason it is usually lined with metals like tin, nickel, silver or more recently, stainless steel.

Copper is also prone to oxidation but with help of lining and polishing, it will retain its beauty indefinitely. Regularly use polish on the exposed copper to preserve the shine.

Conclusion

Copper-based pans will not work on an induction cooktop as they are not ferromagnetic. A good option is to clad it with a ferromagnetic metal like stainless steel so the magnetic conduction can take place.

A combination of both induction and copper can be had by using a metal disc beneath or a copper sandwiched layer between stainless steel.

That’s your best bet if it’s a sports car that you insist on and can afford it. In the cookware world, this sports car stands unparalleled across all spectrums in terms of using any other car aka cookware.

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