How to Use a Cooktop | Helpful Cooktop Instructions & Directions

How To Use a Cooktop

Using a cooktop involves the following steps – turning the unit on, placing a cooktop-friendly pan on the burner/heat pad, adjusting the temperature to the preferred setting, and loading the pan with whatever food you plan on cooking. Now you know how to use a cooktop. 

If you’re looking for a more detailed guide on how to work a cooktop, refer to our cooktop manual below for instructions for cooktop.

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1. Choose Cookware

Select the specific  cookware you plan on using before turning the cooktop on. Leaving an empty pot or pan on the cooktop for too long can cause damage to its non-stick coating. Because of this, it’s recommended that all the food prep is done before placing cookware over heat.

Induction cooktops require cookware with some iron in them. The energy emitted from the induction cooktop is passed into iron which heats up the pan. Because of this, aluminum, clay, and brass cookware won’t work on an induction cooktop. That said, they will work fine on a regular gas or electric cooktop. 

2. Switch Cooktop On

Almost all cooktops have four or five burners. Before switching the unit on, decide which elements(s)/hob(s) you wish to cook on. This is important because all elements/hobs must be turned on individually. 

On induction cooktops, the elements won’t heat up unless a piece of cookware, like a pot or pan, is placed on top. However, this isn’t true for cooktops that use an open flame to create heat.

Cooktops that have a grill-like surface will require a minute or two to heat up. Induction cooktops don’t require any heat-up time.

3. Place Cookware on the Burner

Now that you have the flame going, it’s time to place your pot or pan of choice on the selected burner. Remember, induction cooktops will require the cookware to have some steel in it to function. Carbon steel and stainless steel are the most induction-friendly cookware materials. That said, stainless steel cookware will only work if the item in question comes with a ring of magnetic stainless in the bottom. Luckily, most models do.

4. Adjust Temperature Setting

How hot you let the pot or pan get before introducing food will depend upon what you’re cooking. At this stage, most people add 1 or 2 tablespoons of cooking oil and let the pan heat up before adding food.

This is also the time to adjust the burner(s) to the appropriate cooking temperature. Some cooktops will have a dial that goes from 1 to 10 while other cooktops (mostly induction models) will have a plus or minus symbol to control the temperature setting.

5. Get Cooking

Now that the required burners are switched on and any pots and pans have been heated, it’s time to get cooking. How you go about this step is beyond the scope of this article and is entirely dependent upon what you’re looking to cook.

6. Clean Up

Once you’re done cooking, it’s time to clean up. Most pots and pans are dishwasher friendly. The only exception to this are cast iron and some carbon steel pans. 

These pans have a layer of polymerized oils that makes it non-stick and protects the cookware from rust. When placed in the dishwasher, this oil layer can be removed and expose the pans to oxidation. Stainless steel cookware is 100% dishwasher safe. 

Cleaning an induction cooktop is simple and usually requires a quick wipe to remove any oil that splattered out of the pan. Conventional gas or electric stove tops with a grill-like cooking surface are more complicated to clean and require removing the grates before cleaning. Cooktops don’t need to be cleaned after each use.

What Should You Know Before Using a Cooktop?

What is a cooktop? A cooktop is a common home appliance that has 4 or 5 burners and can be used to cook a wide range of foods. Typical uses of a cooktop include frying, boiling, searing, and steaming.

Most stovetops fall into one of three types: gas, electric, and induction.

  • Gas cooktops: Gas cooktops are the most conventional and the type of cooktop one is most likely to find in a household. These units use natural gas to create a flame, which can then be used to heat a pot or pan. Gas cooktops are safe to use with almost all types of cookware, are cheap to use, and easy to maintain.
  • Electric cooktops: Electric cooktops are similar to their gas counterparts but use electricity to create heat instead of gas. Depending where you live, electric cooktops can be more expensive than gas cooktops. Moreover, they can’t be used when the electricity goes out.
  • Induction cooktops: Induction cooktops use electromagnetism to generate heat. Because induction cooktops rely on electromagnetism, heat is produced only when a steel cookware with a magnetic base is placed on a heater/element. Because of this, induction cooktops are very safe and are good options for those who have small children.

It’s worth making the distinction between cooktops and ranges. People typically use the term to refer to cooktops that come as part of a stove/cooktop unit. By contrast, cooktops are standalone appliances that are not part of a stove.

learn to use a cooktop

What Are the Stages of Using a Cooktop

Using a cooktop can be divided into 4 basic steps, choosing the elements, turning them on, cooking, and cleaning.

  • Choosing the elements: Most cooktops come with 4 or 5 elements/burners. These burners are of different sizes to accommodate different types of cookware. For example, one element will be large enough to fit a 12 quart pot while another element will be just large enough to be used with a 1.5 quart sauce pan.
  • Turn element(s) on: Once you’ve chosen which elements to use, it’s time to turn them on. With gas stove tops, you may want to wait a minute for the steel grates to get hot. When this is complete, place your cookware of choice on the element and let it heat up. Induction cooktops require very little time to heat up.
  • Cooking: Now that the pot or pan is heated up, add some oil and begin cooking.
  • Clean up: Clean up is simple and involves placing any dishwasher-friend;y cookware in the dishwasher. Some cookware like cast iron or carbon steel pans must be hand washed. 

Does the Cookware Type Affect the Usage Stages?

No, the cookware type does not affect the usage stages of a cooktop. Whether you’re using a gas, electric, or induction cooktop, the usage stages will be the same. That said, induction stovetops do have a two main differences. 

The first difference is that induction cooktops heat up almost instantly, which means  the pre-heating phase is not required. Secondly, because induction cooktops work via electromagnetism only cookware that has a magnetic ring of steel on the bottom are compatible.

The best cooktops come with a variety of different settings and options, which can affect the usage stages somewhat. However, regardless of the make/model, all cooktops have the same basic usage stages. 

Is Using a Cooktop For Cooking Steaks Better Than Using a Range?

No, using a cooktop for cooking steaks is not better than using a range.. Although there is no difference between cooking a steak on a cooktop vs a range, there is one advantage to using a range – the fact that it comes with a stove portion.

 You can sear your steak at high temperatures that reach 400 degree fahrenheit on both sides before putting them in the oven on low heat (like 375 degrees) for 5 or 6 minutes. With a cooktop alone, it isn’t possible to do this.

Is Using a Cooktop for Popcorn Better Than Using a Microwave?

No, using a cooktop for popcorn is not better than using a microwave. Most popcorn bags are designed to be heated up in the microwave since  they use microwave radiation to excite water molecules, a process that produces heat. This excitatory process causes the popcorn kernels to expand — thereby producing popcorn

Cooktops don’t use microwaves and work by applying heat energy to whatever is being cooked. While cooktop popcorn devices are sold, they don’t produce better results compared to cooktops.

Is a Commercial Cooktop Better Than a Home Cooktop for Breakfast Food? 

No, a commercial cooktop is not better than a home cooktop for breakfast food. For cooking breakfast, the only difference between a home and commercial cooktop is the amount of food that can be cooked at once. Of all types of cooktops, the commercial models have the highest cooking capacity. That said, they do come with some disadvantages.

Because commercial cooktops are over 50% larger than home cooktops they require more space to install. Moreover, most commercial cooktops are higher powered than home models, meaning they will use more gas or electricity. 

How to use a cooktop

Can A Cooktop Be Used for Other Uses Besides Cooking Food?

Yes, a cooktop can be used for other uses besides cook food.. The uses of a cooktop are not limited to cooking food and can be used for a few other purposes, including:

  • Boiling Water: One of the most common uses of a stove top is for boiling water. This can be done by filling a pot of water and leaving it on a burner at high temperature.
  • Making Coffee: Coffee is another item one can make on the cooktop. Doing so involves boiling ground coffee beans in water. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, filter the grinds out of the water. The result is fresh fresh coffee.
  • Steaming vegetables: Although steaming vegetables technically falls under the category of ‘cooking food’ it doesn’t use direct heat the way standard cooktop cooking does. Instead, it uses a steaming tray that suspends raw vegetables over a pot of boiling water. As the water boils, heat rises in the form of steam, which slowly cooks the vegetables.

How To Use a Cooktop As a Stove

If you’re curious how to use a cooktop as a stove, the answer is that cooktops can’t be used as a stove. Stoves create an enclosed environment where food is cooked from all sides, something cooktops can’t recreate. That said, cooktops can be used to slow cook food if a pot and lid combination is used. Still, this combination only works when a large amount of liquid is involved.

Stoves have the broil function that can apply heat from the top down. Cooktops are not equipped to recreate this type of heat application.

How To Use a Cooktop As a Soup Maker

To use a cooktop as a soup maker, you can follow the following 6 steps: 

  1. Get large cooking pot and place it on the appropriate burner
  2. Prep all required ingredients required by the soup recipe
  3. Fill pot with the required amount of water and stock
  4. Place food items into pot
  5. Place lid on pot
  6. Let cook for as long as the recipe requires

How To Use a Cooktop As a Hot Chocolate Maker

To use a cooktop as a hot chocolate maker you can use the following 4 steps: =

  1. Grab a small 1.5 – 2 quart sauce pan
  2. Fill the sauce pan with 1-2 cups of water depending on how much hot chocolate you want to make
  3. Place 1 or 2 tablespoon of hot chocolate powder into the water and wait for it to come to a rolling boil
  4. Once at a rolling boil, the hot chocolate is ready to serve and drink.

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