Can You Use Cast Iron on a Flat-Top Stove?

Jill Arens

If you own a flat-top stove and cast-iron cookware, the two can work in harmony provided you keep a few caveats in mind.

Cast iron pans hold heat and may scorch a smooth cooktop.

According to the Cookware Manufacturers Association, “Many glass cooktop manufacturers include instructions saying not to use cast iron cookware, but modern cast iron, without the ‘raised ring’ on the bottom will work fine.” Review your owner’s manual for specific cookware recommendations for your stove.

Avoiding Stovetop Damage

Most cast-iron pans have flat bottoms that work adequately on smooth ranges, but trouble can still arise. To prevent deep etches on your ceramic-glass cooktop, avoid dragging iron utensils across the surface. Rough spots on the bottom of the cookware can catch and scratch the glass, creating grooves that won’t come out with cleaning products. Remove pans from the stove by lifting them straight up, and use both hands to avoid dropping the cookware and shattering the glass top.

Caring for Iron Pans

By keeping your ironware in immaculate condition, you’ll prevent many of the problems associated with using iron on a flat-top stove. Scrape food particles off the bottom of iron pans after use as dried food will scorch the burners the next time you cook. Use extra-fine, steel-wool pads to remove any rust that develops on the bottom of the pans, and re-season the cookware immediately if raw iron shows through the surface.

Monitoring Burners

Cast iron holds heat longer than other types of cookware, and the heat often transfers back into the burners. If the temperature gets too high, some ceramic burners will automatically shut off to prevent overheating. On ranges with temperature interceptors, gradually increase the heat while cooking, and don't turn the temperature beyond medium-high heat. Avoid putting an oversize pan on a small burner.

Choosing the Ideal Stove

Many cooks and chefs would rather part with their stove than their ironware. Because cast iron imparts iron into food and doesn’t rely on plastic chemicals to keep the surface nonstick, the cookware has healthful properties that other pots and pans don’t offer. By investing in a gas or induction range, you won’t have to fret about cast iron damaging the cooktop.