Most brands will tell you that their pots and pans work on electric stoves. Yet they don’t mention whether they’ll leave scratches behind or cook your food evenly. . When it comes to getting the best cookware for electric stoves, I’ve managed to break down everything you need to know below.
Types of Electric Stoves
You probably already know that most cooktops fall under one of three categories: induction, gas, or electric. But the classifications go even further than that! There are coil electric stoves and smoothtop electric stoves.
Coil Electric Stoves
Most coil electric stoves are easy to recognize since the coils sit on top of the surface, or in a specific cavity on the stove. While they aren’t as prone to scratches or scrapes, the coils are more vulnerable to spills.
However, if you’re cooking with a lot of grease or boiling anything at high heat, you can always use a drip pan to collect any excess liquid. Even so, trying to clean bits of food or grease off the coils is rarely fun (or convenient).
Smoothtop Electric Stoves
These days, smoothtop electric stoves tend to be more common than coil stoves. The material of the smoothtop can vary, but many use a glass cooktop—usually referred to as a glass top stove.
You’ll also find glass cooktops with induction stoves as well. Rather than using the coils beneath the glass, an induction cooktop will use an electromagnetic field to heat the entire bottom of the pan.
Keep in mind that a glass top on an electric stove is probably not pure glass. Most of these cooktops are a combination of ceramic and glass, which works in your favor. The molecules in pure glass are random, meaning that a pure glass cooktop could easily fracture or break.
Adding a little bit of ceramic changes the structure of the molecules, and makes the cooktop much more durable.
While plenty of people prefer the glossy surface of a smoothtop stove over a coil electric stove, that flat top does come at a price. Even if it doesn’t actually crack, the glass-ceramic surface is more prone to scratches than coils are.
If you’ve just spent hundreds or thousands of dollars on a stove, the last thing you want to do is scratch it because you used the wrong pan.
How Electric Stoves Conduct Heat
Regardless of what kind of cookware you use, some stove types and cooktops conduct heat more efficiently than others. For instance, the exposed coils on an electric stove heat your pans better. This is because your cookware sits directly on the coil, without another surface in the middle.
Glasstop surfaces might be pretty, but the heat has to radiate through the cooktop before it gets to your pan. As a result, you can’t expect a glass-ceramic electric stove to heat as quickly as a coil one. With that said, a smoothtop does cool down more quickly.
If you’re truly worried about getting a stove that heats your food quickly, you may want to consider a gas stove over an electric cooktop. Gas stoves don’t rely on coils or other heating elements—you heat your cookware with the flame itself.
The Best Cookware for Electric Stoves: Picking the Right Type
Enough theoretical discussion on stoves already! Let’s look at the best cookware for the different types of electric stoves.
Best Cookware For Coil Stoves
If you’ve got a coil stove, you’ll probably want to look for flat bottom cookware. Since you’ve got to place your pan on top of the coil, you need to ensure it’s flat enough to cook evenly. Luckily, flat bottom cookware comes in all kinds of materials—from stainless steel to cast iron.
Best Cookware for Electric Glass Top Stoves
With glass top stoves the main worry is watching for scratches. This means picking your cookware can be a little bit more delicate. Most of the time, stainless steel cookware provides the perfect balance for the glass surface: while it’s durable enough to last, it’s also stable enough that it won’t easily scratch the surface.
If you’re not a fan of stainless steel, you can always opt for copper or aluminum, both of which conduct heat well. Unfortunately, they can also leave residue behind when you use them.
While those are all materials to look for, the type of cookware you want to avoid with a glass cooktop includes stoneware and cast iron. Both types tend to be rough on the delicate glass, and are more likely to scrape the surface.
If you want your cookware to also be compatible with other stoves, check my guide to gas stove pots and pans, or induction stove cookware. (But to cut a long story short; inductions stoves are the big problem. Anything will work on gas stoves, you need good heat distribution for it to work well.)
My Favorite Cookware Sets for Electric Stoves
You might have an idea of what type of cookware you need, but there are still endless cookware sets to choose from. I’ve included some of my favorite sets below:
With a hard-anodized aluminum exterior, this Calphalon Premier Cookware Set should be very durable. While the set should be safe to use with metal utensils, some users have found that metal scratches the pan.
As far as what it includes, you’ll get a 10-inch (25 cm) fry pan, 12-inch (30 cm) fry pan, two 5-quart (4.8 liter) saucepans with covers, and an 8-quart (7.5 liter) stockpot with a cover.
Keep in mind that this set is also non-stick, and it’s likely that it contains Teflon. If you plan on using this cookware at extremely high heats, you’ll want to be careful.
- Works on both glass and coil tops
- Has even heat distribution
- The long handles help the pans stay cool
- Safe to wash in the dishwasher
- Glass lids collect soapy water, which can make them difficult to clean
- The coating may wear off over time
If aluminum isn’t your first choice, another option is the Rachael Ray Cucina Nonstick Cookware 12 Piece Set. The porcelain enamel exterior on these pots and pans should be safe for your electric stove. What’s more, the aluminum core should help ensure that your food cooks evenly.
Yet, while the exterior might be pretty to look at, one common complaint is that it can chip or fade after regular use. If you’re looking for a cookware set that’s going to last for years, this might not be the right option for you.
The manufacturer claims these pans are PFOA free. But that’s meaningless since PFOA was banned years ago. They don’t say anything about PTFE, the active ingredient of Teflon. I would take that to mean that they very likely have Teflon.
The glass lids that come with the 3-quart (2.8 liter) sauté pan, saucepans, and 6-quart (5.6 liter) stockpots are all shatterproof. Even if you drop the lids, it’s unlikely that they’ll crack. Although it is advertised as twelve pieces, two of those pieces are only utensils.
- The glass lids are supposed to be shatterproof
- Requires hand washing, but should be easy to clean
- Stylish design and comes in different colors
- The pans are lightweight
- The coating may start to come off after a couple of months
- The enamel coating might stain
- Likely contains PTFE, the active ingredient in Teflon
For those that need a larger set, the T-fal Initiatives Nonstick Set includes eighteen pieces. Keep in mind, though, that not all of these “pieces” are actual pots and pans. In fact, five of the pieces in this set are utensils. As a result, you won’t get more actual cookware with this set than you would with the T-fal 14-Piece Set(see below).
One interesting perk of T-fal cookware is that it uses Thermo-Spot technology help with pre heating. Rather than having to guess when the pan is sufficiently heated, the Thermo-Spot lets you know. I have to say I’ve never actually used this when cooking with T-fal cookware though!
When it’s time to clean-up, the nonstick exterior and interior are easy to wipe down. You can also stick them in the dishwasher if you’d like. Keep in mind that the pans might warp and no longer fit the lids after you’ve used them for a while.
- Easy to clean
- Lets you know when the pan has been preheated
- Riveted handles allow you to easily grip the pans
- The pans might warp or change shape after significant use
- The handles are prone to breaking
- Contains PTFE (active ingredient of Teflon)
This T-fal product has one major difference: it uses hard-anodized aluminum. This ensures your pots and pans can resist corrosion and last much longer, even with daily use. While it still retains the great heat-conducting properties of aluminum, it’s much more durable.
The hard-anodized exterior does give the set an edge over the T-fal 18-Piece Set in terms of durability. Unlike the 18-piece set, most users shouldn’t have problems with warping or the pans changing shape.
There are reports of the nonstick layer burning on a high heat. As with all Teflon non-stick you need to keep the heat below 500 °F (260 °C ).
If you’re happy with nonstick then this set could be a great choice. It’s durable, long lasting (for nonstick) and convenient.
- Easy to clean with soap and water
- Has a much more durable exterior and body than other T-fal cookware
- Includes a square griddle in the cookware set
- You’ll automatically know when the pan is preheated
- The handle might get too hot
- Contains Teflon if that concerns you
- Perhaps a little too light
For a cookware set that contains all the basics but shouldn’t be intimidating, there’s this BulbHead Red Copper Nonstick Set. Not only does the copper infusion help these pans conduct heat well, but the ceramic is advertised as scratch-resistant. You’re unlikely to end up with tons of scratches if you use a glass top.
At least not on the glass of the stove that is. Unfortunately the pans themselves are prone to scratching or chipping on the outside. Since they are less likely to be scratched on a smooth top stove, that might be the ideal place for them.
Within this set, you get an 8-inch (20 cm) fry pan, 10-inch (25 cm) fry pan, 2.5-quart (2.3 liter) saucepan, 1.5-quart (1.4 liter) saucepan, and 6-quart (5.6 liter) saucepan. Every saucepan includes a glass lid. If you enjoy steaming vegetables, there’s also an aluminum insert steamer.
While they’re advertised as non-stick, the coating may begin to wear down and stick after several months or years of regular use.
- Goes up to 500℉ (260℃) in the oven
- Doesn’t include Teflon and is PTFE-free
- Great for a budget
- The non-stick coating might not be as good or durable
- Outside is prone to scratching and chipping
While it might not be a designer brand, this sleek AmazonBasics Nonstick Cookware Set comes with plenty of benefits. Along with standard items like a 10-inch (25 cm) fry pan or 2-quart (1.8 liter) saucepan, it also includes two stockpots.
One thing to watch out for is how easy these pans or dishes can burn. When you use them on high heat, you may notice that the pans get burn marks or leave a smell behind.
Keep in mind that, despite being a 15-piece set, five of those “pieces” are utensils and four are lids that go to the saucepans.
- Spiral bottom helps the pans heat on the cooktop
- Works well for beginner cooks or as a “starter” cook
- Relatively lightweight in comparison to some cookware
- Easy to clean
- Very affordable
- May burn much more easily than other cookware
- Probably won’t last as long as other cookware sets
- Not dishwasher safe
You’ve probably seen the name Cuisinart associated with cookware, and there’s a good reason why. The Cuisinart 10-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set is ideal if you use a glass cooktop since there’s not as much of a chance of it scratching the surface.
While it isn’t nonstick, a little bit of scrubbing or a turn in the dishwasher should leave these pots and pans as good as new.
Keep in mind that it does come with a lifetime warranty, which could prove helpful if you find that the cookware isn’t as durable as they suggest.
- You can put the cookware in the dishwasher
- Stainless steel works great for electric stoves
- The construction makes this set much more durable
- No Teflon, PTFE or chemical coatings to worry about
- The handles can get extremely hot when you cook at high heat
- The pans might warp slightly after regular use
Best Cookware Set for Electric Stoves – My Pick
All the sets mentioned have their pros and cons and each would suit different people. You should read the reviews carefully to find the best pots and pans for your electric stove.
Personally, I would choose the T-fal Ultimate Hard-Anodized Nonstick 14-Piece Set. It has the right balance of durability and convenience. Don’t expect it to last forever – nonstick never does. But it should give you many years of easy cooking and clean up if you treat it right.
Best Stainless Steel Cookware set for Smooth top stoves
The Cuisinart Stainless Steel 10-Piece Set is an amazing high quality set that’s built to last. Yes as stainless steel it means more clean up. Yet you can have a set that goes well with your electric stove and lasts years longer than other cookware. Just watch out for those hot handles!
Best Electric Stove Cookware on a Budget
There are a couple of obvious choices if you are on a budget:
They both provide good value. They won’t last as long as other sets, but they still might be worth your while.
I would suggest the BulbHead Cookware set as it’s Teflon free as well as being inexpensive. What’s more, unlike the AmazonBasics set, the BulbHead set is dishwasher friendly. So much more convenient!