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 pots and pans for electric stoves, I’ve managed to break down everything you need to know below.
In a hurry and just want to know what the best electric stovetop cookware is? I would choose the T-fal Ultimate Hard-Anodized Nonstick 14-Piece Set. But not all electric stoves are the same! Read the guide to help you decide which pots and pans are best for your electric stove.
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! When it comes to electric stoves, there are two broad categories: coil electric stoves and smooth-top electric stoves. Let’s take a closer look at each type:
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. Many coil electric stoves include drip pans underneath the coils to prevent spills from getting under the cooktop.
Even so, trying to clean bits of food or grease off the coils is rarely fun (or convenient). I’ve had multiple models of these electric stoves, and while they always work reliably, I’ve never missed them after switching to another type.
Yet the electric coil stove has the advantages of simplicity, durability, and efficiency. They also tend to be less expensive since they’re more “bare bones” than other stove types.
Smooth-Top Electric Stoves
These days, smooth-top electric stoves tend to be more common than coil stoves. The material of the smooth top 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 pan quickly and evenly. An induction stove essentially makes the pan the heating element.
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 smooth top stoves over coil electric stoves, 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 electric stoves 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 an electric coil stove. With that said, smooth top electric stoves do 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
Ready to get to the nuts and bolts? Let’s look at the best cookware for the different types of electric stoves.
Best Cookware For Electric 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 pans to cast iron pans. Pretty much any material can work on an electric coil stove.
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 of an electric stove.
If you’re not a fan of stainless steel cookware, you can always opt for aluminum or copper cookware, both of which conduct heat well. Unfortunately, copper cookware can also leave residue behind when you use them. Aluminum is lightweight, but it reacts with acidic foods and is easier to warp at high heat. So there are trade-offs, for sure.
While those are all materials to look for, the type of cookware you want to avoid with a glass cooktop includes stoneware and bare cast iron. Both stoneware and cast iron tend to be rough on delicate glass and are more likely to scrape the surface.
Can you technically use cast iron on an electric stove? Sure, but you’re taking a risk in doing so. I’ve used cast iron on electric stoves in the past with no problems… until I dragged the pan without thinking and left behind several tiny scratch marks on the cooktop. It didn’t ruin the stove or affect its performance, but it did make for an eyesore (and make me a little sick to my stomach!).
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 pots and pans sets below:
T-fal Ultimate Hard-Anodized Nonstick 14-Piece Set (Best Pots and Pans for Electric Stove)
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.
The hard-anodized nonstick surface helps the set be dishwasher-safe. This is a decent advantage, and in my experience you can put T-fal in the dishwasher if you are careful: don’t let the cooking surface touch anything else, or be able to touch something if it moves.
Yet I’ve found that the dishwasher can shorten the life of any non-stick cookware. So it’s better to handwash, if possible.
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 ). That’s on the stove, in the oven, I would go lower: these pans are advertised as oven-safe to 400 °F (204 °C ), and only 350 °F (177 °C ) with the lids.
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
- Hard anodized Aluminum-Durable exterior and body
- Includes a square griddle in the cookware set
- You’ll automatically know when the pan is preheated
- Dishwasher-safe, in theory
- The handle might get too hot
- Contains Teflon if that concerns you
- Perhaps a little too light
Cuisinart 10-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set (Best Stainless Steel Cookware Set for Electric Stoves)
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.
As these are stainless steel, they are much less likely to wear out in the dishwasher, feel free to use it!
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.
- Stainless steel works great for electric stoves
- The construction makes this set much more durable
- Stainless Steel, so no Teflon, PTFE or chemical coatings to worry about
- Oven safe to 500 °F (260 °C )
- The handles can get extremely hot when you cook at high heat
- The pans might warp slightly after regular use
- Stainless steel can be harder to clean
BulbHead Red Copper 10-Piece Copper-Infused Nonstick Set (Best Affordable Cookware Set for Electric Stove tops)
For a cookware set that contains all the basics but shouldn’t be intimidating, there’s this BulbHead Red Copper Nonstick Cookware 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 sauce pan includes a glass lid. If you enjoy steaming vegetables, there’s also an aluminum insert steamer.
Theoretically this set is dishwasher-safe, but, like other non-stick sets, it will last longer if you handwash as much as possible.
While they’re advertised as non-stick, the coating may begin to wear down and stick after several months or years of regular use.
- Oven-safe to 500℉ (260℃)
- Doesn’t include Teflon and is PTFE-free
- Great for a budget
- Theoretically dishwasher-safe
- The non-stick coating might not be as good or durable
- Outside is prone to scratching and chipping
You can also get this product direct from the manufacturer, Bulbhead: