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Question: How do induction cooktops work?

Induction cooking is based on an electro-magnetic field creating energy which heats the base of a pan positioned on the cooktop. The electro-magnetic field is activated when material containing iron (ferrous material) comes within range of the inductors beneath the cooktop surface. That's why pans need to contain ferrous material for induction to work. Full stainless steel, aluminium, copper, terracotta or pyrex don't contain ferrous material, so theoretically they won't work. However most pan manufacturers are now producing pans which are suitable for use on induction cooktops, even if they are made from some of the materials mentioned above. This is because they are incoporating some ferrous material in the base of the pan. Look out for the induction symbol when buying new cookware.