However, under this restricted environment, I have to learn to cook on an induction cooktop. I managed to develop a series of tricks that enable me to cook with it as well as I would on a gas stove. If you have an electric stove, these are the things I think are worth keeping in mind, both according to experts and also from my own experiences.
1. Be cautious with the burners, especially if it's your first time using an electric stove.
It's obvious when a gas stove is on because you can see a flame or smell gas, but the same isn't always true for an electric stove. Newer models are often equipped to notify you if a burner is still hot, but many older models don't provide any clear indications. If you're not sure if a burner is hot or cold, place your hand several inches above it. If it is hot, you'll be able to feel that heat without actually touching it. Alternatively, you can purchase a sign or a magnet to leave on or near the stovetop that indicates if it's still hot or not.
2. Be extra sure that you turn off all your burners—even if that means squatting down to get a better look at burner dials!
I've walked away from a still-on burner more times than I care to admit, to avoid it happening again, I stick a note on the surface of my stove desk to remind myself, as time goes by, I kind of can remember to turn off them naturally without any thought.
3. When it comes to electric stoves, preheating is your best friend.
It can take a long time for a burner to properly heat up—in my experience, up to 15 minutes! That's why you should preheat your burners while you're prepping your food. Have onions to chop? Turn your burner on first, then get to work. By the time you're prepped and ready to go, your stovetop should be too.
4. If you need to preheat something a little more substantial than a basic pot or pan, like a cast-iron skillet or a Dutch oven, let your oven do that for you.
About 20 to 30 minutes before you plan to begin cooking, use a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven to bring it up to temp, and take it out (with oven mitts!) when you're ready to begin. It can be hard to maintain a high heat on an electric stove, and doing this little extra step will guarantee your food cooks more evenly.
5. If you have an electric kettle, use it to heat water before putting it into a pot to boil; it'll speed up the process significantly.
When you put a pot of cold water on an electric stovetop, it can take a long time to come to a boil, especially because electric stoves heat up so slowly. If you don't have the time to wait for that, pre-boil your water in an electric kettle. It takes a matter of minutes and it's perfect for when you don't want to wait around all night to cook a pot of pasta.
6. If you need to quickly lower the heat, experiment with having two burners on at once.
When you're cooking, you'll often find that you need to move something quickly from a high heat to low heat, like when you're making a pot of stovetop rice or trying not to burn homemade caramel. It's harder to do that on an electric stove because the burners take longer to cool down. Instead, I keep two burners on at once, one at a lower temp and one at a higher temp. Bev Weidner, the host of Food Network's Pressure Point, has had similar success with this method, telling me that it can make things easier, especially when you need to seamlessly move between high and low heats. Just be triple sure to turn off all your burners when you're finished! With these tricks in your back pocket, no one will know to have any idea how clunky your stove is.