Can You Use Cast Iron Cookware on a Glass-Top Stove?

Hesitant about using cast iron on your glass stovetop? Here’s what you should know about avoiding scratches, cracks, and stains. 

Fried potatoes and onions cooking in a black cast iron skillet on the stove in a residential kitchen
Photo: Robin Gentry/Getty Images

Cast iron pans are one of the most ubiquitous pieces of cookware in American kitchens. They're versatile, sturdy, and can last practically forever if properly cared for. Cast iron cookware was originally intended to be used over open flames, but now, most of us aren't carrying out our day-to-day cooking over a fire pit. Gas and electric coil stoves are common, but glass-topped electric and induction cooktops are becoming more and more popular. Because of cast iron's heavy and rugged nature, many people wonder if cast iron is safe to use on glass stovetops or if an induction stovetop will recognize the pan.

The short answer is yes. However, the biggest factor to be mindful of is that cast iron cookware is heavy, so you need to be gentle. Plopping a cast iron skillet down too aggressively can cause a crack in your stovetop, or worse. Generally speaking, adequately maintaining your cookware and cooktop is the best way to avoid surface-level damage to the glass. Oh, and don't worry about induction cooktops — they rely on magnets to recognize cookware, and cast iron is magnetic.

How to Clean a Glass-Top Stove

For daily maintenance, a gentle cleaning method is best for glass stovetops. Start by picking up any large pieces of food or debris from the cooktop and then wiping the entire surface with a damp paper towel or kitchen cloth. For tougher messes, add a few drops of dish soap to your towel and wipe the surface thoroughly.

When it comes to really stuck-on food, there are many different brands of commercial products to dissolve any mess safely. If you don't happen to have one of those on hand, try lightly wetting the surface (a spray bottle of water is handy here!) and then sprinkling with baking soda. Scrub with a gentle scrub brush, never a harsh abrasive surface like steel wool. Then pour a few capfuls of white vinegar over the affected area. Allow this mixture to sit until the bubbling stops; scrub again if necessary and wipe away. Finish the process with one last pass of plain water on a towel before drying completely.

How to Avoid Scratches on a Glass-Top Stove

Scratches can happen when abrasion occurs from rubbing any tiny particles on the surface. Even the slightest bit of grit can present a major problem on a glass cooktop. Always wipe up any hard pieces that fall onto your cooktop with something soft like a paper towel, kitchen towel, or microfiber cloth.

Additionally, you want to avoid dragging anything rough, sharp, or jagged across the surface. When it comes to cast iron pans, there usually isn't anything sharp or jagged to be concerned about, but small pieces of burned- or dried-on food clinging to the bottom can wreak havoc on your pristine cooktop over time. Moreover, if you happen to have a cast iron piece with a crack or chip in its underside, it's likely worthwhile to err on the side of caution and forgo using it on a glass stovetop just to be safe.

The best way to make sure that little pieces of grit or potential chips aren't going to scratch up your cooktop is to avoid sliding or dragging your pan across the surface. Remember, cast iron cookware can be extremely heavy, so it's only natural to want to slide or drag these pieces from one place to another. However, it's always better to lift them straight up, and gently place them down onto the burner you wish to use.

How to Avoid Stains on a Glass-Top Stove

Stains on your glass cooktop are not only unsightly, but can eventually lead to damage. The most important (and effective) step towards avoiding stains is to immediately clean up spills as they occur in order to prevent anything from getting baked on. Another factor that many people don't consider, though, is the state of their cookware.

Maintaining clean pans is a significant way to circumvent pesky stains on your stove. Many cooks maintain their own opinions on what properly cleaning a cast iron pan means, but cleaner is better when it comes to the exterior of the pan. (Oil is an exceptionally troublesome culprit for cast iron; once it's heated repeatedly and becomes carbonized, it takes on the texture of sticky soot, which can be a major thorn in your side.) Always thoroughly clean the bottom of your pans, cast iron or otherwise, before using them again to avoid those black streaks and stains on your cooktop.

For more details and insight on how to clean and maintain your cast iron cookware, be sure to explore the following:

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