Category: Kitchen

3 Fixes for a Dull Knife

If your knife smooshes your tomato instead of slicing it, your cutlery clearly isn't cutting it. Read on to learn how to fix up a blunt blade and keep your knives sharp—and yourself safe.

How to Sharpen a Kitchen Knife


No matter how you slice it, a dull knife just won’t cut it in the kitchen. Working with a blunt blade both slows down your food prep and increases the risk of injury as you try to overcompensate with each slice—a practice that’s both frustrating and dangerous. But, before you can sharpen a kitchen knife, you first need to determine why it’s dull. Typically, the blade either has a bent edge or is blunt from use, and each issue calls for a different solution. Fortunately, for every cutlery conundrum, there’s a “cutting-edge” solution. We’ve rounded up three smart fixes that will keep your blades sharp and your edges straight.


How to Sharpen a Kitchen Knife - With a Whetstone


Carve It In Stone
When dealing with a blade worn down from months of meal prep, turn to the preferred tool of professional chefs: the whetstone. Also called a sharpening stone, this long, rectangular block is made from composite stone with a coarse grit on one side and a fine grit on the other. As the knife rubs against the stone, bits of the metal blade are ground off to produce a new, sharper edge.

To use a whetstone, first soak the block in water for 15 minutes, then place it on a towel with the coarse side up. Hold the knife at a 20-degree angle to the whetstone and slide it across, pulling the blade toward you, so that the blade’s tip through its heel (the base of the knife) come into contact with the stone. Continue for 12 strokes on each side of the blade, then flip the stone over. Repeat the same process on the fine-grit side. While this hands-on sharpening technique takes practice to perfect, the good news is that your knives need to be sharpened only a few times a year.

Electric sharpeners offer an easier, automatic process using the same principles, but they also remove a tremendous amount of material from the blade and ultimately shorten the lives of your knives. If you own an expensive knife set, electric sharpeners could cost you more in the long run. That’s why the whetstone is the way to go: This manual method allows complete control over the amount of metal removed.


How to Sharpen a Kitchen Knife - With a Steel Rod


Straighten Up for Clean Cuts
Unlike a whetstone, a honing steel should be used regularly to straighten, rather than sharpen, your knives. Bent edges translate to dull blades, which will cause problems on the cutting board. The ridges along the length of a honing steel work to straighten the edge of a knife by gently pushing it back into place.

To hone a knife, take the cutting utensil in your dominant hand and hold the steel’s handle in the other. For maximum control, place the tip of the steel on a cutting board, and position the heel of the knife against the top of the steel with the blade facing downward at a 20-degree angle. Then draw the knife down the rod in an arcing motion so that, by the end of the arc, all of the blade—from the heel to the tip—makes contact with the steel. After the first pass, repeat the motion on the other side of the steel (again holding the blade at a 20-degree angle), so that you’ve honed both sides of the blade. Continue alternating the downward, arcing motion until you’ve completed 10 strokes on each side. (You must do an equal number of strokes on each side to ensure that the edge aligns.) Once honed, your knife’s edge will be in its proper position, resulting in easier slicing and dicing.


How to Sharpen a Kitchen Knife - With Sandpaper


Settle for Sandpaper
In a pinch, sandpaper can be used to shave a new blade, offering an inexpensive homemade alternative to a sharpening stone. Just tape a sheet of fine-grit sandpaper to the edges of a cutting board. Firmly hold the knife by the handle at a 20-degree angle to the board and lightly press down on the center of the blade. Then, slide the edge of the knife across the sandpaper as if shaving a thin layer. After 10 strokes, turn the knife over and repeat on the other side. When you’re done, replace the fine-grit sandpaper with a sheet of extra-fine sandpaper, and repeat the process. Although this hack method isn’t ideal, its results are still better than your otherwise dull blades.

Genius! The Easy (and Affordable) Recipe for a DIY Kitchen Countertop

If you thought you couldn't afford your dream kitchen, think again! Find out how to get the look of butcher block countertops for next to nothing—just a handful of freebies from your local hardware store.

DIY Paint Stirrer Countertop


This story starts at the curb, where people discard the things that they no longer need. Between neighbors’ recycling bins and trash ready for collection, DIYer Naomi Huober of BLDG 25 spotted—and scooped up—an old cabinet destined for the dump. Sure, it was dinged up and missing a top, but it had great bones; painted chippy white and complete with wrought-iron fixtures, it boasted a straight-from-the-farm feel. All it needed was a custom-fit countertop to blend with her existing room design. Wanting to keep total costs low on this freecycle project and play up its country style, Naomi circled the local hardware store until she stumbled upon an unlikely solution: wooden paint stirrers.

Wood countertops are hallmarks in today’s kitchens, popular for their beauty and durability. At up to $100 per square foot, though, a butcher block top wasn’t in the budget for this cabinet makeover. Instead, Naomi pieced together 30 of the free wooden stirrers across a plywood top to achieve just the right look for a fraction of the cost.

You, too, can apply her simple idea to a tabletop or cabinet refresh. Simply use a ruler and handsaw to cut each stirrer before the curve in the wood so you’re left with all straight edges. Then lay them out on your surface: Starting at a corner, work your way towards the center one strip at a time, applying wood glue to the tabletop and pressing each stirrer in place. When you’ve reached the opposite sides, cut the last of the paint stirrers to fit the remaining space, glue, and sand down the edges. Fill any gaps with wood filler, and come back in an hour to sand the surface and apply the stain of your choice. Before you wrap up, seal with two coats of polyurethane so that no water can accidentally do damage to your finished project.

The clean vertical lines, wood grain, and staining of plain old paint stirrers transformed this once-boring plywood top into a convincing faux butcher block counter overnight—talk about the easiest remodel ever. And if anyone asks, don’t worry; your secret is safe with us.

FOR MORE: Free People

DIY Paint Stirrer Countertop - Project Materials Shot


How To: Clean a Stainless Steel Sink

Stainless steel sinks continue to be a popular choice for the kitchen, despite the extra work required to keep the finish clean. Well, with this pantry-based routine, cleanup just got a little easier. Follow these simple steps to remove scratches, spots, and stains, and restore your sink’s original shine.

How to Clean a Stainless Steel Sink - Sponge It Down


Admit it: You invest a great deal of time and energy in keeping your stainless steel appliances fingerprint-free, shiny, and clean, but your stainless steel sink—obscured by a pile of dishes—often gets overlooked. Well, not anymore. Say goodbye to stuck-on food, streaks, and stains! Using just a few products pulled from your pantry, you can polish your sink with minimal effort and even less expense. Just follow these five stress-free steps and, before you know it, your humble sink will outshine your stylish appliances.

- Dish soap
- Baking soda
- Parmesan cheese shaker (optional)
- Soft to medium nylon scrub brush
- Old toothbrush
- Vinegar
- Spray bottle
- Cream of tartar (optional)
- Lint-free cloth
- Olive oil

How to Clean a Stainless Steel Sink - Fresh Kitchen Sink


Rinse the sink basin to remove any food particles. Be sure to wet the faucet and the surrounding countertop too. If stubborn, stuck-on food persists, squirt a little dish soap on it and rinse with hot water.

Next, coat the sink with a sprinkling of baking soda. This powdery substance is gentle enough that it won’t scratch the finish while still tough enough to tackle light hard water deposits and grease. Moreover, it removes odors without leaving behind the toxic chemical residue that some commercial cleaners might. For better control and a more even distribution when spreading the baking soda, consider pouring it first into an empty (and cleaned out) Parmesan cheese dispenser, and then lightly shaking the powder onto all sides of the sink.

Use a soft to medium nylon scrub brush to rub the baking soda in the direction of the metal “grain.” (Never do the job with steel wool, steel brushes, or other highly abrasive scrubbing pads—these may cause further scratches or leave behind metal particles prone to rust.) A toothbrush works well for tighter spaces and tricky turns around the fixture, countertop, and drain. As you rub in the baking soda, the tiny hairline scratches on your sink will become less noticeable.

After scrubbing, but before rinsing, spray undiluted vinegar over the remaining baking soda residue. As the two substances come into contact, they will start to fizz. Think of this as an extra scrubbing action. Vinegar’s acidity effectively dissolves the calcium deposits that cause water spots, plus it’s an equally effective natural disinfectant. Wait several minutes for the chemical reaction to fizzle out, then rinse thoroughly. Immediately dry the sink to avoid water spots.

If stubborn stains still persist, mix one cup of distilled white vinegar with ¼ cup of cream of tartar. (The acidic properties of the latter, as well as its mildly abrasive texture, make cream of tartar an essential ingredient in many homemade stain removers.) Apply a dollop of the vinegar-tartar paste directly to the stain. Then, rub it in gently with a cloth, and allow the paste to sit on the stain for five minutes. Use this mixture as a secondary measure only if necessary; the vinegar alone should be strong enough to clean most spots. Once the stains are gone, rinse the areas with warm water and wipe the sink dry.

Last but not least, the finishing touch: Once your sink is clean and dry, it’s time to add an extra shine. Apply a few drops of olive oil to a lint-free cloth to buff the sink and fixture until they sparkle.

Genius! Remix Your Backsplash with Old CDs

Transform your backsplash on a budget—and declutter your entertainment center at the same time! See how a stack of unused CDs upgraded this boring, builder-grade kitchen.

Cheap Backsplash with Old CDs


Remember when your biggest problem was keeping your favorite CD from skipping? Times were simpler before iPhones, Netflix, and high-speed Internet conquered the world. Thanks to digital libraries, almost no one is worried about the state of their CD collection anymore. But other quandaries—like what to do with all those old CDs now that we’ve moved on—hang around for years. Instructables author Illona solved the dilemma of an unloved collection by crafting this one-of-a-kind kitchen backsplash using discs, scissors, grout, and very little planning. While relieving the environment of a little extra tech trash, her reflective backsplash brightened up the whole kitchen without the addition of a mirror or task lamps!

Piecing it together requires very little as far as specific tools go—only a sharp, strong pair of scissors or one designed to cut plastic. To better preserve the holographic film that creates the mirror effect, first brush a layer white glue over the printed side of the CD and let it dry completely. Cut up your discs, then glue the larger pieces up first and fill in gaps with smaller cuts later. Once you’ve arranged all of the pieces, apply grout to your mosaic. Illona opted for a light grey over white grout to make cleaning easier; the color requires less scrubbing, preventing possible future scratches and preserving the rainbow effect of the holographic film.

Even through Ilona ended up scratching some CDs in the trial-and-error process and dulling the project’s shine ever so slightly, any nicks are quickly lost against full effect of the mosaic. It’s practically impossible to mess up this DIY! With a backsplash this beautiful, it will feel like trading in your old flip phone for a smarter model.

FOR MORE: Instructables

Cheap Backsplash with Old CDs - Detail in Process

IKEA Wants You to Help Design Tomorrow’s Kitchen

IKEA believes that there's no such thing as a bad idea. The innovative Swedish brand has called for a global brainstorm to explore the way we use the kitchen and, ultimately, to discover the future of kitchen design.

IKEAtemporary - Concept Kitchen

Photo: IKEA

Too little storage, not enough chairs? For any sort of home furnishings conundrum, IKEA has the answers. But when it comes to homes of the future, IKEA has only questions—and lots of them. In 20 years, how are people going to be cooking, and in what type of kitchen? And if family dinners are so hard to schedule in 2015, what’s it going to be like in 2036? To explore such questions, the company has launched #IKEAtemporary, a six-month workshop that includes dozens of events, online and off. Whether it’s a pop-up expo in Milan, a streaming video cook-along, or a live Twitter dialogue, #IKEAtemporary wants to get people talking.

IKEAtemporary - HACKA

Photo: IKEA

This isn’t the first time that the Swedish retailer has delved deep to better understand the kitchen, not to mention cooking and eating and the role of both in everyday life at home. Earlier this year, IKEA teamed up with design students to create Concept Kitchen 2025, an experiment showing how technology could be not an obstacle, but a bridge that enables us all to enjoy healthier, more rewarding relationships with food and each other. And then, of course, there’s IKEA HACKA, a new modular kitchen system that makes it possible to customize a solution that perfectly responds to your individual needs. For the first time, you can combine IKEA products with what you’ve already got to create something totally unique.

Paola Navone, Thomas Sandell, Matali Crasset, and other acclaimed designers are joining the kitchen-focused conversation, and you can too! Voice your thoughts across social media—on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter—using the hashtag #IKEAtemporary. As the company’s design manager Marcus Engman says: “Even more brainpower can only be a good thing. We want your thoughts, opinions, and feedback on what we can improve. We believe it’s much better when you tell us how you want to live—not the other way around. You could say that IKEA has the ingredients, but you have the recipes.”



This post has been brought to you by IKEA. Its facts and opinions are those of

5 Reasons to Quit Washing Dishes by Hand

If you've held off purchasing a dishwasher, now's the time to go out and pick one up. To make your decision easier, we've got five good reasons to abandon hand washing.

How to Wash Dishes - Quit Washing Dishes By Hand


Gone are the days of loud, inefficient dishwashers that leave your dishes only partially clean. The new generation of dishwashers has been designed to be quiet, environmentally friendly, and so strategic in their cleaning ability you don’t even need a prerinse. As if those reasons aren’t enough, we’ve got five more that should seal the deal. Add these to your argument for why you want—no, need—a dishwasher right this very minute.

How to Wash Dishes - Wash Dishes In A Dishwasher


1. Hand washing won’t make dishes cleaner.
Sure, you can try to turn your faucet’s knob all the way so the water that pours out is almost scalding hot. (Be sure to wear your rubber gloves!) But these high temperatures still won’t be enough to get your dishes really clean. Water needs to reach 145 degrees Fahrenheit to effectively kill germs, and most hot water heaters aren’t set that high—and for good reason. Such a high setting would cost you more money on your energy bill and would be dangerous in households with kids who might not yet be pros at regulating water temperatures.

2. Sponges are gross.
They can also be downright dangerous, carrying food-borne illnesses, bacteria, and cold and flu germs. Studies at the University of Arizona found that every square inch of your dish sponge contains approximately 10 million bacteria—that’s way more disgusting than even your toilet seat, and you wouldn’t bring that into contact with the dishes that hold your food. While there are temporary fixes to clean or disinfect sponges, no one can do them every single day. And why risk it?

3. You’ll save money every month using an energy-efficient dishwasher.
So, maybe you’re not using your dishwasher because it’s old, loud, and costly when it comes to utilities. But when you swap out a pre-1994 diswhasher for an Energy Star-certified replacement, you’ll start saving up to $35 dollars per year on your electric bill! And compared with simply washing by hand, the energy-efficient washer will save you more than $40 a year on utilities. Which leads us to our next point….

4. You’re wasting a ton of water.
Except when you’re actively rinsing something, the ongoing stream of water from your sink faucet goes mostly unused. As Jonah Schein, the technical coordinator for homes and buildings in the EPA’s WaterSense program, explained in an interview with The Washington Post: “In order to wash the same amount of dishes that can fit in a single load of a full size [energy-efficient] dishwasher and use less water, you would need to be able to wash eight full place settings and still limit the total amount of time that the faucet was running to less than two minutes.” Yikes! While we’ve been known to speed clean from time to time, we’re not that good.

5. You could be doing something else.
Finally, more than simply wasting just water, hand washing dishes is a chore that eats up valuable time. Think about how long you spend each day washing your dishes by hand. An hour? And you’re not even getting them completely clean. We can think of plenty of other around-the-house DIY projects we’d rather be doing instead—and which we’d be free to pursue after loading up the dishwasher and starting a cycle. Just some food for thought.

Before & After: ’70s Kitchen Remodel Puts Every Inch to Work

A tiny, outdated kitchen gets a 21st century update—complete with extra storage, increased natural light, and more room to breathe. Read on for more of the story and photos of this beautiful before-and-after.

70s Kitchen Makeover


For Mat and Anna Nicholson, husband and wife with three houses’ worth of DIY renovation under their belts, a tiny kitchen in a not-so-dream home posed a creative challenge. First off, its tired style felt stuck in 1974. More concerning was its serious lack of space to cook, store supplies, eat in, and entertain. “The old layout left a lot of space underused,” Anna explained. “As it’s not a huge house, we wanted to make the most of what we had.” Together, she and Mat transformed the initially awkward room into a livable design by tearing down walls to open into a dining area, bricking over existing doors, and expanding windows into larger glass doors to invite in extra light. Floating shelves, a final addition, make even the most awkward corner useful and open up the tight space. Impressed by the work, we invited Anna to discuss behind-the-scenes details about designing her favorite project to date. Read on for her experience of making the best of a tiny kitchen!

How would you describe the kitchen before the makeover?
The main problem was the size—the kitchen was very small. And the layout of the downstairs was old-fashioned, with one living/dining room going from the front to back of the house and a separate kitchen, complete with 1970s serving hatch. There was also a pantry in the kitchen that took up a lot of space, which we removed in the end, and a door that we bricked up for more wall space.

What did you envision for this space?
We wanted the room to feel light, bright, and open. The layout needed to fit in with modern family life—a dining kitchen, somewhere comfortable and pleasant to cook and spend time.

70s Kitchen Makeover - Use of Space


You tore down walls, ripped out flooring, installed new cabinetry and subway tile—really, the finished space is barely recognizable! What was most challenging?
The biggest challenge was probably living without a proper kitchen for six months! As we did nearly all of the work ourselves alongside working full time, the process took longer. The biggest and scariest challenges were probably the structural changes—knocking down a wall and replacing a window with double doors—but they were worth it because they’ve made the biggest difference.

Do you have any helpful advice for someone embarking on a kitchen remodel?
Just make sure you get your measurements right and spend time thinking about and planning the layout of your cupboards and appliances.

70s Kitchen Makeover - Wall Removal


Which part of the new design are you most proud of?
We just love the overall look, and the fact that we’ve managed to get all the appliances and cupboards we need in a relatively small space!

How do you make the small kitchen feel more cozy and less cluttered?
We’ve added open shelving in awkward corners, which I think looks great and serves a practical purpose—keeping the worktop free of clutter.

70s Kitchen Makeover - Extra Storage


Finally, how does this makeover change how you use the space?
It’s a much bigger, brighter, and more sociable space. Now, cooking is enjoyable and it’s a room where we spend time after work preparing and eating food and chatting. Just after it was finished, we hosted a Christmas dinner for 10; seeing everyone sitting together in the room enjoying the meal was a really proud moment. The old kitchen could barely fit two people in at the same time!

See more photos of the transformation at Angel in the North.

Streamline Kitchen Renovation with Quick-Ship Assembled Cabinets

Kitchen renovation just got faster and more convenient, thanks to high-quality preassembled cabinets that are waiting for you now at The Home Depot.

Quick-Ship Assembled Cabinets from Home Depot


Overseeing a renovation job is similar in many ways to conducting an orchestra. If one section of the ensemble isn’t there to play its part, the show simply can’t go on. That’s why contractors appreciate the importance of setting—and keeping—work schedules. Besides the obvious inconvenience, even minor delays can end up being quite expensive. Ultimately, for the job to get done on budget and on time, all parties involved must uphold the initial project plan.

If you’ve ever worked on a kitchen remodel, you know that stock cabinets can take weeks to be delivered, with custom work taking as long as six months. The variability here can be especially problematic because, in many kitchens, the cabinets must be delivered, built, and installed before a slew of other jobs can get under way—sink plumbing, for instance, or appliance installation. Coordinating a satisfactory timeline can therefore be, to put it mildly, a real challenge.

To the rescue comes The Home Depot, which now enables you to sidestep the hassles cabinets so often introduce to kitchen remodeling. The Home Depot now stocks a wide variety of high-quality preassembled cabinetry. That means you no longer need to wait weeks for your cabinetry; on the contrary, those cabinets are now waiting for you at the nearest location. Do you prefer delivery? Products ship within as few as seven days.

The Home Depot ships directly to the job site within a maximum of only 10 days.

Once the cabinets arrive on-site, you can immediately begin installation without having to spend time scratching your head over the manufacturer’s instructions and proprietary tools or fasteners. Along with quick-ship availability, the time-saving convenience of preassembly means that cabinetwork no longer has to be a big question mark in your project plan. You know what to expect and may schedule accordingly. Kitchen remodeling has changed!

Quick-ship assembled cabinets from The Home Depot come in a broad mix of styles, ranging from classic to ultracontemporary. Finish options abound, although if you wish to handle the staining or painting yourself, there are unfinished cabinets too. At $55 per linear foot (with large orders eligible for discounts), the price may be as appealing as the designs. Scroll down to see only a few of the attractive cabinetry lines that are available right now.



Quick-Ship Assembled Cabinets from Home Depot - Hampton


Low-cost and high-quality, the Hampton Bay line boasts classic raised-panel doors and a furniture-quality satin-white finish that lends a clean, crisp, and refined look to any kitchen. Three quarters of an inch thick, the interior shelves are robust and sturdy, and they’re also fully adjustable, allowing the homeowner to maximize, customize, and easily reconfigure storage space. Fully assembled, Hampton Bay cabinets come with a limited lifetime warranty.



Quick-Ship Assembled Cabinets from Home Depot - Hargrove


Inspired by timeless Shaker design, Hargrove cabinets offer a geometric flat-panel appeal balanced by an earthy cinnamon-color finish. With practicality to match its good looks, the line’s solid-wood doors open to reveal integral shelves and optional roll-out trays or wastebasket pullouts. With half-inch-thick plywood backings, Hargrove cabinets are rigid in construction and built to last. Perhaps best of all, like others from The Home Depot, these cabinets arrive fully assembled.



Quick-Ship Assembled Cabinets from Home Depot - Kingsbridge


With a reddish-brown cabernet finish, Kingsbridge cabinets and drawers feature durable all-plywood construction. Their full overlay doors, meanwhile, include three-inch-wide solid birch frames that surround recessed panels of birch-veneer medium density fiberboard (MDF). Enhanced by soft-close technology, those doors will provide smooth, quiet operation for years. In fact, the line carries a limited lifetime warranty—and yes, the cabinets arrive fully assembled!


Restore reliable scheduling to your kitchen remodeling projects—and save valuable time on installation—by choosing from among the many lines of quick-ship assembled cabinets at The Home Depot. For more information, visit your local store or shop The Home Depot online for its full range of products.


This post has been brought to you by The Home Depot. Its facts and opinions are those of

Quick Tip: Rescue Scorched Cookware

Though you may doubt the scorched bottom of your cookware can even be cleaned, it's not only possible but can actually be done with a minimum of labor-instensive scouring. Here's what to do.

How to Clean a Burnt Pot


Fear not: Cleaning blackened, burned cookware doesn’t have to mean an arm-wearying afternoon of intensive scouring. It doesn’t have to mean the use of harsh, toxic chemicals, either. You probably already own everything you need to save a scorched pot or pan from the clutches of charred food. So if and when your usual let-it-soak-and-wait method ultimately meets with failure, try one of these tried-and-true strategies for restoring scorched cookware to its original, shiny state.

How to Clean a Burnt Pot - Scrub Detail


Light Duty
Fill the burned pot with enough water to cover the charred area completely. Bring the water to a boil on the stove and let it continue boiling for two or three minutes. Next, remove the pot from the stove and set it aside to cool down. Pour out the water only once the water has returned to room temperature.

Now that the char in the pot has softened considerably, sprinkle in a generous amount of baking soda and proceed to scrub. With luck, you should find that the black residue comes off much more easily, particularly with the potent abrasive combination of baking soda and a rough-textured scouring pad.

Heavy Duty
If the technique described above ended up helping but not enough, call in more firepower—that is, white vinegar. Pour enough of the stuff into the pot to cover the charred area completely (here, vinegar substitutes for the water used in the first method.) Once finished, add in about one cup of baking soda. Once the fizzing dies down, pour the liquid out of the pot and proceed to scrub the burned area clean.

In the most extreme cases, try this alternative method: Fill the pot with enough vinegar to cover the charred area, then bring the vinegar to a boil. Let it simmer on the stove. (As the vinegar simmers, you might even see blackened bits breaking away from the bottom and sides of the pot.) After a few minutes, set the pot aside and add baking soda. Once the fizzing has stopped, pour out the liquid and scrub.

Even gourmet chefs scorch cookware occasionally, so there’s no telling when you might face the problem again. But now you know not to dispose of a burned pot or pan. Though it may seem impossible at first, black and bristly char can indeed be removed, and often without a great deal of effort. You only need to know what staples to pull out of your pantry and precisely how to employ them to get results.

Induction Cooktops 101

With many compelling benefits, as well as some real drawbacks, induction cooktops are an intriguing alternative to the traditional gas or electric range.


Picture this: You put a large pot of water on the stove and within only a few minutes, the water has rolled to a boil. That’s the magic of an induction cooktop. Compared with conventional gas and electric ranges, induction cooktops boast enhanced, even revolutionary, speed. But it’s not just about power; induction cooktops also offer a high level of precision. In other words, there’s no delay when you turn the dial up or down; the technology responds immediately to your adjustment and holds, without deviation, the desired temperature. Though induction cooking has existed for decades, it’s really started to gain traction in the last few years, having become a viable alternative to the conventional heating appliances we all grew up with. Even so, induction cooktops account for less than 10 percent of the market in the United States, and a great deal of confusion remains as to how the technology works and what it offers the home cook.

The Science
Unlike any range you’re likely to have used before, an induction cooktop does not give off heat. Rather, its burners are essentially electromagnets that transfer energy to the cookware. That energy, in turn, causes the cookware—and the food within it—to heat. So even when a pot of water is boiling vigorously, the cooktop itself stays relatively cool. If it warms at all, it’s only because the hot pot has sat right over the induction cooktop surface for a prolonged period of time.


Induction cooking is fast, responsive, and precise, and for these reasons many professional cooks have adopted the technology. But even for the average homeowner, there are at least a few benefits to consider beyond the bounds of meal preparation. For instance, because there are no hot surfaces (except those directly under active pots and pans), induction cooktops are a safe option in homes with children. As well, the smooth glass-ceramic surface of an induction cooktop is very easy to clean, with no grates, drip pans, or awkward gaps to collect crumbs or splatters. And because the cooktop does not get hot, spills do not burn and become caked on—they come right off, with no need for scrubbing.

Energy Efficiency
According to the Department of Energy, a conventional electric or gas stove fails to transfer about 60 percent of the energy it consumes. Induction cooktops are nearly twice as efficient. While it’s certainly true that—compared with, say, heating and cooling—cooking accounts for only a small amount of the energy used in the average home, many like the fact that induction cooktops save energy by cooking faster and that they waste a minimum of energy in the process of doing so.

Induction cooking takes some getting used to, and some cooking methods simply may not translate. Any technique that requires an open flame—grilling, for example, or even toasting—is not possible with induction cooking. There’s also the possibility that you would need to replace some or even all of your nonmagnetic cookware. Cast iron, enamel, and stainless steel are often suitable, but copper, glass, ceramic, and aluminum are not. When in doubt, touch a magnet to the bottom of the pot or pan in question. If it sticks, then you’re in business. If not, the cookware unfortunately won’t work.

One final drawback: Although induction cooktops have recently come down in price, they can still be pretty expensive (though budget options are out there). Then again, for those entranced by the magic of induction cooking, cost may be secondary to the many performance and lifestyle benefits.