Glass top stoves have the advantage of being easy to clean and add a sleek, high-tech look to kitchens. They require pots and pans with smooth bottoms to prevent marring the surface and good heat conductivity to properly cook foods. Cold pans can be placed on glass cook tops if you exercise a few precautions.
If a glass top stove burner is hot, placing a cold pan on the surface may crack or shatter the glass. Pans at room temperature typically pose no risk. For best results, place the pan on the stove top before you turn on the burner and let it gradually heat up by adjusting the temperature during the process until the desired level of hotness is reached.
Conventional gas or electric burners heat up faster than those submerged under glass or ceramic stove tops. Although you can see the red glow from the burner under the surface, it takes a few minutes for the heat of the coil to warm the surface to the same temperature. Heavy clad metal, anodized aluminum, cast iron and enameled cast iron pans with smooth, flat bottoms absorb the heat from the burners faster than other cookware materials, such as light stainless steel, regular aluminum and glass.
Although glass range tops are slow to heat up, they retain heat for a long time. To prevent breakage, make sure the range top has sufficiently cooled before placing a cold pan on it. Many glass and ceramic top ranges have Hot Surface indicator lights on the control panel or facade to warn cooks the surface is still hot after the burners have been turned off. You can save energy by turning the burner off and using the retained heat to cook foods during the cooling stage.
Tips and Hints
If the pan you are using on the glass top comes straight from the refrigerator, let it set for an hour or so at room temperature before placing it on the glass range top. As you heat the food in the pan, frequently stir the contents to prevent sticking, as the heat from the stove will promote adherence and scorching on the pan's bottom. If adding liquids to the pot while it's heating on the stove, make sure they are warm or tepid to prevent drastically lowering the temperature of the ingredients and causing the stove top to crack or break.
Cassie Damewood has been a writer and editor since 1985. She writes about food and cooking for various websites, including My Great Recipes, and serves as the copy editor for "Food Loves Beer" magazine. Damewood completed a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in creative writing at Miami University.