Electric stovetops are cost-effective, smart-looking and pretty easy to clean – certainly compared to a gas stove and all the grim they accumulate over time.
What’s the best skillet for an electric stovetop though?
There are a number of different materials to consider, and each one has its pros and cons.
I’ve put together a buying guide that will walk you through all the options. I’ve then highlighted some of the tried and tested classics within each category.
By the time you’ve finished reading, you’ll know just what you need for your own kitchen.
(My home cookware guide contains plenty more tutorials and buying tips!)
Electric Stovetop Skillet Buying Guide
Before I move onto my recommendations, I wanted to include some important advice for shortlisting an electric stovetop skillet.
A Flat Bottom Is Best!
It’s important that the base of your skillet makes clean, even contact with the electric stovetop.
This not only reduces the cooking time overall, it also ensures everything in the skillet is cooked evenly as well.
A flat pan bottom also reduces your risk of scratching the delicate glass cooking surfaces.
The bottom of your skillet should also be the same size – or smaller – than the electric hob.
If the skillet is bigger than the hob, the heat won’t transfer efficiently around the cooking surface. Different parts of the skillet will heat up more quickly as a result, which means uneven cooking.
The good news is that manufacturers of both stovetops and cookware tend to work in each other’s interests here.
Still, it’s something worth checking carefully before settling on a size.
Weighing Things Up
A heavy skillet is a stable skillet, which means constant clean contact with the electric stovetop.
This also means, however, that you need to be very careful placing the skillet onto the hob. Careless handling here can result in scratches or – worse – a broken hob.
This is only really a problem with cast iron, which is something I’ll cover shortly.
Let’s move on to looking at the different skillet material options, and how they react with electric stovetops.
Stainless steel is a very popular option, and strikes a great balance between performance and cost.
This material heats up quickly, but it’s better suited to cooking at low to medium heat levels.
To prevent food from sticking to the surface, you should also warm the skillet and then the oil, before adding your ingredients.
If you’re looking for an affordable electric stove skillet that doesn’t sacrifice too much in terms of performance, this is the way to go.
Copper sits right at the extremes in terms of both cost and cooking performance.
There’s no other cookware material that offers better heat distribution, and it’s fully compatible with electric stovetops.
There are no hotspots to worry about either. Copper also heats up quickly and adjusts to small temperature changes quickly and accurately.
This comes at a cost, however. Expect your budget to take quite a dent if you choose this material.
If only the best will do though, and you can justify the investment, this is unquestionably the best material.
A copper skillet will also provide you with a lifetime of good service, which helps soften the blow to your wallet!
As much as I love working with cast iron cookware, I don’t consider this material to be the best for an electric stovetop.
For a start, it’s heavy. You need to be careful placing cast iron onto an electric stovetop, so you avoid cracking the glass.
The exterior of cast iron is also prone to picking up surface imperfections. If you’re not careful, you can easily scratch the surface of your electric stovetop.
With all this said, there’s no getting away from the fact that cast iron provides exceptional cooking performance!
If this is the route you want to go down though, spend a little extra on a skillet with an enamel layer on the outside.
This will ensure smoother contact with the glass stove, albeit at a higher price. It’s a necessary trade-off though in my opinion.
Aluminum has a lot going for it as a cookware material. It’s lightweight, conducts heat well, and is affordable.
Like stainless steel, it’s also best suited for working at a low to medium heat.
The main problem with using aluminum cookware on an electric stove is warping.
It’s more prone to becoming deformed over time, which will affect the cooking performance.
You really want a flat connection between the stovetop and your skillet, and that only becomes harder to achieve over time.
I’ve chosen not to include an aluminum recommendation in this guide. I really can’t think of a situation where you wouldn’t be better off using a stainless steel alternative, and at a very similar cost.
Electric Stovetop Skillet Reviews
With that information, you should have a pretty good idea of which type of skillet is going to be most suitable for your own kitchen.
In the next section, I’m going to highlight the most popular options within each material category.
These have all been chosen based on their popularity and performance, and can all be considered “best in class”.
Best Stainless Steel Skillet For Electric Stoves
You want to strike the best possible balance between performance and price when it comes to stainless steel cookware.
I think Cuisinart’s classic 12 inch skillet covers both of these bases nicely.
- Mirror finish. Classic looks, professional performance.
- Aluminum encapsulated base heats quickly and spreads heat evenly. Eliminates hot spots.
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That stainless steel body actually surrounds an aluminum core. This gives you the superior heat distribution of aluminum, with the added protection of a tough outer shell.
It’s not only a smart-looking skillet, the stainless steel finish means it won’t become discolored over the long-term either.
The glass lid is a helpful finishing touch as well. With a glass lid, it’s much easier to see how the food’s progressing, and without letting the moisture escape.
One final plus? Unlike many other materials, a stainless steel skillet such as Cuisinart’s is dishwasher-safe!
In other words, it’s easy to cook with and easy to care for as well.
Best Copper Skillet For Electric Stoves
Assuming your wallet can stomach the cost, a true piece of copper cookware will always provide the best results.
Be very wary when you’re researching copper cookware online though. Many brands use this term liberally, but they’re really talking about a copper-colored cooking surface.
- Copper heats more evenly, much faster than other metals and offers superior cooking control
- 2.5-mm thick copper allows unsurpassed heat conductivity and control
- Mauviel copper and stainless cookware construction is 90% copper and 10% 18/10 stainless steel
The benefits of copper cookware come from the fundamental construction material. If the price gives you a pleasant surprise, look very closely at the product listing.
Mauviel is the real deal in copper cookware, and its M’Heritage skillet is the final word when it comes to this sort d of pan.
This is a premium item of cookware, but the 2.5mm thick copper construction provides unparalleled cooking performance.
It heats up incredibly quickly, and it responds just as quickly to fine temperature adjustments. If you can justify this kind of investment, you really can’t get better results!
This is your best option if you intend to use your skillet on a daily basis, and want nothing but the very best.
Best Cast Iron Skillet For Electric Stoves
Le Creuset’s Signature skillet features time and time again on Viva Flavor.
It’s one of those classic pans that’s so versatile – and built to such high standards – that it’s become an evergreen favorite among home cooks around the world.
- Enameled cast iron delivers superior heat distribution and retention
- Ready to use, requires no seasoning
- Easy-to-clean and durable enamel resists dulling, staining, chipping and cracking
What makes this skillet suitable for electric stovetops in particular is the addition of an enamel layering over the raw cast iron.
It’s still heavy, and so you need to exercise care when placing it down, but you don’t have to worry about scratching your glass hob.
There’s a helper handle on the opposite side of the main handle as well. This helps with stability when the skillet’s full and you need to transfer it around the kitchen.
Unlike most cast iron cookware, you don’t have to season the Signature regularly. This is down to the second enamel layer that covers the interior of the skillet.
That layer also means you use less oil while cooking, which is great if you’re counting your calories.
If you’re going to go down the cast iron route for your electric stove skillet, nothing will outperform the Le Creuset.
For the average household I think the Cuisinart 12 Inch Skillet is going to be the best all-round choice.
As long as you bring it slowly up to a medium heat on the hob, you’ll get excellent “near non-stick” results.
If your budget can stretch a little further though, take a look at the Le Creuset Signature Skillet.
It’s heavy, so requires a little care when handling, but will give you a lifetime of exceptional service.
Well, we’d all love one, but that price tag may well be prohibitive. If you really want the best results on your electric stove though, this copper classic will more than deliver!