If you’re fortunate enough to have a gas stove in your home, you have the ability to prepare any kind of dish – from the simple to the complex – and make it taste like restaurant quality. That’s because a gas stove enables you to char food directly on the burner – creating a distinct smoky flavor that infuses any dish like salsa, chili, or southwest burrito bowls – with amazing taste. It is important though to consider the best cookware for gas stove.
While an electric stove runs off of a standard 220 Volt outlet – a gas stove is primarily powered by natural gas or propane. They require an existing natural gas line running directly to the stove, wherever it happens to be located in your kitchen. Without a working gas line – a gas stove isn’t of much use.
Existing Gas Line
If you’re in the market for a new stove and you already have natural gas running to your home, you can certainly opt for this option. All it takes is having a separate line connected to your stove. So if you’re replacing a gas stove with another – it’s far less costly than having a line installed from the municipal feed on your street.
Gas stoves are both affordable and practical. You can get a freestanding unit or a built-in gas stove – depending on the layout of your kitchen. They’re quite affordable too with a cost that is comparable to electric ovens. But here’s the thing – if you ask most professional chefs what they recommend – they will tell you in overwhelming fashion that gas is the only way to go.
Safety Can Be a Concern
Natural gas or propane stoves offer plenty of advantages, but there are also some drawbacks as well, primarily from a safety point of view.
Gas stoves use an open flame fuelled by natural gas, propane, butane – or some other type of gas. They typically use some electricity too, in order to run the clock/timer and any lights it may come equipped with.
Most commonly the fuel deployed is natural gas. Some families with young children choose to avoid getting a gas stove – especially if the kids are young and prone to fidgeting with anything they can get their hands on. In that case, an electric stove would be a safer and equally affordable option – though not without its own potential dangers as far as children are concerned.
Why Chefs Love Gas Stoves
Chances are most chefs were trained on a gas stove and have a degree of familiarity right out of school. But there’s a reason why restaurants and culinary schools are equipped with gas stoves and that is because they offer a more diverse range of cooking capability, heat up faster than electric stoves, and work well with a variety of cookware – especially when the cookware isn’t perfectly level on the bottom.
But probably the biggest reason why professional chefs love gas stoves is the control it gives them over the range dishes they’re cooking. Since stoves heat up instantly and that heat can be adjusted to any degree – there’s no waiting around for pans to heat up. That means a chef can start cooking straight away.
Gas powered stoves give the chef total control of the heat applied to the pan – from low to high. Both the stove and oven on a gas range heat up fast and when compared side-by-side with an electric model and gas stoves can be slightly cheaper to operate.
Gas stoves are also more versatile providing options for grilling, searing and simmering giving foods a more robust flavor. Most chefs will tell you that the temperature is easier to control on a gas stove and response times are much quicker. A gas stove is slightly easier than a coil top electric stove to clean – but it can still be involved if they are spillage on the great.
Gas stoves work well with a wide variety of pots and pans. If you’ve ever had the privilege of touring a restaurant kitchen, you may notice their diverse collection of well-worn pots and pans. Chances are you won’t have to buy a new set of cookware just because you have a new gas stove.
Works Through Power Outages
Should you experience a power outage, a gas stove you can still cook a terrific meal so you won’t go hungry. But the same cannot be said about any stove or other cooking appliance dependent on electric power.
Once your gas stove is turned on, you get heat right away. This saves time by making cooking faster – one reason for their popularity in restaurant kitchens where minimizing costs without sacrificing flavor is one of the keys to success.
Food Often Tastes Better
If you are used to grilling with an open flame – whether on a camping trip or while using a barbeque at home – you already know how the process can enhance the flavor and texture of the food you’re cooking. Adding a gas stove to your home can add new possibilities to your menus.
A gas stove – as well as the raw material necessary to fuel it – is generally widely available and at a reasonable price. But if you have to add a separate gas line to your home in order to hook up your gas stove, that’s when the cost can spiral upwards.
Doesn’t Heat Up The Kitchen
One hidden advantage of a gas stove is that it doesn’t heat up the kitchen – and by default, your home – like an electric stove does. That’s because the flame is centered on the pot above it. Very little heat is dispersed to the surrounding air. So any home that does not have air conditioning can certainly benefit by having a gas stove rather than an electric stove in the kitchen. An electric stove takes time to heat up and from the time you turn it on until the time it cools down – your appliance is generating heat that extends well outside of the area occupied by the range itself.
A gas stove also gives you added capability of being able to char or toast food like peppers and zucchini as well as flambé sauces for mouthwatering desserts. And since the flame on a gas stove is always visible, you know immediately if you have forgotten to turn the stove off. This alone can be a useful advantage while helping prevent a disaster.
A perfectly functioning gas stove works like a dream. The burners respond immediately when ignited and they also cool down much faster than an electric stove. You can reduce a rolling boil down to a simmer very quickly.
Drawbacks of a Gas Stove
Of course with any kind of kitchen appliance there are pluses and minuses, advantages and disadvantages. Since a gas stove uses an open flame – it can pose dangers to children or pets in your home. It’s imperative to be alert at all times when using a gas stove to make sure it functions as it supposed to and nothing else gets close to the flame.
Whenever you’re using gas, there’s always the potential for a gas leak. Natural gas is invisible and therefore not something you can quickly spot and rectify. If a leaky gas line goes undetected – gas can quickly accumulate creating a serious situation.
It’s important to have your gas lines checked regularly for safety. That’s an added responsibility (and cost) not incurred with an electric stove. But it’s something you need to do anyway.
Setting up a gas stove can be easy or quite involved. It essentially depends on the setting and your existing facilities. If you’re simply replacing a gas stove and the lines are intact and in good shape – it’s only a matter of installing your new range where the old one was. But if you have no gas line to your location – or worse – no gas line to your home – that’s when things can get costly.
With propane, you’ll need to buy or rent a tank and run a fuel line from the tank to the stove. Both the tank and fuel line needs to be maintained and serviced periodically. Plus, the tank will need to be refilled on a regular basis. Not having to worry about any of that stuff is what makes a natural gas direct connection so appealing to homeowners.
Another disadvantage of a gas stove is that it’s not as idiot-proof as an electric stove. They don’t always ignite as planned and sometimes require a little fidgeting when the burner doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to – or the pilot light goes out.
Electric stoves give you added storage underneath for things like baking trays, or odd sizes of pots and pans. Electric stoves are also better for baking and roasting because they provide a more evenly distributed and dryer heat than a gas stove does.
Some say gas stoves are easier to clean and maintain. This is true as long as you don’t have any spills from your pots that land on the stove’s grate – or drip down further.
Best Cookware for Gas Stove?
Overall, gas stoves are fairly rugged in there construction. With their cast-iron grates – most gas cook-tops are up to the challenge posed by virtually any pot or pan.
Gas stove tops are somewhat forgiving in that you can use many different types of cookware. On the other hand, a smooth top electric stove requires a perfectly aligned and flat bottom pot for maximum effectiveness. On an induction stove, having a flat bottom plus an ideal fit to the burner is crucial to its operational effectiveness. But with gas – you don’t have to worry about those limitations.
On a gas stove – you can use a favorite pan you’ve had for years – even if it has lost its original shape. It just seems easier to manage cooking on a gas stove top. And any pan will still get hot over the entire surface of the bottom when you’re cooking on a gas stove.
One type of pan that works exceptionally well on a gas stove is a wok. It may be that the wok was designed to be used on gas stoves – because both kitchen tools complement one another perfectly. It’s the open flame centered on the small bottom of the wok that enables you to stir fry to perfection.
But while it may be true that most pans can work on a gas stove – some don’t heat the food fast enough. Others can quickly become discolored due to direct exposure to a flame. The best cookware for gas stoves are made of aluminum, stainless steel, or copper.
Anodized aluminum pots and pans are popular in restaurants because they’re durable and they distribute heat quickly and evenly. They can take a beating and keep on heating.
Stainless steel is another good option to use on a gas stove. Stainless steel is durable, corrosion resistant and will not react to acidic foods. Additionally, stainless steel is relatively easy to clean. If stainless steel has a downside it’s that it’s not as good as anodized aluminum at conducting heat. That’s why manufacturers have started bonding multiple layers of different materials to a stainless steel pan to increase its responsiveness to heat and boost its performance on any stove – including gas stove tops.
Another material that is quite effective on gas stoves is copper. If you can get a good set of copper cookware, you can cook delicious dishes on your gas stove. Visually, copper pots and pans look fantastic and conduct the heat quite well too. On the downside however, copper can react to foods that are acidic. But if the copper forms the outside layer – that wouldn’t be an issue.
Cast-iron cookware can also be used on gas stoves but it does take time to heat up. But once it’s ready to go – cast iron cookware can cook a beautiful steaks, vegetables and tofu – among other foods. The downside is the time it takes to heat up and the fact that cast iron is heavy and more difficult to handle.
There’s some cookware that you should avoid altogether on a gas stove. Specifically – carbon steel and ceramic cookware are not good to use on a gas stove.
Gas stoves work so fast that they heat the pot almost immediately and you can start cooking straight away. They heat through a narrow ring where the flame is located. Quality anodized aluminum or stainless steel pans are able to evenly distribute the heat across the surface. But with any material that does not have that feature (like carbon steel or ceramic) – it’s going to be more challenge to cook with on a gas stove.
Cookware Made From Multiple Materials
Some of the best quality cookware for gas stoves is made with more than one material. Any set of pots and pans that is clad with multiple layers tends to be more effective and lasts longer. That’s because properly designed cookware of this nature capitalizes on the best features of each raw material. The result is a solid build that’s durable and rapidly responsive to heat.
Heat distribution should be your first consideration when shopping for cookware to use on your gas stove. The best cookware distributes heat evenly. This is true whether you’re cooking at low or higher temperatures. Without even heat distribution – you get hotspots. Some areas are hotter while other areas of the same pan are noticeably cooler. This makes it much more difficult for any cook since you’ll need to watch the food continuously and move it around often.
Just about any quality cookware set built with layers of stainless steel, aluminum or copper would make an excellent sauté pan or skillet when cooking on a gas stove. And when you purchase a set – you’ll end up paying a lot less than you would if you purchased those pieces individually.
Gas Stove Cookware Set
Sticking to quality cookware is your best bet. Be wary of imitation cookware like the kind you might find at discount stores or liquidation sales. Often this kind of cookware looks great but is made of inferior materials and will likely lead to disappointment.
When you buy a complete set of reliable cookware – you’re getting something that will last for years in your kitchen and it will be the best cookware for your gas stove. The bonus is that you’ll get a matching set that will look as good as it performs. Any one set may not give you everything you need – but in all likelihood – you’ll be 90% of the way there.