Why do electric stoves take so long? | Good + Bad

Electric stoves can take longer to heat up than gas because they don’t transfer heat directly to the pan. Electric stoves heat up an electric coil and then a glass and ceramic top which transfers heat to the pan. Induction cook tops heat up quicker but not as quickly as gas. Electric stoves will only heat the bottom of the pan compared to gas which heats the bottom and sides.

There are pros and cons of gas and electric stoves. I have had experience using both and have recently moved to a house with a newer electric stove from many years of using gas. Here are my tips to getting the most out of an electric stove and heating food quickly.

Electric stoves have their pros and cons and can be slower than gas.

Electric stoves can take a long time

Ceramic electric stoves are common and work by heating up a metal coil underneath the ceramic top. This can heat up quickly if you get a good quality high powered stove or take a while if you get a lower quality one.

The same situation happens with cooling. After turning the heat off or down, it can take a minute or so for the coil to cool down so water or food can continue to simmer even after turning it down. Shift the pan off the heating element to drop the temperature quickly and move it back on when you are happy.

Why electric stoves take so long

Here are the top reasons why electric stoves can take so long compared to gas stoves.

Heating from the bottom

Electric stoves will deliver heat by heating up a metal coil which will transfer to the bottom of your pan. Depending on the power and quality of the electric stove, this can take a while for the coil to heat up and transfer that to your pan.

Gas stoves on the other hand offer instant high heat which touches the pan directly and can travel up around the sides. While some heat is lost around the sides of the pan when the stove is on high, it results in rapid heating of the pan and a quicker time to boil or pan fry.

Preheat your pan on an electric stove to get it up to temperature and be ready to grill straight away. My electric stove actually heats up rapidly when I turn it on a higher setting so only takes around 1-3 minutes to reach the heat I need.

Electric stoves turning on and off

Electric stoves have a heat setting which turns on and off to heat the coil to the setting you have it at. The coil heats up and the stove automatically turns the heat of for to allow it to maintain a steady heat. This happens automatically and most of the time you won’t even notice.

When I first turn my electric stove on I can see the red heating element underneath but this is not always red once it has heated up. A tiny light will stay on in the middle letting me know that the element is still hot after I have finished.

Induction cook tops on the other hand transfer heat more seamlessly and will cool down quickly after they have been turned off.

Time to heat up

The time for electric stoves to heat up is generally longer than gas. When a gas stove is turned on the flame instantly hits the bottom of the pan and starts heating. For electric stoves there is a process of transferring heat to top of stove and then to the pan.

This double transfer process slows down the heating process and means that it will take longer for a pan on an electric stove to heat up. Induction cook tops do heat up rapidly and can mirror the time it takes to heat up the pan, close to that of gas.

Cleaning the stove

One of my favorite things about my electric stove is how easy it is to clean. Compared to a gas stove where the racks and heating elements need to be removed to clean it well an electric stove takes one wipe.

Depending on how much food I spill, a spray of soapy water or eucalyptus spray is all it takes to clean the ceramic top and have it clean and ready to go.

Always make sure you allow the stove top whether it is gas or electric to cool down completely before cleaning.

Cleaning an electric stove is easy, just wipe it down.

How to make your electric stove work better

For those who already have an electric stove, or are in the process of choosing one, here are a few tips to make it work for you.

Choose a high powered stove

Choose stove as high in power as you can afford. This means it will heat up as quick as possible and get your food cooking quickly.

Induction cook tops are a rapid heating electric stove and can work well. Just remember that you will need to get induction friendly cookware including pots and frypans specially made for induction.

Choose the right sized pan

When using electric stoves always choose a pan that fits exactly on the stove element. Follow the circle on the stove top so you can get a gauge on the sized pan that is needed for the element you are using.

When using a small pan, choose a small element and you will get better heat transfer to the pan.

Let the pan heat up first

The other important way to get your pan cooking well is to allow it to heat up on the electric stove first. While induction will take only moment to heat up, older ceramic stoves can take a little longer. Pre-heat the pan and keep your eye on it so you are ready to cook when it is at your desired heat setting.

Electric stoves will heat a metal coil which transfers heat to the ceramic then the pan.

Swapping from gas to electric stoves

The top things that I noticed when swapping from a gas stove to electric are:

Electric stoves take longer to heat up

While it is definitely true that an electric stove takes longer to heat up, a good quality new electric stove is actually very quick. When I heat up my pan to fry off some chicken it only takes a few minutes to reach the temperature I want.

Electric stoves have regular heat

Electric stoves still deliver regular heat similar to gas stoves. While the heating element does turn on and off while you cook, the heat still stays regular and my food will continue to simmer and stay hot as I cook.

How to rapidly boil water on an electric stove – The easy way

The easiest way to boil water to cook potatoes or pasta as quick a possible is to boil the water in an electric kettle first. At the same time heat up a small amount of water up to ¼ full in the pot. By the time the electric kettle has boiled, the pot will have heated and you can pour the water straight in.

The water should boil quickly as most of it will be near boiling temperature.

My favorite part about electric stoves is wiping them clean, but wait until they are cool.

Why do electric stoves take so long? | Summary

Electric stoves take longer than gas because they are slower to transfer heat to the pan. While electric stoves will never be exactly the same as gas, induction stoves have come a long way to quickly transfer heat and cook quickly.

Our home that we have recently moved to has an electric stove. This has been a transition from me who has always used gas and so I was wondering how much this would affect my cooking. I have a ceramic electric stove which has a basic heating coil, heats up the base of the pan and cooks the food.

Induction cook tops take this to the next level improving the heat transfer to the pan decreasing the heat loss. These stoves heat up pans quicker, adjust quicker and are easy to use. Induction cook tops need pans that are made for induction so check this before putting any old pan on the stove.