- Gas stove tops offer quick temperature control and are more affordable to use than electric stove tops.
- The best material for a gas stove is one that can conduct and distribute heat evenly, and respond quickly to temperature changes.
- For the best cookware for gas stoves, look for ones that are made of stainless steel with aluminum or copper layers.
The average household gas stove looks like it can handle quite a bit. Its sizeable build, durable fabrication, rugged cast iron grates, all signify a hard-wearing kitchen appliance.
Still, as with any appliance, especially one used practically every day to prepare food, it’s important to handle gas stoves with care. This means making sure the stove is well-maintained, properly cleaned, and used with the right cookware.
The right cookware? While technically any pot or pan can be used on a gas stove, there are certain materials that are better suited for its open flame style of cooking. In this article, we’ll share what those materials are, explain why they work so well, and round up some of the best cookware for gas stoves available today.
The Features of a Gas Stove
Gas stoves may be older than electric stoves, but they’re still the preferred option for a number of reasons.
First and most important is how easy it is to adjust the heat of a gas stove. A burner can be turned on and off in an instant. And every twist of the control knob creates an immediate corresponding change in the burner’s flame level — a lightning quick heat response that’s crucial in cooking.
Many cooks also like how the flames provide a convenient visual cue about the stove’s current heat setting. This can be a bit trickier to gauge with the dark glass tops of electric or induction cooktops.
An added bonus of the open flame is that it lends itself well to quickly roasting a few small items, like corn tortillas, bell peppers, or marshmallows.
Cooking with gas is also comparatively cheaper than cooking with electricity. Gas stoves generally run on propane, butane, petroleum, or natural gas, all of which are quite affordable. This gives gas stoves an advantage, not only for the cost-conscious home cook, but for anyone who finds themselves in the middle of a power outage.
As for cookware, gas stovetops easily accommodate a wide range. They can be used with just about any type of cookware material and shape — from small skillets to tall stockpots. Woks in particular were designed to be used over an open flame.
Flames, however, don't naturally distribute heat in a uniform manner. Some parts of a pan will have more contact with stronger flames than other parts, and the heat can be very concentrated, especially on a low setting.
Add this to a gas stove’s ability to change temperatures in an instant, and it's easy to see why it's so important to use cookware that can ably withstand these variations.
Best Cookware Materials for Gas Stoves
The best cookware sets for gas stoves must be able to do two things — evenly distribute the concentrated, often fluctuating, heat of the flames, and quickly adapt to changes in temperature.
And as with all kitchen gadgets, cookware should be easy to use and clean, and it should last for a good number of years.
Rather than a single material, however, it requires a certain combination of materials to meet all this criteria.
Stainless steel, for instance, is durable, non-reactive (won’t change the flavor of ingredients), and resistant to corrosion. But it’s not a very good heat conductor. To offset this, stainless steel must be layered or clad with another, better heat-conducting metal, such as aluminum or copper. When stainless steel is clad with either of these two metals as an inner core, it creates cookware with superior heating capabilities that can last a lifetime.
Aluminum itself is excellent at conducting and distributing heat, making it perfect for gas stoves. However, in its pure form, aluminum is fairly soft, lightweight, and prone to warping under high heat. It’s also easily scratched and highly reactive to acidic foods.
For this reason, aluminum is often anodized. Anodizing is an electrochemical process that changes the surface chemistry of metals. In the case of aluminum, it builds up the metal’s oxide coating to produce a hard surface that is scratch-resistant, non-reactive, and non-stick.
Anodized aluminum cookware does require a bit more cleanup. To protect its coating, it can't be cleaned in a dishwasher or with harsh solvents. Instead, it should be hand-washed with mild, soapy water and a soft sponge.
Copper is very similar to aluminum, except that it's more expensive. Like aluminum, it's a great heat conductor and able to cook food evenly over gas stoves. Also like aluminum, it scratches easily and reacts with acidic ingredients.
Pure copper makes for beautifully colored cookware, but it tends to change the color and taste of the food.To prevent this, copper cookware should be lined or clad with a non-reactive metal, like stainless steel.
Not So Recommended
Other cookware materials, like cast iron, carbon steel, and ceramic, have their benefits, but are not ideal for gas stoves.
Cast iron is a good for very specific cooking needs. For example, it conducts heat evenly, and holds heat well, but only after taking a while to heat up. It’s also not very responsive to changes in temperature (overly heated cast iron cookware will take a long time to cool down) and it is quite heavy to move around the stovetop.
While cast iron may be great for very specific needs like browning meat before long braises in the oven, it is not a versatile cooking material.
Carbon steel is a lightweight alternative to cast iron. Although much more responsive to temperature changes, it’s still not as good as aluminum or copper and is said to have “hot spots,” or areas that get extremely hot and cause your food to cook unevenly. (Conversely, “cold spots” are areas that remain relatively cool).
While carbon steel is extremely functional on the stovetop, it is reactive, susceptible to corrosion, and requires regular seasoning. Like cast iron, it’s only recommended for specific dishes that benefit from its heat retention.
Ceramic is more often seen as a non-stick coating on cookware, typically over an aluminum base. However, as compared to stainless steel, ceramic cookware isn’t as long lasting or durable. The sensitive ceramic coating may become damaged by high cooking temperatures, limiting you to only cooking dishes over low or medium heat.
A Roundup of the Best Cookware for Gas Stoves
Now that we know which materials will work best on a gas stove, it’s time to look at the top cookware and cookware sets made with these winning combinations.
Aluminum and Stainless Steel Cookware Sets
Aluminum and stainless steel are one of the best material combos, with aluminum providing a superior heat-conducting core and stainless steel offering a durable, versatile surface. The following cookware sets combine the best of both worlds.
Misen Cookware and Cookware Sets
All Misen cookware is carefully constructed using a sturdy 5-ply composite of aluminum and stainless steel. Whether it’s a skillet, saucier, or complete cookware set, every piece starts with a layer of 18/0 stainless steel, followed by layers of aluminum and aluminum alloy, and finished with a final layer of 18/10 stainless steel on the inner surface. This creates cookware that provides superior heat conduction and retention, and is compatible with gas, induction, and electric stoves.
Cuisinart MCP-12N Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set
This set offers all the basics for the professional home cook. It’s triple-ply construction is made with an aluminum core and brushed stainless steel. The 12-piece set includes 1 1/2-quart and 3-quart saucepans (with lids), an 8-inch and 10-inch skillet, a 3 1/2-quart sauté pan (with lid), an 8-quart stockpot (with lid), and a steamer insert (with lid).
Calphalon Signature Nonstick Hard Anodized 10-Piece Cookware Set
This set is made from heavy gauge, hard-anodized aluminum — which means it can be used with metal utensils and most cooktops, and in the oven. The hard-anodized cookware set includes a 10-inch and 12-inch omelette pan, a 2-quart and 3-quart saucepan (with lid), a 3-quart sauté pan (with lid), and an 8-quart stock pot (with lid).
Copper and Stainless Steel Cookware Sets
Copper, although generally more expensive than aluminum, pairs perfectly with stainless steel. It provides the necessary heat-conductivity, while a stainless steel surface works with most types of food. The following cookware sets combine both metals for ideal cooking on gas stoves.
All-Clad Copper Core 5-Ply Bonded Cookware Set
As the priciest option on our list, each pan in this All-Clad cookware set has a five-ply construction — two layers of stainless steel, 2 layers of aluminum, and a copper core. The stainless steel handles are riveted to the base of the pan. The set offers an 8-Inch and 10-inch fry pan, a 2-quart and 3-quart saucepan (with lids), a 3-quart sauté pan (with lid), and an 8-quart stockpot (with lid).
Emeril Lagasse Stainless Steel Cookware Set With Copper Core
This celebrity chef has come up with a range of stainless steel cookware with a copper core. The copper core is further surrounded by an aluminum base on the bottom for guaranteed heat conduction. Emeril’s cookware is sold as single pans or in 12-piece and 14-piece cookware sets. The 14-piece cookware set contains an 8-inch and 10-inch fry pan, 1 1/2-quart, 2 1/2-quart, and 3-quart saucepans (with lids), a 3-quart deep sauté (with lid), a 3-quart casserole dish (with lid), and a 6-quart stockpot (with lid).
T-fal Ultimate Stainless Steel Copper Bottom 13-Piece Cookware Set
T-fal offers one of the most affordable cookware sets that incorporates a copper base. The set is made of stainless steel with an aluminum and visible copper base (in a sun-shaped design). Its 13-piece set has an 8-inch fry pan, a 10 1/2-inch fry pan, a 12-inch fry pan (with lid), 1-quart, 2-quart, and 3-quart saucepans (with lids), a 5-quart dutch oven (with lid), and a stainless steel steamer.
Step on the Gas
Gas stoves are still one of the most popular cooktops for many reasons. They are readily available, affordable, and adjust quickly to your desired temperature.
However, to make the most of its open flame style of cooking, it’s important to have the right type of cookware. As long as you choose high-quality materials that heat quickly and evenly, and respond rapidly to temperature changes, your time spent cooking on a gas stove will give you many great experiences and amazingly delicious dishes.