Use Two Burners For More Accurate Heat Changes On Electric Stoves

Use Two Burners For More Accurate Heat Changes On Electric Stoves

If you’re tired of electric stoves ruining your food because they take too long to cool down (or heat up), food weblog The Kitchn shares a simple remedy: just use two burners.

Photo by Jennifer Martinez.

There are plenty of times in cooking where you need to adjust the heat of your burner, but electric stoves generally take a bit longer to adjust heat levels:

The biggest trouble with electric stoves is they are slow to change temperature. If you’re cooking something that starts out on high heat, but then needs to reduce to a simmer, you very quickly end up with burnt vegetables. After a few rounds of this, I started cooking everything on medium heat, but became annoyed at how long it took to do anything.

That’s when it occurred to me to use two burners. I start cooking on high heat over one burner and simultaneously turn on a second, empty, burner to a lower temperature. When I come to the point when I need to reduce to a simmer, I transfer the pan to the second burner. The pan itself cools quickly to the new temperature, and I’m able to continue with the recipe without hassle.

It may seem wasteful, but generally you’re only searing things on high heat for a minute or so, so it isn’t really as bad as it sounds. Furthermore, if you’re uncomfortable about leaving a hot burner open, The Kitchn commenter Joan recommends just sticking a teakettle on it — you save yourself from forgetting it’s off and you get some tea out of the deal. Hit the link to read more, and if you have your own tips for working with less-than-ideal electric stoves, share them in the comments below.

The 2-Burner Trick: How to Cook on an Electric Stove [The Kitchn]


  • Only if it IS a “short time”. My stove top takes eight minutes to go from being hot enough to instantly burn things to being just cool enough that I can simmer something without it exploding over the side of the pan. I’m not going to let my food go cold while waiting for the burner to cool down. I absolutely hate electric stovetops, and using two burners is the only workaround I’ve found in a building with no gas connection.

  • I never cook anything on my electric stove top sensitive enough to worry about such things. Omelettes are about as complicated as it gets – start on medium, when first side is done turn power off and flip it. There’s more than enough heat left to brown the other side.

    Some relos of mine have a new induction cook top, now that’s a nice piece of gear. All the instant heat adjustment advantages of gas without the risk of explosions (or the temptation to off oneself when you burn something 😉

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