You may have noticed already, but we don’t have a built in stove. The reason is that we decided to go the way of an electric induction stove. We store the stove in a compartment when not in use, and it’s as easy as bringing it out onto the counter and plugging it in when you want to cook up something. This allows for a smooth counter (our only counter) that’s easy to clean and always ready for its many uses.
An induction stove heats up your cooking pan via a magnetic field using a high frequency induction coil. A benefit of this cooking method is that the cooktop remains cool, no burning fingers. With 3 people in close quarters and using one counter for everything, safety was an important consideration. We have found that the cooktop will be very warm (not burning), not from any heat generated from it, but from the hot cooking pan that was recently on top of it. Once the pan is off, it cools quickly enough.
What I really like about induction cooking is that it allows for instant temperature adjustment and great precision. Food cooks much faster! It did take some trials to find what temp settings worked best for each kind of food, and I had to monitor the food closely because the time of cooking was much faster than on a gas stove. I burned a few pancakes along the way, but now I have a better sense of what to set the temperature and how long to cook things. Keeping notes and checking often helped with that. It’s important to know that only magnetic pans/pots can be used on this surface. We bought a cast iron pan specifically to cook on the induction stove (aluminum does not work), which although heavy, has worked out well. You can tell if your pan is useable on this cooktop if a magnet sticks to it.
Another factor that made the induction stove appealing was its portability. Meaning we could cook with it outside. We can set up the table near the outlet by the back of the van, or anywhere there is an outlet. This is great when we are cooking food with a strong smell or food that smokes… or if we just want to cook outdoors. It also works great when we want to keep a dish hot at the table while we eat. I like it so much that I don’t just save it for cooking on our trips, I bring it in my house and use it.
The stove uses a fan for cooling, so a word of warning, it does generate noise (it’s been described as a computer fan noise). It actually sounds louder in the campervan than in the house because you are in an enclosed space. The noise is something that I’m used to now and, for me, the benefits outway this issue.
We purchased a NuWave PIC pro induction stove from Amazon for $80. I love that we can just pull over somewhere, whip out the induction stove and have quesadillas or grilled cheese sandwiches within minutes. That’s fast food, baby!