An electric burner, also known as a hot plate, is a versatile cooking surface perfect for a small apartment or home with limited kitchen space. A basic countertop hot plate also makes cooking easier in places that lack a full kitchen. Think of it as a portable electric stovetop. It’s an ideal solution for office kitchens and vacation cabins.
Electric Hot Plates
Hot plates with a double or single electric burner are the most popular models. They come with familiar coil burners and flat die-cast burners, which are easy to clean. Adjustable heat settings work like a traditional stove and give you control over your cooking. Some models come with up to eight temperature settings and timers that you can set for auto-shutoff. Look for an option with double burners so you can cook more than one dish at once.
To cook foods fast and keep them warm, try warming trays, which have stoneware inserts with lids. You can prepare up to three dishes in the same tray. Serve the food right from the inserts.
Induction Hot Plates
Induction hot plates also use electricity, but they heat food in a different way. Induction burners use an electromagnetic field instead of ambient heat to heat the pan. They require induction-capable cookware. Look for stainless steel or non-stick cookware that is labeled “induction ready.” Or, opt for a hot plate set that comes with a pan—a good choice if you only have aluminum cookware at home.
One advantage of induction cooking is speed. The induction process heats the pan much faster than traditional ambient heat. Food cooks quickly and water boils faster. Safety is another advantage. The burners themselves don’t heat up, so they’re cool to the touch after you. This also makes it easy to clean any spills, so you can put it away mess-free.
Keep in mind that a heating plate or two can be useful even in kitchens with a full-sized oven range. Pull them out when you’re preparing a large meal for a holiday get-together or dinner party. You’ll be glad to have a few extra cooking surfaces on hand.