This Is Why Chefs Prefer Gas Stoves

This Is Why Chefs Prefer Gas Stovesdarkkong /123RF

The long answer short is faster heating, more precise control, and tastier food. Here’s what else you need to know.

Gas ranges are a popular choice among American homeowners. And, although many U.S. cities are actively trying to phase out gas hookups in commercial buildings and homes, this type of stove remains popular with professional chefs and family cooks alike.

I spoke with television personality Amy Riolo, former chef Petranka Atanasova, and food writer Jessica Randhawa to find out why. It turns out that quite a few members of the culinary community have praise for the capabilities of gas stoves—and for good reasons.

Gas stoves heat faster and burn hotter than their electric counterparts. Plus, the heat can be turned up and toned down almost instantly, which is the main reason why some chefs and seasoned cooks still choose to equip their kitchens with them.

Real-Time Heat Control

“Gas heat is immediate and gives you a lot of control,” says chef, award-winning author, and television personality Amy Riolo. “You don’t have to wait as long for it to heat up and once you turn the flame off, the temperature responds more quickly.”

Riolo, who can be found on her website and followed on her YouTube channel, is a champion of the Mediterranean diet and one of the world’s leading authorities on culinary culture. She has authored numerous cookbooks and appears frequently on television and radio.

Different styles of cooking, she says, require different kinds of heat. 

“Boiling, for example, requires high, steady heat. In other styles such as Mediterranean,” she adds, “you need to bring things to a boil and then simmer them. Gas is ideal for this because you can quickly turn your flame up, bring it to a boil, and then reduce the flame to low—your food will respond accordingly.”

Quick Heat-Up, Quick Cool-Down

Amy Riolo says that it takes longer for the burners to heat up and then cool down with electric stoves. It’s not uncommon for professional chefs to move the pot or pan between the burners on an electric stove so that they reach the lower simmer point more quickly.

“In restaurants, we tend to use more gas because it gives us that immediate sense of control. You can still have great results with electric at home, you just need to know that it usually does hold heat at the end longer.”

To counteract this, cooks on electric stoves should remove pans and pots with freshly prepared food from the burner to prevent scorching. This isn’t a problem when cooking with gas, as one might imagine, since the flame on a gas-fired stove can be killed immediately.

How Hot Do Gas Ranges Get, Exactly?

Gas ranges heat quicker—and burn hotter—than their electric counterparts. LPG burns at a temperature of 3,596°F (1,980°C), whereas natural gas (methane) burns at a temperature of 3,560°F (1,960°C). In comparison, an electric stove’s coil burners or ceramic panels only get hot to 1500°F (815°C).

(Induction, the outlier of ranges and cooktops, works differently. Induction cooktops don’t emit heat at all. Instead, they induce ferromagnetic cookware with an electric charge that causes it to heat up from the inside. Learn more at, “Are Induction Cooktops Worth It?”)

Good cookware is an indispensable requirement when cooking with gas. You need a cooking vessel that distributes heat evenly and responds to changes in the heat almost as quickly as your stove does.

What Cookware to Use on a Gas Stove

When asked about the best pans and pots for a gas stove, Amy Riolo says she’s a big fan of stainless steel cookware for everyday use because it heats well and sustains temperature.

Others seem to agree: “The best cookware for gas stoves is one that distributes heat evenly and can quickly adapt to changes in temperature,” says former vegan chef Petranka Atanasova, who writes about healthy, budget-friendly recipes at Sunglow Kitchen.

“Use materials such as stainless steel, aluminum or copper,” Atanasova recommends. She advises against cast iron, at least when cooking on a gas stove, because it doesn’t respond as quickly to temperature changes and takes longer to preheat than other materials.

Also read: Chefs Cook With Stainless Steel (And You Should, Too)

How to Control the Heat on a Gas Stove

A gas stove can be a joy to cook on, but it takes a while to learn the ropes. The secret of learning to regulate the heat on a gas stove, my sources tell me, lies in hard-won experience through trial and error.

“I have seen students try to cook the entire recipe on one setting,” Amy Riolo tells me. Her advice is “to not be afraid and to use the dial and the various temperatures so that you are comfortable with the range and its capacities.”

“Don’t worry about what recipes say: if you need to boil something, turn it up, and if you need to slow the cooking, turn it down. Beware that, if you are used to induction or electric stoves, the response time is quicker, so be sure to pay close attention to what you are cooking as you change temperatures.”

“Don’t be afraid to use a touchless digital thermometer to check the temperature of a pot or pan when preheating,” says Jessica Randhawa, the head chef, recipe creator, photographer, and writer behind The Forked Spoon. “Using hard data when cooking allows for a more scientific approach to meal creation.”

What Flame Should the Color on a Gas Stove Be?

The color of the flame is an important indicator of the safety of your gas stove, which is why you should always keep an eye on it.

On a properly-installed and well-regulated gas stove, the gas flame should be blue. This indicates that the burner is providing an air-fuel mixture with sufficient oxygen for complete combustion at the burner, writes the Australian company Elgas on its website.

A blue flame, adds the Elgas team, is the hottest, followed by a yellow flame, then orange and red flames. A blue flame is a sign of complete combustion; a red flame is a safety issue and should be addressed immediately by a gas technician.

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