Hot plates are beneficial for so many reasons. Not only will you have a ready-to-use stove that can be used whenever and wherever you want it, but you’ll be able to cook just about any kind of food you want at a moment’s notice.
These kitchen tools usually have rounded or flat surfaces, with larger units meant primarily for home or apartment use with smaller ones designed specifically for travel. They can be made out of just about anything, including glass and other materials. Whatever the case, these units can be used as a stove or oven replacement where a full-blown kitchen isn’t available.
If you’ve never come across one of these devices before, you might be a bit skeptical about how to use it. Fortunately, knowing how to use a hot plate comes down to mastering a few simple tips and tricks.
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How to Use Hot Plate: General Tips
When you first start using hot plates, there are a few general tips you’ll want to keep in mind. For example, don’t use a metal pan on your hot plate. This can damage it and lead to accidents.
Also, if you’re using a pan that is fresh out of the sink or dishwasher, wipe it down and make sure it is completely dry before you put it your hot plates. Otherwise, this can cause burns and damages to both the pan and the hot plates alike.
Similarly, you should avoid placing items that are not heat-resistant on hot plates
Follow similar precautions that you would when using any other kind of hot equipment. For example, you may want to wear oven mitts or heat-resistant gloves while working with hot plates, and you shouldn’t place your hot plate near flammable objects. If you notice any cracks or damages, don’t use the hot plate.
This true even if you notice damages to the control knob, heating element, or hot plate electronics. These elements, involved in temperature control, can pose hazards if you aren't careful.
Finally, don’t attempt to move or store hot plates once you’ve finished using them. Allow them to cool off to reasonable temperature levels before you touch the surface.
Cooking on a Hot Plate
After reading through the safety tips listed above, you’re ready to start increasing the temperature with your hot plates. Start by placing a heat-resistant pan (meant for use on a stovetop with moderate temperature abilities) on top of your plate. Remember, it needs to be completely dry. Apply any oil that you will need to use for cooking before placing the pan on your hot plate.
Plug in the hot plate and set it to a medium-grade setting. Don’t fire it all the way up - you'll want to make sure you’re at the right setting first. Add your ingredients to the pan while the hot plate is heating up, then cook your meal according to the recipe.
Once your cooking has completed, remove the pan from the hot plate. Unplug it and allow it to cool down before you attempt to store it.
It’s as simple as that! Surprised? Don’t be! Cooking on a hot plate is quick, seamless, and an easy skill to master.
Cleaning a Hot Plate
Of course, you’ll want to make sure you clean your hot plate after each use. This will keep your hot plate in excellent condition for as long as possible. If you fail to clean your hot plate on a regular basis, you’ll find that food particles, oil, and dirt can stick to the surface of the plate, leading to the formation of rust over time. Dirty hot plates won't be as effective at getting your food warm and keeping it warm, either, as dirty hot plates aren't as skilled at temperature control.
Cleaning the rust from your hot plate will be much more laborious than just wiping down the hot plate after each and every use. If rust does appear, however you can use a basic glass or oven cleaner to get it off. You may even be able to find a specialized hot plate cleaner at your local home supply store.
Whatever product you use, expect to do some scrubbing. You will want to use a light towel or a soft scrubbing device to do this. Don’t use aggressive materials, like steel wool, as this can damage the machine.
Should I Use a Hot Plate?
Wondering whether a hot plate is right for you? In most cases, the short answer to that question is going to be “absolutely”!
Hotplates offer a convenient method of cooking even if you don’t have access to a full kitchen facility. However, you will need to take some precautions while using your hot plate to avoid injury or electrical accidents. Make sure you maintain and clean your hot plate on a regular basis, too, to keep it running in good condition.
Otherwise, consider these tips on how to use a hot plate - and you’ll be whipping up delicious, home-cooked meals in no time.