Types of Gas Stove Burners: Which One To Use?

You’ve probably noticed that the burners on your gas stove are not all the same, and you might even have a favorite burner. It’s true that the burners on your gas stove are not all created equal, and they can be used for different purposes and cooking methods. Read this guide to learn more about the types of gas stove burners and how they can help you execute your most inspired recipes.

KitchenAid® gas ranges and gas cooktops offer even heat in a variety of burner configurations and a range of BTUs.

What are the Different Types of Gas Stove Burners?

Gas stoves typically have 4 to 5 burners. The types of gas stove burners can range in size from small to extra-large and be used for different cooking styles and cookware. Smaller burners are best for smaller cookware and for precise, low flame cooking like simmering, while larger burners are best for larger cookware and boiling or faster cooking. The medium-sized burner can typically cover anything in between and is a great, all-purpose burner.

If the cooktop or range has an extra-large burner, it is often a high BTU burner used for fast boiling or for large pots or specialty cookware. It is also sometimes used to heat griddles on models which offer a griddle feature.

Whisk in saucepan over all-purpose gas burner

1. Simmer Burner

The smallest burner on the stove, sometimes called the simmer burner usually has an output of 500 to 2,000 BTUs. This burner is great for simmering and other precise cooking that needs a low flame. The smallest burner can be useful for warming soups and melting chocolate. Stovetops are often configured with the smallest burner in the back. Simmer burners on KitchenAid® stovetops can be as low as 700 BTUs.

Food in a pan over gas burner

2. All-Purpose Burner

The all-purpose burner is medium-sized and typically has an output of  8,000–12,000 BTUs. Mid-range BTUs are good for everyday cooking like sautéing and frying. The all-purpose burner is often located in the back of the cooktop or range.

Large pan with vegetables cooking on power burner

3. Power Burner

The large or power burner is a maximum output burner used for faster cooking and boiling. The power burner is often located in the front on the right side of the cooktop or range. These high BTU burners typically have an output of 12,000 to 18,000 BTUs and are meant for high heat cooking like searing and stir-frying.

Food cooking over oval gas burner

4. Oval Burner

Some cooktops and ranges have an oval burner in the middle of the cooktop, which can be used for cooking in longer dishes such as griddles or oblong pans. You can easily fit large, longer cookware on this fifth burner so that they heat evenly. The oval burner typically has an output of 10,000 BTUs.

Food cooking over dual-ring gas burner

5. Dual-Ring Burner

On certain cooktops and ranges, there may also be a dual-ring burner. A dual-ring burner allows you to go from one small flame for precise simmering to a dual flame for powerful boiling, all on the same burner. Some cooktops such as this KitchenAid® 30" 5-Burner Gas Cooktop come with a powerful 17,000 BTU professional dual-ring burner to join your creativity with precision on every dish.

Which Burner Should You Use on a Gas Stove?

The burner you choose should depend on both the cooking technique and the cookware you are using. Use the smaller burners for simmering and braising, the all-purpose burners for sautéing or frying, and the large burners for searing and boiling. 

If your cookware is small, the simmer burner may work best, and if your cookware is large, the large area of the power burner might be most useful.

What are BTUs on a Gas Stove?

BTUs (British Thermal Units) measure heat energy and, on a gas range or cooktop, can be used to quantify cooking power. The higher the BTUs, the higher the heat and usually, the bigger the flame. You can typically find information about the BTUs for your gas stove or cooktop in your owner’s manual.

What is the Average BTU for a Gas Stove?

Burners on a gas range or cooktop will typically have between 500 BTUs all the way up to 19,000 BTUs. On a 4-burner range, you can usually expect one high BTU burner, one low and two mid-range BTU burners. Select KitchenAid® commercial-style range burners reach from 5,000 up to 20,000 BTUs. Learn more about commercial-style and pro-style ranges.

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