The sturdy, attractive Cuisinart CB-30 is a mid-priced cast-iron hot plate. It uses up to 1,300 watts of electrical power, so it heats quickly. For example, it brought water to a rolling boil in just seven minutes and 57 seconds, which is better than any other iron or coil hot plate we reviewed. It even outdid one of the induction hot plates in this test.
On its lowest heat setting, it melted chocolate in a double boiler in 13 minutes and 56 seconds, which also put it ahead of many of the hot plates we reviewed. Even though the chocolate melted quickly, it didn’t have a grainy texture or taste scorched.
We had a bit less luck when we used the Cuisinart CB-30 to make crepes. It did a nice, though not remarkable, job of cooking them. They tasted fine and had good texture, but the test was designed to determine how evenly the hot plate cooks. These crepes were a little less evenly browned than those cooked on our favorite burners.
hot plate has some welcome safety features, including a three-prong, grounded electrical plug that guards against shock and power surges. It also has an “on” light so you know the machine is working and a “ready” light that tells you when it reaches your desired heat level. The “on” light improves safety by letting you know when the burner is hot. However, this hot plate doesn’t have an auto shut-off feature, so it doesn’t automatically turn off if it overheats.
Unlike the best hot plates, the CB-30 doesn’t have a digital control panel to tell you the burner’s precise temperature. Instead, you turn a knob to one of six settings. The "Min" setting is the lowest temperature, and you use it to simmer and keep food warm. The rest of the settings are numbered from one to five.
The Cuisinart CB-30’s cast-iron burner is durable, and the body is made of brushed stainless steel and plastic. It looks good enough to leave out on your counter if you want, and the surface is simple to clean with a damp cloth. Its 36-inch cord works nicely in most settings, but if you need a longer one, consider the Nesco SB-01 – it is also an iron hot plate, and it has a 40-inch cord.