Given all the discussion about low stove heat being susceptible to undercooking, it often tends to be overwhelming when a recipe calls for you to cook on low heat.

Cooking has consistently transitioned over the course of time, and so have the means and methods. There now exist numerous meal preparation techniques such as grilling, frying, poaching, baking, simmering among others.

One undisputed fact is that different cooking methods require different levels of cooking heat.

There are three main heat levels on any given stove;

Stove heat settings knob

In between the three exist two other secondary heat levels–medium-low heat level and medium-high heat level.

To some extent, some people like to refer to them as “unreal” cooking temperatures. This is because they are not marked anywhere on the stovetop and their functionality totally depends on guesswork and continuous trial and error.

That being said, this article will be centered on the low heat level so let’s jump straight into it.


Apart from it being the smallest amount of heat emitted by your stove, low heat has no other definition.

Simply put, low heat is basically the lowest temperature setting on any given stove.

Stoves are categorized into three distinct classifications based on their heat generation mechanisms:

  • Gas
  • Electrical
  • Wood

You can have an idea of how these stoves operate just by reading their names.

For instance, gas stoves obviously use gas to heat, whereas electric stoves are powered by electricity. On the other hand, wood-burning stoves make use of firewood as a heat-generating mechanism. (stay with me here)

It is not logical to generally assume that all stoves generate the same amount of heat as it is false.

Even when the temperature adjustment knob is moved to the same heat level on different stove types, some stoves will heat up faster and produce more heat as compared to others.

Take, for example, electric stoves generate more heat as compared to gas and wood stoves hence, low heat on a wood stove is much lower as compared to low heat on a gas or electric stove. That’s how biased heat emission can be!


Unlike various recipes that can withstand a few adjustments here and there, cooking temperatures tolerate zero compromising.

With a slight compromise in temperature setting, your entire recipe can go down the drain! Be extra keen.

More often than not, stovetops have inbuilt temperature marks on them, indicating all the three main heat types–low, medium, and high heats.

The real question remains though, what exact temperature is low heat on a stove?

Here is a simple version of the answer: Anything between 200 degrees to 300 degrees Fahrenheit ( 93 – 149 degrees Celcius) is what is considered to be low heat temperature on a stove.

This temperature is one of the three easiest temperatures to identify on a stovetop as it is clearly marked as ‘low’ on some stoves or with the number 1 on others.

Simmer heating dish

Cooking enthusiasts normally find this temperature setting ideal for slow cooking and simmering. It is however important to note that the medium heat setting is indispensable to slow cooking because in some cases, low heat on its own just might not be enough to achieve a certain outcome.

I’ll explain…

When a recipe requires you to cook on low heat, you might be obligated to “borrow” more heat from the mid-heat temperature setting.

Then, when your food begins to simmer, you could then have to turn the adjustment knob back to a low heat setting. This will allow your food to cook at a more constant pace hence better final results.


You already know that these (electric) stoves use electricity to generate heat.

You ought to also know that the amount of heat released is determined by the electric flow passing through the electrical heating devices.

In other words, heat levels correspond to dials or levels or better still numbers, in that when you turn the dial to lower levels, less electricity flows, resulting in low heat and vice versa.

Now, back to our main question, what number is low heat on an electric stove?

Irrespective of the make and model of the stove, low heat, just like high heat, is one way or another clearly indicated on the top–printed either on the stove itself or on the adjustment knob.

But again, it should be remembered that not all stoves have ‘ low’ or ‘high’ marks.

These types of stoves entirely rely on the user to practice and learn in order to know what numbers represent what heat and temperature setting.

electric stove knobs

If your stove has 6 dials and happens to fall in this category, low heat would be represented by number 1.

However, if your stove’s dials go up to 9, then low heat would be 1 and 3 or anywhere in between the two.

Be advised though, it is inevitable that you keep on adjusting the temperature knobs as the numbers certainly do not guarantee low heat.


“use, observe, adjust, learn” this line must sound familiar, doesn’t it?

You have probably crossed paths with the above line time and again.

You also must have stumbled across dozens of online debates arguing that all stoves function differently and that the only way for you to master your stove is by applying the above-mentioned mantra.

Well, while that could also be a fact, one rule of the thumb that remains constant is that the first number on the stovetop, that is number 1 will always remain to be a low heat temperature setting on any stove!

Final Word

There you have it. A short and concise guide that should give you a good understanding of what low heat is on a stove.

While temperatures like medium-low and medium-high heat can be a little more confusing, the same isn’t true for low heat, and we certainly hope this guide has made that clear.