Did you recently buy a non-stick pan but don’t know how to use it? Do non-stick pans need oil? Are you confused about how to clean it?
Well, worry no more!
We’ve got you covered on everything you need to know about non-stick frying pans.
How Do Non-Stick Pans Stop the Food from Sticking to it?
In a regular frying pan, when the pan is heated the metal expands. This enlarges the pores in the surface of the pan. As a result, the food seeps into the pores and sticks to the metal surface.
On the other hand, in a non-stick frying pan, the metal surface of the pan is coated with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE).
So when the pan is heated, the PTFE seeps into the pores of the metal and acts as a barrier. This material keeps the food from coming in contact with the metal surface.
Consequently, the surface remains smooth and the food does not stick to it.
Do Non-stick Pans Need Oil?
Most manufacturers claim that you don’t need any oil to cook in a non-stick pan in order to promote their products. This suggests that you can make fat-free food and start to pave your way to a healthy lifestyle.
However, this is actually a marketing gimmick and is only true to some extent.
It is possible to cook without oil in a non-stick pan but the protective layer will eventually start to degrade.
This means, as you use your non-stick pan more and more, the protective layer of PTFE will degrade over time and your pan will become less non-stick.
The average life of a non-stick pan is around 3.5 years after which its center becomes a bit sticky. So it is important to consider how old your non-stick pan is before deciding to add any oil to it.
Another reason you may want to use oil is because of the flavor. Butter or cooking oil is usually part of most recipes and adds a great amount of flavor to your food. If you do not add any oil to your food, then it might become a bit tasteless and bland.
Furthermore, adding oil and butter will also speed up the cooking process. It will help cook the food that isn’t directly in contact with the pan’s surface. So it is wise to add a small proportion of it to cook your food faster.
In short, there are multiple reasons why many people suggest putting a small coating of oil before cooking in a non-stick pan. It will not only protect your non-stick pan’s surface layer but it will also make the food taste much better!
Related Read: Is pan-frying healthy?
What Oil Should You Use on a Non-stick Pan?
There is a lot of advice out there against using cooking sprays so it is best to avoid using those. As discussed earlier, they deposit on the surface of the non-stick pan and are hard to remove.
Other than that, it’s up to you to decide which oil you choose to cook your food. And when it comes to choosing the kind of oil, there are just so many options! The most commonly used oils are olive oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, grape seed oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, and butter. If you are following a clean-eating diet, virgin olive oil and virgin coconut oil are the healthiest choices to cook your food.
As discussed before, you should never cook on a high flame when you are using a non-stick pan. This is why it’s better to choose an oil that has a lower smoking point.
This way you’ll be able to get the oil’s flavor in your food without damaging your non-stick pan with high heat.
Furthermore, you should also carefully read the instructions on your non-stick pan’s manual. The manual is a proper guide that you can use to choose the oil.
You’ll learn which oil to use and which ones to avoid. Some non-stick pan companies suggest avoiding olive oil while others do not.
So make sure you go through the manual first. This will also help to keep you covered for any future warranty claims that you may want to make.
What Should You Cook in a Non-stick Pan?
The most common foods to cook in a non-stick pan include things like fish and eggs.
You no longer have to add extra oil just to avoid the food from sticking.
This makes life so much easier. You can now easily fry fish on low heat to cook it properly without adding too much oil to the pan.
The General Do’s and Don’ts of a Non-Stick Pan
Just like everything else in life, there are basic rules to follow when using a non-stick pan. Following these rules will help you prolong the life of your frying pan.
Cook on Low or Medium Heat
The first and most important rule of using a non-stick frying pan is to cook your food on low or medium heat. You shouldn’t cook your food on a high flame if you are using a nonstick pan. According to experts, 500 Fahrenheit is the maximum recommended temperature for cooking with a non-stick pan.
This is because the non-stick surface will start to deteriorate if the temperature s too high.
This will release toxic fumes when the Teflon starts to decompose. These fumes contain fluorine which is generally toxic. This is why make sure you cook on medium heat to safeguard your health and the environment.
Don’t Use Metal Utensils on Your Non-stick Pan
Secondly, don’t use metal utensils or knives on your non-stick pan. These utensils can damage the non-stick surface as they are sharp and can scratch or scrape the top coating. The best solution is to use wooden or silicone spatulas to protect your non-stick pans.
Remember to never use a knife to cut anything inside the pan. Although we think it is a lot faster to do that, it can actually damage your non-stick pans.
Cutting on your non-stick pans will leave permanent scratches on it.
Say Goodbye to Cooking Sprays
Instantly stop what you are doing and throw that non-stick cooking spray away!
Many people use sprays to reduce the number of calories in their food intake. However, the problem is that they are not compatible with your non-stick pans.
Such sprays create a permanent build up on the pan which becomes impossible to clean. Instead, it is better if you use a small amount of oil or butter.
Never Preheat an Empty Non-stick Pan
Heating an empty non-stick pan will cause irreversible damage to it.
If it reaches high temperatures, the surface layer will decompose to produce toxic fumes. So make sure you put some oil in the pan whenever you put your non-stick pan on the stove to preheat it.
Wash them carefully
The Teflon layer of your non-stick pans needs to be washed with care. Any harsh scrubbing cleaners such as steel wool or scouring pads can cause unnecessary damage to the surface of your non-stick pan.
This is why it is best to wash your non-stick pan using a soft sponge by hand. Many companies claim their non-stick pans to be dishwasher-safe, however, it is better to avoid the steam.
Don’t leave them soaked overnight
To protect the surface layer of your non-stick pans, it is better that you wash them right away.
It is not a good idea to let them soak in the water overnight.
Replace your Non-stick Pans Every Couple of years
It is important to realize when your non-stick pan is starting to wear out. If food is constantly sticking to it, then its working life must be over.
Moreover, if you notice that the surface is starting to peel off, then it is definitely time to bid farewell to your pan.
Experts recommend swapping your old pan for a new one every couple of years for health and safety reasons. So please throw out your old damaged non-stick pan and treat yourself to a brand new one!
The Bottom Line
Overall, there is no doubt that non-stick pans have become best-sellers very quickly and for good reason. Non-stick pans have changed the way of cooking and have made the whole process so much more convenient. It is now far easier to cook and clean thanks to the invention of non-stick frying pans.
However, there are certain guidelines for using a non-stick pan that every person should know. Following these simple do’s and don’ts will enhance the cooking experience for you.
It will also help you prolong the useful life of your cookware. So remember these simple tips to safely cook super-healthy and scrumptious food without releasing any toxic fumes into the environment.
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