Non-Stick Cookware: Dos And Don’ts You Must Keep In Mind
Image Credit: Perfect sunny side up made possible by your reliable non-stick pan.

Non-stick cookware are highly versatile tools to have in your kitchen. It can help you make your perfect scrambled eggs or sunny side up, depending on how you like your eggs in the morning and it takes very little effort while cleaning up as well. But we all know that non-stick pans are very delicate and it needs, nay, deserves proper care on your part to ensure that it remains in mint condition for as long as possible. In case you’ve skipped reading up on the care guide which came in the box, fret not, for we’ve got you covered. Here’s all the tips and tricks you’ll ever need when it comes to your cooking journey involving non-stick cookwares.

While Cooking

1.    Preseason your pan

Just like your cast iron, carbon steel and stainless steel cookware, it would serve you well to preseason your non-stick cookware too. And that involves doing it straight out of the packaging before using any brand new non-stick pans or pots. Wash your non-stick cookware with soapy water and thoroughly dry it. Once dried, use tissue paper dipped in cooking oil and lightly coat the non-stick coating of your cookware. Then, heat your non-stick pan or pot on the stovetop over low flame for a couple of minutes at best. Once that is done, allow your cookware to cool completely before using fresh tissue paper to wipe out any excess oil and then store your cookware accordingly. Remember to be gentle with your non-stick cookware at all times, while cooking, cleaning or storing.

2.    Don’t preheat your empty pan

Leave your preheating requirements to more heavy-duty cookware like cast iron or steel pots and pans. Non-stick pans tend to produce unhealthy fumes when put over high flame without any oil to protect its non-stick coating. It should always have oil, water, or food in it before you turn on the burner. Oiling the non-stick surface of your cookware helps it retain its non-stick properties and improves your pan’s longevity.

3.    Avoid cooking with high heat

Use low to moderate heat to allow your non-stick cookware to gradually rise to the cooking temperature that you’re aiming for. Subjecting your non-stick wares to high heat over time might cause the coating to break down rapidly. Non-stick cookware can quickly rise to the maximum recommended temperature for cooking, i.e., 260 degrees Celsius or 500 Fahrenheit, so make sure not to use your non-stick pots and pans for slow cooking or in applications where your wares are exposed to heat over longer periods of time.

4.    Don’t use cooking sprays

Commercial cooking sprays burn at a lower temperature than the non-stick coating on your cookware. Therefore, while cooking it tends to stick to the surface of the cookware which could create a buildup of residue over time. It would turn into a right nightmare for you to clean the cookware after, so it’s better to use your usual cooking oils or butter for that instance, when you’re using your non-stick pots and pans.

Only use wooden and heat-resistant silicone tools on your non-stick cookware.

3.    Don’t use scouring pads or steel wool

Steel wool, scouring pads and stiff bristled cleaning brushes are definitely not recommended whilst cleaning your non-stick wares. These dishwashing tools will scratch the non-stick coating, causing it to wear off and render them permanently unusable. Using the pans thereafter will cause bits of coating to come into the food you’ll be cooking, which can potentially be a health hazard for your entire family.  

When cleaning, always use soft sponges, soft bristled nylon cleaning brushes and washcloths. Non-stick pans require minimal scrubbing, so you’ll be better served if you abstain from harsh and abrasive detergents and tools when cleaning them. But, do clean the bottom of the pan with scrubbers if need be, otherwise oils and leftovers might accumulate which might need some elbow grease to remove later.

4.    Use baking soda to get rid of the stubborn stains

When it comes to stains that are impossible to clean with sponges, or residue that has built up over time in a certain part of the pan, use trusty baking soda from your pantry shelf. The baking soda is alkaline in nature and when it comes in contact with greasy residues, it would render them neutral. Use 4 tablespoons of baking soda in a solution with ½ cup of water to begin with and bring them up to a boil in your dirty non-stick ware. Once cooled, rinse and apply the baking soda on the stained portion of the pan and scrub gently with a soft bristled nylon brush to diminish the stain completely.

While Storing

1.    Don’t put your food in the pan overnight

Exposure to highly acidic foods for extended periods of time can corrode the non-stick coating of your cookware. It is recommended not to use your non-stick wares for storing food. Once the cooking portion of the requirement is taken care of, take time to properly transfer the contents of the pan onto storage containers that are fit for refrigeration or for reheating. Definitely do not put an entire non-stick pan or pot with leftovers in them in refrigerators or ovens. This mindful practice will ensure the longevity of your non-stick cookware.

2.    Hand dry your cookware before storing

After washing your non-stick wares, it’s best to dry them off using a soft dishcloth or tissue paper. This would help in preserving your cookware for longer as it would prevent any undesired rust from forming on your precious pots and pans. This tip applies for your steel and iron cookware as well.

3.    Don’t stack the pans on top of one another

Store your non-stick cookwares apart from one another. But if you’re constrained by space in your kitchen, then before stacking them on top of one another put a soft cloth or paper towel in between each pan or pot to prevent friction and hairline scratches from occurring.

And there you have it! These are all the dos and don’ts to keep in mind while you’re making use of your non-stick cookwares. Be very sensible and pay heed to how your non-stick cookwares are performing over time. If at any time you feel that the food you’re cooking is unusually getting stuck in your pan or pot, or that the coating is starting to peel off, then it is time for you replace it entirely. The longevity of a regular non-stick cookware is roughly around a couple of years to five years depending upon the quality of the coating that is used by the manufacturers. So be smart, be aware and keep on cooking!