Guide On How To Find The Best Nonstick Pan
Many people enjoy homemade meals but find post-dinner cleanup challenging, particularly when dealing with residue stuck to cookware. During the lockdown, a growing interest in cooking led to a search for effective solutions to address this issue.
Nonstick pans abound in the market, but not all are worthy investments. After trial and error, I've gathered insights on these kitchen essentials. To simplify your search, I've crafted this guide on nonstick pans. Let's begin your journey to a hassle-free cooking experience!
About Nonstick Cookware
Let's start our discussion with the basics:
What is a Nonstick Pan?
I think the name is pretty self-explanatory, but I'll still spare a few lines for those new to the culinary realm. As simple as it gets, a nonstick pan is a utensil that doesn't accumulate residue from browning meat and frying eggs.
There is a high demand for nonstick cookware. The global non-stick cookware market size was valued at USD 7.33 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow to USD 11.73 billion by 2030, exhibiting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.4% during this period.
But how do they work? What makes a nonstick pan "non-sticky?" Let's find out!
How do Nonstick Pans Work?
When you look at a standard stainless steel pan under a microscope, you'll notice that it has cracks and holes. The cracks and crevices expand when you heat the pan, allowing food and fluids to seep in and cling to the surface. You can minimize the sticky aspect by coating the pan with oil. Oiling gives you a smooth cooking surface that does not allow food to enter, solidify and stick.
But those people, who prefer convenience over spending five minutes coating their pans with grease to make an omelette, can invest in a nonstick pan. The technology is simple; nonstick pans are industrially coated with a nonstick compound. These compounds seal the open pores of the utensil, giving it the nonstick attribute.
What are the Different Types of Nonstick Coatings?
Quick question: what makes a nonstick pan a nonstick pan? Hint: we discussed it in the previous section. A pat on the back to those who guessed coating! Unlike cast iron skillets that haven't experienced variation since the Stone Age, nonstick pans are available in various materials. Here are the most common types of nonstick coatings that you can find in the market:
When nonstick pans were first introduced, they had a Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) coating. PTFE is a synthetic polymer of carbon and fluorine; its slippery white waxy texture makes rough surfaces nonstick. It has an exceptionally high melting point, water resistance, and low coefficient of friction, making it ideal for pans.
Ceramic nonstick cookware has acquired a lot of popularity as a healthier alternative to PTFE. Ceramic cookware isn't truly made of ceramic. Instead, it features a "sol-gel" ceramic-like covering (short for solution gel) made up of silica (a component of sand), oxygen, binders, colour pigments, and a reinforcing agent. Ceramic pans are widely used because they provide a clean, scratch-resistant surface that heats up quickly and evenly.
Silicone is a nonstick substance that is frequently used in culinary equipment. It is an eco-friendly option, which can tolerate high temperatures without breaking or releasing chemicals into the food. The only con is that silicone cannot hold up well to direct heat, which is an issue with cooking pots and pans.
4- Anodized Aluminum
Many cooks choose this scientific-sounding substance as a nonstick option. It begins with an aluminium or aluminium-alloy substrate processed to make it twice as robust as stainless steel cookware. After being anodized, aluminium becomes a scratch-resistant, non-toxic, non-reactive nonstick lining.
How Coatings Impact Cooking and Durability?
Nonstick pans, a kitchen marvel, offer unparalleled ease in cooking. But let's face it, nothing lasts forever. Unlike the timeless heirloom status of cast iron pans, nonstick cookware has its own timeline. The intriguing question emerges: Which nonstick pan stands the test of time?
The lifespan of nonstick pans dances to the tune of the materials used for their lining. Teflon-coated pans, celebrated for their impeccable food release and longevity, lead the pack. Their remarkable endurance makes them a top choice.
In contrast, ceramic coatings, though esteemed for safety, reveal a chink in their armor - they are less durable. The delicate nature of ceramic cookware can lead to a gradual loss of its non-stick properties, nudging you toward a replacement every couple of years.
Then there's the stalwart, stainless steel, devoid of coatings yet boasting formidable durability and stain resistance. Its unwavering presence in the kitchen underscores its longevity.
How Can You Tell the Quality of a Nonstick Pan?
The increased demand for nonstick pans among households has resulted in many companies entering the market. But guess what – not all of them sell the best quality products! So, how can you tell if a pan is worth investing in or not? Some factors can help you distinguish the quality of a nonstick pan. They may seem minor at first, but once you head to the market, you will find them more noticeable:
Good quality nonstick pans have a dark grey tint on their inside layer and a shiny metal coating on the outside.
2- Cooking surface
Premium nonstick cookware has a glossy, smooth and scratch-free cooking surface when you first buy it. Inferior quality pans have a dull or dry surface. You can distinguish between the two by touching their surface; low-grade nonstick pans have a gritty and uneven surface.
The metal construction and protective layering add weight to the nonstick utensils. Compared to low-quality pans that are notably lightweight, top-quality nonstick pans will have a weight. So, you can immediately tell the quality of a nonstick pan by picking it up.
Which Is the Best Nonstick Pan?
I remember scrolling through the internet, reading tens of reviews only to buy the best nonstick pan. But don't worry – you don't have to do the same! On coming this far, I am sharing my recommendation on the best nonstick pan with you as promised.
Embracing cutting-edge honeycomb nonstick technology, its inner surface of our pans is etched with a precise concave-convex texture, a meticulous touch that ensures the most even distribution of oil droplets. This precision is not just for show; it's designed to reduce oil usage without compromising on flavor.
The handle remains cool to the touch on the stovetop, eliminating the fear of burns and allowing you to focus on your culinary artistry. Additionally, a thoughtful hanging hole design makes storage a breeze, saving precious kitchen space while keeping your pan within easy reach.
Bid farewell to the tedious post-cooking cleanup. Our upgraded nonstick frying pan is a breeze to maintain. Furthermore, its compatibility knows no bounds, accommodating various cooking methods from deep-frying to grilling. Whether you wield a Halogen Stove, Gas, Ceramic, Oven, or Induction cooktop.
Imagine effortlessly frying eggs or crafting delectable dishes with our Imarku 10-inch frying pan—truly a culinary masterpiece.
Two types of handles are available: stainless steel handle and wooden handle.
Learn more about the 3-piece nonstick fry pans.
Plus, if you are also hunting for nonstick pots, don't miss out the 11-Piece Nonstick Cookware Set.
Caring for Nonstick Pans
I have often seen people purchasing new nonstick cookware only to become no better than a regular stainless steel pan within months. There is only one explanation for that: either they purchased a low-quality pan or misused it (wait, that makes two!)
But if your pan's nonstick lining is chipping off despite it being good quality, then you should probably note down these tips for caring for nonstick pans:
1- Don't Overheat your Pan
Empty nonstick pans can overheat quickly. When you add an ingredient to the pan, it releases chemicals damaging the nonstick surface. After preheating your pan, add a little oil or butter to determine if the pan is good to go or you need to cool it down a bit.
2- Avoid High Heat Settings
Nonstick surfaces are not designed to tolerate high heat temperatures. While some nonstick pans, such as ceramic, may withstand higher heat, others warp when exposed to persistent high heat burners. Allow your pan to heat up to its optimum temperature on a lower setting.
Moreover, if you are searing, browning or cooking something that thrives on heat, you should grab a cast-iron skillet or a stainless steel pan instead.
3- Cooking Sprays are A Big No-No
As convenient as they may be, cooking sprays cause more damage to your pans than you think. They contain lecithin, which leaves a sticky build up on nonstick pans that is difficult to remove. This substance accumulates on the pan and damages its surface over time. Instead, use butter or olive oil, which will give you the same coating while being far healthier and safer for your pan.
4- Avoid Metal Utensils
Metal utensils scratch an unnoticeable amount of nonstick lining each time you use them on your pans. When cooking with nonstick pans, it's recommended to use wooden, plastic or silicone spoons. While metal may appear to be more convenient and durable, investing in a rubber spatula to handle most tasks is advisable.
5- Store Properly
Avoid stacking your pots and pans in drawers and cabinets. This goes for all your cookware – every time you take one out, it scratches the surface of the pan beneath it. Hanging your pans on a pot rack, storing it secluded or placing a liner when storing another pot on top of it are some ways to store your cookware properly.
6- Hand Wash
Ease of cleaning is a great charm of investing in a nonstick pan. No matter how much the "dishwasher-safe" sign urges you, you should fight the impulse and hand wash the pan after each use. While it may seem odd, constantly washing nonstick pans can impair the cookware's quality. Dishwashers can get rather hot, warping the metal and changing the shape of the pan. If you run the pan in the dishwasher long enough, the sealant on the pan will begin to break down.
Instead, you should hand wash the nonstick pan using warm water, dish soap and a soft sponge (never use steel wool).
7- Season The Pan Occasionally
To be clear, seasoning here does not mean sprinkling salt and black pepper on the pan. Seasoning here means the process of coating and filling in the cracks on the surface of any pan with cooking oil.
Seasoning is usually done on cast iron skillets, but it's also necessary for nonstick pans that have been scuffed. Simply rub some olive oil over the pan's surface and heat in the oven for about an hour at 250 – 300 degrees. While you don't have to do this regularly, it's best to do it every few months.
Frequently Asked Questions
People usually have many concerns regarding nonstick cookware, and I'm sure you must have some, too. But there's no need to scan the web for an answer because when I promised a complete guide on nonstick pans, I meant it! Here are some of the commonest queries about nonstick cookware:
Q: Do nonstick pans cause cancer?
A: PTFE has been proven not to link with cancerous bacteria, and the coating itself is considered non-toxic. However, Teflon coatings can start to break down at temperatures exceeding 570°F (300°C). When consumed, these chippings can be dangerous for human health. That said, you can always go for other nonstick varieties like ceramic.
Q: Are nonstick pans better than stainless steel?
A: If you're a beginner chef, you'll generally want to stick to nonstick cookware. It's simpler to use, works on gas and electric burners and is simple to clean.
Q: Can we cook everything in a nonstick pan?
A: No! Unless you want your nonstick pan to lose its nonstick feature, you should avoid caramelizing, searing and glazing food items in a nonstick pan.
Q: Can I add oil to my nonstick pan?
A: Yes, you can add oil or butter onto a nonstick pan to grease it. Moreover, nonstick pans allow you to cut down on the quantity, so a tablespoon or two should suffice.
Q: When should I replace my nonstick pan?
A: Chipping, rusting, discolouration and loose handles are some signs that indicate your nonstick pan is ready to be replaced.
No kitchen utensils set is complete without a good-quality nonstick pan. If not for nonstick pans, we all would have shut our kitchens and settled on store-bought meals or takeaways. These pans are lightweight, versatile, and frequently inexpensive, so the only real challenge is how to pick among the seemingly endless varieties available. And I am sure you would have learnt the art of buying and caring for nonstick pans with this guide on the best nonstick pans.