How to Treat Nonstick Pans in Your Kitchen

Non-Stick Pan with Fried Egg

Cooking spray is one of the most commonly used cooking lubricants among diet-conscious people.  They add very little fat or calories to the pan, and are quick and easy to use.  Trouble is, they are pretty much the worst thing one can do to a nonstick surface short of flipping food with a metal fork. 

Cooking sprays add a sticky buildup on the cookware that ruins the nonstick nature of the pan.  That is why that beautiful new fry-pan that was just bought 4 months ago and worked great in the beginning, now allows eggs to stick.  It is bad for nonstick bake-ware as well.

It is also bad to put these pans in the dishwasher, no matter what the label says.  These pans take a beating in the presence of strong dish detergent.  Hand-washing is best for nonstick pans.

And don't use metal utensils in the nonstick pans.  Silverware, metal spatulas, and metal tongs nick and scratch the surface.

It is sometimes possible to remove the residue.  It can be removed with a paste of baking soda and water at a 1:1 ratio, rinsed with water, dried well, and oiled with some plain vegetable oil. 

Alternatives are pretty simple for non-stick cooking spray.  It is easy enough to choose a neutral oil such as canola or sunflower oil, or better yet, olive oil.  Other types of plant-based oils offer nutritional bonuses as well such as omega-3 fatty acids, but watch out for their flash point...some oils don't do well at high temperatures, and smoke and burn, ruining the food.  These oils can be simply poured or spooned into a frying pan, or spread with a heat-safe silicone basting brush.  They can also be applied using an oil mister if the “spray” portion is the allure.


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