Nonstick pans are an absolute godsend. Thanks to their coating, they make cooking foods that are prone to sticking super easy. When you stir fry or sauté with a nonstick pan, you don’t have to spend time scraping eggs or dislodging sticky rice if you fail to use enough oil. With some nonstick pans, you don’t have to use oil or butter at all. And the food still comes out with ease.
But you may have noticed that the more you use your nonstick skillet, the food becomes stickier with each use. After a few weeks, you find yourself using tablespoons of butter to prevent foods from sticking to your nonstick pan. What the heck is going on?
The answer to this mystery is: nonstick cooking spray.
How To Ruin Nonstick Coating
When you use a cooking spray like PAM on a nonstick skillet, you are ruining the coating. You might think that a cooking spray is just oil in a can. But that’s not the case.
Other ingredients in a can of cooking spray include an emulsifier known as lecithin and the anti-foaming agent dimethyl silicone. These sprays also include a propellant, like butane or propane.
Each time you use a cooking spray on a nonstick pan, the lecithin will cook on the surface. Over time, it will build up and become impossible to get rid of. This ultimately degrades the pan’s coating. Which means the nonstick surface is no more.
As gourmet cookware manufacturer Anolon explained on their website, the use of cooking sprays on nonstick cookware is not recommended because cooking sprays burn at lower temperatures and will damage the nonstick coating.
“Do not use nonstick cooking sprays on nonstick cookware–an invisible buildup will impair the nonstick release system and food will stick in your pan,” the site claimed.
Tips And Tricks
If you’ve already used PAM on your nonstick pans, there’s a good chance the coating is already compromised. We recommend starting fresh and replacing them with the Nonstick 2-Piece Aluminum Frying Pan Set from Anolon.
To make sure you’re getting the most out of your favorite nonstick pans, here are a few rules you should follow:
- Never preheat an empty nonstick pan because it will get way too hot and damage the surface and coating.
- Don’t cook over high heat. The vast majority of nonstick pans are made for low or medium heat.
- Only use wooden or silicone utensils when cooking with a nonstick pan. Using a knife or other sharp utensil will cause little cuts on the surface, which leads to peeling and sticking.
- Don’t scrub your nonstick pan with an abrasive sponge or cleaning pad. All you are doing is slowly scraping off the nonstick finish.
- One easy alternative to cooking spray is to simply dip a paper towel into your favorite cooking oil and spread a thin layer over the interior of your nonstick pan before firing up the burner.
Once you cut out the use of cooking spray, your nonstick pans will perform much better for much longer.