Treat your pans right

How to care for a new nonstick pan

January 5, 2011

Back in December, during latke-frying season, reporter Alina Tugend accidentally destroyed a new Hanukkah present for her son: a nonstick skillet. Chastened, she researched what she should’ve done, and turned up a number of tips for using nonstick pans correctly.

The list is a long one: Preseason the pan with a little oil, just like a cast-iron pan or a wok. Despite the fact that it’s a nonstick pan, always use a little oil when cooking in it. Don’t overdo it on the oil, and don’t use cooking spray, which can accumulate around the edges as greasy buildup. Don’t cook on high heat, and don’t use metal tools, which can scratch the nonstick coating. Same goes for metal scrubbers, as well as skipping the dishwasher entirely. Don’t nest your nonstick pans together (more of the scratching problem) unless you use a liner in between pans (paper towels work fine). And if the coating gets scratched, ditch the pan.

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