If you’re a fan of scrambled eggs for breakfast, you’re probably already reaching for a non-stick pan on the regular. But that’s just a sliver of what non-stick pans are good for. If you’re wondering how you can cook more types of meals with non-stick pots and pans, check out these dos and don’ts for what to make and how, plus useful cooking hacks.
Don’t Treat It Like Stainless
It sounds obvious, but it bears repeating: Non-stick cookware is not stainless steel cookware. Unlike stainless steel, non-stick cookware has a special coating that allows for food to slide right off. This coating is fairly durable but it does require some special care and cleaning tips (especially for those burnt bits). For example, avoid using metal utensils as they can scratch the coating. You should also skip aerosol cooking sprays which can build up a residue on the coating. And when you stack your non-stick pans for storage, place paper towels between them to protect that coating. With these precautions, your non-stick cookware will stay in great shape for years to come.
Do Read Up on Your Pan
Most non-stick cookware can’t be used over high heat because over time the exposure will cause the coating to deteriorate. But certain quality non-stick cookware features smart upgrades that allow it to go in the oven. For example, this fry pan is oven-safe up to 430°F and this grill pan is oven-safe up to 390°F. When you’re shopping for new non-stick cookware, be sure to read the product info so you’ll know exactly what you can—and can’t—use it for.
Don’t Cook Rice With a Cooking Spray
Using cooking spray leaves behind a sticky coating in your non-stick pot that can be a pain to remove. This is especially true if you’re using your non-stick pot to make rice. The good news: That thin, filmy layer that usually develops when you make rice will wash away effortlessly in a non-stick pot when you switch to using a bit of butter or oil instead.
Do Practice Patience
When cooking meats or veggies in your non-stick pot, use a medium-high heat and let things sit a little longer than you’d might with a stainless steel pot—it can take longer for the pan to come up to full temperature. Let your food cook—without poking or prodding—so that it can develop some color and caramelization.
Don’t Fear the Dishwasher
You might worry that the high heat and heavy-duty cleaning of your dishwasher will remove the non-stick coating, but actually, all of these non-stick pieces are dishwasher-safe. Just load them in like you do the rest of your dishes and utensils, and soap and you’re good to go.
Do Use Non-Stick for Fish
Salmon and scallops are notoriously tricky to excavate from cookware in one piece, but if you cook them on a non-stick grill, they’ll release cleanly and easily. Make sure to pat the fish dry and use a silicone turner (instead of a metal spatula) in order to protect the pan’s coating.
Do Sauté Vegetables in Non-Stick
Non-stick pans are great for a quick sauté of certain veggies. A big, 12-inch fry pan is great for wilting spinach, softening fresh tomatoes for a sauce, sweating aromatic vegetables for a soup, infusing root veggies with flavor (if you haven’t simmered carrots with orange juice and maple syrup, you haven’t been cooking) and more.
Don’t Limit Breakfast to Eggs
Yes, you know eggs and non-stick go together like chili and Dutch ovens. But don’t forget things like crepes and pancakes. With nothing more than a skinny pat of butter, these sorts of foods will slide right off the griddle. Note: Bacon will also crisp up nicely and the leftover grease can easily be wiped up with a paper towel.
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