Despite the boasts of the shopping channels, there is no miracle non-stick that stays at optimum non-stick forever. Better formulas will last longer though – you get what you pay for. And the best will still be usable when the non-stick fades – you’ll just need more oil. If you’re going to invest in good non-stick cookware, there are a few simple rules to follow if you want to get the maximum non-stick lifetime from it.
Keep them out of the dishwasher
Dishwashers will subject your non-stick to high temperatures and subject them to a process that will reduce the effectiveness of your non-stick in no time.
Use at low to medium heat
Use the right pan for the right purpose. If you have a gas hob, you really need to take note of this if you’re to avoid a lifetime of throwing away pans, as gas will get your pan ferociously hot with incredible ease. For searing (an entirely different thing to frying), invest in a cast iron frying or griddle pan that will be perfectly happy at high temperatures.
Less of an issue, but for boiling, perhaps go for a steel stockpot or saucepan. These won’t give you that slippy quality that makes frying garlic without burning it easy, but again, you can use steel at higher temperatures without worrying about reducing your non-stick’s efficiency.
Use silicone or wooden utensils
Many non-stick pans boast that they’re metal utensil safe. The manufacturers will also tell you your non-stick will last longer if you don’t. This should be seen more as a ‘If my partner stumbles in drunk at 3am and uses metal in my pan, will they wreck it?’ thing rather than ‘Use metal utensils every day’. Silicone or wood is the way forward for longer lasting non-stick.
Drizzle rather than spray when cooking
Oil sprays may be great for adding a mist of oil over salad or something you’re about to bake and keeping the calories low, but such a fine layer over a pan burns incredibly easily. When it does, it can be hard to shift. (If this happens, try filling the pan with water and a drop of washing up liquid, simmering for half an hour, emptying, then wiping the surface with oil)