Even in our fast-paced world, many people want to prioritize healthy, home-cooked meals. With the increased popularity of 30-minute meals, people have hailed nonstick ceramic cookware as a healthy way to make their meals. However, there are still a lot of misconceptions about what nonstick ceramic actually is and how ceramic nonstick cookware should be used. Here’s everything that you need to know about ceramic nonstick:
Understand what ceramic nonstick actually is.
To clarify, ceramic nonstick isn’t actually made of ceramic. Instead, ceramic nonstick cookware are metal pans and pots covered in a silicone finish to reduce stickiness by creating a slick surface. This finish looks like ceramic, which is how ceramic nonstick got its name.
Ceramic nonstick is different from a traditional Teflon-based nonstick coating, which is created from a plastic called polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). Teflon nonstick pans used to be made out of a different substance called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), but that was federally banned in the U.S. in 2013 due to health and safety concerns. Neither Teflon nor ceramic nonstick pans contain PFOA anymore, while ceramic nonstick pans are also free from PTFE as well.
Choose high-quality pots and pans.
While nonstick pans are much easier to clean, some brands aren’t exactly known for their longevity since the coating will eventually deteriorate to the point that the pots and pans become unusable. Choosing a high-quality brand with a great reputation will help to prolong the life of your pans, as will proper cleaning and storage (more on that in a minute).
Paying a little bit more for pots and pans upfront will help you get extra months or even years of use out of them, paying off in the long run. It’s also better to buy one or two really nice pans than to get a really cheap set that will scratch immediately, so use your cookware budget wisely.
Select the right utensils.
Utensils are the biggest culprit when it comes to prematurely scratching off the coating of your nonstick pans. Metal kitchen accessories are a no-no for all nonstick coatings, including ceramic nonstick. Instead, opt for kitchen tools like softer spatulas and spoons made of silicone or wood that won’t scratch the surface, even when doing a quick taste test.
Be careful when placing the pans in the sink, as well. If you put the pan on the bottom and then drop metal utensils or silverware on top of it, that could accidentally scratch the coating as well. Once the coating is scratched, that makes it susceptible to further damage, so it’s best to be extra cautious when it comes to using kitchen utensils around your ceramic nonstick pans.
Keep the cooking heat low.
Higher temperatures lead to faster wear and tear on your nonstick pans, which means that mostly cooking at a lower heat will help to prolong the life of your pan even longer. While ceramic nonstick pans can handle higher heat than traditional Teflon nonstick pans, their coatings also aren’t as durable. It’s a good idea to keep the heat on low to medium on the stove whenever possible.
As a general rule, nonstick pans aren’t designed to go in the oven, which tends to get hotter than the stovetop. If you really need to do some high heat cooking (especially in the oven), choose cast iron or carbon steel pans instead, which don’t have coatings that will degrade when exposed to high heat.
Use the right amount of oil or butter.
One of the benefits of nonstick is that you can use less oil or butter to coat it. With other kinds of pans, you need a lot of butter or oil to create a nonstick coating each time, but nonstick pans already come with that coating built in.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can skip the butter or oil completely. Your food will still stick to the pan if you don’t use any at all. Instead, use just enough to keep the food moving around easily, and keep the pan on low to medium heat to avoid overheating the oil or butter, which can cause it to smoke and your food to scorch.
Clean them carefully to protect the coating.
Any nonstick pan, including ceramic nonstick, should be allowed to cool completely before washing. That’s because the shock of cold water on a hot pan can damage the nonstick coating or even cause the pan’s underlying shape to warp, which leads to major hotspots that can ruin your cooking.
While ceramic cookware is usually dishwasher safe, handwashing it carefully with a soft sponge and a little bit of dishwashing soap will greatly prolong its life. Let the pan air dry or wipe it down completely before storing it away to protect it from moisture.
Store them the right way.
Unlike stainless steel and cast iron pans, which can be stacked with no regard for their surfaces, nonstick pans must be stored much more carefully. There are many different ways to accomplish this, including hanging them from pot racks on the wall to storing them vertically using a pot organizer.
If you are pressed for space and don’t have room for these organizational solutions, invest in a set of pot savers or pot protectors, which are foam and fabric disks that can be layered between stacked pans to stop them from scratching each other. Taking a little bit of care with how you store your nonstick pans can add years to their lives, so don’t skip out on it!
Have you switched over to nonstick ceramic cookware, or are you still sticking with the new Teflon coating? Do you use both types of nonstick pans in your kitchen? What are your other tips for making nonstick pans last longer?