As a holiday gift to myself, I bought a really nice Caphlon pan at Costco with the expectation that I could cook whatever I needed without it sticking and not have to worry about drenching my food in oil. So then why after only a few months did my pan have little spots of caked on goo and everything seemed to stick? I couldn't figure it out. Until I read the care directions that is.
Apparently, you're supposed to season your pan before every use and wash it by hand with either soap and water or baking soda and water. Who knew?!
So as a holiday gift to all of you, I am sparing you the expense of ruining your perfectly nice pans and offering some tips on how to keep your non-stick cookware in good shape for years to come.
Repair the Damage That's Already Been Done
If by some sad misfortune you've stumbled across this article after already damaging your pots and pans, never fear! There are steps that you can take to help restore your cookware to a state where it looks almost new.
1. Wash your ruined pans with equal parts baking soda and water to gently scrub off any lingering residue. For extra scrubbing make sure to use a non-metallic brush or sponge. When you've finished scrubbing all sides of the pan, dry it thoroughly and store carefully.
2. Repair some of the damage that has been done by pouring several drops of vegetable oil into a freshly washed pan and rubbing it in. Wipe any excess off with a paper towel.
Promise Not to Do it Again
3. Start by pre-seasoning your nonstick pots and pans. This means rubbing some cooking fat into a cold pan before heating it up. It does not mean sloshing some oil around when the pan is already hot. That is a big no-no.
Doing so only succeeds in most of the fat being absorbed by your food rather than remaining in the pan to prevent your food from adhering to the bottom.
4. On that same note, banish the use of cooking sprays on your non-stick surfaces. Cooking sprays contain soy lecithin, which will build up over time and leave a gunky residue that is hard to remove.
5. Stick to wooden or plastic utensils when you're cooking. Don't think that using a metal spoon just this once will be okay. It won't! (I am totally guilty here.) Instead, you will only succeed in scratching the non-stick surface.
6. Although many manufacturers say that their pots and pans are dishwasher safe, don't risk it. Extremely hot temperatures and abrasive detergents are hidden culprits that remove non-stick coatings.
7. Do not cook on high. Try to lower the temperature that you cook with. I promise your food will get done, and you'll also preserve the non-stick coating on your pans.
8. Protect the surface when you store your cookware. If you nest your pans, lay a napkin or a paper towel in between each to help avoid unnecessary scratching.