The Reason You Shouldn't Be Stacking Frying Pans On Top Of Each Other

For anyone who loves to cook, assembling an arsenal of excellent cooking equipment is about the most important kitchen priority other than mastering your knife skills. Walk into the workspace of any accomplished foodie, and you're likely to see a bevy of tools, from Microplane graters to silicone spatulas to meat thermometers (via Taste of Home).

But of course, the shining star of any home cook is their collection of pots and pans. From enameled cast iron Dutch ovens to gleaming copper saucepans to shining stainless steel skillets, these workhorses help turn out perfectly seared steaks, crispy-skinned fish filets, and fluffy steamed rice.

And because so many of us are short on space at home, stackable cookware sets are all the rage today, as The Spruce Eats can attest — and, let's face it, even those of us who don't own these sets most likely stack our pots and pans as a way to save space, anyway. But did you know that stacking your cookware — especially delicate items such as nonstick frying pans — can actually damage it and shorten its lifespan?

For longer-lived cookware, hang it up

For those of us with small kitchens, a common solution to finding the space for our varied pots and pans is to stack them when they're not in use. But according to CNET, this is not a good idea: Even when they're carefully nested, pots and pans are subject to damage when, inevitably, the stack gets moved around or bumped. The cookware can get scuffed or scratched, which means it will lose its functionality and have to be replaced more quickly.

This is an especially important consideration to make when stacking nonstick frying pans, whose delicate coating is extra-easily scratched or damaged, according to Eat This, Not That. If you absolutely need to stack them, Warren Weekes, an instructor at the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, advises that you take an extra step to protect them. "If you need to stack it, place a clean, soft towel above and below to avoid scratching," he told the outlet.

The best way to store all cookware, but especially frying pans? Hang them up. Many of us have probably ogled Julia Child's famous pegboard rack for her cookware, and The Kitchn has a handy guide for how to build one at home. Other solutions, offered by Family Handyman, include hanging a pots-and-pans organizer over the kitchen island, screwing hooks under existing shelves, and making a DIY pot and pan pull-out hanger. Whichever method you choose, remember: Just don't stack.