Nonstick pans make everyone's life a little easier. They mean less cleanup and require less oil or butter for cooking. And did we mention the cleanup? Nonstick pans are so helpful that some home cooks may not even realize that they're not meant to be used all the time. They also require a certain amount of TLC. If you're guilty of using your nonstick cookware without much thought, take heed:
The first thing you need to know is that you shouldn't use high heat with your nonstick pan.
The coating is meant for low heat. It's great for eggs, not so great for steak. Your food simply won't brown the way it will in stainless steel or cast iron, and no one wants that, especially for a steak. While you may not want to hear it, you just can't use this pan for everything.
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Second, to avoid a filmy buildup that is really hard to remove, don't coat your pan with cooking spray.
What you can and should use instead, as the New York Times advises, is a little bit of oil or butter. Instead of pouring these fats in and watching them slide around the pan (it's not sticking, FYI), rub a small amount onto the face of the pan. This will help grease the pan to facilitate cooking, instead of just greasing up your food.
Third, be very gentle with the surface. This applies to cooking and cleaning.
Swap the metal spatula for rubber, silicone or wood to avoid scratches. When washing, use a dish towel or soft sponge. If there are scratches, it means it's time to replace the pan. One more way to prolong its life span is to store the pan between paper towels, so that it doesn't rub up against other cookware. Take care of your nonstick pan, and it'll take care of you.
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