The Most Common Non Stick Questions, Answered

Our comprehensive guide separates fact from fiction so you can find out everything you need to know about this versatile material.

  • Rachel Robey
  • May 4, 2022
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Non Stick Cookware is appealing for its promise of culinary convenience. However, if you look even slightly beyond its reputation, you’ll discover that it’s so much more than “easy”—and definitely not just for novice cooks. Even in three Michelin-starred restaurants, you’ll find Non Stick Frying Pans in regular rotation.

To highlight what makes ours so special, we’ve answered all your frequently asked questions below. From where it’s made to whether it’s toxic (it’s not!), keep scrolling for everything you need to know before choosing the non stick cookware that’s right for you.

What Is Non Stick Best For Cooking?

Non stick is our go-to for cooking eggs, pancakes, grilled cheeses, and even fish. It’s the perfect tool for foods with a high potential for sticking, or for when you want to minimize cleanup. Some professional chefs prefer non stick over other cookware for delicate proteins like fish or scallops, speedy pasta prep on the line, or picture perfect omelettes.

Non stick is also the best way to reheat leftovers—better than your microwave. Reheating in a non stick skillet allows you to restore de-crisped proteins and dried out pastas to their former glory, thanks to the 5-ply stainless steel construction developed specifically for even heating. Eating microwaved leftovers, on the other hand, is a game of russian roulette.

How Does Non Stick Compare to Stainless Clad and Carbon Steel?

Non stick has an unfair reputation as being lower-quality or less serious than carbon steel and stainless clad, but it’s simply not true. High quality non stick pans (like our 5-ply stainless clad PTFE-coated cookware) are versatile and powerful pieces of equipment.

Non Stick vs. Stainless Steel: Our non stick pans are built from a stainless clad body. We layer our award-winning stainless clad pots and pans with two additional coats of non stick PTFE. Stainless steel is great for searing and high temperature cooking, but good luck getting an omelette to slide out of your Stainless Clad Frying Pan without sticking—that’s where non stick reigns supreme.

Non Stick vs. Carbon Steel: We’ve also compared non stick versus carbon steel and found that—as with non stick and stainless clad—neither is definitively better than the other. Carbon Steel, which can become non stick with a solid seasoning regime, is better able to tolerate higher temperatures and can recover from pretty much anything you put it through. Non stick better suited to medium-low temperatures, is non stick from day one, and doesn’t require any seasoning.

In the end, all three materials are used daily by professional chefs, and all three are incredibly valuable and versatile tools for the home cook.

How Long Does Non Stick Cookware Last?

On average, our non stick cookware lasts 70 times longer than your average ceramic non stick from a DTC competitor.

While ceramic cookware begins eroding the second you start cooking with it, our PTFE-coated non stick cookware has the potential to last indefinitely if it’s properly maintained.

What Is Your Non Stick Cookware Made Of?

The base of our non stick is our Award-Winning Stainless Clad Cookware. Each piece is layered with five sheets of four different metals to maximize its temperature control and heat retention ability. These pots and pans are then coated with two additional layers of 100% non-toxic polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) coating, a professional-quality non stick.

Chemically, PTFE is made of fluorine and carbon atoms. It’s a popular choice for non stick cookware because it’s nearly frictionless and 70 times more durable than ceramic cookware.

Where Is Your Non Stick Cookware Made?

Our non stick cookware is produced by multi-generational artisans in the US and Italy. From Saucepan to Saute Pan, we work very closely with our partners to turn top-quality raw materials into the best non stick cookware available.

Is Non Stick Cookware Safe?

In a word: Yes!

The FDA requires third-party lab testing and a thorough review of safety data to protect consumers. Our lab tests confirmed what we already knew: Our non stick cookware is 100% safe to use.

PTFE, the non stick coating we coat our pans with, was invented in the 1930s has been used in kitchens ever since. In the early aughts there were concerns about the safety of Teflon due to another chemical—perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)—which Made In does not use. After rigorous testing, the FDA confirmed that non stick cookware is non-toxic when used and cared for properly.

How Do You Care For Non Stick Cookware?

Stovetop Cooking: Always preheat your pan with fat or oil in it. Non stick cookware is not ideal for dry frying. Do not use cooking sprays, which cause harmful buildup that can damage the coating over time.

In the Oven: While non stick is best suited to medium-heat stovetop cooking, our non stick pans are completely safe up to 500F—even in the oven. Temperatures above that will cause the coating to degrade and may be unsafe.

Utensils: Do not use metal utensils or knives, as they may scratch the surface and compromise both the non stick capabilities and the safety of your pan.

Hand Washing: Allow your pan to cool completely before hand washing with warm soapy water and a soft sponge. Dry immediately, and never put your non stick pan in the dishwasher.

Storing Non Stick: If you stack your pans during storage, layer a dish towel or other protective layer in between the pans to protect the non stick coating. Never use your non stick for storing food.

What’s the Difference Between PTFE-Coated Cookware and Sol-Gel/Ceramic Cookware?

PTFE-coated non stick cookware is the longest-lasting, highest quality non stick cookware on the market, and is approved by both the FDA and the U.S. Consumer Safety Commission. Because PTFE is so effective, chefs and professional kitchens rely upon it—you can find our non stick pans in restaurants like Alinea.

Ceramic non stick cookware first gained popularity during Teflon’s safety scare. Contrary to its name, it’s made from metal, not ceramic. The word “ceramic” instead refers to the enamel-like glossy coating made from sol-gel, a silicone oil that coats the pan and gives it non stick properties. You  may have heard this referred to as a “ceramic non stick coating.” Ceramic cookware typically comes in a wider range of colors, but it’s usually at the expense of quality and longevity.

We’ve gone in depth on the pros and cons of ceramic non stick cookware before, but there are some key differences that you may want to keep in mind as you shop:

  1. Construction: The base materials and quality of ceramic non stick pans vary from brand to brand, but they often have an aluminum core that distributes heat unevenly and is prone to warping. Our non stick pans are made from our award-winning stainless clad body, making them superior to other PTFE-based non stick pans on the market.
  2. Durability: On average, Made In’s non stick cookware lasts 70 times longer than ceramic coated cookware. This is partially due to the fact that we use premium stainless steel where other brands use aluminum, and partially due to the fact that sol-gel just doesn’t last as long as a PTFE nonstick pan.
  3. Coating: The sol-gel on ceramic non stick is “self-sacrificing.” As you cook, the pan releases silicone oil to keep food from sticking. This oil is ingested with your food, and eventually you’ll use up the pan’s reserve of sol-gel. You’ll quickly find that you need to replace your (formerly) non stick pan—sometimes within just months of purchase.
  4. Health and Safety: Ceramic non stick cookware is marketed as a safer, non-toxic alternative to traditional PTFE non stick cookware. However, while PTFE has been tested rigorously and proven to be safe by federal regulatory agencies, ceramic non stick cookware has undergone far less testing. As of now, there is not enough data to conclusively determine whether or not ingesting small amounts of silicone oil is harmful. Because of the glaze, there’s even the possibility that ceramic cookware may contain lead.

Do Chefs Use Non Stick Cookware?

It may seem surprising because non stick cookware is typically associated with novice home cooks, but chefs use non stick cookware in professional kitchens every single day. In fact, professionals who don’t use non stick often refrain from doing so simply because it is pricier than other options—not because it’s “worse” than stainless or carbon steel.

Does Non Stick Cookware Come With Lids?

The sauce pans and saute pans come with lids. Non stick frying pans do not come with a lid. However, they’re compatible with our Frying Pan Silicone Universal Lid, which is in turn compatible with all sizes of our stainless steel frying pans, the 10" and 12" Carbon Steel Frying Pans, and the Carbon Steel Wok. One lid, nine pans.

Is Non Stick Compatible with Induction Stoves?

Thanks to its stainless clad body, our non stick collection is compatible with induction stovetops. Many ceramic non stick pieces have a cheaper aluminum core that will not work on induction cooktops, so always check the product materials and reference our guide to The Best Type of Cookware For Induction Cooking for a more specific breakdown.

What Utensils Can Be Used With Non Stick Cookware?

Never use metal utensils—especially knives—as they can scratch the surface of your pan. Using wood and silicone utensils will protect your non stick coating and ensure your pan lasts as long as possible.

Can Non Stick Go in the Oven?

Whether non stick is oven-safe or not depends on the manufacturer. While every single non stick product we make is designed to be oven-safe to 500F, plenty of other flimsy non stick pans can’t handle the high heat of the oven. For pans made cheaply with ceramic coatings or plastic handles, any time in the oven risks melting, ruining the non stick coating, or even releasing dangerous fumes. Always check the manufacturer’s product information before using non stick in the oven.

Can You Recycle Non Stick Cookware?

Recycling non stick can be tricky, but Made In offers a mail-back recycling program that makes it easier to dispose of and repurpose old pans that you no longer use. We accept all non stick pans, whether they’re made by us or not. We’ll buff your spent pans so they can be rehomed via a Habitat for Humanity Restore.

Alternatively, you can donate to a Goodwill or Salvation Army location or give it to a neighbor through a Buy Nothing group.

Is Non Stick Sustainable?

We’ve spent a long time thinking about whether non stick cookware is sustainable, and it’s why we made sure ours is so high-quality that it lasts 70 times longer than a ceramic non stick pan. Where cheap non stick needs to be replaced within months, ours last for years, meaning there are fewer produced and even fewer in landfills. We also set up our mail-back recycling program to make them even greener—as of July 2020, we’ve repurposed over 2,000 pans.

There you have it: Non stick cookware can be a sustainable, powerful, and versatile tool that does so much more than make perfect scrambled eggs (though it definitely does that, too). Head to our Non Stick Cookware collection to try it for yourself.

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Born out of a 100-year old, family-owned restaurant supply business, we work to ensure our Cookware is as detail oriented as the chefs who choose to use it in their kitchens.

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