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Milly's 101: How to Care for Your Non-Stick Frypan

Tips for Caring for Your Non-Stick Frypan

You know, there are a host of ingredients that we all like to cook on the regular that are almost guaranteed to give us grief if we don't know the rules of engagement. As in, they stick like glue to your frypan. Every. Single.Time. No matter what you try, or what frypan you use. Eggs, bacon, chicken breasts, fritters, delicate fish fillets. Only half of it gets to your plate because the other half is still stuck in the pan. End result? An ugly dinner, and a drama at washing up time. It's just so disappointing. And that's why a non-stick pan is an invaluable addition to your kitchen kit. And we really rate them (or the ones we recommend at least). But lately non-stick as gotten a bad rap. We hear it all the time and it's almost always a variation on the same theme:

  • it was a cheap pan, so it must have been rubbish (and, to be fair, often you get what you pay for);
  • it was an expensive pan, so it must have been faulty;
  • all non-stick is terrible, it just doesn't last;
  • it was good at the beginning but then everything just started sticking;
  • I just want the one pan for everything and non-stick doesn't work.
So the common theme we're hearing is that non-stick is, at best, a short term, throw away solution. Or could there be another reason? Could it be that we just don't understand how to 'work' them? 
Le Creuset Non-Stick Frypan
So, what are the rules? Here's what we do at home:
  • Before first use, take the pan out of the packaging, remove any labels and stickers, and give it a good wash in hot, soapy water then dry it thoroughly.
  • Each time you use it, take your time with preheating. Let the pan warm gently rather than blasting it at full heat. We're not saying that you need to baby it - just an extra minute or two to let the pan get used to the heat.
  • Stick to medium heat when preheating, frying, sauteeing etc. Especially when you have large parts of the pan uncovered. Once you have a pan full of liquid or other food, then feel free to dial the heat up but any time you can see the surface (frying, preheating etc) just remember to moderate your heat.
  • Always give your pan something to do. We always say the frypans, actually all cookware, are working dogs. They need something to keep them busy otherwise they get up to no good! A little oil or butter will give the heat somewhere to go - rather than just blasting into your surface.
  • We recommend staying away from Extra Virgin and Olive Oil. These have a really low smoke point and once they've overheated (which is surprisingly easy to do) they stick like the proverbial to your pan and are almost impossible to remove. Often when your pan has become 'non' non-stick, it's not because the surface has failed but rather because there is a build up carbonised oils on the surface which haven't been removed. So, we recommend you choose from:
    • Avocado
    • Grapeseed
    • Rice Bran
    • Canola
    • Butter
    • Coconut Oil
    • Ghee
  • For further information about what's the best oil to use at different temperatures, refer to our Milly's 101 Smoke Points.
  • Use non-stick safe tools. We recommend silicone, nylon or wooden utensils which help prevent scratching and scraping the surface. And never be tempted to cut something in the pan. 
  • When you've finished cooking, allow the pan to cool down naturally. Don't be tempted to run cold water into a hot pan as that's when warping and buckling can occur.
  • Wash your pan in hot, soapy water and rinse it well before drying thoroughly. When a non-stick pan gets a little older you may notice that the surface can get a little dry looking (like most of us, actually!) Feel free to rub a little oil (not olive!) into the surface to keep it nice and moisturised.
  • Resist stacking your pans inside each other without placing something in between them to prevent rubbing. An old tea towel will do - or you may consider some purpose made pan protectors.
Looking after your cookware is not hard nor a drama when you know how. And now you do!
Need help selecting your new pan? Here's our guide to what you should look for in your new best friend in the kitchen: Milly's 101: Chosing your New Frypan.

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