Nonstick pans are a fantastic piece of cookware for any kitchen, ideal for whipping up a quick meal or something more intricate. To get the most out of your nonstick pan and to make sure it last as long as possible, you must first season it to ensure that it works perfectly for you.
What is Seasoning?
Seasoning is a process more commonly associated with pans that don’t come with a nonstick surface, such as those made from steel or cast iron. The process of seasoning involves applying a layer of oil and exposing it to a high level of heat. This polymerizes the oil onto the surface of the pan, creating a protective layer that also has nonstick properties.
Why It’s Important to Season a Nonstick Pan
As one of the main reasons to apply seasoning to a pan is to increase its nonstick properties, you may be wondering why you should season a pan that you bought because of its nonstick properties!
The truth is that taking the time to season a nonstick pan actually improves its nonstick qualities. This is because although they are manufactured with a nonstick surface, this surface has tiny pores that can cause food to stick. As a result of seasoning your pan, the film of polymerized oil that you have applied will ensure that nothing sticks – not even a fried egg!
Ideally you’ll season a new nonstick pan when you get it. However, if you’re here because food is starting to stick to your pan, there is good news. Seasoning a pan that you’ve had for a while can restore its nonstick properties and save you the expense of buying a new pan as a result.
Seasoning your nonstick pan doesn’t take long, but does need to be done thoroughly so this a job you shouldn’t rush!
How to Season Your Non-Stick Pan
What you Need
- Dish soap
- Clean tea towel
- Vegetable oil
- Paper towels
Step 1: Wash and Dry the Pan
Wash your pan thoroughly in warm soapy water to remove any food, dust or factory residue (if the pan is brand new). If you need to scrub the pan at all, use a soft sponge or scratch-proof scouring pad. This will help you to avoid scratching the surface of the pan. Dry with a soft tea towel.
Step 2: Apply Oil
To season your pan you need to cover the the whole of the inside of the pan thoroughly with vegetable or canola oil. You should avoid olive oil as it has a low smoke point. For the same reason, steer clear of butter or any other oils with a low smoke point.
Don’t use an oil spray as this can prevent you from getting the smooth surface needed to fully protect the pan.
To apply, take one teaspoon of oil and rub onto the surface of the pan using a dry paper towel. Be sure to rub the oil evenly over the complete surface – right up to the rim.
Step 3: Heat the Pan
Next, place your non-stick pan on the stove over a medium heat for two minutes.
After removing from the stove allow the pan to cool completely. Once it has, carefully wipe off any excess oil with a paper towel.
Your nonstick pan will now be seasoned and ready to go!
Caring for Your Nonstick Pan
As well as seasoning your nonstick pan, you can prolong its life by taking proper care of it and following a few simple steps:
Always use wooden, plastic or silicone utensils. Be sure not to use metal utensils as they can easily scratch and damage the nonstick surface.
Mind the heat. Don’t use your pan to cook at high temperatures – a medium heat is perfect. High temperatures can cause the coating to breakdown and lose its nonstick properties. Cooking at too high a temperature can also damage the pan by causing it to warp.
If you’re cooking something that does need a high temperature, opt for a stainless steel pan instead.
Don’t give your pan thermal shock. Before washing your pan always allow it to cool completely. Exposing a hot pan to cold water can cause the pan to buckle and potentially damage the nonstick coating.
Always try to hand wash your pan. Whilst many manufacturers will claim that their nonstick pans are dishwasher safe, we recommend you instead stick to hand washing. The high temperatures and strong detergent used by dishwasher can easily damage your pan. When cleaning, use a non-abrasive sponge and mild dishwashing soap.
Steer clear of metal scouring pads as they can easily scratch the nonstick surface. If you have really stubborn build up, leave your pan to soak in soapy water for a while. If that doesn’t do the trick, you may want to try one of these methods to remove grease and food stains.
Store your pan properly. Be careful how you store your pan to prevent other pans or utensils from scratching the surface. If you don’t have the space to hang your pans, the best approach is to carefully nest your pans, placing a folded tea towel inside to protect the nonstick surface. You can also protect your pans when nesting by using a specially made pan liner.
How Often Should You Re-Season Your Nonstick Pan?
Plan to re-season your pan every six months, or as soon as you find food starting to stick as you cook – this is the indicator that your pan needs re-seasoning.
Re-seasoning your nonstick pan will take a little time as it it involves removing the old seasoning first, but the process is well worth it.
To remove the old seasoning, you will need:
- 1 teacup of water
- 2 tablespoons of baking soda
- ½ cup of white wine vinegar
Simply mix this solution together in your nonstick pan and heat for about 10 minutes at a medium temperature. Rinse the pan out and dry it with a soft tea towel and then follow the seasoning process.