How to Make a Pan Non-Stick

Love cooking with stainless steel but don’t love having to scrape your dinner off the bottom of the pan? Maybe your trusty non-stick pan has lost its staying power?

Either way, scraping food off the bottom of the pan seems to be the trade-off you receive for high-quality cookware without the added chemicals. But it doesn’t need to be.

Want to keep using your favorite pan like it’s covered in Teflon? Here’s how.

1. Cooking with Stainless Steel: Use Vegetable Oil

Stainless steel pans don’t need to be coated with gross chemicals to become non-stick. A bit of vegetable oil will do the trick in a few minutes.

Place your skillet over medium to medium-high heat and leave it there for two minutes.

Pour in enough vegetable oil to coat the base of the pan and fill it to about 1/8th inch.

Leave the pan on the heat until the oil reaches its smoking point – little wisps of smoke will start coming off the top of the oil.

Once it starts smoking, take the pan off the heat and let the oil cool completely.

Once cooled, pour the oil out into whatever receptacle you use for cooking oil. (Don’t pour it down the drain – it clogs the pipes and is bad for the sewer system.)

After you’ve poured out the oil, take a paper towel and wipe away what’s leftover on the surface of your pan.

Don’t wipe everything away. You don’t want excess oil but you do want to leave behind enough to create a sheen look in the pan.

The glossy look left in your pan is the base for your non-stick surface! Done and dusted.

2. Cooking with Stainless Steel: Use Coconut Oil and Salt

Cooking with stainless steel?

Coconut oil allows you to avoid the trans-fats found in vegetable oil and cook with an oil with a higher smoking point.

To create a non-stick surface, heat your pan over medium to medium-high heat until it’s nice and hot.

Add a tablespoon of coconut oil to the hot pan. As it melts, create a swirling motion with the pan.

Once it’s covered the entire base of the pan, pour out the excess.

Let the pan cool.

After it’s cooled, grab your table salt and sprinkle it onto the base of the pan over the oil. Then use a clean cloth or a paper towel to rub the oil and the salt into the base of the pan as though you’re polishing the pan with the oil and salt combination.

Once it’s rubbed in, you’ll wipe out the oil and salt completely. Though, don’t remove so much that you’ve ended up cleaning it out.

Done? All you need to do to cook is add a bit of fat (butter is best) to the pan and you’ll be able to cook like it’s Teflon.

3. Stainless Steel: Use Vegetable Oil Spray

Vegetable oil and coconut oil are sure-fire ways to create a non-stick surface even on a stainless-steel pan. But not everyone has the time to heat, cool, and then re-heat their pan before cooking.

If you’re in a rush, vegetable oil spray like PAM will get the work done in a flash. In fact, Cook’s found that using the spray was more effective than the oil because oils don’t sit evenly on the base of the pan. Because the pan heats unevenly, you’ll have more in one part of the pan than the other, meaning one part of your pan will be non-stick but another won’t.

Use vegetable oil spray on a stainless-steel skillet for an even cooking surface. Simply spray the pan across the entire surface, including the sides, and you’ll create a stainless-steel surface that is almost as good as the real deal.

4. Non-stick Pans: Non-stick Spray

Using a trusty non-stick pan that’s just started sticking? There’s no need to throw it away or trade it in for a new one just yet.

One way to rehab old pans is to buy a non-stick cookware spray designed to replace the missing bits in your existing pan. These can be found in cookware stores, online, or in home improvement stores generally.

In most cases, you’ll cover the entire inside of the pan in the spray and allow it to set for half an hour.

While the pan is setting, pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees.

After 30 minutes, the pan should be set and is ready to go into the oven for 45 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the pan inside of it while the pan cools down.

These directions are generally what’s required of non-stick replacement sprays. But be sure to follow the directions of individual manufacturers as printed on the label of your product.

5. Cast Iron Pans: Seasoning

Do you use a cast iron skillet? You’ve probably been wondering how to protect it and use it for foods that do best on non-stick surfaces.

Making a cast iron pan non-stick is done through a process called seasoning. Seasoning is a way of creating a semi-permanent layer of oil on the pan to create a non-stick surface that doesn’t wear off after washing.

To season the pan, you’ll need to scrub it and then let the pan dry completely.

Then, you’ll use a paper towel to add a thin lining of oil – vegetable or canola – to every side of the pan. Make sure you include it on the outside of the pan, too.

Don’t attempt this with butter or olive oil because they won’t create the right surface.

Once it’s lined, put the pan upside down in an oven that’s been pre-heated to 350 degrees and bake it for an hour. Leave the pan in to cool with the oven. The cooled oil will smooth out the otherwise rough texture, and you’ll be able to use it as a non-stick surface for years to come.

Don’t Sacrifice Your Non-Stick Surface

Whatever kind of pan you use, there’s no reason to sacrifice a non-stick surface for high-quality cookware.

Whether you’re creating a surface for one meal or seasoning a pan for the next few years, you can transform any surface into a non-stick surface with a little bit of oil.

Have you tried any of these methods? Let us know in the comments below.

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