How to care for your nonstick pots and pans — the right way


Pots and pans

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A nice set of nonstick cookware can set you back a pretty penny — hundreds of dollars, even. While these pots and pans are meant to last a long time, proper care can ensure they last longer and cook better. Here are some tips on how to treat your nonstick cookware throughout the years while whipping up pancakes, eggs and other meals.

  1. Calphalon recommends washing each pan with dish soap and a nonabrasive sponge before first use. After that, you can use the dishwasher. But never use tough sponges, such as steel-wool pads, that could scratch or chip the surface. A product such as Soft Scrub and a soft bristle brush should lift any burnt-on food, if necessary. Other cleaning solutions, such as baking soda or bleach, should never be used.

  2. For best results, Calphalon says to preheat your pan to the desired heat setting before putting any butter, oil or other food in it. You can then test that the temperature is where it needs to be by adding the butter or oil to see if it bubbles.

  3. Butter and cooking oil are best, according to the recipe you may be using, but never use cooking sprays, according to Calphalon. Over time, the spray will build up on the surface, becoming difficult to remove.

  4. High heat is OK for boiling only. Medium heat is recommended for all other uses, including sautéing, searing or frying. Low heat is best for simmering or preparing sauces.

  5. Never use metal utensils when cooking with nonstick cookware, says Food and Wine magazine. They are likely to scratch the surface, so plastic, coated or wooden spoons and spatulas are best.

  6. If you must stack your pots and pans on top of one another to store them in your cabinets, separate each one with a paper towel so they don’t scratch the nonstick surface, Food and Wine recommends. A more organized solution, which is also better for the lifespan of your pots and pans, is a cookware rack, such as this one from Home Depot that sells for $169. Other types that hang over your stove are also handy.

  7. Finally, allow a pan to cool thoroughly before submerging it in cool water or putting in the dishwasher. The pan may warp if it goes from hot to cold too fast, Calphalon says