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If you’re someone who only cooks to get by, you probably see buying kitchen tools as a big investment and don’t want to buy a specific tool, utensil, or appliance for every small thing. Sometimes, improvising goes a long way. We’ve all done it. So, you do the best you can with what you have in your kitchen.

But is this always a good idea? Of course, there’s a reason why there are a variety of different tools you can use in the kitchen; ease of use and practicality. Have you ever used a cast iron wok for your homemade stir-fries? They’re great! Sometimes, using just the right tool for the job not only cuts down on your cooking time but can also make cooking that much more fun.

Of course, there are also situations when you don’t want to use the wrong tool when you’re cooking. You don’t want to put your or anyone’s health in danger. And that brings us to the question: can non-stick pans go in the oven? Since non-stick pans can be made out of a variety of materials, let’s see what kinds of non-stick pans there are and whether they are safe to use in the oven or not.

What Are Non-Stick Pans Made Out Of?

Non-stick pans are made out of many different materials. They may even be made out of a combination of materials or there can be layers to the coating. Therefore, there are a lot of things to look out for when you’re checking whether a pan is oven safe.

First, let’s check out the most common materials used in non-stick pan coating:

PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene) Coated Non-Stick Pans

PTFE-coated non-stick pans are one of the oldest and probably most popular non-stick pans out there, but you may have never heard of them before. This is because they are much more widely known as “Teflon”  pans, a term that is actually a brand name.

The material itself, PTFE, is safe to use at low temperatures. It’s resistant to heat, moisture, and friction, which makes it so that the food that you’re cooking doesn’t cling to the surface of the material. Because of their durability and convenience, Teflon pans are among the culinary items that many people rely on the most in their kitchens.

When you’re cooking with PTFE-coated pans, one of the most important things to remember is that they should never be used with metal. The oxidation, or rusting, of the aluminum substance that occurs when the PTFE pan or pot is scraped can induce PTFE poisoning. You also shouldn’t use metal or wire cleaning sponges when you’re cleaning your PTFE-coated non-stick pan.

Ceramic (Sol-Gel) Coated Non-Stick Pans

Made from a mixture of silica and clay, ceramic coated pans and pots are gaining more and more popularity and quickly becoming a staple in everyone’s kitchen. They are much healthier than PTFE non-stick pans, but there are still a few things to watch out for when you’re cooking with a ceramic coated pan.

Although it’s safe, it’s important to understand that ceramic pots should not be washed in the dishwasher if you want them to last longer. Dishwasher detergents contain salt and chemicals that harm and deteriorate the ceramic coating. Your cookware will last longer if you wash it by hand.

It’s also a good idea to not cook at high temperatures while using ceramic non-stick pans, as that can also damage the ceramic coating. Using metal utensils may also scratch the surface and weaken the coating. If the coating is damaged, your pan will no longer be “non-stick” and the coating may start to come off.

Enameled Cast Iron Non-Stick Pans

Enamel is a coating material from Ancient Greece. At the time, it was used in the making of jewelry and ornaments. In the recent past, it also has been very popularly used as a coating for cast iron pans, pots, and skillets.

The enamel coating is usually applied to cast iron pans to make them non-stick, and it’s actually healthy to use. But enameled cast iron non-stick pans may distribute heat more poorly compared to non-enameled cast irons.

Anodized Aluminum Coated Non-Stick Pans

Anodized aluminum-coated non-stick pans are another traditional alternative to PTFE-coated non-stick pans. They are known to be safe as long as the coating is applied correctly and the material being used is pure and of good quality.

However, just like PTFE-coated and ceramic-coated non-stick pans, you need to be careful about using metal utensils while cooking with aluminum-coated cookware. If the surface is scratched and aluminum is exposed, it may lead to poisoning.

Seasoned Cast Iron Non-Stick Pans

Cast iron is normally not a non-stick material unless it’s coated with different materials such as enamel, as explained above. But it’s definitely a go-to for a lot of professional chefs and home-cooking hobbyists. So, how can you use your cast iron without it sticking to everything? The answer is seasoning your pan!

This technique, known as seasoning, improves the flavor of uncoated cast iron kitchenware while also making it more durable and non-stick. In fact, some people even recommend baking your newly purchased uncoated cast iron cookware before using it for the first time.

How to Season Your Cast Iron Pan

To shortly walk you through the process;

  • First, clean and rinse your cast iron skillet or pot with dish soap and a dish sponge.
  • Remove any excess water by rubbing the pan with a dry cloth or a paper towel.
  • Then use a heat-resistant oil like sesame oil, coconut oil, or olive oil to grease the inside of the pan. Using a paper towel, wipe away any excess oil.
  • Position the pan upside down and bake for 1 hour in the oven at 180-200°C.
  • After turning off the oven, allow it to cool for one to two hours before using your cast iron pan.

Superhydrophobic Material Coated Non-Stick Pans

Superhydrophobic materials are not very popular in cookware as of yet. But there are definitely examples out there. Superhydrophobic material-coated pans are expected to gain popularity once they become easier to produce.

Silicone Non-Stick Coating

Usually used in bakeware, silicone, made out of silica, is another type of non-stick coating. Although not used in pans and pots, silicone is very popularly used in baking trays and molds. They are very safe to use as long as they do not contain plastic material as filler, since silicone is a non-toxic material to the human body.

Although it’s not toxic, materials coated with silicone should not be heated up higher than 300°C, just to be safe. And while we’re on the topic of safety, we should also add that using hard or sharp utensils on your silicone cookware can also scratch it. Although silicone itself isn’t toxic, the scratches can house bacteria inside the silicone.

Lastly, you should also remember that silicone is not entirely non-stick by itself. Usually, you need to coat your baking pan with a substance like flour or cornstarch to get a complete non-stick result.

Can Non-Stick Pans Go in the Oven?

Now that we have explored the different types of “non-stick” materials you may come across, we can safely come to a verdict on whether non-stick pans can go in the oven or not. By now, you may have realized that the answer is very simple: it depends!

Firstly, as we have explained above, the term “non-stick” does not refer to one specific material. Your non-stick pan can be made out of any of the materials we’ve listed and their oven-safeness depends greatly on that. If your non-stick pan is PTFE-coated, it is not recommended to use it in the oven. However, some recently made PTFE-coated non-stick pans can be oven safe, due to the fact they’re manufactured using new technology. To be 100% sure, always check the box your pan came in for any indication that particular pan it’s oven safe.

Most ceramic-coated non-stick pans, on the other hand, are perfectly oven safe. As long as the product is of good quality and the coating is 100% ceramic, it should be able to handle extremely high temperatures.

Also, most modern enameled cast iron non-stick pans are oven safe. But it’s always a good idea to check the box that your product came in, or if you can’t find the box, check your manufacturer’s website for information regarding its oven safety.

Regular cast iron pans are oven safe as well,  regardless of whether they’re seasoned or not, as iron is very durable in higher temperatures.

Lastly, anodized aluminum-coated non-stick pans are also generally safe to use in the oven as long as there are no scratches on the surface to cause raw aluminum to be exposed to heat.

Our Takeaways

Now that you know what materials are used to coat non-stick pans, and whether non-stick pans can go in the oven or not, you can safely get to cooking your delicious meals.

Whether your non-stick pan can go in the oven or not relies on the material used for its manufacture. It’s generally not safe to use PTFE-coated non-stick pans in the oven. But the alternatives, such as ceramic-coated non-stick pans and enameled cast iron non-stick pans, are great options if you want the ability to use your non-stick pan in a more versatile way.

Just be sure to not use extremely high heat or use sharp, metal utensils, as both can damage the non-stick coating of your pan.

And lastly, let’s end with a reminder that even if the body of your non-stick pan is made out of oven-safe material, it’s still a good idea to check if the handles, the lid, or any other part is made out of plastic or any other material that can burn in the oven.

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