Best Non Stick Pan – How to make an informed decision

Best Non stick Pan

the best non stick panThere are a lot of ways to assess the quality of kitchen cookware, like a non stick pan, for example. The great thing about the internet is that we have access to thousands of reviews from customers and this provides a quick way to makes a decision using the process of elimination. Currently the best non stick pan, which is  getting the highest ratings, by far,  is the copper pan – there are a number of valid reasons for its popularity.

Out with the Old

Recently there have been health concerns about the fluorocarbon non stick pan coatings such as Teflon® – the controversy centers around the release of gasses when the pans are overheated and the gradual wear on the pan that results in particles of the non stick coating ending up in your food. These pans have proven to be a great convenience in the kitchen over the years but they are no longer the best non stick pan to be using.

It’s important to point out that these problems with traditional non stick pan coatings can be largely mitigated by not over-heating the pans and by only using soft utensils, such as silicone, when using the pans.

Copper – Now the best non stick pan

copper nonstick pansBut back to copper. Copper is the best metal for quick even heating with a lot of control over temperature. Many chefs use copper for this reason. In applications where exact temperatures and accurate temperature changes are required, copper has no equal in the world of non stick pans. Copper has long been the best non stick pan for many specialty applications but there have been important limitations.

For example, the FDA has issued warnings about copper cooking pans adding possibly dangerous amounts of copper to the food. Consequently, a copper non stick pan is going to be surfaced with tin, ceramic, or ceramic-type surfacing, or stainless steel.

Copper and Tin

If your copper non stick pan is coated with tin, it will discolor over time, turning a light grey color. Don’t try to clean this off, as it will destroy the tin surface.  Tin can be sensitive to scratching and heat both so it is not an improvement in that way over the fluorocarbon coatings.

Copper and Stainless

Stainless steel over copper is the most durable and poses the least risk of any pan to introducing toxic substances into the food. However, stainless steel is not a non stick surface, though it is easier to clean than other cooking surfaces because it is so durable.

Copper with New Non Stick Coating

a set of copper nonstick pansThe new alternative to copper cookware coated with tin or stainless steel, is a ceramic or ceramic-type coating that withstands high heat and is scratch resistant. This seems to give the best of both worlds, with the non stick characteristics of Teflon and the durability and longevity of stainless steel. In today’s world this appears to be the best non stick pan available.

A non stick pan with the ceramic-type coating will come under  different proprietary names such as “Cerami-tech,” “Thermolon,” and “Greblon.” These are all different formulations of the same concept.  These are applied using a a process referred to as Sol-Gel,  which converts the inorganic liquid to a gel which can then be bonded to any metal surface.  Sol-gel is sprayed or the item is dipped into the mineral gel which is then cured and hardened using a high-heat process known as curing. This does provide a much more stable cooking surface than the PTFE coatings do.

Make it Last

The same rules still apply to using a copper non stick pan. If you want it to last and if you want to maximize safety, you’ll still follow the same rules that are accepted for any non stick pan.

  • When you wash a copper non stick pan only use detergent and a dish cloth. No abrasives allowed – no scouring pads either.
  • Always use low to medium heat.
  • Don’t change the temperature of the pan abruptly. For example, never take it off the hot stove and run water on it.
  • Even though your label says “dishwasher safe,” always wash the pan by hand.
  • Use plastic, wood or silicone tools. Metal utensils can chip or scratch the ceramic surface.