More nights than not, I cook dinner in a nonstick skillet. It’s easy to wash up and can lend itself to healthy
cooking…but is it safe? Here’s what you should know when cooking with nonstick pans:
Using nonstick pans means you need far less oil when cooking. Just a teaspoon or two of oil will let you sauté meats and
vegetables—much less than you’d need when using a stainless-steel pan. It’s also great for cooking delicate foods like eggs
that might break apart easily in a “stickier” pan.
But, nonstick pans get their nonstickness from perfluorocarbons (PFCs), chemicals that are linked to liver damage
and developmental problems. Yikes! Before you toss out your nonstick pans, consider these ways to make cooking with nonstick
Turn down the heat. PFCs get released into the air in the form of toxic fumes when the pan is
heated too high. To keep that from happening, avoid using nonstick pans on high heat and never heat an empty pan.
Use wooden or silicone utensils. PFCs can be dislodged if the nonstick coating is scratched.
That’s why it’s important to only use wooden or silicone utensils in your nonstick cookware.
Hand-wash nonstick pans. Dishwashers get hot! And that will release more of those PFCs than if
you wash pans by hand (with a nonabrasive cloth or sponge).
Look for a nonstick skillet made without PFCs. These pans are marketed as “green” or
“eco-friendly” and have coatings that won’t break down when used over high heat.
If you’re still wary of nonstick skillets, there is a great alternative: cast iron. Find out
3 Health Reasons to Cook with Cast Iron