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Non Stick Pan revolutionized the cookware industry. Food that is normally difficult to cook is now a breeze. However, the problem with nonstick pans is that they dont do well with high heat. Most nonstick pans are flimsy, light and thin. If you drop food in it, the pan will turn cold. Thankfully, some manufacturer have thought of this. The Best Non Stick Pan for High Heat uses a thicker gauge of aluminum so that it can store more heat and sear better.
Why Thickness Matter
Usually the thicker the pan, the better the performance. The reason is that it can hold more heat. If you have a pan that is too thin, heat is lost rapidly. When heat is loss, you cant sear food. The juices will start to flow and you will start steaming the food.
However making pans thicker cost money. You can expect to pay at least 50 dollar for a quality nonstick pan. Something that most people arent willing to do. The good thing is that there are a lot of Commercial Nonstick pan. Since these are designed for the professional kitchen, they are built to a higher quality. What they do lack is the fit and finish of the consumer grade pans. These commercial pans are usually less attractive and have unburred edges. They look industrial to say the least.
Nonstick pans are Bad for Searing
Something that most people are not aware of is that nonstick pans are bad for searing. Not only are they thin, the teflon coating is basically plastic. Since plastic has a low thermal conductivity, it cannot sear better than a regular metal pan. Manufacturer tries to get around this by adding quartz powder into the coating. This gives it part of the thermal conductivity of diamond.
Another reason why nonstick pans are bad for searing is because teflon is fragile. At temperature of 500 degree plus, the coating degrades rapidly. If you go past that, it can start to release fumes. These fumes are known to cause flu like symptoms. It can even kill birds if you are not careful.
The best “Non Stick” pans for high heat are actually the traditional cast iron or carbon steel. But truth be told, they arent great for things like stir frying noodles. You can try if you want, but it will stick if you dont drench it in oil.
Copper, Aluminum, Cast Iron and Stainless Steel
These different metal have different density so the actual weight will vary. Another thing that vary is its thermal conductivity. Out of the bunch, copper is best, following by Aluminum, Cast then stainless steel. Generally, the better its heat conductivity, the better it is at searing.
Browning food is a very important technique. At 300 degree Fahrenheit, the sugar starts to caramelize and develop more complex flavor. Since the temperature limit of most nonstick pan is 500, its well below the limit. So while it is a limitation, as long as you temper the pan with oil, you can regulate its temperature. When you see the oil start to smoke, this usually mean the pan is overheated. Its at this point, you can drop food in or lower the temperature.
knowing this information, there are still ways to use nonstick pan for high heat. The most effective way is by preparing. Drying meat will give you the best sear. The less moisture on the surface, the faster it will caramelize. If there is liquid, the max temperature that it can reach will only be 212 degree Fahrenheit. During that time, it will be driving off moisture. Without moisture, it can reach caramelizing temperature which occurs at 300 degree Fahrenheit. Knowing this information, you should prepare food by patting it dry with a paper towel.
Best Non Stick Pan for High Heat List
Below, you will find a list of some of the Best Non Stick Pan for High Heat. There are a few option available, get one that best suits you.
Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet with Hot Handle Holder – 12 inch (Best Overall)
Cast Iron is the original nonstick. So long as you maintain the seasoning, it works well and can slide a egg like a hockey puck. Not only that, its heavy and can store large amount of heat. Out of all the brands, I highly recommend Lodge, they are one of the oldest manufacturer of cast iron. They are also one of the few still made in America. The silicone handle also keeps it cool so you wont burn your hand.
Tramontina Professional Fry Pans (12-inch) (Best Aluminum Nonstick Pan)
Tramontina Professional Fry Pans is a pan designed for commercial use. The gauge of the aluminum is a cut above the rest. At a thickness of 4 mm plus, it can store much more heat than your traditional nonstick. The one bad thing is its commercial appearance. It might turn off those who are more use to polished cookware. However, they outperform all of them in terms of performance and searing.
GreenPan Valencia Pro Hard Anodized Induction Safe Healthy Ceramic Nonstick (Best Ceramic Model for High Heat)
GreenPan Valencia Pro is one of the best example for ceramic pan. Its heavy construction mean it can store more heat than its competitor. However, as stated before the ceramic coating is not as durable as teflon. So while it can reach temperature of 600 degree plus, be aware of its life span. The good thing is that you dont have to worry about any toxic fumes.
Best Non Stick Pan for High Heat Thoughts
Out of all the non stick pan for high heat, cast iron is the best. Its heavy, indestructible and you can reseason it. However, for teflon, go for tramontina. Its commercial grade construction means it can work both in the professional kitchen and the home kitchen. But if you want a ceramic model, then go for Green Pan Valencia. It has the highest temperature safe nonstick coating.
Looking for Stainless Steel Cookware? Check out our article on the Best Stainless Steel Cookware.