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One of the most difficult things about cooking is sticking. Lift it too early and the food will tear. Lift it too late and it will burn. Having a good nonstick pan will fix all of that. You can move, flip or turn it without much worry. The problem with Non Stick pans is that Teflon isnt always safe. While the fear of Teflon is a little overblown, it still can cause some harm. The Safest Non Stick Pan are those who use no chemical coating.
Dangers of Non Stick Pan
The fear of Non Stick Pans comes from the media. It is touted as being carcinogenic and deadly to use. While there is some truth to this, not all is what it seems. Perhaps one of the biggest fear is ingesting the black teflon coating. After a while, the coating will start to flake and pieces of it can get into your food. However, what most people dont know is that teflon itself is chemically inert. This means that when you eat it, the coating will past through your body. There was a study done on rats where they feed them teflon and they were just fine.
Another fear of non stick pan is the chemical PFOA. PFOA is a chemical used in the manufacturing of Non Stick Pan. The fear and danger of it is the chemical itself. If you are exposed to it, it can cause cancerous result. A lot of the bad press revolves around the illegal pollution of the surrounding area. However, in terms of the actual cookware. Little if any traces of it actually makes it to the consumer. Thanks to lobbying and pressure, modern nonstick pans do not use PFOA in the manufacturing.
Perhaps the only real danger of Teflon or Non Stick Cookware is the fumes. When you overheat the pan to temperature of 500 degree F plus, fumes can start to be released. When that happens we can start experiencing flue like symptoms. For birds, it can actually kill them. This is known as Teflon Flu.
You can actually avoid doing this by preheating the pan with oil in it. As long as you dont heat the pan with nothing in it, overheating is rarely an issue.
Interesting enough, what is actually hazardous to our health, is something that we always do.
Non Stick Alternative
If teflon pans still puts you off, there are some very good alternative. Namely Cast Iron and Carbon Steel. These pans can take on a natural non stick coating. Cast Iron lovers call it seasoning. Seasoning is the polymerization of fat on the pores of metal. With time, this coating builds up and acts as a natural non stick barrier. Interesting enough, they protect the metal from rust.
The only issue with this is that there is a lot of upkeep involved with it. You shouldn’t wash it with soap or use abrasive on it. If you do, you might ruin it.
What about Ceramic Pans?
Ceramic pan are the new type of nonstick. Instead of teflon, they use a ceramic coating. They dont use PFOA nor PTFE to produce the coating. As a result, they dont release fumes like Teflon do. However, the problem with ceramic non stick is that they arent durable. The coating lacks the ductility that teflon has. As a result, small fissures will start to develop. When that happens, you lose the non stick performance. The average lifespan of teflon is around 1-2 years. With ceramic, expect 6 month to a year.
Safest Non Stick Pan List
Below, you will find a list of some of the Safest Non Stick Pan on the market. I have listed a few in different categories. Choose one that best suits you.
Lodge Chef Collection 10 Inch Cast Iron Chef Style Skillet (Best Overall)
Lodge is one of America’s oldest manufacturer of cast iron cookware. You can find products that are over a hundred years old. The chef collection is a modern take on the traditional cast iron. Instead of straight sides, these pans have a smooth and sloping interior. This means that food wont get trapped like their traditional skillet. On either side of the pan, there are spouts. Just remember, you need to keep up with the seasoning.
MINERAL B Round Carbon Steel Omelet-pan 9.5-Inch (Best Carbon Steel Non Stick Pan)
De Buyer is a French manufacturer of cookware. Unlike other carbon steel pans, this interior is smooth and refined. They are designed to toss and stir food. It performs very much like cast iron at half the weight. You need to maintain the seasoning like cast iron. However, it doesnt hold it as well. Nevertheless, its a good alternative to a traditional cast iron pan.
GreenPan Valencia Pro (Best Ceramic Non Stick Cookware)
Cast Iron and Carbon Steel is nice, but it can never rival true nonstick pans. For a fool prooth ceramic, I would go for valencia pro. Its heavy and perfect for searing. The handle is comfortable and is oven safe. However, as stated before, ceramic coating doesnt last as long. The base is also reinforced for extra performance and heft. This means that its also good for searing steaks and other meats.
While a lot of fears in regards to teflon pans are overblown, there are some truth to it. The safest non stick pans are those without any chemical coating. Pans using carbon steel or cast iron are your best choice. Its good for the environment and nothing will leach to your food. However, if you need the performance of true nonstick, then go for ceramic. Just be aware that the lifespan is not that great.
Concern about your health? Check out our article on the Cookware Safety Guide.