Frying an egg should be a simple, even enjoyable task.
However, if you pick the wrong pan for the job, you end up with half your omelet stuck to the bottom.
To avoid this, you need a nonstick pan.
It is not just enough for the pan to have a non-stick surface. How high a temperature can it resist? Is it safe to use in an oven? Can you clean it in a dishwasher? What technology is used to make it non-stick? A good starting point would be to understand how non-stick pans work and their features here as it’s well known by people.
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How do nonstick pans work
Somewhat ironically, the development of non stick pans was by accident. In 1938, the Dupont Chemical Company Researcher Roy Plunkett was trying to find an alternative to the Freon gas used in refrigerators.
He discovered that when tetrafluorethylene was frozen and compressed, the result was a waxy solid called polytertrafluoroethylene (PTFE-Teflon) – that was a long name. PTFE is a very slippery compound.
Dupont discovered that it was possible to coat pans with PTFE so food does not stick to the surface of the pan. Thus non stick pans were born.
A normal metal pan, when viewed under a microscope, has an uneven surface with small pits where food can get stuck making it more difficult to clean.
When you coat the surface of a pan with oil, the oil flows into these pits and helps stop food sticking to the pan. By coating the surface of the pan with PTFE, Dupont discovered it is possible to make the surface of the pan smooth and Non-stick.
However, when it was discovered that PTFE breaks down to release harmful chemicals to the environment, a new wave of environment friendly pans, dubbed “Green pans” entered the market.
These green pans are coated with either ceramic non-stick coating or silicone-based coating. While these coatings are environmentally friendly, both ceramic and silicon are poorer conductors of heat than metal which explains why it’s easier to fry food on a non stick pan than to brown it.
Furthermore, exposure to high heat can seriously damage the coating resulting in your non stick pan having to be replaced.
If you are wondering what is better between Teflon and Ceramic coating you can read this article.
Caring for your non stick pan
- Gently handwash the pan to remove dust and residue before first-time use.
- Use a light coating of oil to lubricate the pan. Cooking sprays can leave a gummy residue on the pan which is difficult to clean.
- Don’t heat the pan above 500F (medium heat). High heat can cause the coating to flake off. Avoid sudden changes in temperature when cooking on a nonstick pan.
- Do not preheat your nonstick pan.
- Do not use metal utensils with your nonstick pan. The metal can scratch the coating rendering it useless. Invest in wood, plastic or silicone utensils instead.
- While modern non stick pans are safe to use in a dishwasher, we recommend hand washing your pans to get the longest lifespan you can from them. Most non stick pans can be cleaned using warm water and cleaning detergent to remove oil residue.
- Hang your pans side by side instead of stacking them together. This reduces the tendency for scratches.
- Should you discover food has started sticking to your pan, it means the covering is no longer effective and your pan needs replacement as far as it is well known ever.
Certain foods like eggs, fish and low fat recipes do well with Non-stick pans. Many people also love that it’s easier to clean a Non-stick pan than a traditional steel pan. However, until quite recently, Non-stick pans have been a tricky affair for most people.
When exposed to high heat, the coating soon flakes off. Older Non stick pans have also been known to give off unpleasant smells, causing coughing in some people and even killing pets. This made many people decide against Non stick pans in flavor of iron skillets.
With recent improvements in technology, however, you are likely to be able to pass a well maintained Non stick pan to your heirs. Newer pans can withstand temperatures as high as 500F without getting damaged. They are also made from substances that do not release poisonous chemicals or bad smells. You can use them without having to worry about poisoning your pets.
Modern technological advancements notwithstanding, if you are new to using non stick pans, you should consider the following safety tips before you start frying eggs in your pan.
- Never preheat an empty non stick pan. Lightweight pans can reach temperatures above 500F in less than two minutes. That temperature is way above the recommended level for most non-stick pans and the coating is likely to start flaking off if you maintain high temperature on your pan which durable and usable by a number of people.
- Don’t cook on high heat. Most non stick pans are designed to be used on medium heat. Their composition ensures the heat is distributed evenly and can reach high temperatures very quickly. You should never use your non stick pan over a power burner. Those were never meant for frying eggs. Rather, they are more suited for tasks like boiling a large amount of hot water really quickly.
- Ensure your kitchen is well-ventilated to avoid any potential health concerns from toxic fumes.
What are the best egg pans?
Whether you are an amateur who only fries an egg once in a blue moon or a gourmet chef planning a three course meal, knowing which non stick pan to choose can be tricky.
There are many products available out there and frankly speaking, not all of them will get the job done. Some of them only claim to be non stick but don’t live up to the name when cooking. It is also important that your non-stick pan be environmentally friendly. All the pans reviewed here are guaranteed “green” pans that won’t release toxic chemicals even on high heat.
While there are plenty of great brands of non stick pans out there, if you want the very best, you should consider one of the following five:
Flamekiss 9.5″ Orange Ceramic Coated Nonstick 3-Cup Egg Cooker Pan
This great pan made by Amore kitchenware is perfect for frying eggs with little to no oil. It has a cast aluminum design that ensures heat is distributed evenly when cooking. This is essential for making sure eggs don’t stick to the pan.
It features a nanoceramic coating. The coating ensures you can use the pan with metal utensils and it will still remain scratch-free.
You also don’t have to worry about the nonstick coating fading or coming off. Furthermore, this pan is dishwasher safe.
Flamekiss pans are manufactured to a high standard of quality. No heavy metals are included in the process. The pans are also environmentally friendly. Even when cooking at high heat, no harmful chemicals or pollutants are released to the atmosphere.
If you need to store your pan for some time, you don´t have to worry about fungi growing on the surface. The surface is coated using Nano silver ion. These ions have antimicrobial properties that discourage pesky microbes from growing on your pan even during long time storage.
Green Earth by Ozeri
The Ozeri Green Earth nonstick pans come in sets of 3 pans: 8’’, 10’’ and 12’’. While you can buy each pan separately according to your needs, the best value for money seems to be from buying all 3 pans as a set.
The pans all come with a lime green exterior gives the pans an attractive finish and helps to reinforce their “green” quality.
Ozeri green earth pans coating is made from safe materials that guarantee you won’t have to worry about inhaling harmful chemicals when frying and egg with this pan.
The handles are silicon-coated and fit nicely in the palm of your hand. According to the manufacturer, Green as this is most important ever as it is well known
Earth pans are heat resistant up to 480F. This means you can also use them in an oven as well as all types of stoves. A small potential con for these pans is that they don’t come with lids. If you want covers, you are going to have to buy the lids as optional parts.
The lids are transparent, allowing you to see what you are cooking and can resist heat up to 390F.
Green Earth may be the best egg pan that comes in an affordable range. The egg sizzles nicely when fried and flips easily without sticking. Being heat resistant and having different sizes also means you can safely use this pan to cook food besides eggs as well.
Pancakes anyone? You need not worry about food stains either. You can clean the pan by wiping it with a paper towel.
WaxonWare deep-frying pan
The WaxonWare deep frying pan is unique in that the pan has five layers of coating. This is achieved through a mixture of ceramic and granite rather than a pure ceramic layer. The technology that allows this to be done is called Senotec.
The pans are quite thick. This ensures they last much longer than other ceramic pans out there in the market. The pan is oven safe and can withstand temperatures up to 300F. The pan heats evenly and the bottom of the pan never scratches.
The WaxonWare deep frying pan has a silicon layered Bakelite handle that fits snugly into the palm of your head. Additionally, the pan also comes with a mat that you can use to transfer the pan from stove straight to tabletop without being worried about scratches and burns. The mat is also good for long term storage if you won’t be using your pan for some time.
This pan allows you to fry with little amounts of oil. Its completely nonstick surface ensures you can fry an egg and not have to worry about getting the residue off the pan. Cleaning this pan is also very easy. You need only rinse the pan in cold water for five minutes and use a sponge to clean off any oily residue left.
T-fal Ultimate Hard Anodized Nonstick 8 In and 10 In Fry Pan Cookware Set
The t-fal basic pan set is a great addition to your kitchen. It comes in various sizes, from the smallest for comfortably frying a single egg to the larger pans for more adventurous cooking.
The non stick interior ensures pieces of food don’t get stuck to the pan when cooking and makes cleaning the pan easy. You need only a light sponge and warm water to clean this pan. The exterior is also nonstick allowing you to simply wipe off spilled sauces or liquids from the pan when cooking.
As most T-fal products, the nonstick surface comes equipped with the Thermo-Spot technology. A ring in the center of the pan turns solid red to show when pans are perfectly preheated
You should consider this pan if you are a beginner cook or don’t cook much.
Greenpan Lima Ceramic Pan
The Lima range ceramic pan is a ceramic coated non stick pan that is manufactured with Thermolon coating technology.
Thermolon is a better heat conductor than traditional ceramic. This produces higher heat levels for frying.
The pan is environmentally friendly, not containing any toxic chemicals or pollutants. The pan can withstand temperatures up to 450F without the coat peeling.
The riveted handles minimize heat transfer enabling you to hold when cooking. This makes it more usable than before.
No kitchen is complete without a set of Non-stick pans. Whether you just want to make an omelet, fry scrambled eggs or would like to have the option of cooking foods without having to worry about cleaning stuck food off the pan, any of our selected pan choices would be ideal for your purpose.
Remember, non stick pans are best used for cooking low fat food and frying eggs. You simply won’t get the required results if you use a non stick pan to, for example, char meat. Based on our tests, the best pan for your money seems to be the Ozeri Green Earth set.
Not only does the green finish make it look pleasing to the eye but its heat resistance and ease of cleaning makes it a welcome addition to any kitchen.
Recipes to cook with your new egg pan
Happy cooking 😉
Owner and Food blogger on The Cookware Geek. She loves cooking, baking, traveling, playing with the cats, and knitting. She believes that eating delicious meals doesn’t require a culinary degree or a Michelin-star chef in your kitchen.