A lot of home cooks use nonstick pans everyday, relying on the pan for everything from fried eggs and bacon to chicken breasts, salmon fillets, and all sorts of vegetables. Here’s the thing, though: You really shouldn’t be using that handy and oh-so-easy-to-reach-for nonstick skillet for absolutely everything! It may be easy to use and a breeze to clean, but if you are constantly using it to cook things over a high heat, stop immediately — and keep reading to find out why it is so bad to heat nonstick pans over a very high heat over and over again!
The main reason not to crank that flame to the max is because the nonstick surface will begin to deteriorate if it is constantly exposed to high heat. This can also cause the pan to release nasty and potentially toxic fumes while cooking — definitely something you want to avoid in food preparation.
But as well as all that potential for nasty toxicity, there’s also the fact that you should be using different pans for specific purposes anyway. There’s no need to use your nonstick pan for absolutely everything; in fact, you specifically should not. Instead of automatically reaching for it every time you cook, use it with more intention and turn to it when you are cooking things like crêpes, omelettes, and fried eggs — in other words, those really delicate foods that shouldn’t be cooked over more than medium heat anyway.
You’re best served using a variety of pans, but before you rush off and mortgage your house, or start selling things on Ebay, don’t worry! You certainly do not need to spend a fortune buying a new set of fancy and expensive pans to up your home-cooking game. A few solid choices — even just one great acquisition — will be all you need. And a good pan is something that, if treated well and properly cared for, can literally last a lifetime.
I am, of course, talking about the heavy-duty kitchen all-star that is a cast-iron pan — a fantastic piece of equipment that every cook should possess and can be bought for less than $50.
You can cook almost anything in cast iron, and if treated properly cast iron will, in fact, behave in a nonstick fashion that may surprise you. A well-seasoned cast-iron pan can totally replace your favorite nonstick, and rather than health risks, cast iron might even have some health benefits. Give it a buy (check out our all-time favorite cast-iron pan) and cook some of these 12 great recipes to make in your cast-iron pan!