I was recently asked whether cooking spray can damage Teflon and other non-stick coatings. The concerned reader was worried about the non-stick coating on her air fryer basket.
Since most recipes you find online require some sort of oil or cooking spray, this was obviously a concern for her.
Quite frankly, she is right to be concerned.
Non-stick and Teflon coated cookware has revolutionized cooking for many. It has made cooking a breeze for many, without worrying about whether they can actually remove the food at the end.
However, not all cookware has the same quality of non-stick surface. Indeed, some surfaces don’t seem to be non-stick at all.
The cause…non-stick cooking spray! Who would have thought it?
Why does cooking spray damage Teflon and non-stick coatings?
On first glance, it seems completely non-sensical. Surely your cooking spray should actually grease the pan and protect it. If that was all it did using oil, then yes, that would be the case.
The issue is that oil is not the only ingredient in the nonstick cooking spray. It contains other ingredients that have the opposite of the intended effect.
Within the ingredients of cooking sprays, they also contain an anti-foaming agent called dimethyl silicone. They also contain the propellent which is either butane or propane.
Importantly though, they contain an emulsifier called lecithin. This is potentially the real culprit here. Continual usage of cooking spray will build the lecithin into the surface which actually has the effect of making the non-stick coating…sticky.
The worst think is that it is nigh on impossible to remove. So, overtime, the performance of your cookware will reduce until it bears no relation to what you once had.
Cooking spray burns at lower temperatures
The other major downside of cooking sprays is the burning point. According to Anolon, one of the biggest and respected cookware manufacturers, cooking spray has a lower burning point which inevitably damages the cookware surface and coating.
Once damaged, there is no repairing it.
The best think you can do to protect your non-stick coatings is to stop using cooking sprays. This is the easiest and most effective solution… but what can you do instead?
Depending on how you view things, you have a couple of options.
Firstly, dump the cooking spray and use normal oils such as vegetable or canola oils…even butter.
Or, do what I do. I simply bought a cheap oil mister from amazon which does a fantastic job in creating a very fine mist. I decant some olive oil into it and it acts just as efficiently as any other solution.
It also means that I limit the amount of oil that I need to use.
If this is not something you have considered, I absolutely recommend that you give it a try.
Ways to look after the non-stick coating on cookware
Aside from stopping using cooking sprays, there are a few other measures that you can take on board that will prolong the life of your cookware and surface coating.
Put the oil into a cold pan
I know we all automatically do this but with non-stick cookware, we are all getting this wrong. No need to preheat with non-stick, the oil or the fats go into the cold pan. Preheating a nonstick pan can give off toxic fumes…they are simply not designed to be heated up whilst empty.
Wash them very carefully
As with my Dutch ovens, I never use any abrasive cleaners or sponges on them. You have to protect the surface and be very careful about doing so. Simply use silicone sponges that have little nubs on them. They do the cleaning job perfectly.
Use the right utensils
I have so many friends of mine use metal utensils with non-stick pans. It really makes my blood boil. If I ever catch my husband doing this, I have told him it is grounds for divorce!
Seriously, this is what silicone utensils are for. They work just as effectively as metal or wood utensils without scratching the surface or damaging the non-stick coating.
If they are damaged…stop using them
We take way to long in replacing damaged pans. Yes, I understand that they can be expensive but we have to consider our heath too.
Damaged cookware where the non-stick coating has scratched and flaked can be dangerous. At high temperatures, they can release toxins that are harmful to your health.
Don’t take the risk, it simply isn’t worth it.
The solution is simple in my eyes, stop using cooking sprays. You can easily get by without them simply by using an oil mister.
Not only will it prolong the life of your cookware, it will save you money in the long run. You also need to consider the health advantages…do you really want to be cooking in chemicals? I thought not.
Does cooking spray damage Teflon? does cooking spray damage cookware? Yes! I hope you found this article useful. I would love to know what you think. Please leave a comment below, I love hearing from my readers.
See you soon…Jayne x
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Thank you so much… Jayne x