Nonstick cookware is known to be the most popular kitchenware among all other cookware in India. As this kind of material prevents the food to stick on the surface of the cookware, it requires less effort to complete cooking. This is why many people prefer it. But there is also a question that bothers people-
Is non-stick cookware safe for cooking?
To know the answer, we must know what it is made of and what are its effects of on health as well as during cooking. Being a cooking utensil, we must ensure it to be safe for the consumption of food healthily and hygienically.
What is Nonstick Cookware Made Of?
The term “nonstick” is rightfully explained by its name only. It is essentially a surface where things do not stick. This principle, when applied to cookware, is called nonstick cookware.
Picture a scenario when you are browning or frying some food. You have a texture and a feel of the food you want to achieve. But midway through the cooking, the ingredients get stuck to the cookware surface. You have no option but to stir them repeatedly. This will ruin the food quality surely.
Hence, nonstick cookware came into the picture. These products have Teflon coating on their surface. The coating prevents food from sticking to the cookware surface. Now you can quickly fry or brown your ingredients and get the desired texture. In short, the best nonstick cookware will guarantee you a hassle-free cooking experience.
Advantages of Using Nonstick Cookware
Every product has certain advantages and disadvantages. Nonstick pans are no exception. Let us first look at some of the benefits to know if it is safe for cooking.
- Usually, cooking involves a lot of stirring. Although it helps the ingredients mix well, it mainly prevents the food from sticking to the cookware surface. There is no need for the same in nonstick cookware. Hence your cooking time will reduce significantly.
- It is evident in Indian cooking, mainly that a lot of fat gets used. This is primarily to prevent the food from sticking to the cookware surface. We all know about how fat can be harmful to one’s health. Nonstick cookware negates this use of fat, resulting in healthier cooking.
- Often on average, pan-fried items break down, losing their desired texture. This is certainly not the case when it comes to nonstick pan.
- It takes time to get used to cooking. If you are a beginner, nonstick cookware is ideal for you. There is no risk of the food getting stuck to the cookware surface. So, take your time with the cooking.
- It is evident now that the food does not stick. Hence it is pretty easy to clean this cookware.
- Unless certain conditions, the use of such cookware is harmless. They are durable as well as compared to the other ones.
Disadvantages of Using Nonstick Cookware
Nonstick cookware has certain disadvantages. Let us take a look at some of them here from the safety point of view.
- Nonstick cookware is essentially a thong of theirs. This cookware tends to lose the signature feature when used with scouring pads. The same holds when used with metal utensils.
- The Teflon coating creates the nonstick nature of the cookware. This coating can be damaged when subjected to intense heat.
- A dishwasher is not ideal for washing the surface of nonstick pan. Such use significantly destroys the facade.
- The nonstick use does come with certain limitations. It is challenging to caramelize or brown food in nonstick cookware.
So, Is a Non Stick Cookware Safe for Cooking?
Teflon is chemically known as polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) which is a polymer, based on carbon and fluorine. When heated above 300°C, the polymer breaks down.
The fume of the polymer can make you sick with symptoms of fever, flu, and sore throat when consumed in a considerable amount. It can also induce problems in the lungs when overheated. Though it is rare, it can create polymer fume fever.
But, in general, that much heat is not required during cooking. Deep frying involves heating at the highest range of temperature that is typically less than 200°C. Non-stick cookware is safe for cooking when heated with a low or medium flame that does not exceed 300°C.
Because of all these advantages we recommend using non-stick cookware. It is good if you follow the safe operating guidelines that we have listed below.
Safe Operating Guidelines For Nonstick Cookware
Every product comes with specific guidelines for usage. Let us look at some for the nonstick cookware.
- Nonstick cookware does corrode with time and usage. This cookware loses the signature hard texture. So it is recommended not to use a knife or any sharp utensils in them.
- As mentioned before, the Teflon coating corrodes when subjected to high heat. The result is a generation of harmful chemicals and loss to the nonstick feature. Remember never to use nonstick cookware at a very high temperature.
- Nonstick pans are easy to clean. Do not use dishwashing soap for the same. It will damage the surface. Instead, opt for a hand wash for the nonstick cookware.
Alternatives to Non Stick Cookware
While non-stick cookware is desired by most people, there are also some other alternatives that you might like to try out.
- Stainless Steel Cookware: It is the safest alternative to non-stick cookware. Being chemically less reactive, it has little effect on the food. But the food sticks at the bottom if not oiled properly. The best stainless steel cookware is built with a food-safe grade of material which can be a relief to the customer.
- Ceramic Cookware: It is almost chemically inert and does not have any effect on the food. But it has several limitations.
- Cast Iron Cookware: It is one of the safest alternatives to non-stick cookware. Cast iron cookware does not react with the food when heated at a high temperature. Despite a few limitations we also recommend using it.
- Stoneware: It is also a good substitute for non-stick cookware. But stoneware lack variety and availability from the best cookware brands. This is why it is less popular in India.
Non-stick cookware is the most preferable cooking utensil among Indian consumers. The non-stick coating on the pan is made of Teflon on PTFE which is basically a polymer. It helps the food not sticking around the cookware. Thus it reduces the time and effort of the users.
It has been a controversial debate about whether cooking with non-stick cookware is safe. But unless you overheat and damage the Teflon coating, it is perfectly safe for cooking.
If you are looking to ease cooking that is friendly to the user, there is no better option than non-stick cookware. Considering every benefit and drawback of the non-stick cookware, we highly recommend using it most safely.