Is Non-Stick Cookware Safe For Cooking? – Pros, Cons and Alternatives

Non-stick 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 cookware surface, it requires less effort to cook. This is why many people prefer it.

But, is non-stick cookware safe for cooking?

Yes, it is safe unless overheated and made of high-quality material. But, why so?

To know the answer, we must understand what it is made of and its effects on health as well as during cooking. We must ensure it is food-safe and hygienic for cooking.

non stick cookware safety

What is Non-stick Cookware Made Of?

The term “non-stick” is rightfully explained by its name. Non-stick cookware is basically an aluminum or steel cookware with a Teflon coating on the surface.

Teflon is chemically known as polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), a polymer based on carbon and fluorine. When heated above 260°C, the polymer starts to break down and decomposes at 350°C.

The Teflon coating on the non-stick cookware surface prevents food from sticking to the body. You can quickly fry or brown your ingredients and get the desired texture. The best non-stick cookware will guarantee you a hassle-free cooking experience.

non stick cookware closer look to top and bottom surface coating materials

Advantages of Using Non-stick Cookware

  • Usually, cooking involves a lot of stirring. Although this helps the ingredients mix well and spread heat evenly, it mainly prevents the food from sticking to the cookware surface. Non-stick cookware does not need this much of stirring for its non-stick coating. Hence, your effort for cooking will reduce significantly.
  • A lot of oil and spice is used in Indian cooking. Oily food prevents it from sticking to the cookware surface. We all know that too much oil can be harmful to health. Non-stick cookware negates this use of oil, resulting in healthier cooking.
  • Pan-fried food items often break down, losing their desired texture. This is certainly not the case when it comes to a non-stick pan.
  • If you are a beginner, non-stick cookware is ideal for you. As the food does not stick, it is easy to use and hassle-free to clean.
  • Unless certain conditions, the use of such cookware is harmless. They are durable as well as compared to the other types of cookware.

Disadvantages of Using Non-stick Cookware

  • It would be best never to use a metal-made ladle or cooking spud to stir the food. It may damage the non-stick coating of Teflon.
  • The Teflon coating can also be damaged when subjected to intense heat above 260°C. This usually happens during overcooking or overheating by mistake.
  • Dishwasher cleaning is not an option for non-stick frying pans and kadai as the hot water and chemicals can damage the coating.
used and tested non-stick cookware for safety

So, Is a Non-Stick Cookware Safe for Cooking?

There has been a prolonged debate whether non-stick cookware is safe for cooking. 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 this is is rare, it can create polymer fume fever, which is not desirable.

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 260°C. While cooking, you should also be careful as dry heating can damage the surface.

Alternatives to Non-Stick Cookware

  1. Cast Iron Cookware: It is another safe alternative to non-stick cookware. Unlike non-stick cookware, cast iron cookware does not react with the food when heated at a high temperature.
  2. Hard Anodized Cookware: It is a special type of aluminum cookware with the anodized surface. Hard anodized cookware is ideal for people who do not want a typical non-stick cookware.
  3. Stainless Steel Cookware: It is the safest alternative to non-stick cookware. Being chemically non-reactive to food items does not have any adverse effect on the food. But the food sticks at the bottom if not appropriately oiled. The stainless steel cookware is built with a food grade of material which can be a relief to the customer.
  4. Ceramic and Granite Cookware: It is almost chemically inert and does not affect the food adversely. But it has several limitations like brittleness, less versatility, and high cost. Granite cookware is also good for use.

Non-Stick Cookware Safety – Bottom Line

It has been controversial whether cooking with non-stick cookware is safe. The condition is similar to the safety of granite cookware. But, it is the preferable cooking utensil among Indian consumers for hassle-free cooking at a budget price. The non-stick Teflon coating on the pan helps the food not stick around the cookware, reducing the time and effort.

If you are looking for a user-friendly cookware, there is no better option than non-stick cookware. Considering every benefit, drawback, and safety aspect of the non-stick cookware, we highly recommend it. But you should not overheat the cookware and damage the Teflon coating. As long as you handle it with care, there won’t be any problem.

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