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Is Nonstick Cooking Spray Harming Your Pans?

A man sprays a pan with cooking spray.

It’s time to cook dinner. You reach for your handy nonstick pan and some cooking spray just to be extra sure your food doesn’t stick. While this might seem like a good call in the moment, you should probably rethink it.

Your nonstick pans can be damaged by nonstick cooking spray, and over time, you might end up needing new cookware as a result.

Most nonstick cookware has a Teflon or polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) that keeps food from sticking using a combination of carbon and fluorine atoms. Unfortunately, when nonstick cooking spray is used on these surfaces, it’s nearly impossible to remove.

While your pan might seem fine at first, over time, the spray will build up and compromise performance, causing food to stick.

Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t use oil if you’re worried about food sticking to your pan. Olive oil, canola oil, and other types of cooking oils are all safe options. Use a minimal amount of oil and cook on medium heat as high heat can also be a source of damage to nonstick coatings.

If your nonstick pan is, well, no longer nonstick, it might be time to invest in new cookware. This time, though, skip the cooking spray.

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