How do I fix a scratched nonstick pan? Can I continue using the pan? Here is my advice on how to fix a scratched nonstick pan…and how to prevent it becoming so bad.
I’ve used many a nonstick pan over the years. The following are my recommendations on various options, based on what I’ve found.
cover the scratched cooking surface
Try this trick if you want to get extra mileage out of your scratched pan…
- Cut out a round piece of parchment paper (AKA baking paper) in a size to fit the inside base of the pan
- Lightly grease the surface
- Fry as you would normally
You’ll get that nonstick, low mess result! — without food contacting a compromised nonstick surface.
Do nothing – Continue using the scratched pan
A few scratches (minor marks) are not so bad, but…
If the pan loses its nonstick feature (becomes stickier) or the surface becomes badly worn, is it worth it? I don’t recommend this approach where it would compromised your food with micro bits of coating flaking off or exposure to bare aluminum areas.
If the scratching is bad and unsightly, maybe it’s time to replace the pan (and see if you can recycle the old one). You can get a new nonstick pan to suit your budget — See my list of ceramic nonstick types.
Refinishing — Removing nonstick coating
How do you get scratches out of a non stick pan? Can you fix non stick pans? You can fix a scratched nonstick pan by refinishing it or completely removing the nonstick coating. Here is a video showing you how to fix a scratched nonstick pan with a lot of rubbing to completely removing the nonstick coating…
I don’t recommend this for one reason that you end up with bare aluminum, which is what most nonstick pans are made of (it makes them lightweight and aids the heating).
People have cooked with aluminum for years, but studies indicate it’s not the best material to use, with acidic foods especially, e.g. tomatoes. You can read about the issues concerning aluminum in my article on the different cookware materials.
Cookware repair sprays to cover scratches
I came across this option when I went searching for answers on how to fix scratched pans. There were multiple sites giving this as a solution.
With cookware repair sprays, you clean the cooking surface, spray it on and air the pan for 30 mins, and then you bake the pan in the oven for the required time (about 40 mins).
I’m not sure whether these sprays are still available.
I admit, I have not used them. My thoughts: Would I want to? Is it worth it? Would there be toxic fumes? You may want to google and check these out for yourself.
Preventing More scratches appearing
The pan itself will last forever. But the surface not so much. Prevention to avoid scratches means you’ll get a lot more value from your cookware.
I have a full guide that covers the use, care, and storing of these. Below are the 3 basics for avoiding future scratches on your nonstick pan…
Basics 1 – When Cooking
The first step means not using metal utensils and to avoid overheating the pan.
This also means not using a fork to flip or a knife to cut ingredients in the pan.
Bamboo or wooden utensils are good to use
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A wooden spoon or bamboo or silicone spatulas and kitchen tools are best.
Care when cooking also means not overheating the pans. Stick to manufacturers instructions. Generally this means low to medium temperatures and avoiding high flames.
This care step also relates to use of oils and fats when cooking with nonstick pans. Once again this will vary with the product and it’s always best to follow the manufacturers recommendations (important for warranty).
But basically, a little oil or fat is generally acceptable and in some cases recommended. The main thing is to avoid overheating the oil or you will ruin it – the cooking surface. This is also unhealthy for you.
I go into this in more depth in my article about using oil in nonstick cookware.
Basics 2 – When Cleaning
The second step involves not putting nonstick pans in the dishwasher.
Even though the instructions might say they are dishwasher safe, the pans can get knocked by the dishwasher arm or affected by harsh dishwashing chemicals.
It is much better to hand wash, which is simple anyway.
Care when cleaning also means not stacking the nonstick pans in the sink with other gadgets and cutlery.
It’s a good idea not to put the pan in the sink with other gadgets but rather clean it separately.
Basics 3 – When Storing
Third step — Don’t stack your cookware.
If you do stack your pans, be sure to use pan protectors. Put these between the pans, if you don’t have space and need to stack the cookware.
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How to Make a Ceramic Pan Non Stick Again?
How to fix a sticky ceramic nonstick pan? You can try adding a little oil to ‘re-season’ it, to improve it’s nonstick nature. This involves coating the ceramic nonstick pan with oil and heating it over low to medium temperature.
Never overheat the oil – avoid the point where the oil starts to smoke or this will ruin your pan rather than fix it. Once cooled, wipe the pan with a paper towel to remove the extra oil.
It is entirely up to you whether you use this method, which is often suggested. The results will certainly depend on the state of your pan to start with.
Ceramic nonstick pans are a low fat and healthy way of cooking — see why in my guide. But nonstick surfaces wear with time once they get scratched. We all want to enjoy their benefits for longer.
So in summing up, there are four worthy fixes for a scratched nonstick pan.
- Cover with parchment paper (best if you’re not ready to part with your pan)
- Prevention (good for future — won’t fix the current damage)
- Doing nothing if minor scratching (use care to prevent future worsening)
- Replacing (ideal if you have the budget for it)