Non-stick pans are some of the most convenient cooking tools. They often don't leave a sticky mess that's hard to clean up, and it saves you from having to use a lot of oil. But some recipes require baking; you're probably curious if you can use a non-stick pan in the oven. After doing the research, we've found the answer you're looking for.
In many cases, non-stick pans are oven-safe. However, be mindful of how hot the oven is. Non-stick pans are only safe to use within specific temperature ranges.
Continue reading to understand how to handle non-stick pans in the oven. By the end of the article, you'll be better prepared to take on various dishes with this pan.
How do I know if my non-stick pan is oven-safe?
Regardless of what pan you use, anything that's entirely safe to use in the oven will say so in its packaging. Check the label, packaging, or papers in the packaging for anything indicating safety for oven use.
However, before attempting to put anything in the oven, you need to inspect what materials the pan is made of. The material of many ordinary pans is safe for baking in the oven. But with non-stick pans, there are additional materials that may not be safe for the oven.
That additional material is the non-stick coating. Most non-stick pans are coated with a substance called polytetrafluoroethylene; it's also referred to as Teflon.
Teflon is a safe replacement for the previous coating for non-stick pans, which was perfluorooctanoic acid. Perfluorooctanoic acid had links to cancer, so today's non-stick pans no longer use this material.
Teflon makes oven baking with a non-stick pan safe in many situations. There are a few in which it's not ideal for baking with; we'll cover some of those later in this piece.
How to tell if a frying pan is oven-proof
Most pans on the market are safe for oven use. That's because most pans are made from copper, ceramic, cast iron, aluminum (sometimes), and stainless steel. All of these materials are safe to use in the oven.
Another way to see a pan's oven-proofing is by looking at the pan itself as an additional safety check. On the bottom of the pan are symbols denoting that it's oven safe. Those symbols will tell you that a pan is usable for induction, gas stoves, electric stoves, or is ceramic.
Sometimes, a frying pan may come with a lid. If you're going to bake, we suggest that you skip using the cover. Instead, use foil wrapping. This is because, while the pan will usually withstand the heat, the glass of the lid may not.
Glass usually only can take heat up to 400 degrees; anything hotter than that risks the glass shattering in the middle of a bake. Additionally, the handles are likely made of plastic. We'll discuss this more in the next section, but plastics aren't a good choice to have in an oven.
No matter what material the pan is made of, be mindful of how high the baking temperature is. Some materials lose a little of their integrity when exposed to too much heat. For heat resistance, swap out the plastic handles for stainless steel knobs.
Will a pan's handle melt in the oven?
Just because the material of the pan is oven-safe, that doesn't always mean the handle is too. Some pans, like cast iron skillets, have handles made of the same material as the pan. Others have handles of a different material. That other material is often used to help with gripping the pan.
Try to purchase pans that have detachable handles. Depending on the type of handle, it may be better to detach it than let it bake in the oven.
Your pan is likely to have one of these three types of handles.
If a pan has a metal handle, it's most likely the same metal as the pan itself. These handles are the best for long-lasting performance. Additionally, it's more aesthetically satisfying to look at.
The positive of metal handles is that they won't melt; it withstands heat much better than the other materials. The downside is that it absorbs heat. So at the end of the baking, your pan will be too dangerous to touch.
Unless you want to burn your hand, you need oven mitts to pick it up. Alternatively, you can use a kitchen towel. We've talked about how some people prefer towels over mitts; read our post here.
Plastic handles are a bit situational. Plastic alone doesn't fare well against the heat. When hot enough, it begins to melt off of the surface it's attached to. However, the plastic on pan handles is not that weak to high temperatures.
Pan handle plastic is made to insulate the handle; the silicone material doesn't conduct heat well, making it safer to touch when grabbing out of the oven. However, you shouldn't use it in higher baking temperatures; plastic handles can only withstand around 450 degrees.
If you accidentally put a pan with plastic handles in the oven above that temperature, you'll notice the smell once it begins melting. The oven will have an unpleasant burnt scent when you open it.
That being said, many plastic handles can withstand heat for certain lengths of time. If you don't go over that time limit, you shouldn't have any problems baking. Consult the manual to see what the pan's time and heat limits are.
If the pan handle is made of wood, don't use it in the oven at all. On a stovetop, wooden handles keep cool for a long time; this makes it easy to grab from the stove. It also has a nicer appeal. But because wood burns, it won't fare well in an oven.
Granted, you won't bake anything hot enough for a wood handle to set on fire. Wood won't explode in an oven unless it reaches 800 degrees Fahrenheit. But the gases emitted from wood handles are combustible. Carbon dioxide and monoxide are the most common gases released from burning wood.
A small explosion is almost guaranteed to happen while baking at higher temperatures; that's essentially broiling temperatures. Even at lower baking temperatures, the wood handle may break and render the pan's grip unsafe.
Never use anything wooden in an oven.
What temperature is safe for non-stick pans?
Non-stick pans that are marked as safe for oven use will withstand the heat for a long time. However, it's not designed to endure extremely high temperatures. The chemicals within the coating do not cause harm; the FDA assures this. But after 500 degrees, it becomes dangerous.
Teflon's website shares how baking above 500 degrees will discolor the surface and degrade its non-stick properties. Depending on the specifics of the coating, that excessive heat will also cause a release of harmful toxins.
It could cause the surface to peel and flake, but this won't harm you if it gets in your food in the improbable chance that happens.
To ensure that your non-stick pan continues to perform at its best, follow these tips:
- Keep your oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Preheat the oven at a low temperature with something in the pan, like oil or the food you wish to bake
- Use the stove exhaust
- Do not use for broiling
- Use cooking oil or butter; do not use cooking spray
Baking food is a great option to avoid using extra grease in your cooking. Non-stick pans make the cooking experience even better. You'll get the most out of your non-stick pan so long as you don't broil your food and the handle is heat resistant.
Before putting it in the oven, read the manual, box, or look for a label. Just because the pan's material is oven friendly doesn't mean the pan is usable for the oven.
Follow our suggestions, and you'll have a smooth baking experience without having to worry much about cleaning up.
If you found this article helpful, feel free to check out some of our other posts as well:
"Are Oven Mitts Heat Resistant?"