There can be nothing more frustrating than food sticking to the pan, no matter what you are cooking if your food starts to stick it can make cooking more of a chore than a joy.
To stop food from sticking to the pan you can use things such as water, oil or butter to help grease the pan and create a barrier between the pan and contents. You can also make sure the pan is clean, it is a high-quality pan and that there are no scratches that can cause food to stick and burn.
In this article, I am going to talk about why food is sticking to your pan and how to prevent it in the future.
Why Does Food Stick To Pans?
Imagine yourself making an omelet; more times than often, you will end up making a scrambled egg instead of the omelet as the egg will get stuck to the pan, and you will prod it multiple times with a scoop.
The feeling is always frustrating and irritating, but there should be a way around it. But before we proffer solutions to sticky pans, let’s first understand why food sticks to the pan.
Your food sticks to the pan as a result of chemical bonds that occur between the food and the pan. The reaction occurs because most pans are filled with little cracks and crevices. So in the case of the eggs, when the pan is heated to a high temperature, the metal expands, letting the egg get stuck in those microscopic cracks, where it then sticks and burns.
It’s not a surprise that eggs are prone to stick to pans. This is because two things are working against them. Their liquid flows easily into those cracks, and their proteins are thorny. Though these bonds are weak van der Waals forces, it is enough to cause sticky pans.
In addition, there are still few reasons why your food may stick to your pan.
Not all pans are made equivalent. Less expensive pans may have a thin or sporadically applied coating that can make food stick. Given health concerns about some nonstick coatings, new coatings have been presented. However, not every one of them functions just like conventional coatings like Teflon.
Heavy, great quality pans with numerous coatings will last more, circulate heat more uniformly, and keep food from sticking more successfully.
Most pan producers, including the nonstick ones, suggest heating the pan over medium heat and bring it up to temperature before adding food.
Placing your food in a cold pan can make it stick. Cook your food over low or medium temperature. Also, take note that pans are not made to cook over high heat.
Quite a number of people love to move food around a lot when cooking. This is not a good idea. It’s better to prepare your food, flipping it once or twice.
If your food is sticking, you’re probably turning it too fast. This is especially obvious when cooking meats and different proteins.
Oil, Butter, and Fat
Though one of the benefits of nonstick cookware is that you can utilize less butter, fat, and oil, you still need to utilize some oil or fat. If your food is sticking, you might be utilizing pretty much less oil. Likewise, you can brush the pan with a small quantity of oil, which is a trick cooks use to keep food from sticking to pans.
Pans that have been utilized inappropriately may have lost a portion of their nonstick coatings, making food stick. Scratch blemishes on the coating are often brought about by utilizing metal utensils or abrasive materials, which indicates that the coating is dented.
Furthermore, pans that have been heated over the suggested temperature may have a damaged coating. In these cases, purchase another pan.
Your pans should be cleaned of any built-up residue regularly. This is especially obvious if you utilize nonstick spray regularly. Use a non-abrasive scrubber and a cleaning agent prescribed by the company to clean your pan meticulously.
Pans don’t last forever, even the nonstick ones. The coating of pans decays over the years, especially with hefty use. Less expensive pans, which have fewer layers, will lose their coating much quicker. Follow the maker’s cleaning and care guidelines to guarantee you get the longest life from your nonstick pans.
How to Stop Food Sticking To the Pan
Cooking is a thorough job and needs to be done carefully. The smallest mistake can either lead to food getting overcooked or burnt, which may lead to your food sticking to the bottom of the pan. The annoying thing is that scrapping the stuck food damages the lining of the pot.
If you have also been getting pissed off for the same hitch, you can prevent this problem by following these simple steps.
Greasing With Olive Oil Or Butter
Before you proceed with your cooking, grease your pan very well. You can do this by putting a small amount of olive oil on the bottom of the pan before you start cooking. This method has proven to be one of the most effective ways to avoid food from sticking.
You will have to spread the oil all over the pan’s surface and when the pan has heated a little, add the food.
You can use a teaspoon of butter to grease the pan before cooking in the absence of olive oil. It is advisable to cook at a low or moderate temperature and add a pinch of salt to prevent food from burning and sticking.
Generally, greasing is done to make sure all sides of the pan are covered with oil or butter, leaving no corner for food to stick to the pan.
Another secret to prevent food from sticking to your pan is to ensure the bottom is always moist. Adding a few teaspoons of water to your pan, even in dishes that aren’t water-based, helps avoid food sticking.
So, even if you put the oil in the pan and it’s still dry, add extra oil or a bit of water and stir.
This tip comes in handy, especially for non-water-based dishes. When making your dishes, especially if the tomato is an important ingredient, use a tomato puree as the slurry will prevent the other dry ingredients from sticking to the pan’s bottom.
Preheating your pan is another trick that helps prevent food from sticking at the bottom. First, preheat your pan to medium temperature and then add oil to it and heat well. Proper heating and greasing of your pan will cook the food properly without allowing it to stick to the bottom of the pan.
This is because a thin layer of steam will protect the hot oiled pan. The steamed oil acts as a shield between the food and the pan, preventing any sticking issues. So if your cooking pan is cold when you add your eggs, you’re asking for trouble.
Stirring your food is another basic but effective trick in preventing food sticking. Ensure to use a wooden spoon instead of a metallic one when stirring. This is because a metal spoon leads to scrapping, which further makes the bottom surface of the pan wear down.
Keep stirring continuously at intervals, preventing the food from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Taking good care of your pan not only makes it last longer it also prevents food from sticking to it. Here are some tips for taking good care of your pans.
Wash With Warm Water And Rinse Clean Before Using For The First Time.
Though this will not increase the nonstick properties of your pan, nor will it make it last longer, it will help remove dust and stains. This is generally the best action to do if you’re just buying something new, especially if you will cook with it.
Avoid Using High Heat
When cooking, keep the heat at a medium or lower temperature to protect the pan’s nonstick surface. To avoid deforming and safety concerns, check the manual to see the maximum temperature advised before putting your nonstick pans into the oven; if you’re not sure, it’s better to be on the safe side by avoiding putting your nonstick pans in the oven.
Instead, use oven-safe stainless steel pans or cast iron pans for dishes that start on the stovetop and finish in the oven. Also, take note to always be sure that you have oil, water, or food materials in the pan before heating it. Heating an empty pan can overheat it, which is not good for the pan, especially if you want it to last.
For proper cleaning of your pans, it’s advisable to stick to sponges, soft brushes, and microfiber towels with dish soap. Do not use scouring pads and steel wool; it damages the pan. Though some manufacturers say their nonstick pans are dishwasher-safe, we advise washing the pans by hand to protect the surface.
Your Pan Should Not Be Used For Storing Food
When you finish cooking and eating, you should transfer the leftovers into containers designed to go in the refrigerator and not leave them in the pan. Storing the food in the pan can cause wear and tear on the nonstick finish. In addition, don’t soak the pan in water overnight. It’s better to wash the pan before going to bed.
Replace As Soon As the Pan Is Damaged Enough
As soon as you notice peeling or wear of the nonstick pan surface or when the food begins to stick to it continuously, it’s time to replace the pan with a new one. This is because pans are more likely to release toxins when used while the nonstick surface is flaked.
To stay safe, we recommend replacing the pan every couple of years before this becomes an issue.
What Foods Are Likely To Stick To The Pan?
Proteinous, high-fat contents and carbohydrates foods are more likely to stick to pans. This is because high heat causes them to form bonds with the pan surface. Protein-rich foods are mostly more prone to sticking because they can form complexes with the pan.
Some of these foods include eggs, chicken breast, beef, lamb, veal, pork, kangaroo, chicken, turkey, duck, emu, goose, bush birds, fish, prawns, crab, lobster, mussels, oysters, scallops, beans, lentils, chickpeas, split peas just to mention a few.
Hi all! I’m Cora Benson, and I’ve been blogging about food, recipes and things that happen in my kitchen since 2019.