Should one season nonstick cookware?

I've lost count of the nonstick pots and pans I've replaced over the years because of the coating eventually flaking off. I hate throwing things away but am not keen on ingesting bits of industrial who-knows-what. I've just gone on a virtual shopping spree to replace two more pots and in the course of researching brands came across a blog whose author states that nonstick cookware should be seasoned periodically. This is news to me, and I wonder whether anyone else has heard of this. Has anyone here done this, and, if so, did it make a difference in the longevity of the pan?

I should add that I always use wood or plastic utensils and hand-wash my dishes, so it's disheartening that, no matter how much I spend on a pan, its deterioration seems to be inevitable.

Medora Van Denburgh
  • 265 views
  • 6 Comments

6 Comments

Medora V. January 4, 2022
Thanks for all the replies. I've done a bit more looking and see that it is fairly common to recommend seasoning nonstick cookware. Yet I've never seen this in the fine print when buying a new pan, so it may be an urban legend. Further, I was actually shocked to read that one shouldn't expect a pan to last more than five years. What? How did our grandparents manage? I have a saute pan I've been using since the mid-70s (admittedly, enameled cast iron) and a piece of Calphalon that's nearly that old.
 
702551 January 4, 2022
Before the introduction of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE, trade name Teflon) on cookware in the mid-1950s/early-1960s, people used properly seasoned cast iron skillets (Lodge is a popular US brand) or carbon steel fry pans (de Buyer is a classic French brand still heavily used in restaurants). These materials have been used for centuries all over the world (including woks in China).

Unsurprisingly consumers mostly abandoned cast iron and carbon steel in favor of convenience. You can toss a nonstick pan into the dishwasher, something that would strip the carefully developed seasoning layer off an iron/steel pan.

There is nothing that prevents you from owning both nonstick and iron/steel fry pans since they can be both acquired inexpensively. When my last 6" nonstick fry pan wore out, I decided not to replace it and just to stay with my cast iron skillet.

I have 10" fry pans in cast iron, carbon steel, and a cheap Winco nonstick (the latter will be found in pretty much every restaurant kitchen in the USA). I will select the one most appropriate for what I am cooking. None were pricey. I do know that I will need to replace the cheap Winco in 4-5 years. The other two will outlive me.
 
Paula January 10, 2022
Our grandparents didn't have non-stick cookware and neither do I. I've been using the same stainless steel and cast iron pans for over 30 years and they still work just fine, and are easy to clean. Why not ditch the non-stick and get something that lasts?
 
702551 January 4, 2022
It is important to understand that nonstick cookware has a limited lifespan regardless of how gently you treat the pan.

I have never heard of any recommendations to season nonstick cookware and I have been using this type of cookware surface for nearly three decades. Combined with other family members we have been using various nonstick pans for nearly half a century. None of our family was ever under the impressions that this stuff would last forever. Heck, even enamel chips.

The best approach is to buy something that doesn't need to be babied but doesn't cost a fortune. Thus I buy my nonstick frypans at a restaurant supply company. If I pay $20-30 for it and it lasts 7-8 years (under normal household usage), I'm fine with that. It doesn't owe me anything beyond that.
 
MMH January 4, 2022
I agree. I also buy them knowing they only have so much useful life and then toss them. The restaurant supply house is a great source. I have also had great luck at TJ Maxx.
 
drbabs January 3, 2022
I’m sorry you’re having a problem— maybe check with the manufacturer? I bought a skillet from Tramontina about a year ago, and it came to me with scratches on it. They were great about giving me a refund. (I didn’t want a replacement.)

I have quite a few pieces of Scanpan, which I love, and so far they’ve held up. I’ve never seasoned them, and, according to their website, you can pan fry without oil (which I haven’t tried). I also have a small oxo skillet, which has also held up well. There are no instructions about seasoning on either website. I hope this helps.
 
Recommended by Food52