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When choosing the best Teflon® pan, it is important to check how heavy the item is as a heavier pan will heat up more slowly, reducing some of the common issues found with Teflon®. As with any cooking item, picking one made from a metal that effectively conducts heat is also important. To make cooking easier and to help to avoid unintentional burns, look for a pan that has a heat-resistant handle. It can also be helpful to be wary of certain marketing claims, such as "dishwasher-safe" or "usable with high heat."
One of the primary concerns that people have with a Teflon® pan is it becoming hot enough to potentially give off harmful gases. While this can typically be avoided if the pan is used properly, you can also help to prevent this situation by choosing a pan that is heavy. As lighter pans have a thinner bottom, they typically heat up two to three minutes faster than a heavier- bottomed one, making it more likely that your Teflon® pan will become overheated, leading to the potential release of gas and damage to the item. You can compare the weight of several different options by picking the pan up by the handle and slowly lifting it up, down, and to the side.
The type of metal that a pan is made from will determine how evenly it heats up, as well as how efficiently it retains that heat. Copper-bottomed pans are well-known for their ability to provide an even cooking surface, although they can be significantly more expensive than other types of Teflon® pans. For a more budget-friendly option, look for stainless steel-wrapped aluminum with a Teflon® coating. Both this and copper-bottomed pans can provide a prime cooking surface for everything from omelets to sautéed chicken breasts.
Choosing a Teflon® pan with a heat-resistant handle can make cooking easier and safer. For pans that are not oven safe, or that you do not plan to use in an oven, a handle with a rubber or silicon grip wrapped around it is often best. If you want the option of placing your pan in the oven, or if you prefer a metal handle, look for a teflon® pan that has either a hollow handle or one made of a separate metal than the rest of the pan. This is typically indicated on the packaging, or you can simply inspect the item prior to purchasing it.
Before you make any final decisions, make sure you do not fall for any advertising gimmicks. While some Teflon® pans are marketed as "dishwasher-safe," it is typically best to still wash these items by hand, as running them through a dishwasher can significantly shorten their life span. It is also a good idea to keep in mind that no Teflon® pan is resistant to high heat, and the most they should be exposed to is 400° Fahrenheit (204° Celsius), which is common in oven-safe styles.
If you're a student living in an apartment, and the majority of your stove top cooking is bacon and eggs, then one of those cheap nonstick pans will be fine. Just remember to wash it.
I do a fair amount of cooking, so I prefer to spend a little more money on my nonstick pans, on ones that will last a long time, and have quality construction.
I've seen several brands in the stores, and as the article suggests, I always look for the thicker, sturdier pans. I think I paid $40USD for the last pair I bought, but they are great pans and were well worth the money.
Do you want, or will you want to put your pan in the oven at any time? Then get one with an oven safe handle.
I've found that handles usually don't get too hot to hold comfortably, unless the food has been cooking for a good while. Plus, I have a couple of recipes that really do need a nonstick pan, and go from stovetop to oven. So, I bought pans with metal handles.
I also prefer those that are riveted to the side of the pan, rather than just stuck on one of those little plates. They last longer and won't come off. I've had handles come away from pans at crucial moments.... Not fun.
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