Can putting frozen food in a preheated ceramic coated non-stick pan cause a thermal shock and ruin the pan?

2 Answers 2


I'm gonna risk getting chastised and answer from first principles, rather than any referenced sources!

The pan will not be affected at all from this. A home freezer will chill foods down to around -20C, a refrigerator to around 5C and the stovetop can heat your pan up to around 350C. Putting food from the fridge into your preheated pan (its most common use-case) could expose the pan to a mass 345C cooler than it, from the freezer 370C. The temperature differential between the two cases is really not that different (~10%) and well within the ability of any pan to withstand. If it were possible to damage a pan with such a small variation from its most common use case, it would also be just as likely that a more efficient/higher temperature stovetop would also damage it.

In short, the only pan that would be damaged by this would be a pan that was not fit for purpose.

  • Don't put it into a preheated ceramic (not coated, but clay) or glass casserole dish, though. That can cause cracking.
    – FuzzyChef
    Oct 22, 2020 at 23:05

It depends. As @RadioRaheem has said, any pan that would be damaged by this is probably not fit for purpose. However, many non-stick pans should not be placed on direct heat without any oil or liquid in them, as this can cause the coating to detach or deteriorate. So while I doubt frozen food would actually cause your pan to fail, preheating it is probably much more likely to do so.

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