I have just bought a Tefal Pan with nonstick Teflon coating. The instruction manual says that using olive oil to cook will gradually ruin the nonstick coating.

What are the best options for buying a pan where one could cook and fry in olive oil without worrying about the toxins entering your food.


  • 2
    That strikes me as odd. Is the manual warning against all olive oil, or just extra virgin olive oi? If your answer to the question is the latter, maybe it's a similar issue to this? cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/6148/…
    – Jolenealaska
    Nov 19, 2014 at 7:44
  • 1
    @Jolenealaska I don't see it as especially odd. All oils polimeryse to some extent under heat, but the less saturated, the more they polymerise. And little-refined or non-refined olive oil is the one common unsaturated oil found in most kitchens. Having polymerised residue sticking to the pan (and it is one of the few things which manage to stick to teflon) reduces the non stickiness.
    – rumtscho
    Nov 19, 2014 at 7:48

3 Answers 3


First of all, a Teflon pan will get gradually ruined anyway. Even when you don't use oil, the heat and the food itself will wear out the coating, it is just very sensitive this way. Using oil will speed up the process.

Second, both existing technologies for nonstick pans, PTFE (Teflon) and ceramic, will get ruined by oil. If you want to cook with olive oil and the pan to last forever, you will have to switch to pans without nonstick coating. Practically any other pan will work here (except tinned copper, where the coating also gets worn, independently of oil this time). But you will have to build up much better cooking skills to prevent your food from sticking to the pan. You will also have to increase your oil use. Seasoned iron or carbon steel pans offer a certain amount of nonstickiness (certain combinations of food/temperature still stick), but they also require a bit of maintenance and knowledge.

For many people, the tradeoff is not worth it, and they stay with teflon, replacing the pan every now and then. If it is worth it for you, there is no single answer to suggest, different pan types are optimal for different applications.

  • Good answer. A good friend of mine just bought an impressive ceramic non-stick. Any links on how the ceramics degrades with oil? The closest I could find was not to use non-stick oil sprays. Nov 19, 2014 at 20:36
  • @CaptainGiraffe I once bought a ceramic nonstick in a brick and mortar store without doing much research. It failed after a few months. I did the research afterwards, and the Amazon reviewers on this model mentioned that the reason it fails is that it gets gummed up with oil residue, especially if the oil is used in combination with starch. I have been able to restore it briefly with lye, and besides the surface does look gummed up rather than abraded, so I am inclined to believe it. I think I've read it somewhere else too, but forgot where.
    – rumtscho
    Nov 19, 2014 at 21:02
  • Thanks, I'll wait a few months for my friends prognosis too. They tend to use a lot of starch in the pan. Potato starch+wine/broth for a sauce after frying the porkchops and such. Nov 19, 2014 at 21:12

The sauté pan is usually not very deep, is invariably round, and possesses either straight or sloped sides. For pans of this sort, ease of handling is given primacy because unlike other pans they’re intended to be handled a good deal during food preparation. Accordingly, in order to be lightweight as well as highly conductive, they’re typically made of aluminum or have an aluminum core and a stainless steel exterior. You may also find them with a ceramic coating but, like non-stick coatings, are not a good option in terms of durability. (Handled often and roughly they tend to chip; while the lighter-colored ones tend generally to turn brown.)

Here’s a good example of the range of what’s available to chefs and professional kitchens in this vein. (Since the professional kitchen is the gold standard for method, process, and equipment, it is only fitting we would set our sites there rather than, say, the shelves of our local Target.) We note, as you seem to anticipate, that there are no non-stick options among them. There are also none with a ceramic coating. Most of them are the Vollrath brand and are moderately priced for something of this quality.

Below in the form of a photo is one which stands out for its sloped sides. It has an aluminum core, (an aluminum alloy called 3400 aluminum), and a stainless steel exterior of grade 18/0. The grading of the stainless steel means that it contains 18% chromium (functional for hardness and stain resistance) and 0% nickel (cosmetic for shine).

enter image description here

Among the handful of non-clad aluminum pans here offered, (here’s a good example), they’re all made with 3400 aluminum. It’s a minimum 96% aluminum, the remaining 4% being a host of other trace metals as well as silicon. It is very hard and is so resistant to heat that it can actually be used in an oven up to 650°F. In these respects it is certainly a nice choice. But care must still be taken, as with all aluminum cookware, to avoid prolonged exposure to tomato sauce or other acidic compounds. (Generally, yes, pans should not be used for storage in the first place.) Acids over time will cause pocking (increased microscopic porosity) which allows the aluminum more readily to leach into the food (which is okay and even valuable up to a point, but is also linked to Alzheimer’s in overabundance).

Still other, even pricier models will possess copper cores or even beautiful copper exteriors with stainless steel cooking surfaces. As you can see, they can get quite expensive. But if your first grab was a non-stick pan, against which course you are now trying to self-correct, it is probably fair to guess that the more modestly priced options are the lane your after.


I've had very good luck with the "Scan Pan " a non toxic non stick pan made in Denmark available in the U S I've had mine for over two years used with all kinds of cooking oil a Quality pan used every day.

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