When it comes to stovetop essentials, nonstick cookware is at the top of Mei Lin’s list. The Top Chef: Boston winner and Williams-Sonoma Chefs’ Collective member enjoys starting the day with a hearty breakfast, which means a nonstick pan is never too far away.
“My favorite foods to cook in nonstick are fried eggs and hash browns,” Lin says. Outside of breakfast, she turns to nonstick cookware when making items like kimchi pancakes and blinis for appetizers.
As for how she chooses the best nonstick? “I look for something that’s induction-friendly,” she says, referring to the increasingly popular induction stovetop, which allows for faster, more efficient heating during cooking. For induction burners, flat-bottomed, magnetic cookware is a must (our induction-compatible All-Clad NS1 Nonstick is one example).
Regardless of what type of stove you use, we asked the chef to share her best advice about cooking with nonstick cookware. Here are five tips you can’t overlook if you’re cooking with nonstick.
- Make sure it’s dishwasher-safe. “Make sure when you buy nonstick cookware that it can go straight into the dishwasher,” Lin recommends. This is perfect for busy cooks.
- Avoid cooking over high heat. “For me, the perfect temperature is low to medium — especially when using induction, because induction cooking is so precise,” Lin says. Avoid any temperature higher than that, as higher temperatures can deteriorate the nonstick surface.
- Likewise, never preheat an empty pan. Empty nonstick pans can soar to high temperatures in just a few minutes, exceeding safe nonstick cooking temperatures. For best results, include some oil in your pan, monitor it closely, and add ingredients as soon as it’s hot enough.
- Be wary of using abrasive tools alongside nonstick cookware. This includes cooking tools like knives, stainless-steel spoons, or metal spatulas, but also abrasives like steel wool when cleaning your pans. Lin sticks to rubber spatulas and wooden spoons to ensure longevity of her pans.
- Avoid using cooking sprays. Not only are they unnecessarily, but Lin cautions that after awhile, the nonstick pan will develop a sticky buildup that you’re not going to be able to scrub out.
In addition to eggs and pancakes, our favorite items to make in nonstick cookware include delicate pastas, like the butternut squash ravioli with brown butter and sage pictured above. What are your favorite things to cook in nonstick? Share with us in the comments below.