To take proper care of your non-stick pots and pans it is important to follow the directions given by the manufacturer. One of the most important rules to remember is that you should refrain from using any metal utensils on non-stick coating. The non-stick interior finish is not designed to withstand cutting food in the pan, or the use sharp-edged metal spoons and spatulas. Using metal tools for stirring or for removing the food from the pan can easily damage the non-stick finish. Once the coating gets scratched or pitted, it’s best to replace damaged pieces of cookware.
When cooking in your non-stick cookware, you need to use scratch-friendly cooking utensils such as wood, bamboo, silicone, or nylon. Kitchen utensils made from these materials will help you to preserve the non-stick surface and prolong the life of your scratch-sensitive cookware.
What to Look when Buying Utensils for Your Non-stick Cookware
Safety: Cooking utensils should be manufactured from safe food-contact materials. Look for FDA-approved materials that won’t chemically react with acidic or hot foods.
No-scratch feature: To avoid damage of scratch-sensitive interior coating, select utensils that are made of scratch-friendly materials for non-stick pots and pans. Also look for ergonomic design and smooth finish.
One-piece design: One-piece cooking tools are less likely to fall apart. In addition, the food usually gets trapped in the area where the handle and the body meet. One-piece utensils are more hygienic because there are no areas for bacteria to hide and multiply.
Hanging loops: A hanging hole at the end of each utensil offers more storing possibilities. Instead of keeping them in the drawer, you can hang them on the utensil holder or on the kitchen wall.
Maintenance: Your cooking utensils should be easy to handle and clean. Dishwasher safe or bacteria-resistant materials are a more convenient option than those that requires special care to remain clean and nice-looking.
Before making the final decision, look for advantages and disadvantages of cooking utensils that are commonly used when cooking with non-stick cookware.
Silicone Cooking Utensils
Ensure the silicone tools you select are made from FDA-approved food grade silicone. Be careful with cheap imported silicone utensils, as they may contain potentially toxic fillers.
High heat resistance: Most silicone utensils can withstand heat up to 450°F before melting. You can use them for stir-frying and you don’t have to worry if you leave a spoon in the hot pan unattended for a few moments.
Durable: These kitchen tools are sturdy and long-lasting. They won’t warp, chip, or corrode like some other utensils. They will always look new and will retain their vibrant colors through many washes.
Hygienic design: Silicone utensils are easy to keep clean. They don’t pick up food particles and don’t attract bacteria.
Easy to maintain: Silicone kitchen tools can be washed in the dishwasher and they also can be washed easily by hand. They are waterproof and stain-resistant. Unlike wooden cooking tools, they can be left in the sink overnight without problems.
Playful colors: They come in a variety of pretty colors that don’t fade with use.
Non-slip texture: The non-slip surface makes silicone cooking tools easy to handle and grip. The handles never get hot. Silicone items are also extremely lightweight.
The flexibility: The smooth silicone spatula has enough flexibility to let you easily flip a burger, scrape out a mixing bowl, or get out the content around the edges of the jars.
Silicone kitchen tools are floppy and may flex when you use them. They won’t break, but the handles are not firm enough to mix food.
Static electricity builds up on silicone items and causes them to attract dust, so utensils can look dirty when not in use for a while. They also can retain a powdery residue after coming out of the dishwasher.
Silicone Utensils with Stainless Steel Inner Core
Some silicone tools have a stainless steel core for extra firmness and stability. This steel core in the handles makes stirring thicker items easier. Silicone is an excellent insulator, so the handles won’t get hot when used for stirring food on the stove. The handles won’t break when you put pressure on them or use them to mix a thick mixture. The spatulas (link to Amazon.com) offer enough resistance to mix the heaviest dough, while remaining flexible at the tip.
Silicone Utensils with Nylon Core
There are also silicone kitchen utensils with a nylon inner core that makes them sturdier than those made just of silicone. The all-in-one design gives them a solid feel and strength under pressure, but they are still soft and gentle enough to avoid scratching your non-stick pans.
Natural product: Wood is a natural product that won’t leach chemicals when used for cooking foods.
Decorative: Wooden cooking utensils look nice and elegant, easily fitting in with any kitchen decor. They add a beautiful natural style to your kitchen.
Comfortable to hold: Wooden utensils don’t transfer heat and they feel comfortable and sturdy in your hand.
Perfect for stirring and mixing: A wooden spoon is especially suitable for stirring risotto, boiling caramels, and working with other foods that give a little resistance. It will do the job quicker and easier than a spoon made of flexible materials. A wooden spoon is also good for tasting food you are preparing.
Maintenance: Wooden utensils are not dishwasher safe and also need occasional conditioning. Otherwise, they will soon show signs of wear, such as dryness, cracks, and chips. Food-grade mineral oil should be applied regularly to extend the life of these products.
Hygiene problems: Wood absorbs moisture and can pick up food particles, which provides a good environment for bacteria to grow. For this reason, wooden utensils are not considered to be sanitary.
Not odor-resistant: Wooden utensils can pick up stains and sometimes also keep food odors. To remove the food odors, use a cleaning paste with baking soda and water.
Bamboo Cooking Tools
Strong and durable: Bamboo kitchen utensils are long-lasting and strong. Bamboo tableware products are pretty thick and will not warp or crack from wetness like wooden spoons.
Stylish: These utensils add a natural touch to your kitchen. They are nice tools for serving salad.
Comfortable to use: Bamboo utensils are lightweight and comfortable to use. They are easy to grip and effortless to use for mixing, stirring, or tossing.
Anti-microbial properties: It is proven that bamboo has natural anti-microbial function, so you don’t have to worry about bamboo kitchenware collecting bacteria or germs.
Environmentally friendly: Bamboo is a fast-growing plant and a highly renewable resource. Bamboo utensils are biodegradable, recyclable, and environmentally sustainable products.
Not dishwasher safe: You need to wash them by hand using soapy water and should avoid soaking them in water for longer periods. Coating them with a food safe oil occasionally helps maintain their shape and luster.
Inconsistency in quality: Some imported items may have rough spots and edges due to the lack of quality control.
Rigid and strong: They are strong enough to stir anything you cook or bake.
Easy to care for: Nylon tools are dishwasher safe, which makes them very easy to maintain.
Low heat resistance: Nylon is heat resistant up to at 400 F. Nylon cooking tools are likely to melt if you leave them in the pan.
Cheaper items may be bendable and prone to breakage.
Nylon utensils are not considered eco-friendly products.