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Equipment

Wait—I’m Supposed to Be Seasoning My Nonstick Skillet?

This simple and easy step will help your trusty nonstick skillet perform at its best (and last longer).

Here’s a tip that absolutely shocked me when I heard it: You can (and should!) season your nonstick skillets. Many of us are familiar with seasoning cast iron to develop a slick surface, but aren’t nonstick skillets already supposed to, well, not stick? 

It’s a great feeling when the delicate food I’m cooking, such as eggs or fish, slides right out of my nonstick pan. I’ve always loved nonstick pans for their versatility and ease of use, but in order to get the most out of these trusty pans, you have to take care of them.

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I talked with my colleague Kate Shannon, who told me that the same logic for cast iron applies to nonstick skillets, too. She explained that seasoning these pans, both when you purchase a new one and whenever the coating seems to fade, helps maintain a surface that fried eggs and other easy-to-stick foods will slide right off of.

Plus, by maintaining a nonstick surface, you’re preventing food from burning and residue from building up. That means you’re less likely to scrub the pan when cleaning it, which wears down the surface. 

Seasoning your nonstick skillet will not only help it perform better but also help it last longer. (Though even with proper maintenance, nonstick skillets don’t last forever.) Here’s how to do it.

How to Season a Nonstick Skillet

  1. Ensure that your skillet is clean and dry.
  2. Place the skillet over medium heat for about 30 seconds.
  3. Apply a small amount of canola or vegetable oil to the skillet. Using a folded paper towel or cloth, rub the oil across the entire surface of the skillet.
  4. Turn off the heat, let the skillet cool, and then wipe out any excess oil.

Looking for more tips? Check out our comprehensive guide to the dos and donts of nonstick skillets to learn more.