Nonstick skillets are wildly popular for two big reasons: Food doesn’t stick to them, and they’re easy to clean.
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The Two Common Types of Nonstick Coatings
If you have a nonstick pan, it probably has one of two coatings: PTFE (used in “traditional” nonstick skillets) or ceramic. When it comes to safety, which coating your skillet has matters.
Here’s how the two compare.
Type of Nonstick Coating
Type of Nonstick CoatingWhat It Is
Type of Nonstick CoatingHeat Conduction
Type of Nonstick CoatingDurability
Type of Nonstick CoatingOff Gassing
A synthetic polymer (plastic) coating (short for polytetrafluoroethylene)
PTFE is an insulator, so pans heat slightly slower
More flexible and less likely to be damaged during everyday use
Yes—degrades and releases fumes at temperatures above 500 degrees
A silica-based (sand) coating
Ceramic conducts heat, so pans heat more quickly
More brittle and likely to develop microscopic cracks during everyday use
No—does not release fumes at high temperatures
As you can see, each of these coatings reacts differently to high heat—but it’s not always so cut-and-dried when it comes to the oven. Read on for what that means in your everyday cooking.
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Can You Use a Nonstick Skillet Under a Broiler?
“A properly functioning broiler will quickly heat cookware to more than 500 degrees, which can damage the nonstick coating and potentially cause PTFE-based coatings to emit unsafe fumes.”
It’s not only the cooking surface that shouldn’t go under the broiler. It’s the handle too. Some nonstick skillets’ handles—especially those that are made from soft, squishy materials—aren’t ovensafe at temperatures greater than 400 degrees.
This isn’t applicable to all ceramic nonstick skillets, though. For example, the winner of our 12-inch ceramic skillet testing, the Green Pan Valencia Pro Hard Anodized Nonstick Frypan, is broiler-safe.
Can You Use a Nonstick Skillet in the Oven?
So, using your traditional nonstick skillet under the broiler is a hard no. But your oven is a slightly different story.
It’s safe to use a nonstick skillet in the oven—as long as you follow a couple basic guidelines.
PTFE in traditional nonstick coatings can release toxic fumes—a process called “off gassing”—if heated above 500 degrees. Oven temperatures vary (by up to 25 degrees!), so we suggest never putting a PTFE-coated nonstick skillet in an oven heated above 450 degrees. Also, manufacturers may set lower temperature cut-offs, so check your pan’s safety instructions.
Since off gassing isn’t a concern for ceramic nonstick skillets, it’s best to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. (In addition to being broiler-safe, our favorite ceramic skillet, Green Pan Valencia Pro Hard Anodized Nonstick Frypan, is oven-safe up to 600 degrees.)