6 Things to Cook in a Nonstick Frying Pan—and 4 Things Not To

Nonstick pans are invaluable for preparing certain dishes—find out when they should shine, and when they should remain on the shelf.

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Fluffy scrambled eggs
Taste of Home

A beloved cooking tool, nonstick pans have a place in many a home cook’s heart for their even cooking and quick cleanup. However, nonstick pans are not a one-size-fits-all solution and should be used for quick-cook proteins for the best—and tastiest—results.

Not sure where to begin? We walk you through how to find the best nonstick pan for you. Oh, and once you find the perfect pick, you’ll want to learn how to clean and care for a nonstick pan, too.

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Appetizing frying pan full of sizzling rashers of bacon. Shot with Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III.
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Works Well: Bacon

Nothing compares to the smell of sizzling bacon in the morning, and a nonstick skillet will result in crispy, evenly-cooked pieces. With less cleanup, you’ll be able to enjoy your bacon even on busy weekdays.

Check out our tips for the perfect bacon, every time.

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Photo showing two fried eggs that are being cooked in a greasy frying pan, as part of a full-English fried breakfast fry-up.
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Works Well: Eggs

You’ll want a nonstick skillet on hand to take your breakfasts or brunches to the next level. Nonstick pans will guarantee fluffy omelets and the perfect scrambled eggs, while make flipping frittatas painless.

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Pancakes onto the pan. Concept of Cooking ingredients and method on white marble background, Dessert recipes and homemade.
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Works Well: Pancakes

Proving that nonstick skillets are the king of breakfast prep, they’ll also simplify and upgrade your pancake game. Heavier nonstick pans will work better in this case to ensure even cooking throughout and make a fluffy, delicious start to your morning.

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Works Well: Delicate fish

Nonstick pans are perfect for hassle-free fish—including favorites like salmon and scallops, which have a tendency to make a mess. When using this type of pan, make sure the fish is patted dry and you preheat the pan for an evenly-cooked, crispy result. Check out our list of the best fish for frying.

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crepe with ingredient
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Works Well: Crepes

Crepes, pancakes’ delectable French cousin, are an ideal dish to cook in a nonstick skillet. Since they are thin and delicate, nonstick skillets will reduce the likelihood of them burning or sticking to the pan. This results in a perfect crepe each time, ready to be filled with fruit, cheese or your accompaniment of choice.

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Photo of a grilled cheese sandwich cooking in a large frying pan.
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Works Well: Cheesy dishes

Gooey and decadent, cheesy dishes have a best friend with nonstick pans. Prepare grilled cheese or other cheese-rich dishes like quesadillas without worrying about the cheese sticking.

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Vilnius, Lithuania - June 17, 2011: preparing of a homemade tomato sauce in a frying pan from fresh tomatoes.
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Doesn’t Work So Well: Acidic Foods

When working with tomatoes or lemons, put away the nonstick cookware. Acidic foods like these will wear off the nonstick coating, making the pans age more quickly. Stainless steel is your best bet for dishes that feature these flavors. Just don’t make these stainless steel cooking mistakes.

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Fried chicken breasts on vegetable oil, iron cast pan
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Doesn’t Work So Well: When Charring or Searing

When cooking meats, especially those like steak or chicken breast, nonstick won’t give you the crispiness or all-over browning you’re aiming for. Use a thin layer of oil on cast-iron or stainless steel pans for an evenly-cooked, delicious dinner. Try it out with the best cast iron steak recipe.

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Close-up of colorful goat stew in cooking pan on top of wooden table.
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Doesn’t Work So Well: Pan Sauces

While the coating on nonstick pans make them optimal for reducing mess, it also prevents bits to brown at the bottom of the pan. These bits are essential for maximum flavor and richness in your sauces. Treat yourself to a delicious, saucy dinner tonight.

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Skillet with butter melting in it.
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Doesn’t Work So Well: Browning Butter

Nutty and toasty browned butter lends a delicious, rich flavor to sauces and baked goods, but you should bench your nonstick pan for this. A stainless steel pan will let you monitor the butter to make sure it doesn’t burn, and will cook the butter evenly.

Kim Bussing
Kim is a writer and creative consultant with more than a decade of experience publishing content about food and drink. She has told food and wine stories for top brands with household names, including Hilton and Marriott. Kim also writes about health and wellness topics, home decor and baking. For Taste of Home, she’s tackled stories about canned wines, cocktail kits, wine Advent calendars and much more. Kim’s passion is bringing together nutrition and joy in every meal and she’s always on the hunt for the perfect gluten-free cinnamon roll.