Oh, how we love when our eggs just slide out of the non-stick pan right into the plate! No scraping, scrubbing of the pan is required afterwards for cleaning either.
However, no amount of its benefits could overshadow the potential risk related to non-stick Teflon. And it seems that every other non-stick pan either has Teflon, or people don’t even know that their seemingly healthier pan, which was chosen specifically considering its Teflon-free, actually has Teflon in it. And the worst is when people assume that every “non-stick pan” has Teflon in it.
In This Article
- Do all Non-Stick Pans Have Teflon?
- The Visual Difference in Teflon and Ceramic pans
- What about Cast Iron, Enameled Cast Iron or Real Ceramic Pans?
Do all Non-Stick Pans Have Teflon?
Of course not. All non-stick pans are not made of Teflon. Some have a ceramic non-stick coating. Still, Teflon pots and pans are a popular choice due to their durability and non-stick quality. But if you are health-conscious, looking for the healthiest non stick pans, and don’t want any hidden toxic chemicals to sneak into your food, you can choose Ceramic non-stick cookware. And cast iron, enameled cast iron or real ceramic pans can act like non-stick pans if their upper surface is seasoned properly.
Bursting Some Myths — Here We Go!
But we are here to bust some myths and help you identify clearly which non-stick pans have Teflon in them and which pans are completely Teflon free.
Types of Non-Stick Pans
So, let’s just break it down simply. There are two types of non stick frying pans.
- Teflon non-stick pans
- Ceramic Non-stick pans
All other non-stick types and jargons you see are just iterations of this two non-stick cookware. For example, when you see the terms like “diamond-infused”, “Granite-coated”, or “Titanium reinforced”, it means that these additives are being used in Teflon or Ceramic non-stick coating to strengthen it and make it long-lasting.
So, basically, all the non-ceramic non-stick pans have Teflon in them. Only non-stick ceramic pans are Teflon-free.
How to Recognize a Teflon Pan?
If you ever see the description of Teflon pans, you will find these terms.
- “Made of PTFE, but PFOA free.” – It indicates that the pan is made of Teflon
- PFOA and PTFE-free – It means the pan is not made of Teflon.
See, it was as simple as that…
Now, you must be wondering what these jargons PTFE and PFOA are. So, let me tell you about it briefly.
The Mystery around Teflon Pan
Teflon is basically the brand name of chemical PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), discovered in 1938 and branded in 1945 by DuPont Company. Since then, it has been used to coat non-stick pots and pans. But the clear-plastic and waxy substance (PTFE) had an additive chemical (PFOA) to stop the waxy chemical from clumping during its application.
But PFOA was causing deadly diseases in not just the DuPont company workers manufacturing it but had also swept a farm full of lively cows into a dead cemetery where all the toxins were dumped in the landfill.
Initially, everyone blamed Teflon, which at that time was made of (PTFE + PFOA). But after massive research and a multi-million dollar lawsuit by DuPont Company, it was found that PFOA was the cause of all the diseases. Now, DuPont has stopped adding PFOA in PTFE, aka Teflon.
But PTFE, whether it has PFOA in it or not, is still Teflon.
Read the whole story about it in “Is the Teflon cookware safe?”
So, What Are Ceramic Pans Like?
Ceramic non-stick coating is relatively new compared to Teflon non-stick coating, and these pans were introduced as healthier alternatives to Teflon non-stick pans. Ceramic non-stick coating is free of PFOA and PTFE.
However, the coating isn’t made of real ceramic. Instead, it is a silicon-based coating known as sol-gel, and the aluminum core is dipped into this gel coating to make it non-stick.
So, are they better than Teflon?
Ceramic non-stick coating has an edge when it comes to safety concerns, but in terms of durability, Teflon pans are better. Ceramic non-stick pans scratch considerably faster than Teflon pans. Due to scratches, the aluminum layer starts showing, and the food bits start sticking on the surface. And soon, you find the need to replace your non-stick pans.
However, ceramic pans don’t emit any toxic fumes like Teflon pans do at higher temperatures which, if inhaled by human beings, can cause “polymer fever.” This condition is characterized by mild fever and shortness of breath. But the gasses can be deadly to birds.
The Visual Difference in Teflon and Ceramic pans
If you have a non-stick pan but are unsure if the coating is Teflon or ceramic, you can even guess it by its visual appearance as they both look different from each other.
- Ceramic non-stick coating looks like a glaze and has a “shiny” appearance, whereas Teflon non-stick pans are smooth yet have a grainy look.
- Ceramic non-stick pans are lighter than Teflon non-stick pans.
- If the pan has light pastel colors and an attractive appearance, it is 100% ceramic. In comparison, Teflon pans have dull and boring gray or black color mostly. However, the external may be bright red or any other color.
What about Cast Iron, Enameled Cast Iron or Real Ceramic Pans?
As we all know, cast iron pans don’t have any non-stick coating. However, proper seasoning can make it act like a non-stick pan temporarily. Some people get confused that enameled cast iron has a non-stick coating, but it isn’t true. Enameled cast iron is not a non-stick pan. Similarly, 100% ceramic pans are not non-stick. It’s just the natural ability of ceramic that the food sticks less on its surface.