My Non-Stick Pan Is Sticking [5 Causes and Preventions]

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The funny thing about a non-stick pan is it always remains non-stick! (At least by name) even if it becomes your ex non-stick pan and starts sticking so severely that you wonder, has anyone poured glue on it?

So wondering why your non-stick pan is sticking and what is the solution to restore the non-stickiness?

The reasons why your non-stick pan has lost its stickiness are actually the precautionary measures you should take when using the non-stick pan. Along with reasons, know how you can restore the non-stickiness.

Before discussing the reasons, we would like you to check our recommendations for the best 100% toxic-free non stick pans and electric stove safe non stick pans.

My Non-Stick Pan Is Sticking [5 Causes and Preventions]

Your non-stick pan comes with a protective industrial-grade non-stick coating that doesn’t let the pores on the non-stick surface open when you heat the pan.

The deep open pores on the stainless skillet are the reason food sticks to it. But if the non-stick shielding coating is damaged, the food will begin to stick on it.

Dump Your Non-Stick Pan When It's ScratchedReason 1: Non-Stick Pan Got Scratches

Scratches on a non-stick pan don’t appear on their own. It tells the story of abuse by metal utensils or using a scouring pad rigorously to clean the burnt food on them.

The pan may also get scratches if you stack it over each other to stash it away in the cabinet carelessly. So, if your pan is scratched, that’s the reason for losing non-stickiness.


  • Use a paper towel or dish towel when stacking the pans. It will act as a barrier between pans and help you avoid scratches.
  • Always use rubber or wood spatula for non stick pan.

Frying Pan Temperature EnduranceCooking on High-Heat

Sure, the heat cooks the food, but too much heat damages the non-stick coating. The chemically bound coating starts to dissolve and disintegrate the non-stick coating and causes the food to stick.

Even the best non-stick frying pan will also start sticking if you cook food on high heat too often.


It is recommended to cook food in non stick pan on low to medium heat.

Using Cooking Sprays

Using cooking sprays on non-stick sounds unobjectionable and safe to reduce calorie intake.

In reality, cooking sprays leave a thin film that doesn’t get cleaned with soap and water and build up over time around edges on the non-stick surface.

The build-up grease creates a layer over non-stick coating, resulting in the non-effectiveness of the non-stick pan.


Instead of using a cooking spray you can use oil, butter or lard.

Storing Cooked Food in Non-Stick Pan

When you hurriedly store your cooked food in a non-stick pan and tuck it in the refrigerator, it will cause the non-stick coating to wear down at an exponential rate. Soon, you will notice the food sticking in the not-so-non-stick pan.


Never store remaining food in the non stick pan. Washing it after every use will retain its non-stickiness and increase its life.

dishwasher water pressureWashing the Non-Stick Pan in the Dishwasher

The dishwasher utilizes warm water sprays at high pressure with detergent to wash the dishes. While the non-stick pan can handle warm water and its pressure, it can’t withstand the abrasive chemicals of dishwasher detergent, and the coating decomposes due to it, leading the food to stick on the surface.


Companies advertise that, this pan is dishwasher safe but we recommend you to always hand wash your non stick pan. Read in detail are non stick pans dishwasher safe or not.

How You Can Restore Your Non-Stick Pan

If the pan’s coating hasn’t decomposed or is badly damaged, you can use deep cleaning and seasoning to get the non-stick back.

Cleaning the Non-Stick Pan

If you don’t clean the build-up grease layer or burnt-on frying pan, the seasoning on the pan will sit atop and do nothing.

Grease Cleaning

For dissolving the grease, you can use vinegar and water solution in the ratio of 1:3. Boil it in the non-stick pan and let it cool before throwing and washing with dishwashing liquid.

If the greasy layer doesn’t melt, then you can make a paste of dishwashing liquid with baking soda. Apply the paste and leave it for 2-3 hours and then wash it.

Cleaning Burnt-on & Stuck on Food

Cleaning a burnt-on frying pan may require you to soak the pan with hot water and dishwashing liquid, and using a wooden spatula to release the burnt food gently.

If it doesn’t work, check more methods of cleaning the baked-on grease and burnt food here.

Tip of cleaning eggs stuck on the non-stick surface: While we usually use hot water to dissolve the stuck-on food, eggs are the protein that will stick more to the surface if we use hot water. Use cold water to wash the non-stick frying pan for the egg.

Seasoning Non-Stick Pan

After you have thoroughly cleaned the pan, season it to restore the non-stick quality of the pan. Non-stick pans can be seasoned both in the oven and on the stove top.

You just need to take high-smoking oil like flaxseed, vegetable, or canola oil.

Heat the pan for 30 seconds and then add two teaspoons of oil and rub it on the non-stick surface from rim to rim. Heat the pan until the oil absorbs on the non-stick surface. Then, remove from heat and rinse the extra oil with a kitchen towel. Repeat the procedure for better seasoning.

Note: You can’t wash the pan with harsh detergent after seasoning. Else, the non-stickiness of oil would be stripped off the pan.

Want to know how often to season and which mistakes to avoid? Read our article on non-stick pan seasoning.

Using the Right Amount of Oil to Bring Back Non-Stickiness

If your non-stick pan has started sticking, then never put anything in the pan without oiling the entire surface. You don’t have to pour an enormous volume of oil; just use high-smoking oil in enough quantity, so the pan doesn’t stick.

 Frequently Asked Questions

Can a non-stick pan be resurfaced?

Yes, a non-stick coating can be resurfaced professionally. It’s not a DIY process due to complex steps.

And it requires removing the old coating, preparing the aluminum layer underneath the coating for a new non-stick layer, and then applying fresh non-stick Teflon or ceramic coating on pan.

Either the original manufacturers offer this service, or you can avail the services from other companies who recoat the worn-out and scratched non-stick pans.

How do you keep food from sticking to a non-stick pan?

You can keep the food from sticking to the non-stick surface by following these preventive measures.

  • By cooking on medium heat.
  • By hand washing the non-stick pan gently and not putting it in the dishwasher.
  • Never heat an empty pan and pour oil in a cold pan for cooking.
  • Using silicone and wooden spatulas for cooking.
  • Never using cooking spray in the pan.
  • And by never putting the pan in a superheated oven.

Does olive oil ruin non-stick pans?

Olive oil can ruin the non-stick pan only if it’s heated beyond its smoke point. If you cook food in olive oil over medium heat, it won’t ruin your non-stick pan.

But if you have heated the oil till its smoking point, it will start producing smoke and cling to the surface of the non-stick, producing a nasty smell, ruining food taste and affecting the nutrients of the food.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) has a low smoke point, so you better use regular olive oil on a non-stick pan.

Wrapping Up!

If your pan has started sticking, find out the root cause behind the loss of non-stick quality and decreased efficiency. Once you have found out the primary reason for food sticking, abstain from it to avoid further damage, clean and season the pan to continue using it. If the non-stick coating has been damaged so much that it can’t be fixed, then it’s time to throw the non-stick pan and buy a new one.

About Amelia

Hello, I’m Amelia. Welcome to my blog KitchenUnder100.Com. Over here I regularly post kitchen hacks, reviews of kitchen tools, utensils and related articles. My mission is to search and recommend the best kitchen products, so you don't waste your precious time and money on anything that is not worth it.

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