Boiling Water In a Non-Stick Pan: Is it bad?


We all boil water, be it in a kettle, a pot, or even a pan. But do we ever think about the container we’re using? Especially if it’s a non-stick pan. Is it okay to boil water in a non-stick pan? And what do I do to boil the water? 

It is okay to boil water in all modern non-stick pans. The 100°C boiling point of water is below the temperature where the PTFE in the coating of Teflon coated pans break down, and all modern non-stick-coated pans accommodate this. 

Is that all there is to boiling water in a non-stick pan, or are the other considerations that should take into consideration?

Is it safe to boil water on a stovetop using a non-stick pan?

If you’ve never boiled water in a non-stick pan before but now need to, follow this step-by-step process, it’s relatively easy.

If you use a gas stovetop to boil water in a non-stick pan, you need to

  • Select the gas burner you’d like to use and turn it to a medium to high setting.
  • Fill your non-stick pan with the desired amount of water.
  • Place your water-filled pan on the burner.
  • If you have a non-stick pan lid, place it on the pan.
  • The water will begin to boil within four minutes, and when it does, switch the burner off.
  • Carefully remove the lid of the pan away from you with the use of a potholder. Be cautious as the steam from the pan can burn.
  • If you don’t have a lid for the non-stick pan, heat the water in your pan as if you have a cover. The water will now take a few minutes more to boil.
  • Once the water is boiling, transfer it to whatever you need to place it in.  

If you use an electric stove to boil water in a non-stick pan, you need to

  • Bringing water to boil on an electric stovetop is almost the same as using a gas stovetop, although it will take three to four minutes longer for the water to boil.
  • Follow the same steps as if you were using a gas hob, but be careful around the burner you use. 
  • An electric burner glows red hot when used and changes back to its original color quickly after being switched off. 
  • Because the burner is no longer red doesn’t mean it’s not hot. 
  • For safety’s sake, please avoid contact with the burner until it’s completely cooled.

Twelve awkward questions are answered. 

  1. Can you boil water in a non-stick pan on direct heat?
  • Non-stick cookware is not designed to withstand very high heat. 
  • The higher temperatures, especially the direct heat of a flame, will damage the non-stick pan coating over time. 
  • Direct heat can break down the coating of the pan and cause the release of harmful toxins. 
  1. Can I boil water in a scratched non-stick pan?
  • Ideally, you shouldn’t be boiling water in a scratched non-stick pan. If that is all you have to boil water in, try fixing your pan. 
  • Apply coconut oil all over the pans non-stick coating. 
  • Heat the pan on the medium-high setting, then wait for the pan to cool. 
  • Wipe clean with a dry microfiber cloth. 
  • This process will fix the scratches and give your pan a longer life span.
  1. Are there any health issues in boiling water in a non-stick pan?
  • Non-stick pans of today won’t be affected by boiling water. The only time it may is if all the water in the pan has boiled away. 
  • Damage to non-stick pans comes from leaving them on the burner too long, taking a hot pan off the burner, and putting it in cool water. 
  • Almost all non-stick pans sold in the US are safe to use for boiling water and don’t outgas dangerous vapors.

However, if your non-stick pan is over ten years old, seriously look at replacing it.

  • Getting a pan with a reasonable thickness helps conduct heat well through the entire pan.
  • If you were to heat the pan before putting the water in it, you might end up deforming the pan and making the coating flake.
  1. Can you boil water more than once in a non-stick pan?
  • Boiling water more than once doesn’t present any risk, both to the pan or one’s health. 
  • If you re-boil the same water, make sure it’s pure, distilled, and deionized water.
  • If you boil regular tap water over and over, you risk a build-up of contaminants and minerals found in tap water. 
  • Make it standard practice to change the water in your non-stick pan after every use.
  1. Is using a non-stick pan an efficient way to boil water?

An electric kettle is about 80 percent efficient. Electric kettles are well insulated, and the heating coils sit directly in the water; this way, less heat is lost to the air. An induction stove or hot plate is about 85 percent efficient.

  1. Can you spoil the water in a non-stick pan?

Water will never get hotter than 100°C, and today’s makes of non-stick pans can accommodate temperatures of up to 300°C.  

  1. Do you heat your non-stick pan before you put the water in it? 

These are two good reasons why you shouldn’t pre-heat a non-stick pan. 

  1. There’s more of a chance of someone grabbing an empty pan than a pan that has something in it. If the pan’s hot, an ugly burn accident could occur. 
  2. Pre-heating a non-stick pan can warp it and destroy the non-stick coating. 
  1. Can I boil water in a Teflon-based non-stick pan?
    Today’s Teflon non-stick pans are made with safe and stable compounds. However, at temperatures above 300°C, Teflon coatings on non-stick cookware start to break down, releasing toxic chemicals into the air. Inhaling these fumes know as Teflon flu, may lead to polymer fume fever.
  2. How come it takes longer for water to boil in a non-stick pan than in a regular pan?

Boiling water in a non-stick pan requires more time than traditional pots and pans. Non-stick pans retard heat. Thus, boiling water in the pan takes longer than a regular pan.  

  1. When shouldn’t I boil water in a non-stick pan?

When pans are scratched or chipped, some of the non-stick coatings can flake into the water. When this happens, toxic compounds are released. With moderate use, non-stick pans last only about five years. If your pan is damaged, it’s better to get rid of it for safety reasons. 

  1. How long will my non-stick pans last if I only boil water in them?

A looked after non-stick pan will last about five years. If it appears to warp, discolor, or scratch in any way, stop using the pan.

  1. Are all non-stick pans safe for boiling water?

Many health agencies have raised concerns about the coating compounds used to produce non-stick pans. Today’s non-stick pans are safe to use for everyday home cooking, so long as temperatures don’t exceed 300°C.

The pros and cons of boiling water in a non-stick pan 

Pros:

  • Easily washes with soapy water
  • It’s non-stick
  • Lightweight cookware

Cons: 

  • Surfaces can scratch, chip and flake as pans get older. Scratches and chips become more extensive, leaving tiny shards of Teflon in the water.
  • The pans may stain
  • Pan warps under thermal shock (overheating an empty pan, dunking a hot pan into cold water, or placing a hot pan onto a cold surface.)

Final thoughts

You can safely boil water in a non-stick pan. Although, specific steps should be followed when using an electric or a gas stovetop when boiling the water. 

  • Water comes to a boil faster with a lid, but be careful of steam burns when removing the top from your pan.
  • The pan must have no chips or scratches and must not be subjected to high temperatures.
  • Don’t run cold water over a hot non-stick pan; this may induce thermal shock, and the pan’s coating could be compromised.
  • Don’t clean your non-stick pan by using metal spatulas, scrub brushes, and dishwashers.

References

https://www.bobvila.com

https://sliceofkitchen.com

https://kitchenwarelab.com

https://expandusceramics.com

Eric M Wilkens

Content writer and recreational cook. I also enjoy craft beer, comedy and the outdoors.

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