This Simple—and Very Common—Mistake Is Ruining Your Cookware

This Simple—and Very Common—Mistake Is Ruining Your Cookware

It’s time to stop baptizing your skillets, fam.

Whether you prefer to cook on stainless steel, nonstick, or cast iron, chances are you’re highly attached to one favorite skillet. You know, the one pan you grab every time you set out to scramble eggs or sauté vegetables. Fry, rinse, repeat: this piece of cookware is getting so much action you’d give almost anything to make it last forever.

Alas, all good things come to an end, but there are many things you can do to make your cookware last longer. Nonstick cookware, in particular. If you’re someone who thinks of a nonstick pan as being (practically) disposable, know first that this style of cookware has gotten significantly more durable than the flimsy pots and pans of the past.

You’re probably unintentionally abusing the heck out of your cookware.

If you ever notice that the base of your beloved skillet is beginning to buckle when you set it down on a burner (or your countertop), or that the surface seems to be heating unevenly, we likely know why. You’re taking your hot pan off the stovetop and tossing it into the sink under running water.

Almost everyone makes this mistake. Why? Because it seems to work wonders for cleaning. The water washes over the surface of your still-sizzling pan and all the grease and food bits melt away like *literal* buttah.

The reason this habit is so detrimental is because it can cause thermal shock to occur on the surface of your pots and pans. This is even more likely to happen when you use cold or lukewarm water to clean the pan because the rapid change in temperature can cause severe warping, which may lead to the pan’s finish buckling or peeling off. A warped pan doesn’t just sit on your stovetop all wobbly-like—it’ll distribute heat unevenly, too. The results = unevenly seared steaks, half-browned pancakes, and an unfortunate medley of soggy-burnt stir-fried veggies.

The solution is simple. Just let your skillet cool down to room temperature before you give it a rinse. This allows the metal to contract back to its original shape and size—pans expand in minute, imperceptible amounts when heated—slowly, which means you’re far less likely to warp and damage it.

There you go. You can thank us when you’re cooking your three-hundredth omelet in your favorite fry pan.

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