My Non-Stick Pan Is Sticking! How to Get the Non-Stick Back

Non-stick pans are great—until they stop working! If food is sticking to your (formerly) non-stick pan, here’s how you can fix them and get the non-stick back. Also, some ways to get rid of sticky spots, and how to prevent them in the future.

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin
2-minute read


What to Do If Your Nonstick Pan Sticks

Why do nonstick pans start sticking in the first place? For the most part, coated pots and pans are easy to keep clean, but they do get stains and scratches, and over time, grease and other tiny food particles may build up in these areas, making them sticky. This will adversely affect the efficiency of the nonstick surface. Luckily, all you have to do to greatly improve this problem is to thoroughly clean and re-season any stained and scratched areas. To do so, simply mix 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons baking soda, and ½ cup white vinegar in the pot or pan that’s lost its stick, set on the stove, and heat until boiling for 10 minutes. Wash the pot as usual, then rub vegetable oil on the surface to re-season it and get the non-stick surface back. Rubbing the oil into the pan when it’s lukewarm or at room temperature is important to keep it from sticking in the future—melting butter or oil in the pan before cooking isn’t enough.

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How to Get Stuck-On Egg Off Pans

Do you often cook eggs in nonstick pans, and have trouble cleaning the bits of egg off afterward? Then this tip could change your life! Cold water cleans egg off pans and utensils much better than hot water. Hot water causes the protein to bind to the surfaces of nonstick pans, making them impossible to remove. Use cold water when washing your egg pans, and the egg will wash right off. (Go ahead and say it…“Who Knew?”!)

See Also: 9 Tips for Caring for Cast Iron Pans

Removing Tougher Food Particles

The teriyaki chicken you made for dinner was delicious, but the sweet sauce left terrible black burns on the bottom of your nonstick pan. Here’s how to fix it: First sprinkle the pan with ¼–½ cups baking soda, and fill the pan halfway with water. Bring the water to a boil, and the burned pieces should start to release. As the water boils, you may want to use a spatula to help the process along. When most of the pieces are removed, turn off the heat, dump the water, and wash as usual.

Prevent Nonstick Pan Scratches

There’s food stuck to your supposed-to-be-nonstick pans. You want to scrape it off, but now you’re afraid of harming the finish. Our Fix? A plastic lid from a take-out or other container. After soaking the pan, push this makeshift scraper against its surface and gently rub it on the spot to scrape without scratching. It’s tough enough to get food off, but not harsh enough to scratch.

For a No-Scratch Stack

Do you stack your non-stick pans when you store them? Insert paper plates between the real plates before stacking to prevent scratches.

About the Author

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin

Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin are the proud parents of three boys and more than a dozen books. After saving thousands per year using everyday tips and simple lifehacks, they started their own business in the hopes of sharing their knowledge with others. They have been known to go into their friends' refrigerators to turn their eggs upside down so that they last longer.