How to use a no-longer nonstick pan to make eggs 🍳

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I experimented with cooking eggs in my no-longer nonstick pan. Learn what solution I concocted and whether I’d try it again.

A spatula lifting a crustless quiche out of a panPin

One of the saddest things about owning a nonstick pan is the moment when food starts sticking to its surface.

I was devastated when our fancy Scanpan could no longer perform its most basic task: fry an egg.

Yet, my irrational obsessive-compulsive environmentalist tendencies made the idea of sending this over-$100 skillet to the landfill unacceptable.

Yes, this is how I end up hoarding trash in my kitchen.

So, I set out on a mission to get extra life out of our Scanpan.

When I decided to use up our remaining pink oyster mushrooms for a quiche, I decided a crustless quiche would be an ideal experiment to determine whether I could continue using our no-longer nonstick pan.

This article will cover what my solution was and whether my workaround was effective. Finally, I’ll weigh in on whether I will try it again to squeeze more life out of my failed nonstick skillets.

Rescuing your sticky nonstick skillet

Without any clue on how to re-coat my skillet (a.k.a. frying pan) with a fresh layer of plastic to make it nonstick again, I turned to the most common solution for nonstick baking: parchment paper.

Parchment paper works wonders whether you’re baking cookies, cakes, or pizza.

The two obstacles were:

  1. How should we shape the parchment paper so it fits into a round skillet?
  2. How do we use parchment paper without setting it on fire?

How to shape the parchment paper

To solve the first problem, I cut the parchment paper into an approximate circle shape. I started by pushing the paper into the skillet. Then I used a pair of scissors to cut the parchment paper where it met the top edge of the skillet.

A pair of scissors cutting parchment paper for a skilletPin

The cut wasn’t very neat, as you can tell from the jagged edges. But it was good enough to add a lip along the sides of the pan to create a barrier between the walls of the pan and the eggs. This way, I didn’t worry about whether the sides of the quiche would stick to the walls of the pan.

TIP: I ran my fingernail along the bottom circumference of the pan to crease the paper. This made the liner stay put.

Safety first

To solve the second obstacle of avoiding fire, I made sure the lip on the parchment paper didn’t hang over the edge of the skillet.

WARNING: Parchment paper catches on fire so you want to ensure that no part of the paper accidentally brushes against your hot electric element or the open flames on a gas burner.

If I were scrambling or frying eggs, I would have cut the paper down further so it doesn’t have a lip (you can position scrambled and fried eggs to avoid the sides of the pan). This further reduces any chances that the paper might hang over the edge of the pan.

Finally, I kept the heat to medium and medium-low the whole time I cooked the quiche. This made the cooking process longer. However, the extra time was worth the control and peace of mind.

Is this parchment paper method worth trying?

The moment of truth.

After trying this parchment paper method, would I ever use it again?

Parchment paper-lined pan on a blue backgroundPin

The downside of this method is that it took some time to prep the paper. It was also annoying to cook the aromatics and bacon at a lower heat because it took much longer.

NOTE: I cooked on low heat because I was afraid of the paper catching on fire. Maybe I could experiment next with aluminum/aluminium foil, which could offer the same benefits as parchment paper without the fire risk.

That said, getting more life out of my frying pan and making it nonstick again was amazing!

I suspect this trick worked for my thick-bottomed skillet because it holds heat very well. That’s why I was confident it would be a good option for cooking the quiche (and egg tofu).

I wouldn’t bother using parchment paper method on my dedicated thin, nonstick pan for making crêpes.

So yes, I’d probably try this method again until I get a new nonstick frying pan. But I’d probably bake my next crustless quiche in a baking pan (because a baking pan is easier) and reserve the paper + pan method for frying eggs sunny side up.

Do you have tips on how to protect your nonstick pan? Or have you tried recoating your sticky nonstick skillet? Share your tips in the comments below.

READ NEXT: How to Fix a Cracked Pie Crust — Before & After Baking

Anna looking down chopping vegetables
About Anna Rider

Hi! I'm Anna, a food writer who documents kitchen experiments on with the help of my physicist and taste-testing husband, Alex. I have an insatiable appetite for noodles 🍜 and believe in "improv cooking".

1 thought on “How to use a no-longer nonstick pan to make eggs 🍳”

  1. To maintain the non-stick properties it is essential to make sure that the pan is cleaned completely after use. Any fats left on the pan’s surface will become non-stick areas after repeated use.

    Any easy way to tell if a non-stick pan has been completely cleaned is to look at the cooking surface after draining the water. Hold the pan vertically. There should be no residual water clinging to the non stick surface

    It is also import to use a soft, clean scrubbing tool like a regular sponge to avoid scratching the surface.


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