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Ask Jill: How Do Non-Stick Pans Work?

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200-sm-askjill.jpgWhy doesn’t food stick to black pans? My mom cooks eggs in a pan that looks black so they don’t stick. Why don’t they stick?

Asked by Alexis, 10 from New York

Dear Alexis,

I am guessing that you are describing what is called a non-stick pan or skillet. The pan is metal, and it is coated with a black substance called polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), or as it is known by its brand name, Teflon. One of the substance’s properties is low friction, so materials, like cooked eggs, do not stick to it. It is a good choice for foods that can easily stick and are somewhat delicate. I use mine all the time to make pancakes--I know my pancakes will slide out and I don't have to use a lot of butter to avoid sticking.


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