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Nonstick equipment, and particularly pans, refers to equipment that has been treated with a special coating to reduce or prevent the sticking of food to the surface when cooking. This is usually achieved by coating the pan with teflon. Most nonstick equipment must not be heated beyond about 500°F (260°C) due to the degradation of the teflon into toxic compounds. Generally, metal tools should not be used on nonstick equipment since the metal is likely to scratch and damage the coating.
Steel and iron pans, when properly seasoned, will develop nonstick properties without the polymer coating. These are safe to use at high temperatures.
While nonstick pans are designed to reduce food sticking, some oil or parchment paper may still be needed to further reduce sticking, depending on the pan and the food being prepared.