Ceramic pan with oil
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Ceramic Pan vs Cooking Oil: Everything You Should Know!

Are you new to the wonderful world of ceramic pans? You’ve probably heard that there’s a list of what to do and what not to do when using a ceramic pan. And there’s a hefty amount of confusing information on the topic of cooking oils.

In this article, I want to once and for all explain to you everything you need to know about cooking with oil on a ceramic pan.

So can you use olive oil in ceramic pans?

Although it’s not recommended, you can use a small amount of olive oil when cooking with a ceramic pan. However, olive oil has a very low smoking point meaning that it burns easily, leaving behind a carbonized layer that can seriously damage your ceramic pan. There are many other alternatives you can use.

Now that we’ve got that settled, let’s go over literally everything you should know and consider when using a ceramic pan with oil.

Is it bad to use oil on a ceramic pan?

There’s nothing wrong with using oil in a ceramic pan. In fact, many manufactures have specific guidance on the basis of using oils. Most would certainly agree that you can use oil, but only in minimal quantities. However, there are some who would flat out say no.

Extra virgin olive oil has a smoking temperature of as low as 160 °C (320 °F). If you were to cook at a temperature of above or even close to this number, you’d run the risk of your oil reaching its smoke point which will release toxic fumes, produce black smoke, and begin to decompose.

Ceramic pans naturally have non-stick surfaces and often don’t need oil to keep the food from sticking to the pan. However, if you like the flavor that oil and butter offer, you can use a small amount of oil in your ceramic pan.

What cooking oils can I use?

You’d want to find oils with higher smoking points. That will allow you to cook as you please at higher temperatures, and altogether avoid the risk of a carbonic layer build-up and damaging your pan.

Just Virgin Olive oil

Regular virgin olive oil (not extra virgin olive oil) is a great oil that can be used. It’s a great bet when it comes to ceramic pans. Again, never heat too high and never use more than you need.

Virgin olive oil has a smoking temperature of 210 °C (410 °F).

Sunflower oil

Sunflower oil is a great substitute. It has many health benefits since it’s low in saturated fats and high in polyunsaturated fatty acids and monosaturated fatty acids.

Remember to keep the heat on low to medium and don’t cook with this oil for long periods of time.

Sunflower oil has a smoking temperature of 227 °C (441 °F).

Canola oil

Canola oils are also a great option for oils in ceramic pans. Like sunflower oil, canola oil is also low in saturated fat and high in other fatty acid forms. Therefore, Canola oil is a safe and healthy choice when it comes to cooking oils.

Canola oil has a smoking temperature of 220–230 °C (428–446 °F).

Avocado oil

Avocado oil has high unsaturated fats and also contains vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. This helps your body take in other fat-soluble vitamins. It’s also been known to help reduce LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol which is all known good things to have.

Avocado oil has a smoking temperature of 221 °C (430 °F).

Best tips on using ceramic pans with oil

When you cook on a ceramic pan, you have to take into account a lot of considerations. The non-stick surface isn’t immune to damage, it can be burnt, scratched, and damaged if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Below are some of the best pointers in helping you become a ceramic pan expert. By following this guide, you’ll be able to keep your ceramic pan from aging giving you more use out of it and saving you time and money from going out to buy a new one.

Use low to medium heat

Even though ceramic materials can withstand the temperature of 2000°C, it’s important to note that the non-stick coating can be damaged by a much lower heat. In cases where you are cooking at a higher temperature, it is highly recommended that you use lower heat settings to prevent damage and keep your food from sticking.

If you decide to use oil, make sure that you use very little and that you don’t cook the oil on ceramic at more than a medium temperature.

Wash your ceramic pan before using it

Apply a good rinse and wash upon your first time using your ceramic pan. Remove any packaging label and run it through warm water and gently scrub it down with the soft side of the scrub.

It’s oftentimes that new products come out of the machine right after being produced. These products aren’t cleaned before you purchase them so it’s important to give them a good scrub before you use them. The goal here is to wipe it down, get rid of any excess dust particles and dirt that may have been picked up from the manufacturing plant and the shipping process.

Make sure to dry it with a drying towel when you’re done.

If your oil ends up combining with small particles and dust, it may end up burning those bits of pieces creating smoke and fumes.

Season the pan properly

Ceramic pans don’t usually require seasoning but there are some ceramic pans that recommend it. Seasoning your non-stick pans help fill in the small ports on in the surface coating and helps prevent food from sticking.

If you season your ceramic pan properly, you won’t have to use so much fat or oil to keep food from sticking it the surface.

  1. Rinse and dry the pan.
  2. Pour a small amount of cooking oil into the pan.
  3. Use soft tissue paper and spread it throughout the pan.
  4. Place the ceramic pan on a stove and cook at medium heat for 3 minutes.
  5. Remove the pan and allow it to cool.
  6. Get some more tissue paper and wipe away the excess.

Avoid cooking sprays on your ceramic pan

Even though the little amount of oil you spray onto a ceramic pan will not likely hurt the pan itself. There are chemicals made in conjunction with cooking spray that has been known to cause gradual damage to the surface of a ceramic pan.

The aerosols can contain chemicals that break down the coating.

Instead, use regular oils or even in combination with butter. You can coat the entire ceramic pan with a thin layer of oil and butter which won’t make it as difficult when you clean your ceramic later.

Do not drop a hot ceramic pan into cold water

Never put a hot ceramic pan into cold water. Let the pan cool first. While it’s true that ceramic materials can easily survive extreme heat, as well as cold temperatures, the drastic change from hot to cold, will likely damage the outer coating of the pan.

Don’t use metal utensils on your ceramic pan

It’s never a good idea to use metal objects directly on the ceramic surface.

I highly urge you to stick to wooden or plastic utensils and spatulas when cooking. These are safe to use on your ceramic pan.

Metal utensils have rough edges that can easily scratch and damage your pan if you drag them across the surface. Using metal utensils may also cause damage to the ceramic coating itself, weakening it.

Avoid washing your ceramic pan with harsh chemicals

Ceramic pans are to be treated with delicacy. It’s not that the ceramic itself will be damaged by the chemicals, it’s the fact that these chemicals may ruin the non-stick coating.

Chemicals like bleach and ammonia have been known to damage ceramic tiles over time. As a person continues to mop their floors with such chemicals, it eventually eats away at the surface causing micropores that leave the ceramic brittle and ugly.

You can use any dishwashing solution that’s safe for both the kitchenware and your hands.

If you’re having trouble with some of the stains, you can use a dedicated ceramic pan cleaner. These solutions are gentle and won’t cause any gradual damages like other household chemicals.

Be sure to scrub ceramic with the soft end of your sponge, and never use any hard steel wool scrub on your pan.

Don’t put your ceramic pan in the dishwasher

I recommend hand washing your ceramic pans. The reason for this is that you want to keep the coating as effective for as long as possible. A dishwasher may very well damage your outer coating and leave you with stains on your next meal.

Since these ceramic pans are naturally non-stick, you should have no issues with gently scrubbing the food and gunk off after every meal.

Seasoned ceramic pans may become unseasoned immediately after being placed in a dishwasher. So if you plan to season your ceramic pans, you should avoid the dishwasher as much as possible.

How to get burnt oil off a ceramic pan?

It’s easy to burn oil on your ceramic pan. Depending on the type of oil, you might find one oil burning a lot quicker than another.

Ceramic pan broken with stains
Ceramic pan broken with stains

If you find yourself looking at a ceramic pan that’s got stains of burnt oil, you should follow the 3 methods below.

Method 1: Soak your pan in hot water.

  1. Soak your pan in hot soapy water.
  2. Leave it in for 20 minutes or until the water cools.
  3. Scrub off any particles still on the pan.
  4. Dump out the water.

Method 2: Boil water and vinegar.

  1. Place a 1 to 4 ratio of vinegar to water into the pan.
  2. Cook the ceramic pan with the mixture until it boils.
  3. Let it cool.
  4. Using a soft sponge, gently wash the pan.
  5. Dump out the mixture.

Method 3: Baking soda

  1. With an empty ceramic pan, sprinkle baking soda on the stain.
  2. Let the baking soda sit for about 15 minutes.
  3. Using a soft sponge, gently scrub that area.
  4. Rinse out the baking soda with water.

What’s the difference between all-ceramic and ceramic coated pans?

If you are in the market for ceramic, you might have run into 2 different options. One is a metal pan with ceramic coating and the other is fully made out of ceramic.

All-ceramic pans are made from a combination of clay, quartz, and other minerals. They are molded and hardened by extreme temperatures sometimes as high as 1045°C (1915°F). The pans are then glazed to give them the shine and luster effects as well as their non-sticky features. This shine and non-stick property can last for dozens of years.

Ceramic-coated pans are probably the most popular of the two options. Most of these types are pans have an aluminum or stainless steel interior while being coated by a non-stick ceramic layer. These types of pans are plagued with the issue of being worn down and after only 3-5 years, they lose their luster and begin to have food stuck to them. Look for pans that advertise as having several layers of ceramic coating. Those are the ones that will eventually last longer and are more durable.

My best recommendation if you want the longest-lasting pan is to go with the 100% ceramic version because it will likely last for dozens of years. However, it is much more expensive than the other option. If you want a more affordable non-stick pan, I would suggest sticking to the ceramic-coated pan. These are highly affordable but lasts only about 3-5 years.

Are ceramic pans toxic?

Real ceramic is a combination of clay and minerals. Basically, it’s made of all-natural ingredients and these ingredients are highly unlikely to be toxic to humans.

If your ceramic cookware is 100% ceramic, then it’s made of purely natural substances. This means that it doesn’t have chemicals, and that it doesn’t leach heavy metals.

A few of the materials that tout themselves as ceramic coated pans that you should stay away from are:

  • PFOA – Perfluorooctanoic acid
  • PFAS – polyflurooalkyl substances
  • PFOS – perfluorooctane sulfonate
  • PFBS – perfluorobutane suflonate
  • GenX chemicals

These are all chemicals currently being studied and monitored for concerns linked to cancer. The American Cancer Society is keeping a close eye on the situation and you can find their article about it here.

Does ceramic cookware work on induction cooktops?

The answer is no. For induction to work, the pan has to be made of ferromagnetic materials which are cast iron and many other types of stainless steel materials. The pan must have some sort of attraction or link to magnetic properties.

If you want to test this to see if your ceramic pan can be cooked by induction, simply place a magnet next to it. If it sticks then you have a good chance the ceramic can cook.

If your ceramic cookware isn’t made with any magnetic properties then it won’t work on an induction stove.

Are ceramic pans oven-safe?

Normally you would find that if you placed a ceramic nonstick coated pan in an oven, it would do just fine. Nonstick ceramic pans can still be safe up to 420-500°F.

If it were 100% ceramic cookware, then you’re in luck, because that kind of material melts at 1000°C (1800°F).

So, yes, ovens are perfectly fine with ceramic pans.

Why is my ceramic pan sticking?

As ceramic pan ages, and it goes through a lot of rough situations causing it to gradually grind down its outer coating. This is exacerbated by owners who use metal utensils, clean improperly, and cooking with the wrong ingredients such as cooking with oil at high temperatures.


The bottom line

Most people would say that the combination of olive oil and ceramic pans is not such a good idea. But there is a way around this if you must use oil in your next meal. Always keep the heat low and use a little oil as you can.

After you’ve done your cooking, follow the steps I’ve listed above to clean and wash your ceramic pan. I’d avoid the dishwasher due to its abrasive nature and the that it might damage your ceramic coated pan.

In my opinion, it’s important to stay ahead of the game when deciding how and when to use ceramic pans. And that means you should know how to deal with issues regarding cooking oils and ceramic pans.

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