It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to email@example.com and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.
What temperatures should be used with non-stick skillets for cooking various foods? Are there any guidelines? I read somewhere that eggs should be cooked on med-low, is that correct?
Thanks very much for this question. I have had a debate about this with a chef friend who claimed that I should not have used a non-stick pan at high heat as I did in a recent television segment.
I have looked at a great deal of opinion on this and many manufacturers suggest temperatures between 350°F and 450°F. There is no clear consensus. I do use my pans occasionally in a hot oven (temperatures in the 500°F range).
duPont is one of the major manufacturers of non-stick coatings and here is some information released by them on the subject:
"Low to medium-high heat is recommended for cookware with non-stick surfaces but, on occasion, when you need to cook with temperatures up to 500 ºF (260 ºC), you can without damaging the finish."
I cook eggs on medium low because cooking them on a higher heat can result in a rubbery texture.
Thanks for writing,
Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP