Does Olive Oil Ruin Non-Stick Pans?

Published Categorized as Cookware, Cookware Advice, Guide

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Olive oil is considered to be one of the best oils out there. Not only is it good for cooking with, but you can also dip your bread in cold olive oil. The fatty acids and antioxidants present in olive oil offer numerous health benefits including a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and arthritis.

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Olive oil is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats, in other words, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids reduce inflammation and may even help in fighting cancer. 

The antioxidants in olive oil are biologically active and can reduce your chances of getting chronic diseases. They also help to protect your blood cholesterol from oxidation. All in all, these factors may help t reduce your risk of heart disease. Olive oil prevents the bad LDL cholesterol from oxidation, helps to prevent blood clotting and improves the lining of blood vessels. All of these are major factors that can cause heart disease.

Olive oil can help in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and it is especially beneficial when combined with fish oil.

Extra virgin olive oil has antibacterial properties and has been proven to be effective against the bacteria which causes stomach cancer and ulcers.

Olive oil also assists brain function and it may also help to stop the onset of Alzheimer’s disease

The second biggest killer in developed countries is stroke. Studies have proved that people who consume olive oil have a lower risk. 

So, we’ve taken a good look at the properties of olive oil, but the big question is will it ruin your non-stick pans? The answer is an emphatic no, but you do have to take extra precautions which we will tell you about in this article.

How is a Non-Stick Pan Manufactured?

The most common way of producing non-stick pans is by coating the pans in PTFE. Teflon is one immensely popular example. Cast iron, carbon steel, cast aluminum, and stainless steel can be made non-stick by seasoning them. To season, the pan needs to be coated with olive oil and then heated in the oven.

Precautions to Take with Non-Stick Pans

Cooking Spray

You can buy olive oil cooking spray, but a spray is not compatible with non-stick pans so avoid it and use regular olive oil out of a bottle. Using the spray too much will result in a build-up of oil which is ridiculously hard to remove even by washing the pan. If you want to keep your pan non-stick, just use a minimum amount of olive oil. This is all you will need.

Adding the Oil at the Wrong Time

With a lot of pans, you warm the pan first and then add the oil, followed by the food when the oil is hot enough. However, this is not the way to go with non-stick pans. The olive oil should go in the pan while it is cold and then it needs to be heated up before adding the food. There are a couple of reasons for putting the oil in the pan before heating. Firstly, the oil helps to keep the pan non-stick before the food can soak up the oil. Secondly, some non-stick pans can give out toxic fumes if they are heated without any oil. Don’t let this put you off using a non-stick pan. If you follow the instructions all will be well

Using the Wrong Cooking Utensils

While olive oil won’t ruin the surface of your pans, using the wrong utensils can cause scratching and scraping. Never use metal as it will scratch. Instead, use wooden spoons, spatulas, or heatproof silicone spoons.

High Heat

Non-stick pans work the best on a low to medium heat. This protects the non-stick surface. The smoking point of extra virgin olive oil is 331F so you shouldn’t heat it above this temperature. If you plan to put the pan in the oven, make sure that the temperature is below 331F otherwise the pan may warp. 


When it comes to cleaning, hand washing is better, but stick to soft sponges, soft brushes, or microfiber towels with dish soap. Avoid abrasive cleaners such as scouring pads and steel wool.

How to Preserve Your Pan While Using it with Olive Oil

You will want your pans to last a long time and you shouldn’t have any problem with them if you use them with olive oil. However, here are a few precautionary tips. 

When you have finished cooking, put the leftovers into a refrigerator-friendly container. If you store the food in the pan, it will cause more wear and tear. It is also not a good idea to leave the pan to soak overnight. Always wash and dry thoroughly. 

If you find that your pan is showing signs of chipping or peeling or if it becomes non-stick then it’s the time to replace your pans. You don’t want bits of the surface in your food for a start as that won’t be very pleasant. In addition, when pans are chipped or flaked, they can let out toxic fumes that aren’t healthy for you and your family.

Final Thoughts

We hope that you have enjoyed reading this article and are feeling reassured that using olive oil in a non-stick pan is safe. Just remember not to use olive oil cooking spray as it will destroy the pan with the build-up of oil and it can’t be removed easily. Add the oil at the right time, that is before you start cooking, as this enhances the non-stick quality and stops harmful fumes from being emitted. Don’t use metal utensils as they will scratch the surface and lessen the lifetime of your pan. It’s also important to keep the heat at 331F or below as that’s the smoking point of olive oil. When olive oil is heated past its smoking point it generates free radicals and toxic fumes that are harmful and can even cause cancer. The nutritional value can also be vastly reduced. However, if you keep all this in mind you should have a great cooking experience.