HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
Are you making a specialty food? Share your adventure

Turning a non-stick frying pan into a regular frying pan?

Dave MP Jan 17, 2007 03:04 AM


In my apartment, we have a pretty cheap (from Target) non-stick frying pan...it was new about 6 months ago, but lately, pieces of the non-stick coating have started to chip off. Needless to say, I don't want little black pieces of non-stick material in my food, so I need to do something about this pan.

I have heard (from a not super reliable source) that I might be able to do something to completely remove the non-stick material from the pan, and convert it into a regular frying pan. Is this true? Has anyone done this? Or do I need to just throw this pan away and buy a new one (which this time won't be non-stick).

Dave MP

  1. adroit_minx Jan 17, 2007 03:53 AM

    For the sake of safety and convenience, maybe you should just invest in a good stainless steel pan and toss the nonstick. You said it was a Target special anyway, so not much lost there. Cuisinart and Calphalon both make a very good stainless pan for not a lot of money.

    1. Quine Jan 17, 2007 04:00 AM

      OMG. Did you seriously read what you asked? You want to 'home" remove a factory/industry metal surfactant? To save what? A cheap fry pan? Buy a new one. If where you live can ding up a pan that bad in 6 months, stick with cheap plain old skillets.

      1. m
        MakingSense Jan 17, 2007 04:16 AM

        Contact DuPont for the answer to your question

        When they respond, perhaps you could post their answer here as many people seem to think that non-stick coatings can "chip" off which would make them unsafe. It would be good to clarify the issue.

        Non-stick coatings are factory applied at extremely high heat. The coatings do not alter or emit gases until they exceed 660 degree at which point your pan would likely be severely damaged, could catch fire, and could cause harm to you or others. Throw it away.

        1. Dominus Jan 17, 2007 04:18 AM

          Occasionally visit some Marshalls & TJ Maxx stores. Sometimes they have brand name stainless AND anodized non-sticks for less.

          1. jbyoga Jan 17, 2007 04:22 AM

            Get yourself some good ol' cast iron...live the dream...

            1. Dave MP Jan 17, 2007 05:18 AM

              Thanks for the responses, the person who told me about removing the non-stick stuff was a stranger who I met in a cookware store, and he seemed a little crazy. So it makes sense that this idea is probably ridiculous. However, I don't know if my pan is teflon....here is a link to the Target website, I believe this is the set we have (I didn't buy it). Luckily, this set is not ALL we have, I also have a really nice wok, a small cast iron frying pan, two big pots, etc....so I'm doing ok. I just don't have another large frying pan.


              Anyway, I'll probably recycle the frying pan unless anyone, upon seeing this photo, has any other ideas. I already recycled two of the pots for the same reason.

              Dave MP

              9 Replies
              1. re: Dave MP
                Kelli2006 Jan 17, 2007 05:34 PM

                Dave, I have had the Teflon coating removed from All-Clad and other high end skillets, but I would not bother trying to save a discount store, or even commercial aluminum pan.

                The Teflon can safely and quickly be removed by walnut shell media at any body shop, machine shop or sand-blaster. It is relatively inexpensive ($20 per pan) and only takes a few minutes.

                1. re: Kelli2006
                  mpk0 Apr 7, 2008 07:29 AM

                  If it is not too late to ask: Are you certain that walnut shell media will remove the non-stick coating? I hesitate to pay a shop to do it and then discover that the coating is not removed.

                  1. re: mpk0
                    Kelli2006 Apr 4, 2011 02:17 PM

                    Walnut shells will strip burnt on carbon, paint and other industrial coatings so Teflon will be easily erased.

                    1. re: mpk0
                      scubadoo97 Jul 9, 2011 06:07 AM

                      I'm certain after having some patio chairs sand blasted with a similar media to remove paint that took me over two weeks of chemical removal and sanding to remove 90% of the paint. The sand blaster took about 1 minute to do the same and did a better job of it.

                    2. re: Kelli2006
                      Mr. Natural Apr 3, 2011 09:29 PM

                      Thanks for the advice on Teflon removal. I've a $100 Breville electric wok that I love, but, after twice per day use for two years (and using plastic utensils only), the bottom surface is badly scratched. It's worth $20 to find out if I can give this machine a new life.

                    3. re: Dave MP
                      RShea78 Jan 18, 2007 01:12 PM

                      Dave- It may be possible to "exchange" them if there is some product warranty or at least put Target on the spot they did not last as long as you expected. (No excuse to last less than 2 years unless really abused)

                      Remember, it is to exchange them as you will likely get tons of resistance asking for your money back. Or let them even issue a gift card if they prefer.


                      1. re: RShea78
                        MariaJ. Jul 5, 2011 12:00 PM

                        I realize I'm replying to a 4 yr old comment, but here goes:
                        I got a number of All-Clad pans 16 years ago-- most plain stainless, but the big, wonderful 6qt saute pan in non-stick. I was already starting to feel squeamish about the non-stick thing, due to the dangers to birds. I say, if it kills birds, why would I want to expose myself, my husband, my dogs and anyone else to it? Anyhow, I used that pan almost daily for a couple of years, being careful not to get it too hot, but MAN, is that hard! Also, only hand-washing. Eventually, the center got darker, and there were traces of flaking, and I decided I'd get the coating ground off. I looked in vain for someone to do that-- never thought of a machine shop, as someone recommends above. Finally I contacted All-Clad, thinking they might know a company who'd be able to remove the coating. The CS lady had no info on such a solution, and wanted my reasons. She said, "If you're dissatisfied with the pan, send it back, and we'll replace it with a plain stainless one." I thought she'd misunderstood me-- I said the pan was perfectly usable, and I loved it, but just wasn't comfy with the coating. She repeated the offer... and I boxed it up, sent it away (I think it cost ca. $12 via USPS). Soon, a brand-spanking-new All-Clad 6 qt pan, stainless, arrived-- free of charge!

                        It's still my go-to pan, and gets almost daily use. It's unchanged after its 13 or so years on my stove. Needless to say, I'm an All-Clad evangelist!

                        That all said, I'm on Chowhound today in search of info on a non-Teflon (etc.) non-stick pan for making tortilla española. I can do it in an All-Clad SS pan, but know how much easier it would be in a (safe!) non-stick one. I still don't want to poison any of us with fumes!

                        1. re: MariaJ.
                          mpk0 Jul 6, 2011 10:10 AM

                          Maria, the new ceramic nonstick pans are Great! I have a Berndes pan from Marshalls/TJMAxx that was about $12.00 or so. Nothing sticks to it, and it gives the impression that the coating will not flake off.

                          1. re: mpk0
                            MariaJ. Jul 8, 2011 11:42 PM

                            $12??? I've just done a quick scan of eBay, and having seen nothing approaching that incredible price, shall head to M/TJM at dawn!

                            Meanwhile, my SafePan (11.2") arrived promptly from an eBay seller, and it's clearly a fantastic pan. Unfortunately, I should've stuck with a 10" or less-- this is just that much too big for comfort when making tortilla espanola, as I discovered tonight-- not terrible, but a bit awkward. I know a smaller pan will make it much easier to deal with the turning. Meanwhile, I'll work on my technique with the big one. Bring on the potatoes and olive oil. Ha ha!

                            And btw-- I have a feeling SafePan is no longer in production. Extinct on Amazon, and that's a bad sign. If anyone's interested in this great pan (ca. $36 incl postage), there were a couple more for sale on eBay-- brand new. I would buy the smaller one, if it were available.

                    4. Quine Jan 17, 2007 05:25 AM

                      trash it...er recycle it.

                      1. Candy Jan 17, 2007 02:39 PM

                        Are you sure it is chipping off? Have you used anything like Pam or other aerosol cooking sprays on it? The propellants in those sprays will stick to the surface, burn on and change the appearance of the pan. After 6 months it seems too early for the non-stick coating to be coming off. If it really is and you have not been using metal untensils in the pan or using really high heat, the pan may be defective and there is probably a mfg. warranty on it. I'd contact the mfg.

                        1. Andiereid Jan 17, 2007 08:28 PM

                          My husband removed the non-stick from one of my good All-Clad pans that I had (ahem) ruined by leaving some pecans with maple syrup in it over heat, thus caramelizing not just the pecans, but the non-stick. He actually took it out to the shop and used a grinder to remove everything. Now I have a very nice stainless pan that works just fine. But I did also get a new non-stick.

                          If it had been an inexpensive pan, though, I would have recycled it and just replaced it.

                          1. k
                            KRS Jan 18, 2007 01:16 AM

                            I tried to remove the Teflon/Silverstone when it started to wear through on a heavy WearEver pan. I couldn't get through it with a sanding disk on an electric drill, and when I tried a wire brush the surface ended up unusable.

                            Pitch the Target ware and get the good stuff -- Lodge cast iron, WearEver bare aluminum, Sitram stainless clad aluminum, etc.

                            You'll need a single cheap Teflon skillet -- Target, TeFal, etc., which you toss each time the food starts to stick.

                            1. julietg Jan 18, 2007 04:26 AM

                              For the love of all that is holy, please throw out your cheap teflon. I wouldn't even say it is safe to give to Goodwill.

                              When you invest in a sturdy, weighty, safer and more reliable version, please follow this dictum:


                              one tiny scrape with a fork, and you have ruined the seal, the whole point of having non stick in the first place. get yourself some heat-proof sillicon or only use your wooden spoon when cooking with your non stick. and make sure that anyone else cooking in your kitchen does the same.

                              1. NYChristopher Jan 18, 2007 05:17 AM

                                First, let me say I think that any prouct that would beak down so quikly probably isn't worth salvaging (beyond, perhaps, a store credit). I'd recycle it if at all possible.

                                That said, living in the Bay Area, I bet you a "restaurant supply" district like the Bowery in Manhattan or Milwaukee & Grand in Chicago where chefs (and managers or owners) go to stock their establishments on the cheap. No, nothing you get will be name brand (save for Lodge cast iron skillets) but I always argue that if it's good enough for the pros, it's good enough for me, and these folks are a lot more affordable than the likes of Williams-Sonoma or Sur La Table (much as I love them).

                                Maybe these?

                                1. Kajikit Jan 21, 2007 10:43 PM

                                  I must have had the same frypan as you... it lasted less than a year, and the non-stick coating started lifting and peeling off in chunks! I used it for a few weeks (while the initial dime-sized patch grew and grew) and in the end I said to myself 'this can't be safe!' and tossed the pan in the skip. I'm very hard on my frypans, but I was still disgusted that it had such a short life! The next pan I bought was much better quality and it only lasted a year too, but rather than flaking off, this coating just gradually eroded away when I washed it (it didn't help that I managed to burn fried apples in it and had to scrub it!) It's not really non-stick now, but I still feel safe using it if I have to...

                                  1. sunshine842 Apr 4, 2011 02:34 PM

                                    From everything I've heard and read, flaking non-stick is more unappetizing -- seems the coating itself is fairly inert, and, um, this too shall pass.

                                    BUT before you go running off to the body shop to have the coating taken off, a phone call to the manufacturer is in order. The subsurface to which the nonstick is bonded may or may not be a suitable metal to actually cook on. (not saying it's poisonous, but just may not behave all that well when heated and in contact with reactive foods -- acids, etc.,)

                                    Dump it and go buy a new one.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: sunshine842
                                      donius Oct 29, 2011 06:12 PM

                                      lol @ "this too shall pass"

                                    2. b
                                      bradshaw Jul 9, 2011 01:26 AM

                                      Years ago when i lived at home we had big skillet that mom used all the time, when started pilling we took a wire scracher and scraped , took some elbow power. Fries and performs real well, things don't stick real bad either still my mothers favorite skillet.

                                      1. a
                                        Anaso Nov 26, 2012 08:59 AM

                                        I have a Le Creuset skillet with a nonstick surface that is scratched and awful. I'm assuming it's cast iron underneath. I don't really need another cast iron pan, but I can't bring myself to toss it. I'm wondering whether the machine shop solution would result in a nice smooth surface?

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Anaso
                                          kengk Nov 26, 2012 12:43 PM

                                          I would take it to a body shop and ask how much they would charge to grind it out. I believe if I had an air powered side grinder I could get it done in about ten minutes or less.

                                        2. MikeB3542 Nov 26, 2012 12:32 PM

                                          I don't think it's worth the bother, though I think it can be done. Had a nice heavy Calphalon saute pan that had the teflon removed when the cleaning service accidentally ran the oven cleaning cycle with the pan in the oven. Lots of fumes (serious airing-out needed) and a funky film on everything in the kitchen. The pan survived without warping, and went on to many years of good service.

                                          1. i
                                            indypeg57 Aug 3, 2013 01:12 PM

                                            Throw it out..teflon pieces are NOT something you want to digest. I almost went to work for a teflon company..and the list of warnings of working there were overwhelming.
                                            Before that..in 2008 I bought a SilverStone Tqqq08 12/30cm frying pan..It was great! Last week the handle came off (it wasn`t even loose) while lifting a stir-fry off the stove. If it had been hot oil from frying chicken..OH MAN..I`de be in a burn unit today, instead of warning you of the hazards of frying pans.
                                            I would suggest buying a Rachael Ray, or Paula Deen "SOLID" frying pan, with no screwed on handle. Or teflon coated.That`s what I`m shopping for this wk.end.
                                            No more teflon, or screwed on handles for me.

                                            Show Hidden Posts