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


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

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

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

            1. 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

                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

                  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

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

                    1. re: mpk0

                      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

                      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

                      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

                        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.

                          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

                            $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. trash it...er recycle it.

                      1. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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

                                          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. 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. 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.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: indypeg57

                                              The warnings in a Teflon plant probably pertain to chemicals used in the processing. Chips from nonstick pans are harmless. They won't be digested but merely passed through.

                                            2. Take a wet metal sponge and scrape it with all your might until all of it comes off. A little elbow grease will do. We did it... #Hallah #CheapPeopleWithDetermination

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Cheapoos

                                                I took an "All-Clad" griddle today, and put in a Walnut shell blaster, and the coating flew off of there!
                                                Now to clean it, and polish up the Aluminum cook surface, and get it "seasoned".

                                              2. We had a non-stick pan converted to a regular aluminum pan when it was accidentally left in the oven during an auto-clean cycle. (Not recommended...place was full of fumes and everything covered with a film. Yuck)....Anyhow, agree with most that are saying to just get a new pan. A restaurant supply place or a TJ Maxx should have what you are looking for at a reasonable price. By the way, assuming your old pan is just plain aluminum, it can be recycled..no need for it to get landfilled.

                                                1. anyone thought of converting the nonstick surface to a seasoned surface like that on a cast steel or cast iron pan?

                                                  I wonder if its possible ...

                                                  8 Replies
                                                  1. re: McChungy

                                                    this would probably be a bad idea - seasoned surface needs something for the seasoning to bind to - (its gotta stick) non stick specifically sheds the oil you need to polymerize. Also it is not stable and starts to flake off as it deteriorates and this is not good because who wants to eat Teflon/Carbon chips YUM.

                                                    I have seen some non stick pans look gross enough to almost make be believe this is what people were after though - non stick does not mean no need to clean, folks.

                                                    1. re: JTPhilly

                                                      I guess I should have explained it a bit more, I was not implying to apply the oil coating directly on top of the teflon.

                                                      What I meant to say was if you were to remove the coating completely via sand blasting, it would technically be a straight steel or aluminum pan. After that you can apply the oil seasoning coating and give it an inert protective coating on top of the straight metal pan. The seasoning process basically expands the metal molecules in the pan and the oil should be able to seep into the metal and create a bond just like a cast iron or carbon steel pan.

                                                      Im just wondering if anyones done this before to some success.

                                                      1. re: McChungy

                                                        then it should not be any different than seasoning a regular aluminum pan

                                                        1. re: McChungy

                                                          Hi McChungy,

                                                          Others upthread have mentioned that they've removed the nonstick coating, leaving a bare pan behind. Whether or not it would need seasoning would depend on the metal beneath the coating. But if your question is just "has the coating been removed with success?" the answer is yes.



                                                          Does this help?


                                                          1. re: McChungy

                                                            Please read this: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3610...

                                                            I wrote it quite some time ago, so new arrivals may not have seen it....but having seen saute pans being made in a couple of different places, this is a really important thing to consider.

                                                            (and why my nonstick goes in the trash when the nonstick is shot)

                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                              That's true, might as well buy a de buyer in order to get a good carbon steel pan.

                                                              Reason y I'm considering this is I have a cuisinart griddler that has removable Teflon plates, and I have searched high and low for cast iron plates but it doesn't seem to exist. So I was wondering if removing Teflon and putting on a seasoned coating has been done before or not to some success.

                                                              1. re: McChungy

                                                                same concept -- you don't know what the underlying material is --you could end up with something that you *really* don't want to have to deal with.

                                                                1. re: McChungy

                                                                  Hi McChungy,

                                                                  It's possible your griddle plates might be good candidates for Teflon removal. If you can have it done for about $20, it might be worth it. It seems to me you really like your griddle. If you can make it perfect, why not?


                                                        2. Recently I sanded the nonstick coating off an 8" skillet that was showing its wear. It took a fair amount of elbow grease. The pan was a sturdy induction compatible one, so I didn't want to toss it.

                                                          So now I have a bare aluminum induction compatible pan, which I try to use for tasks that don't need nonstick.

                                                          I've read about seasoning stainless steel or aluminum, and tried it once or twice. I don't think it's worth the effort, at least not as long as I have nonstick pans and seasoned carbon steel or cast iron.

                                                          7 Replies
                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                            With all due respect, aluminum is not a magnetic metal and cannot be used on an induction "burner." If your pan can be used on an induction burner, it can't be aluminum.

                                                            1. re: mpk0

                                                              With all due respect, you don't know what you're talking about.

                                                              Tfal Total Nonstick and Mauviel M'Stone, both anodized aluminum, both can (in fact, are DESIGNED) to be used on an induction burner. There are dozens more.

                                                              1. re: DuffyH

                                                                yup, mine has a polka dot steel base like the left picture.

                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                  Well, at least insofar as the T-fal goes, it has a stainless steel disc on the bottom.

                                                                  Quoting from the T-fal site:

                                                                  "Full size stainless steel disc over heavy gauge aluminum base provides superior heat distribution and maximum anti-warping protection."

                                                                  I don't see that the Mauviel has a stainless disc. However it is simple physics that an aluminum pan is not going to be efficient on a magnetically based system. Perhaps the anodized aspect enhances the magnetic qualities?

                                                                  1. re: mpk0

                                                                    Hi mpk0,

                                                                    As you've surmised, a steel disk is required to make aluminum compatible with induction. The Mauviel has one, too. In fact, I've got a dutch oven and sauté pan in that line. Efficiency varies from line to line, and cooktop to cooktop.

                                                                    100% aluminum pans cannot be used, no. But if I wrote that stainless steel pans have really crappy response time, you'd likely point out that clad stainless, around an aluminum or copper core, can exhibit excellent response time.

                                                                    We (induction owners) see a lot of misinformation, in the form of people flat out declaring that aluminum pans can't be used on induction tops, as you did. I wanted you to know that's not the case. They can be used, and some of them work very well.


                                                                    1. re: mpk0

                                                                      The pan with a polka dot base has a steel trivet bonded to the base of the cast aluminum pan. The dots are aluminum pegs that show through holes in the steel disk.

                                                                      I was thinking that the steel was pressed into the cast or machined aluminum base, but it could be that the steel was placed in the casting mold.

                                                                      The inside surface of this style of pan tends to be a bit convex. But other than that it works well on both conventional burners and induction.

                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                        The Mauviel has an incredibly thin steel sheet showing. I don't know how thick it really is, although it can't be too thick, because the pan is slow to heat (incredibly slow boiling water), but once heated it responds very quickly to small changes.

                                                                        If the base were thicker, I think it would heat much faster initially, but lose it's ability to react so quickly. And of course, it would be much less even heating. Both my sauté and DO are dead flat.

                                                                        I've got another pan, an Invoca fry pan from TJM, that has a really thick disk base. The pan itself is about 4mm, and reacts pretty much as a heavy aluminum pan should. I think the base on this one might be a sandwich, with even more aluminum.

                                                                        The entire exterior of the pan appears to be the same non-stick as the interior, or at least a nonstick paint of some kind, so it's impossible to gain any clear idea of what's going on with it.

                                                            2. To those planning or wishing to remove a non-stick coating, unless you want a LOT of work to make the underlying surface smooth, don't sand it off, don't grind it off, and don't sandblast or glass bead it off.
                                                              Find someone / somewhere, that has a "shell blaster", which uses crushed Walnut hulls as the removal media.
                                                              It will remove the coating only, and leave no "added" texture to the cast/ forged aluminum or steel surface.

                                                              You will be left with a nice, smooth, "as cast" finish in my case, that is MUCH easier to clean and season and make useable again.

                                                              Those worried about the underlying material, throw your junk away and go buy a new piece.

                                                              The surface I mentioned in an earlier post has been treated as such, and after blasting, was treated to a soap an water bath, ( before re-installation),re-installed and treated to heated soap and water, then heated plain water, then cooled and wiped down with Alcohol, ( Isopropyl, 99% strength), then heated and seasoned with a mix of Bacon grease and Canola oil.

                                                              Slicker than an Otter's........

                                                              Nothing sticks to it, ( as of yet!)

                                                              My Daddy always said"Be smarter than what you are working on, Son"

                                                              9 Replies
                                                              1. re: BuckChussey

                                                                So by the time you had it all blasted off and messing around, how much did you spend versus just going out and buying a new pan?

                                                                I do a LOT of shopping for pans at places like Ross and TJ Maxx and Marshalls and Home Goods... I can usually pick them up for a good enough price that when the nonstick packs it in 8-10 years later, I really don't feel all that bad about just chucking it and buying myself a new one.

                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                  Hi sunshine,

                                                                  <... when the nonstick packs it in 8-10 years later,...>

                                                                  You know that's the exception. I get similar mileage, but most people seem to get 1-2 years, tops. So for them, it could be worthwhile. It would save replacing an otherwise perfectly fine pan. Not that I'm going to do it, but the option is nice to have.

                                                                  1. re: DuffyH

                                                                    Mostly I look at it that the underlying material was not designed to cook on directly.

                                                                    So if I were getting 1-year life out of my pans, I'd just go to uncoated pans and a supply of Brillo pads.

                                                                  2. re: sunshine842

                                                                    Though what I did gave me a unique piece - an induction compatible bare aluminum skillet.

                                                                    Most of my induction capable pans are from TJMaxx - 3 stainless, 4 nonstick AL.

                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                      <Though what I did gave me a unique piece - an induction compatible bare aluminum skillet.>

                                                                      That's why I'd do it, too. Because no one will make a bare aluminum pan with an induction base. :-(

                                                                    2. re: sunshine842

                                                                      I spent about 3 hours total of my time.
                                                                      I am a Mechanic and Metal Fabricator by trade.
                                                                      Had it been a "pan" instead of an electric "griddle", I may have considered different.

                                                                      Instead, I have a nice, several hundred dollar griddle that is useable again, for the cost of 3 hours of my "tinkering" time,of which I also utilized to have a few nice craft beers, and listen to some good music in my shop.

                                                                      1. re: BuckChussey

                                                                        Inspiring report, BuckC. I'm sick of our throwaway culture. I console myself with the knowledge that I'll be dead by the time humans are be forced to mine landfills for discarded metal, although that may be coming sooner than we think! I posted long ago (up above) about wanting to remove the nonstick coating from my beautiful big All-Clad frying pan, and wish I'd gone your route. However, when I asked All-Clad about the idea, thinking they could recommend the sort of shop to do the job, they offered to just REPLACE the pan with a brand-new regular stainless one, even though I protested that I'd been using it almost daily for several years! I returned mine for about $12 postage, and the new one arrived in the mail-- no charge. That was a real loyalty-builder. (And I'll bet they didn't throw the old one away.)

                                                                        Sunshine, I'm pretty sure there was plain old stainless under that All-Clad coating, and BuckC's tactic would've given me a perfect "new" pan. I don't think there's anything different about the metal under that surface.

                                                                        1. re: MariaJ.

                                                                          Hi MariaJ,

                                                                          That has to be just about the BEST warranty service story I've ever heard. Loyalty builder, indeed! With that kind of service, I'd happily pay extra to support the brand, knowing they'd have my back if the product failed.

                                                                          If only their handles weren't so uncomfortable for me *sigh*.


                                                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                                                            I know what you mean about those handles. I do manage to do the shake & flip technique with their 12" pan, but that's the limit-- the combination of weight and that awkward handle design are a bit much for a small person's hand (and arm).

                                                                  3. I often get new pots and pans from family for Christmas it is a gift I really hate because I hate non stick. many of the pans are sturdy good pans and my idea is to sand blast off the nonstick and thin season them up. one day I will buy a sand blaster and do this and have a nice collection of good cookware.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Jerray

                                                                      a) tell them you don't want nonstick -- then they're not wasting their money on nice pans that you don't want and won't use. (cue splitscreen shot of your family bitching about spending all this money on cookware that Jerray never uses)

                                                                      b) Sell the offending pans on eBay and buy what you want, or

                                                                      c) donate it to a charity or a shelter where they can be used by people who don't have nice pans.

                                                                      As above -- the metal under the nonstick was put there so that the nonstick would bond (okay, stick) to the pan. The metal that's underneath was never intended as a cooking surface, and as anyone who's ever used an aging and/or damaged nonstick pan can attest, the metal underneath sticks like a rat bastard.

                                                                      Send the nonstick on its way, whether for profit or a tax deduction, and go buy (or drop the hints for) the stuff you want.