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An anodized frying pan has a stick-resistant surface that is not likely to flake off or chip. Anodized pans are made of aluminum, so they conduct heat evenly. Unlike uncoated aluminum, anodized pans have a hard surface that will not react with foods. Usually, an anodized frying pan is dark, so it cannot be used for some cooking tasks. Additionally, most anodized pans are not dishwasher safe.
Certain non-stick coatings wear down with heat and frequent use. As the coating breaks down, the non-stick properties of the pan become less effective. There is also concern that the coating is toxic and that pieces will get onto food as it begins flaking off. The coating on an anodized frying pan is very hard and will not chip off with use.
A cook cannot use metal utensils with traditional non-stick cookware. Metal utensils will not damage the surface of an anodized pan, though. Any type of utensil, from metal to wood, can be used with an anodized frying pan.
Another benefit of anodized pans is that they conduct heat evenly. Aluminum is one of the best conductors of heat next to copper. An anodized pan will heat slowly and evenly, preventing food cooked in it from scorching in one area of the pan or not cooking in another area.
Cooks are often warned against cooking acidic foods in aluminum pans. Uncoated aluminum reacts with certain foods. The acid in the food will damage the pan, and the food is likely to absorb some aluminum. Anodized pans have a barrier between the food and the aluminum metal, so almost any type of food can be prepared in the frying pan without worry.
One downside to an anodized frying pan is that it must be washed by hand. A dishwasher and dishwashing detergent will damage the pan. Only soft, non-abrasive pads should be used to clean the pans, and the dish soap should be gentle.
A cook should let the pan cool before washing it, as exposing a hot pan to water will make it warp. If food is stuck on the frying pan, the pan should be filled with warm, soapy water and left to soak. After a brief soak, the food should come off easily.
The dark surface of an anodized frying pan means it is not ideal for some tasks. If a cook wants to melt and brown butter, she should use a pan with a lighter interior surface. With an anodized pan, she won't be able to see the butter turning brown against the dark color of the pan.