Do you have an old cookie sheet or baking pan that just won’t lay flat because it’s warped? If you’re not ready to discard it quite yet, it can probably still be salvaged.
Read on to learn how to unwarp a pan and some tips on how to prevent it in the first place.
Why Do Pans Warp?
The main reason behind the warping is the basic principle of expansion and contraction. When you heat a metal pan quickly, parts of it will expand. And, when cooling down, the metal will contract. However, all of this expanding and contracting doesn’t necessarily occur at the same rate and these differences can create warps and buckles.
When the metal objects cool down slowly, they return to their original form. The molecules calm down and become stable.
Normally, this contraction process happens gradually. But if you put the hot pan in the sink and run cold water on the pan, the contraction process happens rapidly. This rapid process disrupts the natural contraction flow.
Because of this rapid drop in temperature, some parts of the pan shrink too fast, and the other parts cannot shrink much. This causes the pan to have an uneven shape, resulting in a bent or warped pan.
Related Content: Best Pots & Pans For Gas Stove
Repairing Your pan
If your pan gets warped or bent, that does not mean it is unusable, and you have to throw it away. Fortunately, the pan can be repaired, and it will be ready for use once again and here is how to unwarp a pan:
1. Get A Piece Of Wood
The first thing you need to do is get a piece of wood that matches your pan’s diameter. If you’re particularly handy, you can cut one to size.
Purchase a 45 X 90 mm wooden stick and cut the stick at a length that matches the diameter. While cutting the wood, you must consider three things-
- Wear safety gear while cutting wood
- If the pan is bent downwards, the wood piece can be a bit longer than the diameter.
- If the pan is bent upwards, the piece of wood will sit inside the pan perfectly.
2. Apply Heat To The Pan
The next thing you need to do is to heat the pan. Place the pan on your stove and apply medium heat on it. You should let it heat up for about 15-20 minutes. The pan must be very hot.
If you feel the pan is not hot enough, you can heat it up for a few more minutes.
3. Place The Pan On A Steady Surface
Next, remove the pan and place it on a steady surface. The place must also be durable.
For pans that are bent downwards, put the pan’s lip on the surface, but do not let the handle touch the surface.
4. Now Beat It!
By placing the pan, you will be clearly able to see where the pan has bent. Put the wooden stick that you cut before and place it on top of the bend.
Now get a hammer and hit the wooden stick repeatedly. Be fast because if the pan cools down, then it will be ineffective.
5. Repeat Until It Is Flat
You must be fast and repetitive while banging the wooden stick with the hammer. But at the same time, do not hammer too hard as it might damage the wooden stick.
Keep on hammering the whole pan until the entire surface is flat, and then you will have a repaired pan.
Check If You Have Valid Warranty
Many pans have their own warranty that may cover warping. If a pan gets damaged in that period, you may be able to assistance from the maker. This is particularly worth pursuing if you purchased expensive cookware.
Keeping Your Pan From Getting Warped
As the wise Ben Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This most definitely applies to your kitchen and cookware. Here are some tips for avoiding warped pans.
1. Choose Pans Carefully
Although almost any pans can warp when faced with sufficiently extreme temperature changes, thicker pans made of more metal are more resistant to warping than thin ones. Although they will cost more than normal pans, they will save you the hassle of repairing it.
Also, certain types of materials are more resistant to warping. Generally, carbon, iron and steel are more heat resistant than aluminum and copper. That said, multiple layers are better than one. Thus, depending on the circumstances, a multi-ply aluminum or copper pan may hold up better than a thin, single ply steel one.
2. Heat Up the Pan Slowly
When you put the pan on the stove, be sure to heat it up slowly and do not put the stove and maximum heat immediately. This will damage the molecular structure of the pan, making it more prone to warping.
If you want to cook something, start with low heat. And as the pan gets warmer, you can then increase the heat of the stove.
3. Do Not Put Hot Pans In Cold Water
This is the bane of existence for pans. Indeed, many experts advice to never wash a hot pan at all! Putting a hot pan under the cold water causes the pan’s molecules to suddenly become dormant from an agile state.
This causes some parts of the pan to shrink while other parts remain expanded. Let the pan cool down slowly after cooking, and then wash it under the sink.
Pans are an essential tool in the kitchen for cooking, but a damaged or warped pan is no good. Taking care of the pan can save you both money and time while allowing you to cook with no worries of it breaking apart.
Follow us on Pinterest to keep up with the best tips and tools for your family kitchen!