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Why Do Frying Pans Warp? | 6 Reasons & DIY Fixes

Why Do Frying Pans Warp
Written by Tommy Davis
Last Update: February 11, 2022

Why Do Frying Pans Warp?

  1. Thin or poor quality pans

Thin pans are much more likely to warp than the thick ones for a number of reasons.

Frypans with thin walls can’t absorb the contraction and expansion within their walls when exposed to fast temperature changes.

The shape of poor-quality skillets is more likely to deform as they expand due to their thin construction.

On the other hand, lightweight pans conduct heat unevenly, and the unstable heating and cooling cause warping.

  1. Not using the right burner size

If you put your large pan on a small stove, just a small part of the pan in the center will touch the source of the heat.

Focusing the heat at one point causes that section to expand while the other parts remain comparatively less heated.

When the cookware cools and constraints, the shape gets deformed due to uneven heat distribution. This can result in warping your favorite pan.

  1. Overheating

Frying pans are usually made from heat-treated materials. So they can conduct and retain heat efficiently. Overheating typically doesn’t seem to be a mistake since the pans are built for the fire.

Yet, it can cause warping since the heat resistance of materials is different.

For instance, the thermal resistance capacity of the steel frying pans is surely not the same as cast aluminum or non-stick ones.

On the other hand, you don’t need much heat to prepare foods like pancakes and omelets

Excessive heat on pans is one of the main reasons for getting warped.

  1. Washing hot pans with cold water

If you wash hot pans with cold water, the chances of warping will be higher due to the thermal shock.

Placing any cold item on excessively heated cookware can also lead to warping.

  1. Single-ply pans are more likely to warp than multi-ply ones

Multi-ply cookwares are built with multiple layers of metal bonded together. It consists of a core layer of conductive material.

The combination of smooth heat conduction and sustainable heat retention capacity make multi-ply pans immensely capable of preventing warp.

In contrast, the single-ply ones are constructed with a single layer of material only.

With vulnerable heat conduction and retention capacity, the type is not so efficient to prevent warp.

  1. Aluminum pans warp more easily than steel ones

Copper and aluminum are comparatively softer materials than steel.

The molecular structure of softer components is vulnerable and not so tight as the tougher materials.

So pans made with aluminum will warp more easily than the ones made with steel.

Tips To Prevent Your Frying Pan From Warping

  • Purchase high-quality frying pans.
  • Use multi-ply pans with enough thickness.
  • Never use cold water to clean hot cookware. In fact, you should take enough time to cool it before cleaning.
  • Increase the level of heat gradually.
  • Avoid overheating.
  • Use your pans with appropriate-sized burners.

How To Fix or Unwarp a Warped Pan?

If your warped pans are too cheap, you should throw them away, and purchase a new one.

But it’s better to unwarp for the expensive ones.

Before starting to fix them, check the warranty first. Some manufacturers may cover warping. If they don’t cover it, you can try to warp your cookware back to it’s original shape.

You can get the job done in two different ways: the towel method, and the woodblock method.

The towel method

Step 1

Choose a hard and even surface, for example, a concrete floor, workbench, or stone bench.

Step 2

Place a towel on the surface you have chosen. This towel will serve as padding, so your pan doesn’t incur additional damage during this process.

Step 3

Heat the pan for around 10 minutes to get it warm enough. Manipulating a heated pan is much easier than a normal one.

Step 4

If the cookware is warped upward, place it on the towel in the same way you would place it on the burner. Place the cookware in the opposite direction if it is warped downward.

Step 5

Place another towel on the warped pan.

Step 6

Tap the warped part moderately with a hammer until it’s restored to the original shape. Sometimes, you need to flip the cookware to tap on the opposite side to get it just right.

The woodblock method

For heavily warped items, the method will work the best. Let’s see the process step-by-step below.

Step 1

Choose an even surface.

Step 2

Place a towel on there.

Step 3

Heat the warped cookware for around 5 to 10 minutes.

Step 4

Place the pan on the towel upward or downward, depending on the warped surface.

Step 5

Here, you need to place a flat woodblock instead of a towel. A 2×4 wooden fence can be a perfect option that fits securely on the surface.

Step 6

Start hitting the wooden block forcefully with a hammer to get the cookware back into shape.

Step 7

Hit on the different parts of the block to get the job done perfectly.


  1. What causes a non-stick skillet to warp?


  • Being made of softer materials like copper and aluminum
  • Overheating
  • Thermal Shock
  1. Can stainless steel frying pans warp?

Ans. Yes, they can get warped due to excessive heat. Coming into sudden contact with cold items is also a reason that causes warping.

About the author

Tommy Davis

Editor, Kitchen Appliance Guru

Hey, this is Tommy. I’m a kitchen appliance expert and like to write about my experience with different home and kitchen supplies in my free time. The reason I signed up for this job is because I’m a gourmet myself and that pretty much defines my obsession with food too. I’m also a DIY enthusiast who loves to create customized kitchen and dining accessories. That’s how I started designing personalized grills. I’ve mastered the art of grilling by travelling across the country, trying out various barbecue recipes along the way. Apart from examining foods, I’m invested in writing food reviews in a local newspaper and work as an editor and kitchenware researcher at Meatballly.

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