Goodbyes are never easy.
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We all have that one rimmed baking pan that has witnessed all our cooking escapades in all of their glory—good and bad. The bottom is charred to a crisp, and the inside still has last week’s dinner crusted on as a burnt reminder. No matter how hard you soak and scrub, those tough baked-on stains aren’t going anywhere. Replacing a baking pan is a tough task to get yourself to do—you think about it, but then you never actually get around to replacing it. You might even resort to covering the dinginess of your pan with foil or parchment paper, but once the foil starts to bake on as well, it’s definitely time to consider replacing your pans. Some will last much longer than others, depending on the initial quality of your cookware. There is no real definitive answer as to when you should replace old pans, but if you have to question whether to keep them or not, it may be the time to look for some new ones. Ultimately, it’s a total judgement call, but here are some telltale signs that it might be time to just let your old pans go.

When the Original Shape is Damaged

If your pan is unbalanced when placed on a flat counter surface like a wobbly table, your pan has irreversibly warped. This happens when you take the pan directly from the heat and run it under cold water shocking it. A good way to prevent having an oblong pan is to allow it to cool before washing. The warped pan can potentially be dangerous when removing it from the oven safely. Any major dents or cracks in the pan are signs that you should replace your baking sheet. The dents and cracks cause uneven cooking with your food, making it frustrating to prevent undercooking or overcooking.

When the Coating Starts to Peel Off

Non-stick cookware has saved foods time and time again from scorching to the bottom of your pans, but through normal wear and tear, non-stick surfaces accrue scratches, leaving room to oxidize and rust. If your surface just does not hold the non-sticking power that it used to, it’s time to get rid of it. The same goes for enamel-coated baking surfaces, too. In the case that you find any coating particles in your food, throw your pan away immediately.

When you decide enough is enough and it’s time to get some fresh new gear, start your hunt at a local restaurant supply store, Wal-Mart, Target, or online retailers like Amazon. Now, go forth with your new clean pan, and let’s try to keep it that way for as long as possible.