How to Season a Stainless Steel Frying Pan and Why Should You Do It?
Firstly, seasoning a stainless-steel pan isn't essential when looking at enhancing your cooking experience. Stainless steel is naturally non-stick due to its metallic composition like for example, cast iron is a more porous metal, so it is significantly more susceptible to both rust and the possibility of food sticking to the pan. Hence, making seasoning extremely important.
That said, we will tell you why you should season your stainless-steel pan and take you through the entire process of how to season a stainless steel frying pan.
Why Season Stainless-Steel Frying Pans?
The main reasons to season your stainless-steel frying pans are:
- Have a non-stick surface: The seasoning can help create a non-stick surface that's even more resistant than Teflon. Meaning, you'll have zero problems with separating your food from the pan.
- Easy cleanup: The post-cooking cleanup process is also significantly easier as the food will simply wash off with a rinse and can then be dried with a paper towel. Using a rough sponge or steel wool will remove the seasoning, and you'll have to redo the process.
- Non-toxic cooking: Cooking with a seasoned stainless-steel pan is also better for you since an ordinary non-stick coating isn't applied. Do note that there are non-stick frying pans coated with chemicals that release toxins once they are heated.
How to Season a Stainless Steel Frying Pan?
For those unsure of what seasoning a frying pan involves, it simply refers to the process of preheating your pan before cooking with oil and seasoning. Below, we've compiled a quick and simple step-by-step guide to help you through seasoning your first frying pan.
Step 1. Pre-clean the Pan
Cleaning the pan you intend on using is an important step as it helps to rid the pan of any preexisting flavors. Be sure to wash it with warm water, gently scrubbing both the interior and exterior of the pan before thoroughly rinsing and drying.
Step 2. Layer with Oil
Next up is to pour a healthy layer of oil into the pan and make sure to cover the entire cooking surface. The best type of oil to use is one with a high smoking point so that you can adequately heat the pan.
This is also an excellent opportunity to add any seasoning to the pan. Most will simply apply this to their food during the cooking process but adding it at this point provides that little extra taste.
Cooking Oil Varieties
As mentioned, not all oils are the best fit for the job of seasoning a frying pan. Below we've listed some of the higher smoking point oils alongside those that are more commonly available and frequently used.
- Avocado oil: Smoking point of 520ºF
- Extra light olive oil: Smoking point of 468ºF
- Refined peanut oil: Smoking point of 450ºF
- Coconut oil: Smoking point of 350ºF
Typically, we wouldn't recommend oils with a smoking point lower than 300ºF as it won't create a good patina.
Step 3. Heat the Pan
You'll now want to heat the oiled pan, and this can be done on the stove or oven. If heating on the stove, simply leave the pan on a medium heat and once it begins to smoke, immediately remove it from the stove. If you're heating it in the oven, 350ºF is a good temperature and leave it in for about one hour.
Step 4. Cool the Pan
Once the pan has reached its smoking point and you've taken it off the heat, you'll need to leave it for an adequate period of time so that it can become cool enough to touch. At this stage, you'll want to take a dry paper towel and remove the excess oil from the pan.
That is all there is to seasoning your frying pan. This process is usually done just before cooking. However, you can also season the pan much further in advance, but you must store your pre-seasoned pans in the cupboard with a paper towel, separating them from other pans.
It's also important to realize that your pans will be left with a brownish tint after fulfilling this process, so if you're worried about this impacting the look of your kitchen, then simply season the pan just before use.
How to Clean a Seasoned Stainless-Steel Frying Pan
Cleaning seasoned frying pans should only be done once a build-up has begun to form as opposed to after every meal. Otherwise, you're making a quick and simple process a regular cleaning task which defeats the point of it in the first place.
Once the build-up is easily visible on your pan, wash it thoroughly with a sponge and hot and soapy water. Once dried, you can simply go through the seasoning process again. It is important to note that the way to clean your pan while it is seasoned is to simply wipe it gently with a dry paper towel.
Stainless-steel pans have proven their worth over the years and seasoning them properly will add more to their value in the kitchen. What is more interesting is that the process is not very difficult.