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How To Season A Stainless Steel Pan To Create A Non Stick Surface | WholeLifestyleNutrition.com

Why I Season A Stainless Steel Pan Part 2

 

I love cooking on stainless steel pans, but it took some practice and some tips and tricks to get the hang of using these wonderful pans.  

A few months ago, I posted a video and post about Buying and Cooking Tips For Stainless Steel Pans. 

In this video I showed you how to preheat your pan and then I added some coconut oil followed by adding my egg mixture and demonstrated how to cook your eggs in a stainless steel pan without having them stick all over the pan.

When A Video Becomes Popular

 

This video became quite popular and I started to get quite a few tips (good and bad ones), but one stood out to me!  

One person commented that you can season a stainless steel pan to create a naturally occurring non stick skillet in less then 5 minutes.  This individual also stated that I wouldn’t need to use oils/butters to cook my eggs in, and that the pan would no longer stick.  

What?  For real?  So you know me, I got one of my stainless steel pans out and proceeded with the instructions.  I was amazed!  

Such little effort and he was right, my pan no longer sticks!!  I promise you, after watching this video, you too will be seasoning your stainless steel pans! 

 A Step By Step Approach To Season A Stainless Steel Pan

 

Here are the simple steps to create a naturally occurring non stick stainless steel pan!

  1. On medium to medium high heat, heat your pan for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Melt a little coconut oil or other high heat oil in your pan and swirl the oil around to evenly coat the pan.  Allow the oil to smoke (don’t worry, we will be tossing this oil out)!  Once the oil has smoked, turn off your burner  and remove pan from heat source and allow to cool completely.  You know your pan is seasoned and ready if you can see your mirror reflection of yourself in the pan (more details are in the video about this).
  3. Once the pan has cooled, pour out the oil and wipe the pan out with a paper towel.  You now have a seasoned nonstick stainless steel pan.
  4. I am going to give you an example on how to cook an omelette in your seasoned pan.   Simply preheat your pan on medium low heat for 2 minutes.  Pour your egg mixture into your pan with no oil at all!  Add desired ingredients (cheese, meat, veggies).  Allow the eggs to cook for several minutes without disturbing.  After a few minutes, flip you eggs and allow to cook another minute or two.  Your eggs will slip right out of the pan, no sticking! (You can view this in the video as well).  There is no need to ever wash the pan with soap, just wipe out with a paper towel as nothing will stick in the pan, cleanup takes about 10 seconds.  This method is very similar to seasoning your cast iron skillet or wok.  As long as you don’t use soap on your pan, your pan will remain nonstick.  If you are using higher heat, you might need to add a little bit of oil.

That is it!  So easy and no mess!  Give it a try, you will be amazed!

Stainless Steel Pans That I Recommend 

 

One last thing, not all stainless steel pans are created equal!  Quality is really important when buying stainless steel pans.

I personally have this entire collection of stainless steel pans from All-Clad and absolutely love them!  Think of it as an investment.  These pans will last you a lifetime!

 

 How To Season A Stainless Steel Pan Video

 

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Join the Conversation

78 thoughts on “How To Cook On & Season A Stainless Steel Pan To Create A Non Stick Surface!”

  1. Rhonda Harader Cain says:

    Seasoned my “egg pan” tonight…will give it a try in the morning. : )

  2. Whole Lifestyle Nutrition says:

    Please let me know how it turns out! I knew you would be the first to give it a whirl :)

  3. Rhonda Harader Cain says:

    You know it!

  4. Rhonda Harader Cain says:

    Well…i did something wrong….pan was shiny last night…milky this morning so prob didnt let it smoke long enough or didnt wipe it out well enough. I will try again. : )

  5. Whole Lifestyle Nutrition says:

    Ok,so you should completely wipe the oil out. It will still be shiny and oily but there should be no oil swirling around at all. Round 2 and let me know how it goes :)

  6. TrishFiggers says:

    I wonder if you could use this same principle to make stainless steel baking pans nonstick.  Have you tried it? If so, what temperature would you have to bake them at to get them hot enough to absorb the oil?

    1. hallecottis says:

       @TrishFiggers I have not tried this yet, but have several pans that I could experiment with :)  I will come back and post my results.  Thanks for the great idea!

  7. What a great idea – much better than using non-stick pans! Thank you for sharing this post with us at Hearth and Soul.

    1. hallecottis says:

       @The21stCenturyHousewife Your welcome! :)  Thanks so much for hosting such a wonderful blog hop and giving me the opportunity to share with your viewers!

  8. naturalmothers says:

    Just brilliant- I had no idea and all my pans are stainless! 
    Thank you so much for sharing this with us on Natural Mothers Network’s Seasonal Celebration and best wishes for a very Happy Easter!
    Warmly, Rebecca x

    1. hallecottis says:

       @naturalmothers Hi Rebecca,
      Thank you and I hope you have a great Easter too!  I really appreciate the having the opportunity to share this post with your viewers, so thank you for that! :)

  9. Real_Food_Freak says:

    That is a GREAT tip.  Thanks so much!

    1. hallecottis says:

       @Real_Food_Freak  Your welcome!  Do you have Stainless Steel Pans?  This has saved me a ton of headaches in the kitchen :)  Thanks again fro hosting at http://www.realfoodfreaks.com/ !  I LOVE your site!!

      1. Real_Food_Freak says:

         @hallecottis I have a few.  I recently just bought a cast iron which get used all the time now, but for the times when I will use the s.s. this is great.  I didn’t know you could do this with s.s..

  10. qechtweets says:

    Awesome! I don’t have any stainless steel frying pans, but I will definitely keep this in mind for when I do. I’m slowly switching to all stainless steel, cast iron, and stone. Thanks for sharing at Healthy 2Day Wednesday and come back tomorrow to see if you were featured!

  11. nanagiron53 says:

    it sounds easy enough will try today with chicken. I do have a concern: I have electric glass stove top, and I am kinda of afraid to cook with cast iron or steel on my glass top. does any one have any tips?

    1. hallecottis says:

       @nanagiron53 I don’t see why it would be any different on glass top…does it say not to use cast iron or SS pans in your instructions for the stove? 

      1. Yvonne Shorb says:

        I think the only restriction for a glass stop stove is that your pan not be warped….if it sits evenly there is no problem using it on a glass top. I use a very large canner/pressure cooker and have never had any issues.

    2. Khris Kirk says:

      We use cast iron and stainless steel on our glass top everyday. And we use our pressure canner, too!

    3. Sandra says:

      I have always used cast iron and stainless steel on my glass cooktop. Your pan bottom just needs to be flat.

  12. Steve725 says:

    I’ve tried this about 10 times now and still can’t get it right. Some times are better than others, but never even come close to how she cooks eggs in the video. I’m using a Calphlon stainless steel and coconut oil

    1. hallecottis says:

       @Steve725 Can you see your reflection in the pan Steve?  My pan is a 5 ply pan, which allows the heat to evenly be distributed.  I recommend at least a 3ply.  Do you know what ply your pan is.  Just trying to figure out why it isn’t working for you…

      1. Steve725 says:

         @hallecottis I can see my reflection when it’s being seasoned, just kinda my head though not a ton of details. But now that it’s dry, no I can’t see it. 

        1. hallecottis says:

           @Steve725 It sounds like you might not be preheating your pan after it has been seasoned long enough.  Allow your pan to preheat (nothing in it) on medium low heat for 2 minutes.  Then add your eggs.  See if that helps.

        2. Steve725 says:

           @hallecottis I just tried that again, I preheated on level 4 until the pan started to smoke, then put in egg whites only without additional fat. Didn’t work :( Maybe season with a different oil? 

        3. hallecottis says:

           @Steve725 No coconut oil is one of the best oils to use.  If your pan was smoking when you preheated it then you overheated it.  You should still be able to touch the rim of the pan for 2 seconds without burning your hand.  My only other thought is the quality of your pan.  It might not be distributing the heat evenly and that would also alter the final product.

    2. JustMeRog says:

       @Steve725 
      Steve, a few suggestions that may help…
       
      First, since you’ve already had food stick in the pan, clean it thoroughly. You can use soap and water, however, you might want to try bringing water to a boil in the pan. Since the metal expands when heated, the boiling water can loosen microscopic particles that are stuck in the microscopic pits in the steel. Wipe the pan dry with a towel when it is just cool enough to do so.
       
      Second, you may NOT see your CLEAR reflection in the pan. It depends on the TYPE of stainless steel the manufacturer used to make the pan. If they used 18/10 or 18/8 steel, the surface can be shiny. If they used 18/0 steel it will be satiny. This is because of the metals used. The 18 is the percentage of Chromium in the steel. The 10, 8 or 0 is the percentage of Nickel in the steel. Nickel creates the shininess. 18/10 or 18/8 steel is also called 304 steel. 18/0 is called 400 steel. Calphalon uses 18/10 in SOME of their products.
       
      Third, even well seasoned pans will need extra oil for higher temperature cooking. The non-stick characteristic works at low temperatures, so cook your eggs on LOW, and WAIT for the pan to properly heat.
       
      Last, pans can be re-seasoned whenever you feel the need. Halle’s how-to video describes it perfectly. But remember to allow your pan to heat properly before adding the oil.

  13. Steve725 says:

     @hallecottis It’s actually an electric stove, does that change anything? 

  14. hallecottis says:

     @Steve725 Really shouldn’t make a difference Steve.  Just make sure you get the pan good and hot  and then add the oil. 

  15. domdem says:

    So, after seasoning how do you wash the pan? Do you have to treat it like a wok where you barely wipe it down with a damp cloth or can you wash it with soap and water? Never really dealt with seasoned dishes before….

    1. hallecottis says:

       @domdem You treat it like a seasoned pan, so no you do not wash it with soap and water.  If you wash it with soap and water then you have to re season the pan.  Just wipe it out with a paper towel and you are good to go.

  16. ngormally says:

    LOVE this…. I did this and couldnt believe it worked, Ive alway steered away from stainless pans because everything sticks but now I’m a hugh fan,  I can’t wait to get more

  17. Pingback: Full Article
  18. Bob says:

    I really wish you would use water to demonstrate how hot your pan is. Touching the side and not being burnt seems somewhat subjective, and also dependent on if you are using gas (as the flame will lick the sides of the pan)

  19. Bobagain says:

    Ok, I’ve been testing this out for a few days, and I think the  “no oil whatsoever” is a little misleading..
    In your video you oil the pan, and then wipe it out. I tried this, and it worked: my eggs didn’t stick! But after using it to cook a few other things, and cleaning it will just hot water and a paper towel (no soap) the oil in the pan seems ‘used up’. I just had an egg stick so bad it was almost comical.
    I think when you are wiping the oil out of your pan, you’re kinda just smearing it around. I would say that overall, your technique for seasoning the pan is spot on. But you can’t just ignore it from then on out and never use oil again.
    The only thing I’ve done different is using hot water (not boiling) when cleaning, and never soaking for more than a few minutes. I’ll use less water and more regular oil and report back in a while. It’s too embarrassing when the neighborhood ‘chef’ can’t cook an egg!!

    1. hallecottis says:

      @Bobagain thanks for the feedback bob!  I also have found that if my food sticks to the pan, the pan most likely wasn’t hot enough.  I will try the experiment tomorrow with my eggs and NO butter/oil and make sure my pan is hot enough and I will see if it sticks or not and report back.  Keep us posted!

      1. hallecottis says:

        As promised today I washed my seasoned pan with hot water and there was absolutely no oil whatsoever.   I preheated the pan over medium heat (gas range) for about 4-5 minutes so it was quite hot.  When I put the eggs in the pan (with oil I get a sizzle) I heard a quick sizzle noise that quickly disappeared.  I then cooked the eggs while constantly moving the egg liquid around (scrambled eggs) so that the egg wouldn’t overcook.  In less the 30 seconds my eggs were done and did NOT stick to the pan.  Now was it as clean as the oiled pan, NO, but I still could wipe it out with a paper towel.  The key…your pan has to be hot enough so it won’t stick.  Oh and one more thing to note..the eggs taste a whole lot better with a bit of oil in them :)

        1. DebWalker says:

          hallecottis 
          I need to know about cake pans. Mine are sticking sooo bad does the same apply to them .  Would you let them get hot before pouring the batter in??

        2. hallecottis says:

          DebWalker hallecottis are you greasing the pans and dusting with flour?  That will help tremendously.  If you are still having issues, line the bottom with unbleached parchment paper.  I have a SS Lasagna pan and it does not stick at all and I do not need to heat it at all.  Is your cake pan real stainless steel? Does a magnet stick to it?

        3. DebWalker says:

          hallecottis DebWalker 
          Thanks so much for responding…Ok I actually I have two different pans, both stick and on one the magnet does stick to it and on the other very expensive pan the magnet does not stick to it…I always grease the pans (usually w/Pam) but I have tried shortening, oil, and butter w/the sprinkle of flour and it does not make any difference.  Any more suggestions would be greatly appreciated

        4. hallecottis says:

          DebWalker hallecottis I would try the parchment paper then.  We also put ours in the freezer for half hour before taking the cake out and that helps.  You could try preheating the pans but I am afraid the bottom will get to brown to quickly.  Try the parchment paper.
          I did an article on stainless steel pans…this might help a bit.  
          http://wholelifestylenutrition.com/videos/buying-and-cooking-tips-for-stainless-steel-pans/

  20. Bobagain says:

    Well, I’ve been at it for a couple weeks now. Here are my findings:
    It does not matter if your pan is “seasoned”! I mean, assuming that a deep scrub with soap and Barkeepers Friend removes the seasoning, which I do regularly. If you follow these steps, you’ll be A-OK.
    The most important step is PROPER PREHEATING (of pan and egg!). Your pan is hot enough when a drop of water rolls around without evaporating (mercury ball/Leidenfrost effect). This link provides some helpful tips and a good video  http://www.houseboateats.com/2009/12/on-properly-heating-your-pan.html A thoroughly heated pan will allow the water to roll up the sides as well.
    But, any super high temp will float some water while also burning your oil and destroying your eggs. You want the lower end of the spectrum. What I do is ignore the preheating pan for a few minutes. Come back, add a drop of water which will float, REMOVE THE PAN FROM THE HEAT until the water begins sticking/evaporating, and then return it to the heat for a moment. It might seem complicated, but it will guarantee you have the perfect temperature.  One final note: if your pan is nicely “seasoned”, the oil will come out of the pours and you will NOT see this effect.
    Now is the time to add oil. I use the smallest amount of coconut combined with the smallest amount of butter, although either by itself may work fine. I believe the water content of the butter might help the non-stick action. Let the oil heat for 20-30 seconds. A lot of people say “hot pan, cold oil, food wont stick!” well, the oil may go in cold, but it needs to warm up.
    Drop in your room temperature eggs (scrambled or whole), and let them set-up before mixing or don’t! If you follow these steps, they will not stick. Any excuse to add a little water may also help. I mix a spoonful of water in with my scrambies, and add a spoonful under the lid for perfectly steamed sunny-side up.

  21. Saku says:

    Hi Halle,
    Thank you for your absolutely great tip.
    I have a stainless steel crepe pan I thought was pretty much useless. I just could not make crepes that stay in one piece on that pan.
    So, I have been using it for other purposes and have not been very careful with it. The pan already had quite a few light scratches from using steel utensils.
    Anyway, I wanted to give your tip a try.
    And this morning I made a batch of perfect, very thin crepes.
    And best part is that I used butter only before the first crepe. After that I did not have to add butter at all for the rest. The crepes did not to stick to the pan at all.
    Next time I will test making crepes with no added butter at all.
    For me crepes has always been the only food I can not make on stainless steel pans. But not anymore thanks to your great tip and excellent instructions.

  22. Curtis says:

    Thanks for the information. I was struggling with my new stainless steel pan especially with hash browns potatoes. One word of advice. Even though washing with soap will unseason (if there is such a word) a pan or pot, You always should wash the outside of the pans with some type of soap if you care about how your pans look. Any oil or greasy residue left on the outside of the pan will cause discoloration the next time you use the pan. I just take a sponge and put a little bit of dishwashing detergent on it a wipe the outside of the pan and rinse, trying to avoid letting the soap suds get inside the pan.

  23. Danny says:

    Great tip. It works very well. The one thing I did incorrectly was heat the pan too much on a electric stove. When I added a “bit” of safflower oil, poof, fire.
    In the video you say to use high heat and get the pan hot. Maybe that should be explained. Otherwise bravo. Thx.

    1. Halle Cottis says:

      Thanks for the feedback. I did put a comment in the video that says it is important to not get the pan to hot and to test with a little splash of water is also a good idea to make sure the pan isn’t to hot.

  24. JPHicks73 says:

    I have recently bought 18/10 stainless steel pots and pans. I watched the video and followed the instructions as well as read the entire blog. I have a cpl questions. 1) can the pots be seasoned? 2) they didn’t come ou right and I’m chalking it up to inexperience. When I redo the seasoning steps, do I start all over by washing with soap? 3) how long do I let the pans smoke before I pull em off the heat?

    1. Halle Cottis says:

      As soon as the oil smokes pull off immediately and allow to completely cool. As long as you don’t use soap to clean the pans, you do not need to re-season the pan.

  25. 180pilot says:

    I don’t know why, I tried all above and eggs still stick badly to my two layer camping SS+ Aluminum frying pan. Only thing that worked and worked well was pulling oil in cold pan, putting in egg then turning flame on low. Egg sails out of pan now??? and saves gas :-)

    1. 180pilot says:

      I see I cannot edit post ha, “pulling oil” should have been putting oil. Tried cold method for both real egg and egg substitute, used both Coconut and Canola, neither stuck.

  26. Wow! I had no idea. I’ve always thought only cast iron was capable of this. Thank you for such an informative post.

  27. Denise says:

    Great idea. I bought the entire set of Emeril cookware because it’s made by All Clad and is cheaper than the branded All Clad cookware. The other thing I love about my set is that it has glass lids vice the solid stainless steel lids. I absolutely love, love. love my cookware. I accidentally boiled a pot dry once and I thought for sure it was a total loss, but after soaking it with a thick baking soda paste, it cleaned up perfectly and looks brand new! It pays to have good, sturdy cookware! :D

  28. maria says:

    I love this idea, but isn’t there some sort of concert about bacteria being on the pan from only being wiped clean, and not being soaped? I suppose I have the same concern about cast-iron pots like that, if you could reply about this, that would be great. Thanks!

  29. valleygirl says:

    Sounds great, but I have a concern. One of my children has a very severe dairy allergy. Usually I cook anything with cheese (eggs for example) I add it at the very end after taking out his portion. If I do not wash the pan well after cooking with the cheese or whatever it might be, am I posing a cross contamination risk the next time I cook something for him? I’m def too scared to try this out without gathering all the information first and learning more. Anyone?

  30. Verena says:

    Can anyone tell me if they have used the seasoned pan with steak? How well has it cleaned up after frying steak at a reasonably high temp to get the outside nice and brown and not a wishy washy grey colour….?

    1. Halle Cottis says:

      This would work great. The pan will get tidbits that will adhere to the bottom and that is fine. When your steak is to the desired doneness, take it off and deglaze the pan and make a delicious sauce. The pan will clean right up!

  31. susan says:

    I have a question about re-using the pan without washing. I know there’s nothing left in the pan, but I would think the contact with raw food would leave some kind of residue that even after you wipe it out could cause someone to get sick when it’s re-used if not washed…. any thoughts?

  32. esha says:

    Wow. Great post. But wondering the pan if not washed, doesn’t it collect bacteria/ germs?
    I have thick pan for making Dosa (indian pancakes). Ever since I started using ghee/ coconut oil, it sticks to the pan and I cannot take out pancakes (tried onion/ paper towel/ more oil, waited until its hot enough before pouring batter etc.,) any idea how to deal with it? It is I think cast Iron (very heavy and 25yrs old)

  33. Carrie says:

    Be careful doing this. I let my pan get too hot and when I put the coconut oil in it burst into flames and ruined my favorite pan.

  34. Chuck Smith says:

    In the video it says to heat the pan on high. I did and got a grease fire in my pan and my stainless steel pan is toast. This might work if you follow the written instructions and don’t pay attention to the video. The lady on the video says high heat while the instructions say medium. I wanted to post this as a warning to all the other folks like me that ain’t too bright.

  35. Kathy says:

    This is tougher than it looks. I’m sure it’s user error. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong yet. I appreciate the comments from others who, like me, were having trouble but got it to work. Nice to read the troubleshooting, so I’ll keep trying. I have an all clad omelette pan, an apt size gas stove, and have tried flaxseed oil (fail), then after a scrub w/ bartenders friend, used coconut oil (fail). This next time I’ll focus carefully on pan heat.

    1. Halle Cottis says:

      Make sure you are preheating your pan over medium heat for a minute before adding in any oil. Once the pan is preheated THEN add the oil and continue on with cooking whatever it is you desire. Preheating is key.

  36. David says:

    I’ve also been having difficulty seasoning my SS. I did it two times carefully following the video instructions. I had a mirror finish and everything, but when I used the pan the egg still stuck with extreme prejudice. I read the comments here and saw that pan heat is critical, so I re-seasoned the pan and heated it until the water drop rolled around like mercury. As soon as the egg hit the pan….STUCK. I’m at a loss.

  37. G Junior says:

    the music is distracting

    1. Halle Cottis says:

      noted

  38. kathy says:

    oops! got distracted by baby. not only smoked but burned! do I scrub it all out and start over?

  39. kathy says:

    I tried it. it worked , but only for one time. ive done this several times. the first thing I cook in it doesn’t stick but after that it sticks again.

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