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How to Season Stainless Steel Pans Quickly and Easily

Learn simple techniques for how to season Stainless Steel Pans, fast.

Team Made In|Mar 07, 2021

Not all cookware is ready to be cooked with straight out of the box. Some cooking materials are designed to be used after being “seasoned.”

The purpose of seasoning

is to produce a very thin layer of coating on the surface of your pot or pan, which acts as a barrier between the cookware and what you're cooking in it.

Most home cooks know that Carbon Steel and Cast Iron pots and pans must be seasoned before they can be used, but is the same true for

Stainless Steel Cookware


In this article, we’ll cover whether Stainless Steel needs to be seasoned, the potential benefits of seasoning Stainless Steel, how to season Stainless Steel, and

how to cook

with a seasoned Stainless Steel Pan.

Do I Need to Season My Stainless Steel Pan?

The answer is most likely, no. At least, we don't recommend doing so. While seasoning Stainless Steel pans is not required, and most Stainless Steel users opt not to season their pans, many professional chefs and home cooks alike choose to season their Stainless Steel Frying Pans.

Why Season a Stainless Steel Pan?

The argument in favor of seasoning Stainless Steel is the claim that seasoning the pan helps fill in pores in the metal with oil. Filling in these pores creates a smoother, more non stick surface. Food sticking to Stainless Steel can sometimes be an issue, so many people season their pans in the hopes that it will lead to an easier cleanup.

The argument against seasoning Stainless Steel is the claim that adding oil to the pores beforehand isn’t necessary since the oil will get there during the cooking process anyways. In addition, cleaning a pan with soap and warm water removes oil from pores. This means you would need to season your Stainless Steel Skillet before and after each soap wash, something many claim isn’t worth the time and effort.

If you haven't seasoned your Stainless Steel Pan, we don't recommend doing it. But if you're curious, and okay with a little cleanup, then who are we to stop you.

How to Season a Stainless Steel Pan

Seasoning Stainless Steel Pans is less work than seasoning Carbon Steel or Cast Iron. All you need is your pan, some soap and water, some oil with a high smoke point, and paper towels.

Wash the pan in hot water with soap. Washing it with soap helps ensure the pores are cleaned out and ready to be filled with oil.

Dry your pan and preheat the pan on the stove over medium heat. Heat expands, so this will help open up the pores in the metal.

Once your pan is hot, place a small amount of oil in the pan.

Place a wad of paper towel in the oil and wipe around the inside of the pan until there is a very thin layer of oil across the entire interior. You don’t want to use too much oil here — it's better to start off with too little than too much, as you can add more if necessary. Make sure to use an oil with a high smoke point, like vegetable, avocado, grapeseed oil.

Once the pan begins to lightly smoke, remove it from the burner and let cool.

Once cool, use a different paper towel to wipe the pan and remove any excess oil (there may be none).

Repeat as desired.

How to Cook With a Seasoned Stainless Steel Pan

You cook with a seasoned Stainless Steel pan the same way you cook with an unseasoned one. If the seasoning worked, you’ll notice that food glides around more easily and less buildup occurs on the bottom of the pan.

Cooking with Stainless Steel can be intimidating, and we’re here to help. f you want to learn the ins and outs of this amazing cookware material that professional chefs swear by, check out our

guide to cooking with Stainless Steel Cookware

, as well as our guide on

how to properly clean Stainless Steel Cookware.

Looking for a stainless steel pot or pan so you can try your hand at seasoning one? Shop our

Stainless Steel Collection


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