How to Season a Frying Pan

Seasoning your new frying pan is the best way to protect it from long-term wear and rust. With just a little bit of heat and cooking oil, you can add years to your kitchen tool’s shelf life. Find out how to season your nonstick or stainless steel frying pan the right way with our easy cookware guide.

how to season frying pan

Seasoning kitchen pans (also called curing) is a process of applying a thin, even layer of oil to the cooking surface. It’s then exposed to heat to set the oil and create a thin film of dried oil across the pan’s main surface.

It’s important because it not only protects against sticking and burning but also creates an easy-release surface that makes clean up easier. In this post, we’ll teach you how to correctly pre-season your frying pans and make sure they’re ready for use! Whether you have nonstick, stainless steel, or cast iron, you’re in the right place.

Why do you need to season a pan before using it for the time?

This may seem strange to do, but before you get to cook, it is important to season your pan for a couple of reasons. First, seasoning a pan is the process of coating it with oil to fill the tiny pores. Sometimes the finish has flaws in it, and by seasoning it, you begin to cover those holes and give it a more refined surface. Second, you need to season your pots and pans so that they become non-stick. Your food will not stick to the pots as much as when they are not seasoned. 

Seasoning them properly reduces the need for excess fats. So if you are watching the amount of oil you put in your food, a seasoned pot will work well. In addition, when seasoning a pan that is already nonstick, you increase its longevity and effectiveness.

The other reason you season pans is to make sure that you get an even coating throughout and cook your food evenly. The other good thing about seasoning the pan is that it’s easier to clean when all is said and done. However, how you season different materials varies. So you must know how to, and that’s what we will take a look at as well. 

You also season the pan so that they do not rust. This is especially true for tin pans if they are left in the fridge, in a damp environment, or in water. When you season the pans, you help keep them from rusting. The seasoned oil provides the protective layer that helps keep your pan for longer than if you don’t season it. If you season your pans regularly and adequately enough, you will not need to buy a new pan soon.

how to season frying pan
An untreated pan can quickly become difficult to clean

How to season a pan before use

Seasoning methods will differ according to the materials the pan is made of. To season a cast iron pan, start by washing it using soap and warm water. Then dry the pan thoroughly, making sure that it will be ready to be seasoned—Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Then use vegetable oil to coat the pan. Finally, coat the inside and outside of the pan, except the handle. 

Once it is sufficiently coated, place parchment paper on the shelf underneath the tray to place the pan. This is meant to catch the extra dripping from the pan as it heats up in the oven. Then place the oiled pan on the tray. Leave it in the oven for about 45minutes to an hour. Then remove the pan from the oven and wipe off the excess oil using a piece of paper like a paper towel or a clean cloth. 

As you clean it down, make sure not to use cold water. The sudden temperature change may cause it to crack or warp.

freshly seasoned cast iron pan

To season a carbon steel pan

You will need to do this on a stovetop. Start by placing the pan on a medium-high heat burner and let the frying pan begin to let off smoke. Then use a pair of tongs to hold a paper towel and wipe down the pan with vegetable oil. Next, coat the pan thoroughly, ensuring that the coat of oil is thin and that there is no excess oil dripping anywhere. 

Keep the pan on the heat until the oil starts to melt. Then remove the pan and allow it to cool down completely. 

To season an aluminum pan

For hard-coated aluminum pans, follow the same steps of seasoning as seasoning a cast iron pan. The difference comes in that you will need to bake the pan for about 20minutes. When you are done, wipe the excess oil off with a clean cloth or paper towel. Do not wash it off. 

What is the best oil to season a pan with?

You can use just about any type of oil to season your pan. However, vegetable oil has proven to be a fan favorite. Grapeseed oil is a good choice because it has a high smoke point, and also, it is thick and makes a good durable coating. 

You can also use butter or animal fat, or lard. This is especially great for people who want to use more natural types of oil. Animal fat and lard will season the frying pan naturally as you cook. However, it does not give the best look for your pan when all is said and done. You may notice some brown streaks on the pan when you use lard or animal fat. 

You may also use flaxseed oil to season cast iron pans. It is one of the few oils that are safe to use around food. It dries out naturally. Even though it has a low smoke point, which is bad for business when seasoning, the downside with this oil is that it can be pretty costly, making it challenging to have in abundance. The other issue also is that it doesn’t smell too good.  

Are there any types of oil to avoid?

On the other hand, olive oil may be great for many different things but not for seasoning. This is because it has a low smoke point. Olive oil tends to break down when exposed to heat since it has a low smoke point. Because of this, it is not a good choice for seasoning a pan. You want an oil that will hold its own when it is introduced to heat.

Different pan manufacturers will have their dos and don’áts when it comes to seasoning the pan. As such, you need to make sure that you find out what they are and stick to them. Certain manufacturers specifically mention which oils to use when seasoning their pans and which oils to avoid.