How to Season Stainless Steel Pans: A Complete Guide

If you want to know how to season stainless steel pans, then you should know that the best way to season stainless steel skillet is to use it. Read this article and find out more.

Are you tired of food sticking to your stainless steel pans, or are you looking for a way to keep them in top condition?

As a cooking enthusiast, home cook, or professional chef, having well-seasoned cookware is an essential part of your kitchen arsenal.

In this complete guide, I’ll provide you with all the information you need to effectively season your stainless steel pan. From the basics of seasoning to alternative methods and tips for maintenance and cleaning, you’ll learn everything you need to know to take your cooking skills to the next level.

Should You Season Stainless Steel Pans?

Seasoning stainless steel pans is not necessary but is preferred by many because it helps to create a nonstick surface. Stainless steel pans are more porous than other types of metal, such as carbon steel or cast iron skillet, which makes them prone to sticking. Seasoning the pan creates a nonstick surface by filling in these pores with a layer of oil. This layer of oil prevents food from sticking to the pan’s surface and also gives it a natural nonstick finish.

So, while seasoning is not necessary, it does offer several benefits that can make cooking and cleanup much easier. If you’re a fan of nonstick cookware, you’ll appreciate the slippery surface that a well-seasoned stainless steel pan can provide.

How to Season Stainless Steel Pans

how to season stainless steel pans
How to season stainless steel pans?
  1. Wash the pan thoroughly with warm water and dish soap to ensure that there is no stubborn build-up or residue.
  2. Rinse the pan thoroughly and dry it with a paper towel or a clean cloth.
  3. Heat the pan on the stovetop for several minutes until it’s hot to the touch.
  4. Distribute a high smoking point oil, such as sesame, vegetable, peanut, or soybean oil, over the entire cooking surface of the pan.
  5. Use a paper towel to coat the surface evenly and avoid using too much oil, which can cause uneven seasoning or result in a sticky residue.
  6. After coating the pan with oil, cool it down completely, then wipe away any excess oil with a clean towel.
  7. Repeat the seasoning process two or three times until the pan is thoroughly coated with a layer of oil.
  8. Once complete, the pan should have a shiny, nonstick surface.

Remember to choose an oil that has a high heat smoke point, avoid using too much oil, and let the pan cool completely to ensure that the oil bonds properly to the pan’s surface.

Tips for Seasoning Stainless Steel Pans

Here are some tips that can help you to effectively season your stainless steel pans:

  1. Use a high-smoking point oil: Oils such as sesame, vegetable, peanut, or soybean oil work well for seasoning stainless steel pans because they have high smoking points and won’t break down or smoke at high temperatures.
  2. Avoid using too much oil: Using too much oil can create an uneven seasoning or a sticky residue on the surface of the pan. Be sure to use just enough oil to coat the cooking surface evenly.
  3. Let the pan cool completely: After applying the oil, let the pan cool completely before wiping away any excess oil. This helps to ensure that the oil bonds properly to the pan’s surface.
  4. Repeat the seasoning process as necessary: Depending on how often you use your pans, you may need to repeat the seasoning process every few months to maintain a nonstick surface.

Benefits of Seasoning Stainless Steel Pans

There are several benefits of seasoning your stainless steel pans beyond creating a nonstick surface. One benefit is that seasoning enhances the flavor of cooked food. As the oil penetrates the pores of the pan, it infuses the metal with subtle flavors that can enhance the taste of your dishes.

Seasoning also increases the durability and longevity of the pan. The layer of oil protects the metal from damage and rust, ensuring that your pan remains functional for years to come.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When seasoning your stainless steel pan, there are a few common mistakes to avoid. First, using too much oil can cause uneven seasoning or create a sticky residue. Second, not heating the pan properly before applying the oil can cause uneven seasoning. Third, using the wrong type of oil can result in a rancid smell or a gummy texture. Finally, avoid scrubbing the pan with harsh scrubbers like steel wool that can damage the cooking surface and remove the seasoning.

To avoid these mistakes, be sure to follow the steps outlined in this guide carefully and use the right type of oil for seasoning. Additionally, be gentle when cleaning your stainless steel pans to reinforce their durability and functionality.

Alternative Methods for Seasoning Stainless Steel Pans

If you prefer not to use oil to season your stainless steel pan, there are alternative methods you can try. One popular method involves using salt to create a nonstick surface. To do this, sprinkle a generous amount of coarse salt into the pan and heat it over medium-high heat until the salt turns brown. Wipe out the salt with a paper towel, then let the pan cool before wiping it with a little bit of oil and a clean towel.

Another alternative method is to use potato peels. Rub the inside of the pan with potato peels, then rinse the pan with water and thoroughly dry it. This method helps to loosen any stubborn build-up while also creating a natural nonstick surface.

Tips to Keep Stainless Steel Pans from Sticking

Even with proper seasoning, stainless steel pans can still stick under certain circumstances. To keep your pan from sticking, try these helpful tips:

  1. Wipe the pan with a towel after cooking to remove any excess oil or food residue.
  2. Use salt and oil to loosen stuck-on food before washing the pan.
  3. Avoid scrubbing with steel wool, as it can damage the cooking surface.
  4. Re-season the pan if necessary or after using dish soap.

Choosing the Best Oil for Seasoning

The best oil for seasoning stainless steel pans is one that has a high heat smoke point, which means that it won’t burn or smoke at high temperatures. Some good choices include peanut oil, vegetable oil, and grapeseed oil. Oils that smoke quickly, such as coconut oil, canola oil, and olive oil, should be avoided because they can create a gummy texture on the pan’s surface.

It’s important to choose an oil that aligns with your personal style and culinary needs. For example, if you prefer environment-friendly oils, consider using avocado oil or flaxseed oil, both of which are environmentally friendly and have high smoke points.

Environmentally Friendly Oils

Here’s a list of environmentally friendly oils that you can use for seasoning your stainless steel pans:

  • Avocado oil
  • Flaxseed oil

How Often to Season Stainless Steel Pans

The frequency of seasoning your stainless steel pans depends on how often you use them and how well you maintain them. If you use your pans frequently, you may need to season them every few months to maintain a nonstick surface. However, if you don’t use them as often, you may only need to season them once or twice a year.

Regularly cleaning and maintaining your stainless steel pans can also help to prolong the time between seasoning. Wiping the pan clean with a towel after each use, avoiding harsh scrubbers, and storing the pan properly can all go a long way in keeping your pan in top condition.

You may like to know How to Season an Aluminum Pan?


Seasoning your stainless steel pans is an excellent way to improve their nonstick properties and prolong their lifespan. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you’ll be able to effectively season your pans and enjoy perfectly cooked meals every time. Remember to choose high smoking point oils, avoid common mistakes, and maintain your pans regularly to keep them in top condition. With properly seasoned stainless steel pans, you can take your cooking game to the next level and impress your family and friends with delicious, perfectly cooked meals.


What is the best thing to season stainless steel pans?

To season stainless steel pans, it is recommended to use an oil with a high smoke point, such as peanut oil, vegetable oil, or canola oil. This process can create a semi-nonstick surface of polymerized oil molecules, similar to seasoning cast iron. However, some sources suggest that seasoning stainless steel pans is not necessary.

What temperature do you season stainless steel pans?

Stainless steel pans do not require seasoning like cast iron or carbon steel pans. However, a temporary seasoning layer can be added to aid in cooking delicate foods like fish or eggs. To season stainless steel, preheat the pan on medium-high heat to somewhere between 225°F – 235°F. You can use an infrared thermometer or the water droplet test to verify the temperature. Once the pan is heated, add a small amount of oil and spread it evenly across the surface of the pan. Let the oil heat up for a few minutes, then remove the pan from the heat and let it cool completely.

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Meet Fuad, the passionate baker behind Bakingbakewaresets Blog. With years of experience, Fuad shares his favorite recipes, baking tips, and recommendations for the best bakeware sets. His goal is to help readers achieve success in their baking endeavors, whether they're beginners or experienced bakers.