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Season Stainless Steel Cookware to Make it Non-Stick (Super Easy Trick!)

Stainless steel cookware has lots of great properties, but food cooked in it has a tendency to stick. This step by step cooking tips tutorial will teach you how to season stainless steel cookware to make it non-stick.

You’ll be amazed at how easy the process is.  There will be no make baked on eggs, and pancakes from now on with these easy tips. This step by step cooking tips tutorial will teach you how to season stainless steel cookware to make it non-stick.

Seasoning stainless steel cookware works in much the same way as seasoning cast iron does.  You use oil to create the non-stick finish that you are going for. If you have had a concern about how healthy nonstick finishes are, read on. This technique gives you a naturally non-stick finish easily.

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My husband and I are giving my kitchen a make over. We started by making giving the pantry a renovation and then making a DIY Shiplap barn door for it.  As part of the further renovation of the general kitchen, we purchased a glass top stove convection oven. 

This meant that most of my pans needed to be replaced.  I bought a set of Calphalon Select Stainless Steel pans. (affilaitelink)Calphalon stainless steel cookware

It wasn’t long before I was missing my non stick pans, though.  I made eggs (with oil in the pan) two mornings in a row and ended up with a stuck on mess and over cooked eggs. 

Since I enjoy a challenge, my task became making my stainless steel pans non stick. “There has to be a way” I thought.  Turns out that I was right.  If you have the same problem that I did, read on.  These tips will have you cooking in stainless steel and not ending up with a sticky mess.

Some Stainless Steel Cookware Tips

Before we start the tutorial to season stainless steel cookware, be aware of one important fact. Cooking with stainless steel means having a bit of patience.  You can’t crank the heat up to high and expect anything to be non-stick.  So be moderate in your cooking temperatures, both in this tutorial and in your actual cooking.

Why season stainless steel cookware?

  • Clean up is a breeze. Just wet the pan and wipe with a paper towel. (Don’t use soap or you’ll remove the seasoning effect.)
  • It takes minutes and can be easily re-done if you burn the pan later (too high a heat, remember?)
  • Seasoning stainless steel makes a better non stick pan than Teflon and you don’t have to worry about the finish like you do with a normal non-stick pan
  • You won’t need to add oil to cooking, so it saves on calories and fat.
  • Eggs cook beautifully every time in seasoned stainless steel cookware.

How to Season Stainless Steel CookwareAll you need to season stainless steel pans are paper towels, a pan and some high heat oil

All you need to season stainless steel cookware are three things and about 5 minutes of your time:

  • A stainless steel pan
  • Some cooking oil 
  • Some paper towels

Note:  I have seen some bloggers who suggest using salt in the process, but have also read that salt can cause stainless steel to pit and corrode over time. Since this method works very well WITHOUT the salt, I am erring on the side of caution.

Start by heating your pan over a medium high heat for 2-3 minutes.  You’ll know when the pan is hot enough if the pan is hot but you can still touch the sides rims.Medium heat for 2 minutes

Add some high heat oil to your pan (I used coconut oil) and let it melt. It is important to use an oil with a high smoke point, since you will  be letting it smoke and don’t want to burn oil onto the finish of your pan.Melting coconut oil

Swirl the oil around in the pan to evenly coat it.  Don’t forget the sides, or they won’t be non-stick. If you only coat part of the sides, you will see a ring around the pan. This is normal and can be washed off with soap, but that means you will need to season the pan again. So tip the pan to coat the sides right up to the rim if you can manage it.Add oil to the edges of the pan

Let the oil start to smoke and then turn off the burner, remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool completely. It doesn’t matter that the oil smokes, since we will be discarding it later.Pan with oil that is smoking

Remove the pan from the heat and pour out the oil. Let the oil pan cool a little so that it won’t be hot when you wipe the interior of it.Pour off oil

Finally, simplu wipe out the pan with a paper towel to give you a stainless steel pan that is perfectly seasoned to give you a great non-stick finish.Wipe out the oil to finish seasoning stainless steel pans

After cooking, clean up is a breeze and takes just a few seconds.  Just wipe out the pan with a bit of water and a paper towel. As long as you don’t clean the pan with dish washing soap, the pan will remain non-stick.  

Some more Tips for Seasoned Stainless Steel Pans

Over medium heat, no additional oil will be needed.  If you plan to cook with a higher heat, a little bit of oil will help.

If you ever need to clean the pan with dish washing soap, you will lose the finish, but it can easily be redone in just a few minutes.

Don’t use abrasive cleaners on the seasoned finish, or you will need to re-season the pan.

If you cook over too high a heat and end up with some gunk on the pan, it’s an easy fix.  Just boil some water in the pan and after your meal, the remnants should come right off with a paper towel.

Cooking Eggs on a Seasoned Stainless Steel Pan

Of course, I had to see how well my tutorial to season stainless steel cookware worked.  I decided to make cook some eggs, omelette style  I placed the pan over medium heat and let it heat for about 2 minutes. I added NO oil. In go the eggs. I cooked them until the top was bubbly.

A quick flip with a spatula (not a great flip but I’m not a great omelette maker!) and I turned the eggs over. Another flip to catch the bit I missed and the omelette was done in about 2 minutes with no oil and NO STICK!  Yay!!  It works!

Cooking eggs in a seasoned non stick stainless steel pan

I cleaned out the pan using only water and a paper towel and it’s ready to use the next time I want to make eggs.Cleaning seasoned pan with paper towl

Should I season all my stainless steel pans?

I’ve given this a lot of thoughts and my final answer is no.  One of the big advantages of using stainless steel for cooking is the browned bits that end up on the bottom of the pan. This makes for amazing sauces when compared to normal non stick pans.  I would suggest seasoning pans that you will use primarily to cook eggs, pancakes and other “griddle” type foods since  you don’t want that to be something that happens.

I have one pan that I reserve for cooking eggs and I keep it seasoned. For pans used in general cooking, I do not season them. Burned on food in stainless steel is very easy to remove with just boiling water and a quick wipe out, so I don’t season this type of pan.

I’m so glad I discovered this trick to season stainless steel cookware to give it a nonstick surface. I hope the tutorial has been helpful to you too! It’s such an easy and quick process. Go ahead and give it a try. You’ll be as surprised as I was. This step by step cooking tips tutorial will teach you how to season stainless steel cookware to make it non-stick.

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Donna Gregory

Tuesday 10th of September 2019

I used my new Tramontina stainless steel pan for the first time. I made hamburgers. I seasoned the pan according to directions, and the patties did not stick. I set the pan to cool during the meal. There was quite a bit of residue in the pan, so first I wiped it out. I used only water and paper towels. There was still some light residue which would not budge with the paper towels and water, so I tried a little oil. Then, I boiled some water in the pan to see if that would help. After wiping it again, it was better, but there is still some very light remains. The pan doesn't look bright and new and after only one use. If I clean it with Barkeeper's Friend or something, I will destroy the seasoning. I am supposed to just live with the less than beautiful interior on the pan in order to keep the seasoning? Thanks.


Sunday 15th of September 2019

I understand you concern, However, oil, by nature, leaves a residue. Unfortunately, any pan seasoned with show the slight remains of the oil. The purpose of it is non stick abilities rather than look of the pan. This would leave it up to you to decide which is the most important factor.

Anuj Sharma

Friday 16th of August 2019

Good information. Thanks to share it!

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