Eating with Your Eyes First
New Adventures in Food - Cheese Making

Seasoning Stainless Steel

I have just bout a stainless steel frying pan.  Do I need to season it?
-- Hazel

Seasoning in this sense refers to creating a non-stick surface by coating the pan with oil and then heating it to about 300°F (150°C).  This technique (see Seasoning Frying Pans) is typically used on cast iron, since it has a porous surface that food will stick to during cooking. 

Because stainless steel is not as porous, manufacturers generally agree that it does not need to be seasoned, although there is no harm in doing so.  Once seasoned, however, the same rules apply as for handling a seasoned cast iron pan -- i.e. it cannot be washed in the dishwasher or scoured with abrasive cleaners or pads, as this will remove the coating.  Wash in warm water with a small amount of dish soap and dry immediately.

Whether seasoned or not, the pan should be coated lightly with oil before cooking to help keep food from sticking.

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