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Seasoning Frying Pans

Q: What does it mean to 'season' a frying pan? How is it done?

To season a frying pan means to treat it with oil so as to create a non-stick coating.  This is usually done to cast iron pans.  The oil fills any microscopic holes in the metal and then dries like a shellac, sealing the surface.

Since Teflon coated and hard-anodized aluminum pans are already non-stick, there is no need to season them.  While some cooks season stainless steel pans, manufacturers generally do not feel it is necessary.

To season a pan, preheat your oven to 300°F (150°C).  Preheat the pan on the stove top.  When warm, coat the inside surfaces of the pan with vegetable oil or lard.  I prefer vegetable oil for its higher smoke point, although some people claim that it leaves a sticky finish.  Continue to heat just until you see ripples appear on the surface of the oil.  At this point, pour off any excess oil, give it a quick wipe with a folded paper towel held in a pair of kitchen tongs, and then put the pan into the oven for 45 to 60 minutes.  Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool to room temperature.

Seasoned pans should not 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.

Eventually the seasoning will wear off in areas.  You can tell that this has happened because food will start to stick or rust spots will appear.  When this happens, clean the pan well using a steel wool pad, and then re-season it.

Since writing this article, I found this item on the T-Fal USA website in their Q&A regarding non-stick cookware.  In their "General Use and Care" manual for non-stick cookware, they suggest seasoning the pan when first purchased, after every 10 cycles, if washed in a dishwasher, and if "accidental overheating" occurs.  DuPont, the manufacturer of Teflon non-stick coating says " We do not believe that seasoning the pan is necessary."

If you have food or cooking questions, send them to
Due to the volume of questions received, not all can be answered.
© Lost Hobbit Enterprises 2004 onward

Due to the volume of questions received, not all can be answered, nor can we guarantee we will answer questions immediately
© Lost Hobbit Enterprises 2004 onward


Seasoning pans 400 degree for one hour in the oven, does this include pound cake pans?

Saucepans in summer, crepe pans in fall, when winter's upon us, there's food for us all.

One additional comment:

The instructions to my Circulon Total non-stick pans (with a surface by Teflon) has this under the section, "Nonstick Cookware":

"Do not use nonstick cooking sprays on nonstick cookware -- an invisible buildup will impair the nonstick release system and food will stick in your pan."

Don't forget to use a screwdriver and remove any non oven safe handles before baking .... I learned that the hard way!

Professional Chefs heat the pan over high flame with vegetable oil inside, then add a generous amount of salt to the pan and rub in circular motion with a rag for about 15 minutes. Let it cool and then just wipe the pan with soft cloth. The trick is to never wash the pan again with hot water and soup. Since nothing sticks to the pan anymore, just a light wiping and cold water is sufficient for cleaning. (your sunny-side up eggs will just slide off the pan by tilting the pan!)

i recently found a heavy iron frying pan in my neighber's yard. i cleaned the rust from it but it has a rusted look to it, how do i get it ready for frying.

I have a 40 yr old electric skillet that was purchased at Sears. It appears to be aluminum coated with a Teflon substance. Food has started sticking pretty badly. How can I "season" to remedy that sticking problem?
Thank you

My frying pan cannot be placed in the oven due to the handle. How can I finish the process?

This was so useful as some twit had "unseasoned" my pan by doing something to it - dishwasher I suspect!

I season my pans twice a year and my method differs from the writers but, the method comes up with the same results. I take a pristene clean pan and starting at the center, in a circular fashion, spread an ever so thin layer of oil over the entire surface of the pan. I then insert the pan into a preheated 400 degree oven for 1 hour. Works like a charm.

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