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Seasoning your frying pan
I moved from non-stick and it's a bit sticky

 8:42 am on Oct 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

I just went and bought myself a really good non-non-stick fring pan - my first one. Up until now I have been a Teflon addict, but I'm fed up with the way the non-stick comes off after a year or so, and that you can't get them really hot for that reason.

So I thought I'd buy myself a pan that will outlast me; spend a bit of money and learn how to to cook with a proper pan.

So I did what (I think) you're supposed to do to 'season' or 'seal' the pan - heated up some oil until it was smokin' (and nearly burnt the house down in the process), then left the oil in on a low heat for a couple of hours.

When I wash the pan I only use warm water - no soap - which seems to clean it just fine.

But I keep sticking stuff! Fried potatoes require some serious scraping with a metal spatula, and fried eggs? Nigh-on-impossible.

Are there any experienced metal pan chefs out there who can give me some tips?

You could make my breakfast times so much easier :)




 8:44 am on Oct 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

I usually leave some oil in the pan for a couple of days before I use it but most good pans come with some instructions, what do they say?



 8:46 am on Oct 16, 2003 (gmt 0)


Alternative Future

 9:14 am on Oct 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Another good tip is too fill the pan with salt and again leave to heat/burn occasionally tossing the salt this creates another non-stick layer.



 9:16 am on Oct 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

heated up some oil until it was smokin' (and nearly burnt the house down in the process), then left the oil in on a low heat for a couple of hours.

I never heard about the low heat period before.

Here's what the burn-in instructions to my own frying pan say (hand forged iron):

  1. before first use, remove anti-corrosion protection with warm water and some soft detergent.
  2. Put fat/oil, lots of salt, and some raw potato slices (potato peals are ok). Fry those potato parts very hot for a lengthy period.
  3. After that, heat up shortly with only a little oil.
  4. Wipe clean with tissue.

In normal use, those are the recommendations:

  • Heat up the fat/oil before adding whatever you want to fry.
  • After normal use, clean by wiping with tissue.
  • Only in difficult cases (something sticks because you did it wrong ;)), wash with hot water (no detergent, no scraping), immediately dry it, and then put on an oil film again.

In general, the more you use it (correctly), the better it will become, and the less stuff will stick in it. The metal will become black very soon, and it will get a natural protective coating. This coating is not to be considered "dirt". Never listen to any overeager housewive who wants to scrape the thing blank again, its functionality would basically get destroyed in the process.


 9:16 am on Oct 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Don't clean it - just be careful to not burn stuff.

The best thing to do is to get some Cookeen (ultra cheap cooking fat) - plonk a dollop in the pan and leave it on the heat for 6-8 hours (as long as you can safely).

Then clean it up by wiping out the excess fat with a kitchen towel. That will season the pan nicely.

Never use washing up liquid on it.

Done right, this will make the pan less sticky than Teflon.



 5:31 pm on Oct 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Heh, heh, this is a bit like alchemy.

It looks like I have to fill the pan with salt and potatoes, loads of oil and leave it on the heat for 3 and a half days ;)

Maybe I should have said that the cooking surface metal is stainless steel.

It did come with instructions, but I was a bit 'kid round the christmas tree' with it and I have absolutely no idea where they went. I'll see if they have a website.

I reckon with these tips, Teflon will be buying my formula off me soon - Cylon - what you reckon? ;)



 6:23 pm on Oct 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have never had to season a stainless steel pan, only cast iron.


 6:53 pm on Oct 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

This "Seasoning your frying pan services" can hit the moon in no time in Malibu. That market share is just waiting for them to hang seasoned frying pans wherever they want to decorate after they where properly "seasoned".

I am an avid-cast-iron-frying-pan-user-fan-freak. Those indispensable basic cooking items will better value over time.

After you use them, wash them and rub a thin film of olive oil all over, and under the cooking surface. "Seasoned" frying pans is just like SEO/SEM : using 'magic wand' shortcuts at your own risks.


 7:33 pm on Oct 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Mine's cast iron. It said, heat oil till oil starts to smoke, swirl it around in pan, let cool, wipe excess oil off, and bake upside down at 350-400 degrees for 1 hour in oven.

I love my cast iron pan, i just have to remember not to use soap and not to leave it to soak, and to oil it when I'm done cleaning it. Eeeeek-- rust! I haven't used it enough yet-- my mother's cast iron pans are smooth as butter and black as midnight, and you can use soap on them all you want-- it won't penetrate the film of non-stick coating.
On the upside, mine's been heated to white heat to blacken catfish with no ill effects. It can withstand anything.
AND, it's GREAT at resolving domestic arguments, or burglary threats. ;)
Just kidding.

I have a stainless steel wok that I'm having more trouble seasoning-- cast iron is in all ways superior except that it's so freaking heavy. The wok, I did the heat until smoking thing, etc., and I have to leave it oiled, but again, i don't use it enough, and the finish hasn't been made permanent. Only consistent use will do it. I don't make stir-fry that often, sadly. But if I did, it'd be a beautiful wok by now. Non-stik woks are terrible, and you can't count on them for longer than maybe two years if you ever actually use them.

I use either olive oil or peanut oil for keeping my non-nonstick pans from rusting.


 7:43 pm on Oct 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

The way I clean me griddle (not unlike a frying pan) - melt a *little* butter, and add a sprinkling of salt, get it really hot, then using a piece of kitchen paper scrub it pretty well. (while still smoking hot - be *very* careful). Use it immediately (letting it cool a little first if needed) - never wash it, just make sure that the scrub works properly.


 7:46 pm on Oct 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

For those of you with cast iron cookware, here's a tip handed down from many generations, never, ever, clean the outside of the stuff. The blacker and thicker, the better. If anyone ever uses soap on your cast iron stuff, toss it.


 8:36 pm on Oct 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

We use bacon grease around here. Not only to season the pan... we fry stuff in bacon grease too. Keeps things from sticking and makes everything taste good! mmmmmm bacon


 4:49 am on Oct 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

My pan is "...slicker than greazed snot down a razorbacks hide ..." and " ...as black a coal mine at midnight..." as my grandpa from west virginia used to say. It took about 6 months to get there. As DG says NEVER EVER WASH THE THING. If you do get something burnt/stuck that you cant get out, fill it with enough water to cover the stuff, bring it to a boil, dump it out, and with your thickest full length welders gloves scrape it out. Dry it with some paper towels and re-season it right away. No really right away, if you don't you end up with really heavy piece of rusted metal, not that it's ever happened to me ;-)


 8:44 am on Oct 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

If it's stainless, try this:

Hot pan, cold oil, food won't stick.

Stainless will hold the food until it releases it. That is, if you're browning some potatoes, they will stick until they reach the right crispiness. If you try to move 'em sooner, they cling like crazy.

Heat the pan, drop in the oil, then the food.

Good luck,



 2:39 pm on Oct 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

Mmmm... bacon grease...
Makes everything taste better. :D

I need to find out where to get ahold of some goose fat... it's a traditional ingredient in some ethnic christmas cookies i've got to make this year...

But anyhow. Yes, hot pan cold oil is definitely a good tip. And stirring pretty well constantly helps as well.


 6:31 pm on Oct 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

Nice one goober, that's some sweet stainless cookin' magic you got there :)


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