How To Season A Stainless Steel Pan (Nonstick)

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Are stainless steel pans nonstick? No, not without seasoning. For cookware that won’t let you down, you need to show it some TLC. Regular care and maintenance of your best stainless steel cookware will help it remain a kitchen workhorse for many years.

Many home chefs find that stainless steel turns delicate dishes, like fried eggs, into a stuck-on, ruined mess. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Seasoning your pan will allow you to create a completely nonstick surface and will transform the way you view stainless steel frying pans. Before you follow this guide, ensure that you have checked out our guide on how to clean stainless steel pans.

How To Season A Stainless Steel Pan

Time To Complete: 35mins


  1. Pre-heat your pan on medium-high heat for about three minutes.
  2. Add a high heat oil, such as sunflower, peanut, lard, or corn oil.
  3. Swirl around to completely cover the surface of the pan.
  4. Allow to heat until oil begins to smoke. Make sure that you have adequate ventilation in the area.
  5. Swirl oil around again carefully.
  6. Remove pan from heat source.
  7. Let pan cool completely (overnight is ideal).
  8. Dump out excess oil and discard.
  9. Wipe entire pan surface with a paper towel.
  10. Cook anything without sticking!

Note: the surface of your pan should look shiny and somewhat mirror-like. That’s how you’ll know that the nonstick surface has been created. Also, once your pan has been seasoned, do not wash it with soap.

Since your food shouldn’t be sticking to your pan, you should simply be able to gently wipe it clean with a dry paper towel after each use. Washing with soap will remove the oils and set your pan back to its sticking state.

Stainless Steel FAQs

What Is The Best Oil To Season Stainless Steel Pans?

For the optimal seasoning, you need to choose an oil with a high smoking point – this is the temperature at which it produces smoke.

A simple way to tell if your oil is suitable is to look at the color – the lighter the hue of the oil, the higher the smoke point. Or check out this handy smoke point guide.

Related | Canola oil vs Vegetable oil

The best oils for seasoning stainless steel are avocado, corn, peanut, rice-bran or sunflower oil. Avoid coconut, canola and virgin or extra virgin olive oil – their smoke point is too low to season effectively.

Is Stainless Steel Really Nonstick?

No. Stainless steel itself is not nonstick. However, there are pan-preparation and cooking methods that will help your food stick less. Most important, obviously, is seasoning – as we outline here – but there are other guidelines you should follow.

Food straight from the refrigerator will stick to a hot pan – let your food adjust to room temperature for 10-15 minutes before adding it to the pan.

Pre-heat the pan over a medium heat – if it’s too cold or too hot, food will tend to stick.

Using Stainless Steel Cookware For The First Time

When you first get your brand new stainless steel cookware, you will need to do a couple of simple things to prepare it before getting stuck into cooking.

Firstly, give it a thorough scrub with warm, soapy water and a sponge. Let it thoroughly air dry. Secondly, season your pan as outlined above.

Make sure you know the correct cooking methods for stainless steel – always pre-heat your pain to a medium heat; never cook too hot; don’t put cold food straight into a hot pan.

Final Thoughts

Stainless steel is a great choice for cookware. It has no nasty nonstick chemicals and beautifully browns your food. If prepared and maintained properly, your stainless steel pan can provide you with a lifetime of delicious meals, so get seasoning and get cooking.

Written By Tara Williams

Tara is a food writer that has been editing and authoring articles for KitchenSanity since its founding. Her writing offers personal experience from experimentation with food and recipe creation. If you’re looking for simple tips, she will make your journey in the kitchen straightforward with a dash of fun.