Seasoning stainless steel cookware is a simple process that can help keep your pans in good condition and improve their performance. It’s easy to do, and only takes a few minutes. A few years back, I remember thinking that seasoning my stainless steel pans was some voodoo magic that I’d never understand. But it’s really not that complicated, and once you know how to do it, it’s a breeze. Here’s what you need to know about seasoning stainless steel cookware.

What is Seasoning?

In the context of cooking, seasoning refers to the process of creating a patina on the surface of a pan that will help prevent sticking and make it easier to clean. When you season a pan, you’re essentially creating a layer of cooked-on oil that will protect the metal from exposure to moisture and air. This layer of protection is what makes seasoned pans so much easier to use and care for than unseasoned ones.

Why Season Stainless Steel Pans?

Stainless steel is a great material for cookware because it’s durable and non-reactive, but it can be a bit tricky to use. That’s because stainless steel doesn’t have the same natural non-stick properties as other materials like cast iron or carbon steel. This means that unseasoned stainless steel pans can be difficult to use, and they often need to be re-seasoned after each use. Seasoning your pans will help create a non-stick surface that is easy to use and clean. Additionally, seasoning your pans will help them last longer by preventing corrosion and rust.

How to Season Stainless Steel Pans

There are a few different methods that you can use to season your stainless steel pans. The most common method is to simply rub the pan with cooking oil and then heat it until the oil starts to smoke. This will help create a durable non-stick surface on the pan.

Another method is to use a product like Bar Keepers Friend Cookware Cleanser & Polish. This product is designed specifically for seasoning stainless steel, and it will help create a smooth surface that is less likely to stick.

Once you’ve chosen a method, simply rub the oil or polish onto the surface of the pan using a clean cloth. Be sure to cover the entire surface of the pan, including the sides and bottom. Once the pan is coated, place it in a preheated oven and let it bake for 1-2 hours. This will help the oil or polish to bond with the surface of the pan and create a durable non-stick finish.

After the pan has cooled, it’s ready to use. Be sure to wash it with hot water and soap before using it for the first time. This will remove any residue that may be on the surface of the pan. After that, you’re ready to start cooking!


Q: How often should I season my stainless steel pans?

A: It’s generally a good idea to season your pans after each use. However, if you find that the surface of your pan is still in good condition, you can wait longer between seasons. Just be sure to check the condition of the pan regularly, and re-season it as needed.

Q: Can I use other oils besides cooking oil to season my pan?

A: Yes, you can use any type of oil that has a high smoke point. This includes oils like vegetable oil, canola oil, and peanut oil. Avoid using olive oil, as it has a low smoke point and will not create a durable finish.

Q: I seasoned my pan but it still sticks. What should I do?

A: If your pan is still sticking after seasoning, it’s likely that the surface wasn’t properly cleaned before seasoning. Be sure to clean the surface of the pan with hot water and soap before applying the oil or polish. You may also need to re-season the pan if it’s been used frequently or hasn’t been seasoned in a while.

Q: My pan is starting to look rusty. Is there anything I can do?

A: If your pan is starting to rust, it’s likely that the seasoning has worn off. Be sure to clean the surface of the pan and then re-season it. You may also need to use a rust-removal product if the rust is severe.

Q: Can I season my pan in the dishwasher?

A: No, you should not season your pan in the dishwasher. The high temperatures and harsh chemicals can damage the finish of your pan. Season your pan manually using one of the methods described above.


Seasoning your stainless steel pans is a great way to improve their performance and extend their lifespan. By following the steps above, you’ll be able to create a durable non-stick surface that is easy to use and clean. Remember to season your pans after each use, and be sure to check the condition of the pan regularly.