A couple years back I switched from the typical teflon coated non-stick pans available in every department store to a set of stainless steel pans. I gotta say that I have been very happy with my decision and have not looked back.
As I have been looking to live on a boat I have been reading experiences from other liveaboards. On a boat water is used sparingly. This is not only because there is a limited water tank (though easily filled from the dock if in a marina!) but also because boats carry around all their waste with them until they get to a pump out facility. Think about all the activities you do on a daily basis that produce some sort of waste that would make its way into the holding tank. It is much greater that you would think. To that end I have been researching water conservation, particularly when it comes to the kitchen and doing dishes. Yesterday I read an article on The Boat Galley (fantastic resource for boaters, RVers, apartment dwellers, and tiny home owners) talking about seasoning stainless steel pans. I did not know this was possible with stainless steel, but not only is it, it turns stainless steel pan surfaces in to a much better non-stick pan than teflon!
Why season stainless steel pans?
- Creates a non-stick surface – better than teflon!
- Makes cleanup a snap. No soap needed, just water and a paper towel.
- It only takes minutes!
How to season a stainless steel pan
Seasoning stainless steel pans is so easy my dog could do it. Seriously. You need 3 things:
- Stainless steel pan
- Cooking oil (your choice, I used Canola Oil)
- Paper towels
(Update 01-04-2017): Since writing this post I have learned that Canola Oil may contain artificial chemicals that can be hazardous to some. I switched to vegetable oil as it seems like a more natural/safe oil. I am not a medical expert though so do your own research.
- Pour the oil into the pan until the entire bottom is covered
- Spread some oil on the sides of the pan with your fingers to ensure coverage of the entire pan. I skipped this step and have a brown ring around the pan where the top of the oil is. It is normal and will come off with soap (do not do it unless you want to reseason the pan!)
- Turn a burner on high and set the pan on it
- When the oil starts smoking remove the pan from the heat and turn off the burner. Let the pan completely cool
- Dump the oil in a safe location and use the paper towels to gently wipe up the excess oil
Done! Maybe a 20 minute job tops and you now have an amazing, safe, cleanable, antistick pan.
Cleaning seasoned stainless steel
DO NOT USE SOAP OR ANY ROUGH CLEANER SUCH AS METAL MESH. It will strip the seasoning off and it will need to be reapplied.
This is the most beautiful part of a seasoned pan. To clean simply rinse the pan under hot water and wipe out with a paper towel. Done! If there is hard stuck on gunk boil some water in the pan and by the time you are done eating it should come right off.
Hands on with the seasoned pans
To test out my newly seasoned pans I made some hamburgers. Typically after cooking I would rinse the pans and then soak them in soapy water for a while. Even then I needed to use a rough scrub pad to get the gunk scraped off. Cleaning after seasoning was a snap and was completed in less than a minute! Check out the following photos for yourself.
Seasoned pan. Not yet cooked in
Notice how shiny the pan is? Seasoning creates a reflective surface on a stainless steel pan.
Pan after cooking a hamburger
I did not add butter or any nonstick, such as Pam, to the pan.
Pan after rinsing with hot water
This is after rinsing with hot water from the tap for 15 seconds.
Pan after wiping with a paper towl
This is after wiping the pan with a single paper towl for 20 seconds. See how clean and shiny it is?
Cleanup took incredibly less than a minute to complete!
I will be seasoning all my stainless steel pans from here on out!
Here’s more about anti-corrosion coating: Orion Industrial PTFE Coating Services.