Everything you need to know about putting your frying pan in the oven so that it stays intact—and dinner is delicious and uneventful.
Can your frying pan go in the oven?
It’s a good question. It’s also good that you asked it before, not after, you slid your pan into the hot oven and shut the door.
Not all pans are oven-safe. And not all pans that can go in the oven can withstand the high temperatures and long cooking times of every cooking method, from baking to roasting to broiling, in it.
If you’ve never put your workhorse skillet in the oven—and you want to figure out, say, if you can pan-roast a steak or bake cornbread in it—it’s only natural to get concerned about its oven safety.
So let’s waste no more time and help you find out.
Are All Frying Pans Oven-Safe?
A lot of people think that most frying pans can go in the oven, but this simply isn’t true.
(Unfortunately, this is only made worse by bloggers who haven’t done their due diligence before giving advice on the subject of cookware.)
If you try to put a frying pan that’s meant only for stovetop use in the oven, the glass lid can shatter, the cooking surface can get damaged, and the handles can melt—or worse, catch fire.
Yes, those are extremes, and the odds of landing in one of them are probably 1,000,000 to 1. But the fact is, you don’t have to land there to do damage to an otherwise perfectly good pan.
For example, let’s take non-stick pans. Even when they’re marked as oven-proof, non-stick pans have a maximum operating temperature of 450-500°F (230-260°C), depending on the brand of PTFE coating used by the manufacturer.
If you heat a non-stick pan above its maximum temperature, its coating starts to fume and release harmful chemicals into your food and the air in your kitchen. If you inhale too many of them, you can end up with polymer fever. (That meal you cooked for dinner will have to go in the garbage, and you’ll also have to buy a new pan.)
If You Can, Check the Owner’s Manual
So, no, not all frying pans are oven-safe.
Always check the manufacturer’s instructions for the make and model of your pan to determine if it’s oven-safe in the first place, and up to what temperature you can use it in the oven.
Of course, this is easier said than done.
If you’re anything like me, then you don’t keep every piece of paper that comes with your cookware, even if it happens to be the use and care guide. And, unless you know the make and model of your cooking vessel by heart, it can be hard to look up the specific instructions for it on the Internet.
What should you do, then, when you find yourself in such a situation? Do you put your pan in the oven, or do you play it safe and whip out a casserole?
The guide below will help you decide.
How to Know If Your Frying Pan Is Oven-Safe
- Cast iron skillets
- Carbon steel skillets
- Stainless steel fry pans
- Hard-anodized aluminum frying pans
- Ceramic-coated pans with a metal handle
- Copper pans
- Non-stick pans
- Any type of cooking vessel with a bakelite, plastic, or silicone handle
- Any type of cooking vessel intended only for stovetop use
- Any type of cooking vessel with a wooden handle
Before you put a pan in the oven, ask yourself:
- Is this frying pan oven-safe?
- If I plan to use the lid, can it go in the oven, too?
- Do I know the maximum operating temperature for the pan and/or the lid?
- Is there a maximum cooking time that I should be aware of?
Now let’s talk about why the answers to these questions are important:
These days, most pans have lids. But these lids are meant mostly for keeping the moisture in when simmering sauces on the stove. Many of them can’t go in the oven, and those that can can usually only be used at a much lower temperature than the pan alone.
We’ll get to the lids in a moment. For now, for the sake of simplicity, let’s suppose your pan doesn’t have a lid. You could say that’s one less thing to worry about. But even then, it’s important to know that not all frying pans are created equal.
Which Pans Are Safe to Use in the Oven?
All-metal skillets made of cast iron, enameled cast iron, carbon steel, stainless steel, and hard-anodized aluminum are generally oven-safe up to at least 500°F (260°C).
To determine if your all-metal pan is completely oven-safe, take a good hard look at the cooking surface and the handle. Pans with an uncoated cooking surface and all-metal handles have high heat resistance and are therefore suitable for use at all oven temperatures.
Pans with ceramic coatings and metal handles are usually oven-safe up to 500°F (260°C). If they have silicone or plastic handles, that temperature is reduced to 350°F (180°C).
Pans with non-stick coatings and metal handles are typically heat-resistant up to 400°F (200°C). If they have silicone or plastic handles, that temperature is reduced to 350°F (180°C).
Copper pans lined with tin are not oven-safe, especially at high heat, because tin melts at 450°F (230°C). Copper pans lined with silver and stainless steel, however, can be used in the oven without worry.
Now let’s talk about the lids.
Are Frying Pan Lids Oven-Safe?
Frying pan lids are rarely suitable for use in the oven. They’re made of glass or ceramics, and they can chip, crack, and sometimes shatter into pieces when exposed to the high temperature of your oven for long periods of time.
(When the glass shatters on most pan lids, it’s designed to break into tiny pieces and fall downward. This is good for your safety on the stove, but it also completely ruins your food if it happens in the oven.)
Generally, lids with steam-vented knobs are not oven-safe because the knobs can melt.
The lids that are safe to use are made from tempered glass, and are typically oven-safe up to 350°F (180°C). If you plan to bake or roast at a higher temperature in the oven, you must remove the lid before you slide the pan inside it.