Can a Stainless Steel Pan Go in the Oven?

Published Categorized as Kitchen
Stainless steel frying pan

Here’s one of the cooking questions that I was researching this week: Are stainless steel frying pans oven-safe? As always, the answer is less straightforward than it seems. Before you put your stainless steel frying pan in the oven, here’s everything you need to know.

Stainless steel frying pans are generally oven-safe. As a general rule of thumb, most stainless steel frying pans can withstand 500-600°F, depending on the make and the model.

My wife and I recently moved house. Like you can imagine, we ended up buying more than one thing for our new home. We decided to treat ourselves and upgrade our cookware. We now have an induction cooktop, so we went all-in on stainless steel frying pans and pots.

I ended up buying the pots from IKEA, the Swedish furniture maker, and the pans from BEKA, a Dutch cookware maker since 1899. After a month or so of using them, I’m happy to share that I’m satisfied with both of my purchases. One of the things I looked for were stainless steel handles. That way, I wouldn’t have to worry about using my pans and pots in the oven.

But not everyone is like me. Some home cooks—and you may very well be one of them—like their stainless steel cookware with handles covered with wood or silicone.

Don’t buy pans and pots with wooden handles. They look good, there’s no doubt about it. But, because cooking vessels with wooden handles aren’t oven safe, you can only use them on the stove.

The same can’t be said about baking silicone. Baking silicone is heat-resistant and oven-safe at temperatures up to 428°F (220°C). If your stainless steel frying pan or pot has handles with baking silicone, you can use it in the oven as long as you don’t go above that temperature.

So that’s that. If you want multi-purpose cookware that you can use on the stovetop as much as you can in the oven, my best advice is to go for cookware made of stainless steel or cast iron. I used to cook mostly with cast iron, but I recently switched to only stainless steel.

What’s your favorite cookware material? Let me and the rest of this post’s readers know by leaving a comment at the bottom of this post.

What Happens If You Put a Pan in the Oven?

The answer depends on whether or not your pan is oven-safe.

If you put a frying pan that isn’t oven-safe in the oven, there’s a high likelihood that your pan will become damaged and your food will come out inedible. The most common kind of damage in this case are melted coatings or melted handles.

If you put a frying pan that’s oven-safe in the oven, the food in it is going to bake. Oven-safe pans are usually made of stainless steel or cast iron, and tend to have bare steel or metal handles. Mind the heat of the handle when you take the pan out of the oven.

Professional chefs wrap kitchen towels around the handles of their frying pans when using them on the cooktop and in the oven. Copy/paste this practice in your home kitchen and, when you’re taking out a pan that’s been in the oven, do it with a kitchen towel wrapped around the handle. That way you won’t get burnt.

How to Clean Burnt Oil off of Your Stainless Steel Frying Pan

When you use your frying pan in the oven, it’s also likely that cooking oil or food particles will burn on its surface. Which means that, after you’re done cooking, you’ll have some extra cleaning to do to make your pan spotless again.

Here are three simple and powerful methods that you can use today to clean burnt food particles or cooking oil off of your stainless steel frying pan.

Boil Water and Dish Soap for 5 Minutes

Pour tap water and add a squirt of dish soap in your frying pan. On your cooktop, bring the cleaning solution to a gentle boil on medium-high heat. Let boil for about 5 minutes, then cool it down. Try scrubbing the burns off of your stainless steel frying pan using dish soap and a soft sponge.

Use Sea Salt

Fill your stainless steel frying pan with enough water to cover the cooking surface where there are burns. Bring it to a boil on medium-high heat. Once the water is boiling, add 3 tablespoons of sea salt crystals, let boil for 1-2 minutes, then turn off the heat.

Let the pan cool down and rest with the salty water for about 2 hours. After, empty the water from your frying pan and scrub the burns and stains off using soapy water and a soft sponge.

Use Baking Soda

Create a cleaning paste of 1 part baking soda and 1 part water. Apply the paste to the cooking surface where there are burns or stains—and leave on for about 2 hours.

Once the time has passed, clean the stains and burns off by hand with a soft sponge and in soapy water.

The Bottom Line

Knowing what kind of pans and pots to pick up when you fire up the stove is just as important as choosing the right cooking method. And, when in comes to cooking methods, stainless steel cookware is one of the most versatile types of cookware in your cabinets.

As long as your stainless steel frying pan’s handle is made out of metal, it can safely go in the oven at temperatures of up to 500-600°F. Before sliding a frying pan with bakelite or silicone handles in the oven, check the maximum operating temperature in the owner’s manual.

By Jim Stonos

When Jim isn't in the kitchen, he is usually spending time with family and friends, and working with the HCW editorial team to answer the questions he used to ask himself back when he was learning the ropes of cooking.