Okay, I received a nice stainless steel saute pan for Christmas and in looking around online there are people that say I need to season it. Most of the techniques I've seen involve oil and salt and cooking that for a bit and then wiping it out. Is this necessary? Do I need to do it every time I use the pan? Are there other techniques that you folks use? I had never heard of this for stainless steel, but I want to make sure I'm taking care of the pan correctly.


9 Answers 9


I've never heard of doing anything other than giving it a good cleaning, as you would with any new item before first use.

I've only heard of seasoning used for cast iron and carbon steel, not for stainless steel. Looking online, I did find instructions for seasoning stainless steel, but I'd be inclined to look at the paperwork that came with the pan -- if the manufacturer recommends doing something, follow their instructions. If they don't, just give it a good wash.

  • 1
    Yeah, that's all I've done so far. And the paperwork that came with the pan just says the same thing: wash with soap and warm water before the first use.
    – Dante617
    Dec 26, 2010 at 16:55
  • Same here. No need to do anything special with stainless steel. Happy Sauté! Dec 26, 2010 at 19:15

Seasoning the pan will make it less likely to stick, but will also give it a brownish tinge, so it won't be "shiny and new" looking. And if you ever scrub it with steel wool, you'll have to do it all over again.

Seasoning the pan basically creates a surface of oil that has been baked on so that your food is on that rather than directly touching the metal, so less sticking. It is brownish on stainless (I have a whole bunch of pans that look like that, which annoys the wife, but since I do the cooking, she lets it go) and is unnoticeable (other than the deeper black) on cast iron. Because of the porous nature of cast iron, seasoning is absolutely essential if you don't want sticking...or rusting. Stainless has no rust issue and the metal, although it has surface texture, is not as open as cast iron, so the seasoning is optional.

If you use enough oil when you cook and get the oil hot first, you will not experience sticking problems with an unseasoned stainless pan, but if you are trying to do low fat cooking on a barely oiled pan, proteins, in particular, will tend to stick.


NO! You never season stainless steel. Seasoning is the result of carbon "binding" with a cast iron surface creating a natural non stick layer. The chrome in the stainless steel keeps that process from happening properly and/or evenly, which is likely to leave you with a badly stained and sticky pan.

You keep stainless clean and shiny.


No, don't season stainless steel unless the manufacturer recommends it. Read the accepted answer here: Why does my food turn out poorly using an All-Clad Stainless-Steel Fry Pan?. That's how to best to use and treat a "nice stainless steel pan". Also from that same thread, s_hewitt shares a great video on temperature testing. Getting your pan to the proper temperature before you add oil or food is the key to food not sticking to stainless steel.

One more important point about caring for your pan: Please, never run it under water or put it in water while it is still hot. That is how even very good pans get warped. You can and should deglaze your pan while it is still hot by adding liquid and scraping up the tasty bits, that's the start of a great pan sauce and the bonus of a cleaner pan, but absolutely don't rinse or wash your pan until it's cool enough to touch.


Actually seasoning SS pans is very common in the professional culinary world. Keep in mind you would need to re-season each ti e you wash the pan. Most of us typically wipe them clean much like you do with a cast iron pan. To season SS pans you cover the bottom with salt, add oil and heat until it just begins to smoke on medium high heat. Allow it to cool and then wipe the pan, crushing the salt with paper towels. Then discard the salt and oil and wipe with another paper towel. You can cook eggs, pancakes, etc without sticking. I prefer SS over Teflon all day long. Theres the secret, enjoy cooking with your SS pan.

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    Your answer seems to contradict the other posts here. Also the All-Clad manual for their 10" frying pan warns about adding salt to the pan: "To avoid small white dots or pits forming in your pan bring liquids to a boil or wait until food starts to cook before adding salt." Do you have some evidence for the wide use of seasoning on stainless steel?
    – fraxture
    Aug 7, 2017 at 12:48

There are some uses for seasoning a stainless steel pan to give it an inherit non-stick property. However just to note, most people just use teflon.

EG: If you want to cook scrambled eggs with stainless steel, you will need to season the pan. Else all the stirring will cause the proteins to bypass the oil (it was resting on this) and to touch the bare metal.


I did just pour in maybe a tbsp of olive oil (I don't use salt, I'm not sure what that does for SS?), then heat it, just before/as it smokes I remove it from the heat and wipe it with a clean thick dishcloth. This has been the one thing that makes cooking on it a flawless breeze. Prior to that I would say 80-90% no sticking issue just using the water- leidenfrost effect. I made scrambled eggs just minutes ago on it (having not been washed for 2 days, just wiped out after), heated it at medium heat for roughly 2 min, then checked with water, then added my eggs. They just slide around better than any other pan I've used. Omelette in 2 min and no stick, just wiped out, shiny metal and perfect as new.


seasoning a stainless steel skillet is not as necessary as a cast iron unless you'll be making something like a crepe or a pancake and even then you might not need to! there's a trick to using your pan in such a way that nothing sicks even without seasoning one of them is adding oil the other is preheating the pan tough this method work on some foods more than others. as for cooking meat if its something lean you just need to add a bit of oil and heat it up before adding your protein, if its something fatty you can like a steak then you can heat the pan and once its hot enough just render the fat from the meat by sticking the fatty side directly on to the pan till most of the fat has rendered on to the pan then just cook it normally in both cases just wait for the meat to cook on one side before flipping it will release on its own once it's ready


Anyone who suggests you should not season a stainless pan clearly has no experience in the professional cooking realm. Seasoning stainless is quite common among professional chefs. Some people think stainless means it should always be clean and shiny. Well, if you want that then there will be some foods you should never prepare in stainless unless you enjoy cleaning and scrubbing. There are some who think that cooking in seasoned stainless or cast iron is a terrible thing because you don't sterilize the pan each time and you will somehow fall sick as a result of eating on this 'contaminated' cooling surface. Little do these people know that most of the time they go and eat at almost any restaurant that they are eating food prepared in a seasoned pan or baking dish. Seasoning stainless is perfectly acceptable and even desired by anyone who takes cooking seriously.

  • I've never heard the claim that seasoning is somehow "contaminated". In any case, it's obvious nonsense since the pan is heated well above the boiling point of water when it's used, so it is sterilized. Aug 12, 2018 at 20:23

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