Knowing how to season a ceramic pan is important to maximize its benefits, increase its lifespan, and enhance your cooking experience.
Cookware seasoning refers to applying non-stick oil or fat to the surface of a pan to prevent corrosion and rust, and promote its non-stick properties.
Make it a rule to always season a ceramic pan before using it for the first time and continue doing so regularly for the first few months of use.
What Do You Need To Season a Ceramic Pan
Here’s what you need to get started when seasoning a ceramic pan.
- Your ceramic pan
- A soft cloth or paper towel
- 1 tablespoon of cooking oil
*While vegetable oil is the best for creating a non-stick surface for your ceramic pan, you can use most of the oils. Think peanut oil, Grapeseed oil, lard, or canola oil.
Seasoning a Ceramic Pan (Step-by-Step)
Follow these steps for seasoning your ceramic pan.
Step 1: Clean the Pan
Before you begin, make sure your ceramic pan is completely clean.
Use some dish soap and the soft cloth to gently clean the surface of the pan. Avoid scrubbing it with an abrasive brush or sponge, especially if your pan is new, as it may damage its surface.
Once you’ve cleaned it, rinse it thoroughly with clean water and dry it using a fresh piece of a soft cloth.
Step 2: Apply Some Oil to the Surface of the Pan
Add a few drops of oil to the pan and use the tip of your fingers to spread it evenly to the entire surface. You can use a paper towel if you don’t feel comfortable using your fingers.
Add some more oil if necessary until the entire surface is coated well. Please note that the oil you use must have a high smoking point. It’s better to avoid butter and olive oil, as their smoking point is low.
Step 3: Start Heating
Place your ceramic pan on a stovetop burner and let it on medium heat. Wait until it begins to smoke. The oil may take some time to start smoking so don’t be tempted to turn up the heat.
Let the oil heat slowly so that it can get soaked up into the surface of the pan as thoroughly as possible. Don’t forget to turn the pan periodically to prevent the pooling of oil.
Alternatively, you can set the oven to 300 degrees F and let the pan heat for about 20 minutes. This is best when you’re using a ceramic baking pan.
Although most of the ceramic pans are safe for oven use, make sure you check the instructions that come with it before putting it in the oven.
Step 4: Let it Cool
As soon as you notice the oil has started smoking, remove the pan from the stove and set aside for cooling.
Wait until the pan is back to room temperature. Don’t run cold water on it or put in the fridge to cool it off quickly. The rapid change in temperature puts the ceramic pan at risk for severe damage.
In case the surface of the pan isn’t too oily and you can wait, allow most of the oil to be absorbed into the pan. Typically, the longer you wait, the better the oil will fill in the pan’s inconsistencies. This simple trick will give you the best results.
Step 5: Dry Your Pan
After the pan has cooled down to room temperature, use a clean paper towel to wipe any excess oil from its surface.
Your pan will feel a little greasier than what you’re used to but this is what makes it non-sticky. Hence, don’t scrub or wash it away to get rid of the oiliness.
Step 6: Repeat the Process on a Regular Basis
Ideally, you should repeat the seasoning process every few months. However, it depends on the specific model of your pan as well as on how long you have been seasoning it.
If you’ve bought a brand new ceramic pan, you should consider seasoning it once every month or two so at least for the first few months of use. This will ensure the buildup of a more permanent layer of seasoning in a short period of time.
Once the seasoning layer is built and you see the food gliding with ease, you may hold off the process until food starts to stick on the pan’s surface more than usual or the characteristics of ceramic coating begin to fade.
A good rule of thumb is to season your ceramic pan after every six months.
How to Take Care of Ceramic Pans
While seasoning is the best preventative measure to keep your ceramic pans looking and working like new, there are other ways you can take care and make the most of them.
Use Safe Utensils Only
Taking care of ceramic pans warrants the use of gentler and safer utensils, preferably those made of silicon, plastic, and wood. These materials will prevent the surface of your pans from getting scratched during use.
For best results, consider using rubberized silicone spoons and spatulas. These are the softest and gentlest on the ceramic surfaces.
Avoid using metal utensils at all costs, as they have hard, sharp edges that can chip or scratch the surface of the pan.
Remember, if the ceramic finish gets scratched, your pan will lose its non-stick properties. Thus, look for safe utensils that increase the lifespan of your ceramic pan.
Keep the Heat Low or Medium
With seasoned ceramic pans, you should always cook on medium to low heat.
Higher temperatures bring the risk of discoloration and damage as well as take a toll on the non-stick performance of the pan. This can happen just after a few times of cooking at high temperatures.
The ceramic material already has amazing heat conductivity and the base made of aluminum or hard-anodized aluminum also works for even distribution of heat. This means that you don’t need higher temperatures to cook your food quickly and evenly.
In case you’re using oil or butter, it’s best to pre-heat your pan on low heat, allowing the oil to heat before you add in your food to the pan.
Do NOT Use Cooking Oil Sprays
You may be tempted to use cooking oil sprays from aerosol cans for their ease of use or mere popularity but you should NOT do it when you’re cooking with ceramic pans, not even the olive oil or coconut oil ones.
These cooking sprays are likely to have certain ingredients and chemicals that lead to a sticky buildup on the surface of the pan. Besides, you wouldn’t want to add chemicals to your food, right?
These sprays won’t wash away or burn off easily and will eventually start to smoke. If you decide to use the scrubbing technique to get rid of them, you’ll probably end up scratching, scraping, or peeling the surface of your pan. Its smooth finish will be ruined!
Hence, seasoning your ceramic pan with oil is the best way to go about this.
Do NOT Wash Your Ceramic Pan in the Dishwasher
Even if the instructions on the ceramic pan say it’s okay to wash it in the dishwasher, wash it by hand.
Most dishwashing detergents are packed with harsh chemicals that your pan may not be able to withstand.
Washing it in the dishwasher will ruin its surface in no time. Moreover, the pressure of hot water being sprayed on the pan in a dishwasher can remove the non-stick coating. Not to forget, the surface of your ceramic pan may get chipped or scratched by sliding against other pans or the dishwasher itself.
On the bright side, it is very easy to wash the pan by hand using gentle dish soap and a soft sponge or clean piece of cloth. It’s a simple and quick way of washing a ceramic pan and by drying it right, you can preserve the look and feel of its surface for long.
Also read: Can Cooking Pans be Washed in the Dishwasher?
Avoid Drastic Changes in Temperature
Never let your ceramic pan go from hot to cold or vice versa too quickly.
Drastic changes in temperature can cause thermal damage to the non-stick surface. Ultimately, the heating and non-stick performance of the pan will be reduced.
Once you’re done with the cooking, switch the position of the pan from a hot stovetop to a cool burner and wait until it cools down to the room temperature before you wash it. You should never place a hot pan under running water in the sink.
Store Your Pan Safely
When it comes to storing ceramic pans, you should never stack them on top of one another or inside of each other.
Don’t forget to keep either the circular cardboard piece that came with the packaging or a sheet of paper towel in between the pans. If you don’t have any of these, you may even use some old washcloths to serve the purpose.
Alternatively, you can hang your ceramic pans if they have holes in the handles. They may serve as decorative pieces to accentuate the look of your kitchen.
How to Clean a Dirty Ceramic Pan
Your naked eye may not be able to see it but there will always be some amount of leftover protein residue on the surface of the ceramic pan. When you keep using the pan without removing that layer, you allow it to build up and form a visible brown layer.
This will eventually reduce the efficiency of the non-stick coating. Unfortunately, soapy water and brush aren’t enough to remove the dirty layer.
The following are two effective ways of cleaning a dirty ceramic pan.
Use an Acidic Product
An acidic product can help in removing the protein layer from the ceramic coating. Simply, pour some vinegar on the pan and spread it evenly across the surface. Heat the pan on medium heat for about an hour.
Don’t turn the heat up too high because it’ll cause the vinegar to boil or cook dry.
Scrub the surface clean with a gentle brush or scrubbing pad. Your pan may smell like vinegar for a few days but at least it’ll be as clean as new again.
Try an Abrasive
An abrasive, such as Cif can clean the surface of your ceramic pan without damaging its non-stick finish. Instead of steel wool, use a scrubbing pad with some Cif and let it do the magic for you.
A non-stick ceramic cooking pan offers high convenience in the kitchen. Seasoning it regularly will ensure that its performance doesn’t diminish with use, saving you plenty of time and effort in the long run.
Follow the aforementioned steps for seasoning your pan the right way and take notes of the helpful tips to enjoy healthy and fun cooking every day!
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