Whether you’re a novice cook or a professional chef whipping up extravagant meals in a restaurant kitchen, it is inevitable that you’ll be using aluminum pans.
They are among some of the most versatile pieces of cookware, and they’re super easy to handle.
The nonstick surface paired with excellent heat conduction further adds to the charm of these pans.
However, with constant use, your aluminum pans may lose their luster, and the nonstick abilities start deteriorating. Learning how to season an aluminum pan can help you prevent this.
Let’s find out how!
How to Season an Aluminum Pan
Seasoning your pan well allows you to protect it against the damage caused by food enzymes and high heat exposure.
Your pans will also be saved from the effects of corrosion, rust, and any other factor that diminishes its performance.
Things You’ll Need
- Lukewarm water
- Soft dish sponge
- Vegetable oil
- Gentle dish soap
- Oven gloves
- Kitchen towels
Steps to Follow
Here are some simple steps on how to season an aluminum pan.
Step 1 – Washing your pan.
Before you start seasoning your aluminum pans, wash them thoroughly using some warm water and dish soap. We recommend you do this even if your pans are already washed and cleaned.
This works to remove any dirt or dust lying around the surface of the pan. It will help you avoid any scratches or discoloration.
P.S. Be sure not to soak your pan in the water as this can damage the nonstick coating. Just rinse and dry it off with some kitchen towels.
Step 2 – Seasoning with oil
The second step requires you to start the seasoning process.
Start by placing your aluminum pan over a low flame. You can use any kind of stovetop for this, be it gas, electrical, or even induction.
Drizzle a generous coating of vegetable oil over your pan to completely cover the surface.
You can use kitchen towels to ensure the sides of the pans are covered with oil as well, and not just the base. Once the surface is well-covered with oil, leave it over the low flame until you see steam rising.
This step won’t take more than half an hour, so try to stay by the stove the entire time.
Leaving it unattended could risk your pan getting burned and causing severe damage on the surface.
Once you notice that all the oil has evaporated in the form of steam, take the pan off the stove and place it on a heat-safe surface. Use your oven gloves to handle the pan as it will be quite hot.
Step 3 – Do a second wash
The final step is to do a quick rewash using the same warm water and dish soap technique. Be sure to hand wash your aluminum pans instead of putting them in the dishwasher.
Opting for the latter could cause damage to your pan’s surface and even result in scratches.
Dry off your pan thoroughly using your dishcloth and store it away in your kitchen cabinets.
Why Should You Season?
Like all forms of metal, your aluminum pans also need some polishing every now and then so they can keep sparkling and performing like brand new.
By adequate seasoning, you not only improve your pan’s performance but also prolong its life.
If allowed to deteriorate, your pan will eventually be rendered useless, and you’ll need to invest in another one. High-quality aluminum pans don’t come cheap.
Seasoning your pans regularly can help you save money by ensuring you get the most out of the pans you have.
Moreover, your dish cleanup process becomes a lot quicker when your pans are well seasoned.
Food won’t stick to your pan, and there will be no need to scrub and scrape the surface (which also risks damaging the inner layer of your pan!).
When done right, seasoning helps maintain a non-toxic layer on the surface of your pan. This makes the cooking process healthier for you and the people you’re feeding.
With just a few minutes spent on seasoning every other week, you can enjoy all these benefits and keep cooking safely!
When is it Time to Season Your Pans?
Whenever you notice food starting to stick to your pans, it is time to season them using the abovementioned steps.
Once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll notice a pattern on how often your pans need seasoning. It could be a few weeks or even every other month.
By keeping track of this, you can determine how often your particular pan needs to be seasoned and then do it before the food starts to stick.
Some Instructions to Follow
Once you’ve seasoned your pan, you’d obviously want to make sure it lasts for a long time and maintains its best condition.
Here are some instructions you should keep in mind to ensure seasonings aren’t required too frequently, and your pans perform well for a long time;
- Pre-heat your seasoned aluminum pans with oil, butter, or vegetable shortening.
- Keep the flame low, so the oil doesn’t burn in your pan.
- Don’t leave cooked food sitting in the pan.
- When you’re cooking, keep stirring to ensure the food doesn’t stick to the bottom.
- Don’t leave your stovetop unattended for too long when cooking with aluminum pans.
- Clean your pans well after using acidic ingredients.
Your aluminum pans come with a nonstick coating which needs to be treated with care.
If you’re looking for the right way to clean your pan without disrupting the coating, read on.
- Only wash your pans with gentle dish soap and warm water. Try to clean the pan as soon as you’re done cooking to prevent residue buildup.
- Acidic food can degrade the nonstick coating, so rinse out your pan once you’ve plated the food (be sure to give the pan some time to cool down).
- Avoid using steel wool to scrape the surface of your pan. Instead, add some baking soda + vinegar mixture to the pan and let it do its magic for 10-15 minutes before rinsing it off.
- Read through the manual of your pan so you can abide by the instructions and recommendations.
- Try not to use chemical cleaners as they will react with your pan’s surface and reduce its non-toxic abilities.
- If using a special aluminum cleaner on your pans, read the instructions and follow them properly.
How Do You Keep Aluminum Pans from Sticking?
The best way to keep your food from sticking to an aluminum pan is by adding a barrier.
You can use any cooking fat like oil or butter to ensure the food doesn’t stick. If you prefer healthy cooking, we’d recommend using a light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Once you’re done cooking, season the pan well and let it dry before storing to ensure food doesn’t stick the next time you cook something.
How Do You Make Aluminum Pans Look like New?
If you’ve noticed your pans looking a little worse for wear or forming stains on the surface, it is time to use this little trick.
Here is how you can bring back that classy sheen and sparkle of your aluminum pan.
Make a thick paste of baking soda and vinegar.
Spread it all over the surface of your pan and let it sit for 25 to 30 minutes. Then, using a damp, soft sponge, clean the mixture off the pan well.
Rinse out your pan and rewash it with soapy water to bring back your pan’s original look.
What Can You Not Cook in Aluminum Pans?
Your aluminum pans are excellent heat conductors.
While this property ensures a wonderfully even cook of your food, it also means that the pan is highly reactive to any acidic ingredients. This includes tomatoes, vinegar, or any citrus fruits.
Although you can still use these in your aluminum pan, try not to make it a regular thing. Also, use a low flame when using these ingredients to prevent damage to your pan’s surface.
Aluminum pans are truly worth every penny spent on buying them.
They cook food perfectly, ensure there is an even cook every time, and resist the formation of hot spots.
Moreover, they’re the perfect cookware to make delicious, shiny sauces and different glaze to top your chicken wings.
By following our steps on how to season an aluminum pan and proper cleaning, your pans will last you for years to come.
They are highly durable, long-lasting, and easy to handle.
Simply spending half an hour every few weeks to follow our tips on how to season an aluminum pan will have you enjoying your kitchen experience even more!
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