Keeping up with the ever-expanding world of culinary resources can be a minefield, and that includes identifying what is suitable to be used in your oven – and what isn’t. Today we look at whether or not you can put a stainless-steel pan in the oven.
Unfortunately, the answer isn’t as simple as ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
The short answer is: any pan that is labelled as “oven-safe” is safe to go in the oven.
The longer answer is that stainless-steel can endure heat over a prolonged period of time so yes, it can go in the oven. However, the important factor to consider is whether the handle is safe to go in the oven.
One of the reasons why stainless-steel cookware is a useful and popular addition to both domestic and commercial kitchens is because it is a robust material that, if cared for properly, will reward you with years of good cooking.
It is also ‘unreactive’, meaning that it won’t create a chemical reaction if combined with heat or acidity, which often isn’t the case with materials such as copper and aluminium, or products with non-stick coating.
Non-stick cookware is also susceptible to chipping and scratches, and isn’t tolerant of intense or prolonged heat.
Stainless Steel Oven Safety
Stainless-steel cooking products can typically endure heat up to around 260°C (500°F), so yes, you can use your pan in the oven, providing the handle is also made out of stainless-steel.
If it is made from wood or plastic, it wouldn’t be wise to use it in the oven.
Plastic melts and wood splits (or catches fire), so unless you enjoy a culinary drama or wish to test your fire alarm, it is best to only use pans that are 100% stainless-steel or otherwise sold and labelled as “oven-safe”.
If you’re in doubt about what your pan range can and cannot be used for, always check the manufacturer’s details on either the packaging or their website/helpline.
So, if your stainless-steel pan range isn’t safe to go in the oven, what options are available to you?
1. Cast iron
Cast iron pans and skillets are safe to go in the oven, providing they don’t have wooden handles (as many do).
While 100% cast iron products can go in the oven, it is important to bear in mind that cast-iron is a material that heats quickly (and retains heat very well), so be mindful about handling products used in the oven, as they will be very hot.
Copper is a popular cooking material because it is a magnetic conductor of heat, and is safe to use in the oven (again, handle-depending). Many copper pan ranges come with glass lids, however, which may not be safe to use in the oven.
3. Carbon steel
Carbon steel is growing in popularity due to its lightweight nature and smoothness, and the fact that they’re non-stick. They are also robust and easy to clean, which keeps them in favour over their heavy and non-water-tolerant cast iron cousin.
So, depending on your pan handle situation, stainless-steel pans are absolutely safe to go in your oven, and other materials, such as copper, carbon steel, and cast iron, are safe to use for oven cooking too.
If you’re ever unsure of the safety of your cooking resources, it is wise to check the packaging information (if you still have it) or double-check with the manufacturer.
When it comes to cooking, safety should always be at the forefront of your mind!
Clara is a freelance writer and former chef. Though she may have hung up her apron, her love of food and cooking is still going strong! When she’s not whipping up a verbal storm, she’ll be in her kitchen sipping wine and whipping up a culinary storm.