Can stainless steel be put in the oven?
Stainless steel, copper, aluminum, cast iron, ceramic, non-stick materials and many more. If you’re an expert cook, chances are you’ve used most of these common kitchen supplies and know exactly when to use what.
However, if you are a beginner and have no previous cooking experience, these options may overwhelm you. For example, which one should you use for baking and which one is better for frying and grilling?
While that’s a detailed discussion best left for another time, let’s focus on stainless steel cookware.
Stainless steel is one of the best materials for cookware and a favorite of cooks around the world. It is incredibly durable and can last for years if properly used and maintained.
It’s also incredibly versatile and can be used for a wide variety of cooking techniques without getting damaged. But what about cooking?
One of the most common questions about stainless steel is whether it is oven safe and how well it holds up in a hot oven.
So can stainless steel go in the oven?
Yes, you can use stainless steel in the oven, as long as it is a high-quality steel that does not react with food at high temperatures. You should also be careful if your stainless steel cookware has wooden or plastic handles, as they can be badly damaged in the oven.
Read on to find out how to choose a high-quality stainless steel cookware, the advantages of using it over other common cookware, the best tips for using stainless steel in the oven, and much more.
Is stainless steel safe in the oven?
Stainless steel is a metal alloy that contains chromium, silicon, nickel, and manganese, with some elements of carbon and nitrogen.
The amounts of these components vary depending on the manufacturer and the quality of the final product.
In general, stainless steel is oven-safe ; however, to avoid any mishaps such as the pot or pan breaking, splitting or melting, you should choose the best quality stainless steel and use proper oven temperatures.
Additionally, some stainless steel cookware comes with wooden, plastic, or silicone handles. Although this can add to its aesthetic appeal and make it easier to touch when hot, it is not safe to put in the oven.
If you want to use your stainless steel pans and pots in the oven, it’s best to get ones without wooden or plastic handles, as the high heat of the oven will burn and damage them.
While wooden and plastic handles are totally unworkable, silicone for baking is safe at temperatures up to 428°F.
So while you can use stainless steel cookware with silicone for baking in the oven, you have to be careful not to overheat.
The highest quality stainless steel is highly durable and resistant to rust and corrosion. It has the right amount of elements to provide good tensile strength and prevent them from transferring and leaching into your food.
Quality stainless steel has 18-20% chromium content, and a higher level means it is more resistant to corrosion. Stainless steel used for cooking must contain at least 16% chromium, according to US standards.
The acceptable amount of nickel is between 8% and 10%, as anything less than that will make it susceptible to rust, and anything more than that will leach into your food.
Stainless steel is available in several grades, depending on their alloy composition and their slightly different characteristics. Grade 304 stainless steel is the best quality for cookware for its incredible corrosion resistance and value.
Advantages of using stainless steel in the oven
Stainless steel cookware has been around for a long time and is a staple in home and commercial kitchens. For many, they are the go-to choice when it comes to kitchen gadgets, and all for good reason.
These are the main advantages of using stainless steel in the oven compared to other kitchen materials.
Stainless steel cookware can last for decades, or longer , if used and maintained properly. Forget about getting scratched, chipped or broken by small accidents in the kitchen.
Good quality stainless steel can withstand general wear and tear and is resistant to rust and corrosion.
Due to their rapid absorption of heat and even distribution, multi-layer stainless steel pots are a great option for use in the oven.
Layers of stainless steel and aluminum produce a smoother cooking surface that will heat evenly from the bottom and sides of the pot.
Compared to other cookware materials like aluminum, copper, cast iron, and Teflon, stainless steel is naturally nonreactive and won’t interfere with the chemical structure of your food .
You can bake anything without worrying about harmful chemicals leaching out or food tasting metallic.
Stainless steel requires very little maintenance and is easy to clean.
If you have a baking mishap and burnt-on food remains stuck to the bottom of your pan, simply dunk it in the sink (something you could never do with cast iron) and scrub it clean with a mild soap.
You can also use special cleaners and polishes for the most resistant remains.
Tips for using stainless steel in the oven
Stainless steel cookware is extremely versatile and very easy to use and clean. Here are a few helpful tips on how to best use it in the oven.
Don’t go over 500°F
Stainless steel is robust and durable and can withstand high temperatures without damage. However, extremely high temperatures can damage any type of material, even stainless steel.
Therefore, it’s best not to get your oven temperature above 500°F, as it will be too hot for your stainless steel cookware. This shouldn’t be a problem as normal cooking temperatures are between 375 and 400°F.
Plus, the multi-layer construction of most stainless steel brands means pots and pans heat evenly on both sides and bottoms, cooking food in more than one direction.
That is why it is advisable to use a lower temperature, since it will heat up more quickly than other cookware.
Never skip the warm up
When stainless steel is cold, it becomes porous, and its edges cause food to stick to the surface.
Preheating causes stainless steel cookware to expand, closing the pores and creating a smooth surface for food to cook on, so you should never skip preheating your stainless steel pots and pans before baking.
Preheating stainless steel is very important and must be done correctly.
To find out if your pot or pan is hot enough, do a simple water drop test. To do this, wait until the edge of the pan is hot, and then add a few drops of water. If the drops stay in a ball and roll around the pan, the pan is done.
Two other important things to keep in mind are that your stainless steel pot can go from perfectly preheated to overheated very quickly, so it’s advised to have your ingredients prepped before preheating.
Secondly, you always have to oil after preheating, because if you add it when the pan or pot is cold, it will sink into the pores on the surface.
Therefore, wait for it to heat up well before adding the oil and be sure to turn it to cover the surface of the pan.
Don’t discard the brown bits
A classic problem with stainless steel cookware is that food tends to stick to the surface, especially if it’s not well oiled.
When working with meat, if you have to make an effort to lift it with a spatula and you see that it sticks to the surface, there could be two possible explanations: that the surface was not well oiled or that the meat is not done.
Well-seasoned, oiled and cooked meat will never stick to a stainless steel pan, and that’s how you’ll know it’s done. However, if there are any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, don’t discard them.
These brown bits stuck to the bottom are known as “fond” and are bursting with flavor.
To use them properly, remove the food from the pan, drain off any fat, add a liquid of your choice (water, broth, or wine), scrape up any brown bits, and let the mixture simmer for a while.
When reduced by half, adjust seasoning and pour sauce over food. Delicious!
clean them well
There are some basic tips when it comes to using stainless steel cookware and ways to extend its life.
As we’ve already said, stainless steel cookware doesn’t handle extreme temperatures very well, so you should never run hot, recently used pots and pans under cold water.
The sudden combination of cold and heat can cause adverse reactions and cause them to become deformed and damaged. Just let them cool on their own before washing them with water.
Also, when cleaning your stainless steel cookware, use non-metallic scouring pads and avoid using harsh, abrasive cleaners like bleach.
Under no circumstances should you use a steel wool or scouring pad to clean stainless steel cookware. For stubborn stains, you can sprinkle on some baking soda and let it soak for a while.
Now that we’ve covered stainless steel cookware, whether it’s oven safe, and tips on how to use it to extend its life and maintain its quality, here are some additional questions we thought you might have:
Can stainless steel go in the microwave?
Most of us already know that metals and microwaves don’t work well together. But what about stainless steel? Well, stainless steel is also a type of metal and should not be used in the microwave.
Like other metals, stainless steel reflects microwaves, and due to this shielding effect, microwave radiation is blocked and food cannot be heated properly.
Aside from this reason, there are also potential dangers in microwaving stainless steel cookware.
If stainless steel comes into contact with the microwave walls, it can cause arcing, which causes sparks and crackles inside the microwave.
This can present a serious fire hazard and can cause the lining of the microwave walls to be burned and severely damaged.
It is important to note that not all stainless steel cookware can cause a fire in your microwave. If it is kept away from the microwave wall when heating and the reflection surface is smooth enough, it may not cause those adverse reactions.
However, there is a good chance that microwaving stainless steel could damage the appliance, so our suggestion is to play it safe and never use stainless steel in the microwave.
Can stainless steel go in the dishwasher?
The short answer is: yes, stainless steel is dishwasher safe and can easily be cleaned in it. The long answer is that although stainless steel is generally considered dishwasher safe, there are some risks.
Many people put their stainless steel pots and pans in the dishwasher and it comes out just fine. However, they sometimes acquire stains and watermarks that can be difficult to remove.
Dishwasher detergent is considered extremely harsh, and continued use causes staining and discoloration.
The only stainless steel pots and pans you should use in the dishwasher are the ones that explicitly say so, as they have been tested to make sure.
For the rest, it’s best to just hand wash and dry immediately to avoid any damage.
Is there any downside to using stainless steel?
Nothing is perfect, right? Although good quality stainless steel utensils can be one of the best buying decisions for your kitchen, even if they are a bit expensive, poor quality stainless steel has quite a few drawbacks.
Poor quality stainless steel can show smudges and fingerprints and can leach toxic chemicals into your food.
To avoid this, buy stainless steel grade 304, ideal for cooking, and grade 400, the best for utensils.
Also, as already stated, the stainless steel components must be in the right amounts or they may pose a risk to your health.
For example, stainless steel cookware that contains more nickel can cause allergic reactions in some people, leading to its buildup in the body.
While the best quality stainless steel is very durable and resistant to heat and oxidation, inferior quality stainless steel is likely to rust and corrode at the slightest change in temperature and pressure.
What cookware materials are considered oven safe?
Most cookware materials are oven-safe, and if you want to identify whether or not yours is, you need to look for a special oven-safe symbol under your pots, pans, and dinnerware.
Some common examples of oven-safe cookware are metals, such as stainless steel and cast iron, ceramic (avoid those that are enameled or decorated with an adhesive design), oven-safe glass, and silicone. Food quality.
Two materials that should not be used in the oven are plastic and wood . At extreme temperatures, they are likely to melt, burn, split, and warp.
Also, be very careful when using the above oven-safe materials with plastic or wooden handles or lids.