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Feb 21, 2012 07:58 PM

steam table pans? Can I bake with these?

Hi all,
I was hoping to score some cheap aluminum pans at costco so I could make things like lasagna and enchiladas and freeze them without giving up my regular pans. They seemed to have a nice stack of 30 which should last me for a really long time!!! However, now that I'm home, I see that they are actually steam table pans (brand name is Catering Essentials). There is nothing on them about being safe for oven baking or broiling, or freezing for that matter, and on the bottom it says that you must support the bottom at all times.

So, can I bake in these? (I hope so!) Hope someone can verify this for me.

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  1. sure if you're willing to scrub your elbows off (and support from the bottom at all times (what like an infant?) smirk) caterers NEED durable multi-purpose tools. the freezing to baking issue would be the least of my concerns.

    they should be fine. and if you get pissed off at any grubby one in particular, recycle. it's aluminum.

    are we talking the re-usable or the disposable? the cooking/storage issue is the same. the cleaning issue changes.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hill food

      I assume disposable. I don't freeze much food, and anything I do freeze would make a hellacious mess... and I would of course recycle.

      Glad I was overthinking this!! I will make a couple of pans of enchiladas to keep in the freezer for busy nights, with no fear of some weird chemical issue.

    2. I looked them up on a particular online retailer's site and they have good reviews as a take-and-bake pan or lasagne pan (or similar). This is basically the pan I use to bake mac and cheese or homey cakes in to take to friends who need a break from cooking dinner for whatever reason.

      1 Reply
      1. re: fracklefoodie

        ok, great. I also have friends who are having a new baby soon and I would like to take them something comforting to eat... perfect! Thanks everyone for quelling my (assuredly) overly dire concerns.

      2. oh yeah with that info I'd say you are good to go.

        the ONLY time I ever had a problem with aluminum was using cheap (and I mean CHEAP) foil in freezer storage and baking so bits of it came off in the tomato sauce of my pasta. ehh, college - live and learn, trial and error.

        5 Replies
        1. re: hill food

          i assume that wouldn't happen here... at least I hope not.

          1. re: IndyGirl

            nah that was foil wrapped around individual servings of lasagna (cook it up on Sunday and eat for a week theory) totally different material

            1. re: hill food

              sounds like it. I will wrap the aluminum pan with plastic wrap, and then foil. I'll remove the plastic before baking (I am not, despite how this post makes me seem, a total and complete dolt) and replace the foil on top (lightly).
              glad I didn't waste $ or have to go back to return them... such a PITA! thanks all!

          2. re: hill food

            I had the same experience when I topped a tray of enchiladas with foil (reynolds wrap, not particularly cheap) and stored in the fridge overnight.

            1. re: hill food

              I recently saw on TV someone put a sheet of parchment paper over the tomato sauce food before covering it with foil.

              I have a set of 'half size deep' steam table pans from Sams Club, that have been useful as catch pans, under the sink, and in the BBQ. I don't have freezer space to bake and freeze things, but I think they'd be fine for most things, with the possible exception of meatballs in tomato sauce. Even then I'd expect the pitting to be only cosmetic.

              The half size is stiff enough, provided it is held evenly. When in doubt pans like this can be set on baking sheets to give more support, or even used doubled.