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How to season a stainless steel, uncoated Calphalon pan?

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betsbloomington Jan 7, 2014 04:57 PM

I bought this uncoated, steel 12" pan a few years ago but have never been able to get it not to stick. My heavy steel pans I carried home from France don't stick. What gives? How can I season this one, or should I just get something different? I don't like Teflon coatings.

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  1. sal_acid RE: betsbloomington Jan 7, 2014 05:00 PM

    I don't believe that Calphalon makes carbon steel pans, only stainless steel, which is nowhere near as slick as the French stuff you have.

    1. Chemicalkinetics RE: betsbloomington Jan 7, 2014 05:05 PM

      Like sal acid, I am not aware that Calphalon made carbon steel. They may, but I have not heard of it.

      If you are talking about stainless steel, then I will say that you don't have to season your stainless steel cookware. You can wash them, and hot oil treat them, but you cannot really season them by conventional definition.

      99% of the time when you hear people talk about seasoning a cookware, they are talking about carbon steel or cast iron, not stainless steel.

      1. DuffyH RE: betsbloomington Jan 7, 2014 05:25 PM

        Calphalon has some advice, like bringing foods close to room temp, patting meat/chicken/fish dry before cooking, etc... : http://www.calphalon.com/Pages/Conten...

        Also, heat the pan on medium heat until it passes the Leidenfrost (mercury ball) test. Then add oil and drop the heat. My fish and chicken don't stick at all, I can slide it around as soon as it hits the pan. It goes into a hot pan, it's dry, and it's not chilled. Makes a huge difference in stickiness.

        But yes, it can be seasoned, although not in the permanent way that carbon steel or cast iron is seasoned. There are 2 ways, baking and stovetop heating.

        Baking: http://www.wikihow.com/Season-Stainle...

        Stovetop: http://wholelifestylenutrition.com/vi...

        EDIT - I forgot to mention that I've been cooking in Calphalon stainless for 12 years, and like it a lot. I don't use high heat under my frypans, medium to medium high (no more than 70%) works better. If food should stick initially, let it sit until it releases on it's own, with just a little nudge. Most food releases easily once it browns. Following the tips from Calphalon and waiting for the pan to get hot will cure almost all of your problems. Happy cooking! :)

        3 Replies
        1. re: DuffyH
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          betsbloomington RE: DuffyH Jan 8, 2014 09:40 AM

          Very helpful DuffyH. Thank you.

          1. re: DuffyH
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            Marianne13 RE: DuffyH Feb 13, 2014 09:53 AM

            Thanks for this, have you tried to season your stainless pan? I have a stainless 5qt All Clad pan that has started to stick (and I'm devastated i actually thought i was going to be buried with it) but maybe I got careless about hot pan/cold oil?
            In any case I will try to season mine and post my results soon.

            1. re: Marianne13
              DuffyH RE: Marianne13 Feb 13, 2014 01:25 PM

              I do season my pans from time to time, when I want to cook with minimal oil. I've only done it on the stovetop, because it can easily be done just a few minutes before dinner. Remember that it's only temporary.

              With your pan sticking, I'd also recommend a really good scrubbing with baking soda or BKF. It can't hurt.

          2. b
            betsbloomington RE: betsbloomington Jan 8, 2014 09:39 AM

            It is indeed stainless and not carbon steel. Thanks for the answers.

            4 Replies
            1. re: betsbloomington
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              Cam14 RE: betsbloomington Jan 8, 2014 01:52 PM

              And the advantage to the stainless over the carbon steel is it doesn't need to be seasoned and will not react with acidic foods. You can cook tomatoes, wine based sauces and such in your pan and don't have to worry about cooking off the seasoning or any metallic taste.

              1. re: Cam14
                sal_acid RE: Cam14 Jan 8, 2014 02:16 PM

                Another advantage is that they are much lighter and easy on the wrists.

                1. re: sal_acid
                  DuffyH RE: sal_acid Jan 8, 2014 02:37 PM

                  <Another advantage is that they are much lighter and easy on the wrists.>

                  Oh my, yes. I can still lift my 12" Calphalon Tri-Ply (empty), with one hand, but need both hands to struggle with an empty deBuyer 12" frypan. HUGE difference!

              2. re: betsbloomington
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                Cynic2701 RE: betsbloomington Jan 8, 2014 02:14 PM

                Stainless steel is a good surface to sear on, so that you can develop fond and use acidic liquids to deglaze with, without worrying about reactivity with the pan just as Cam14 mentions.

                I think that they also clean up easier, as one can leave them sit in soapy water for hours without needing to worry about rust.

                On the other hand, they will not be as non-stick as carbon steel/cast iron pans and will need a different technique to cook in. As others have mentioned, get the pan hot, add oil, and then place your food in the pan.

              3. C. Hamster RE: betsbloomington Jan 8, 2014 11:23 AM

                You do not need to season stainless steel

                1 Reply
                1. re: C. Hamster
                  DuffyH RE: C. Hamster Jan 8, 2014 02:33 PM

                  All the things mentioned by Cam14, sal acid, Cynic2701 and little Hamster buddy are so very, very true and the reason that I love cooking on stainless steel.

                  For cleaning, I'm a big fan of deglazing. After serving, pour a cup of water into the hot pan and use whatever spoon or spatula is handy to scrape the pan. Food comes right up. I let it sit during dinner, then use a soapy sponge or my new chain mail scrubber toy to clean it right up, easy peasy, no elbow grease needed. On the rare occasions when I've munged it up so badly that an overnight soak doesn't work, I bring out the oven cleaner.

                  I do love me some stainless steel. :)

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