Stainless steel is fine to go in the oven, you just have to be aware of the pan’s specific temperature limits.
In this article, we figure out if stainless steel can go in the oven. We’ll also look at some best practices for safe oven use of stainless steel and the benefits of doing so.
Is stainless steel oven-friendly?
Stainless steel is one of the best materials out there for the kitchen due to its wide range of uses and its durability. Oven-safe stainless steel is 100% safe to use for heating inside ovens.
However, many grades of stainless steel can’t withstand high temperatures. An example is 200-grade stainless steel cookware, which are usually cheaper than 304-grade stainless steel. Make sure you check the grade of stainless steel and verify if they are oven safe while buying.
If you need oven-safe cookware, try and choose stainless steel grades 304, 316, or 430. These have better stability at high temperatures and should work great in a hot oven.
Note: The level of a stainless steel’s heat tolerance narrows down to the quality of the material. The chemical composition is different across manufacturers. Low-quality stainless steel might break, melt, or split in an oven.
What happens if you put a stainless steel pan in the oven?
When you buy a stainless steel pan, you can check its bottom to verify if it is oven-safe. You’re looking for a symbol that shows that it’s oven safe, and often times the temperature limit will be listed as well. Oven-safe pans come with metal handles or steel handles for safe handling (instead of wood or rubber).
Remember to use extreme caution when pulling your pans out of the oven, as the entire thing is going to be very hot. You can use heat-resistant towels, oven mitts, or wrap kitchen towels around the handle to avoid getting burnt.
As a general rule, avoid using stainless steel pans in the oven if they don’t bear an oven-safe symbol.
Also, do not use stainless steel pans with plastic or wooden handles as they may melt under high temperatures. Instead, go for silicone handles.
And avoid going above 500℉ because stainless steel pan becomes unsafe at this point. Keep it below 400℉ to maintain safety.
How to use stainless steel pots in your oven safely?
No one likes to see their favorite food getting spoiled. So it is better to stay cautious and avoid mishaps while using your oven.
Follow these instructions for a smooth cooking and baking experience using your stainless steel cookware in the oven:
Buy high-quality cookware
Invest in high-quality stainless steel cookware and oven safe skillets. This might be be a little more expensive initially, but worth it if you intend to cook with both your oven and stove frequently.
Low-quality stainless steel cannot stay non-reactive when heated in the oven, and such cookware may leach chemicals into your food and spoil it.
Try to get stainless steel grades 304, 316 or 430.
- Grade 304 contains 16 to 24% chromium, making it resistant to acidic foods, making it an excellent choice for cookware.
- Grade 316 contains 2-3% molybdenum, reinforcing its corrosion resistance and heat withstanding capacity. It makes the best quality cookware and is costlier than grade 304.
- Grade 430 contains 17% chromium and has fair corrosion resistance. These are also excellent as cookware and as induction heated pans and pots.
All the above grades are highly durable and have excellent heat resistance, ideal for oven-use.
Always check the handle
Before buying stainless steel cookware, check if the handles are oven-safe. Stainless cookware can sometimes have plastic, wood, or silicone handles, instead of the normal metal handles.
Plastic or wooden handles cannot survive the oven’s heat and may get damaged at high temperatures. So, if you intend to use your stainless steel cookware in the oven, avoid plastic and wooden handles.
However, you can get cookware with silicone handles, which can handle temperatures of up to 428℉.
Make sure the handle of your stainless steel cookware is oven safe
Take care while handling
Stainless steel grows extremely hot when heated in the oven. So definitely use kitchen towels or heat-resistant gloves or oven mitts while handling cookware in the oven. Use them to hold or wrap them around the handle while taking the pan out.
Keep the oven temperature below 500℉
Stainless steel can handle high temperatures well. But for the sake of safety, keep it below 500℉. The cookware may distribute the heat unevenly if the temperature rises beyond this level.
Always preheat before you bake
When not in use, stainless steel is cold, which makes it porous. In this state, food items may stick to their surface. The best way to avoid food sticking is to preheat it before using it.
The steel expands and closes the pores when you preheat, giving you a smooth surface to keep or heat your food, effectively creating nonstick cookware without requiring the special coating.
To know if your cookware is preheated, sprinkle a few cold water droplets on its surface. The surface is ready for oven use if the drops vibrate and evaporate with a pop.
Also, note that stainless steel gets hot quickly. So when preheating, ensure that it does not get too hot by controlling the temperature carefully, and have your ingredients prepped and ready before preheating.
Add oil after preheating
Right after you preheat the stainless steel cookware, you should add oil to it. This prevents the oil from moving into the pores while it is still cold. Once you pour oil, remember to swirl it around the vessel and cover its entire surface.
Benefits of using stainless steel in the oven
Now that you know how to use stainless steel safely in an oven, let’s look at some of its benefits.
Consistent baking results
While baking, even heat distribution plays a crucial role in ensuring the perfect base for your dish, because uneven heating can ruin your dish.
Stainless steel is an excellent option for baking because it absorbs heat fast and evenly across its surface.
Stainless steel is excellent at withstanding high temperatures. So you should be able to use your stainless steel cookware in the oven for years.
One significant advantage of stainless steel is its non-reactive nature. It stays intact even at high temperatures in the oven, preventing any toxin leakage into the food. Again, this is not the case with low-quality steel.
Lightweight and easy to handle
Stainless steel cookware is lightweight and makes baking effortless. This is especially true when compared to cast iron or ceramic cookware which can be incredibly heavy once filled with food.
When the container is light, you can handle your vessels more easily and safely while moving in and out of the oven.
Can rubber-handled stainless steel go in the oven?
Rubber is similar to plastic. If you expose rubber-handled cookware to high temperatures, the handles melt and can damage your cookware. Do not heat cookware with rubber handles above 350℉.
Can glass lids go in the oven with stainless steel?
Yes! You can use oven-safe glass lids with stainless steel in the oven.
Such glass can withstand around 392℉ (200℃) and does not crack or melt at high temperatures.
How to handle stainless steel safely when putting it in the oven?
As mentioned above, always use a heat-resistant towel, oven gloves, or oven mitts wrapped around the handle when removing the hot cookware from the oven.