Aluminum cookware has many advantages, it’s main appeal is it’s shiny non stick surface that’s lightweight and conducts heat quickly and efficiently. This makes them easy to manage and great for cooking, especially when you want fast cooking. Not only that, but you can put aluminum pans in the dishwasher, which makes them a very popular choice.
However, without regular care and proper seasoning, your aluminum pans can quickly lose their shiny surface, and even worse, they could end up scratched. Not a nice look for an aluminum pan.
Why Should You Season Aluminum cookware?
All metals deteriorate eventually, the process of deteriotion is increase when it comes to acidic foods and heat. Pan seasoning has been a technique to prevent this from happening for centuries, and it’s most commonly seen with cast iron pans but seasoning aluminum is just as common.
Seasoning is the process in which you coat the pan with oil, heat it up and the oil forms a strong bond with the surface of the pan. This acts as a barrier between the food and the pan. Not only does it provide better non stick qualities for you pan, but it also makes it much easier to clean after you’ve done cooking.
The only drawback to seasoning pans is the seasoning eventually wears down, so you have to apply it every time it does wear down, this is usually after months and months of use providing you don’t let it soak in soapy water.
But overall, seasoning your aluminum pots and pans will increase the lifespan by quite a lot, making you save a fortune on cookware. So that’s why you should always season every aluminum pan you have.
When to Season an Aluminum cookware?
You can season a pan whenever you want, there isn’t a time where it’s too late. However, the perfect time to season you pan would be when it’s brand new as this will offer the best protection.
As unseasoned pans are prone to rust, oxidization, acidic foods and heat it’s always best to season it whenever it has no seasoning on. This will ensure you keep your pans lasting a long time.
How to season an Aluminum pan
If you follow the information below correctly, then not only will pan seasoning be easier but you’ll get a much longer lifespan out of it.
Step 1: Choose Your Oil
The oil you choose can make a big difference, different oils bond different at different temperatures and have different flavours that will absorb into the food that you cook.
The most common oils used are:
- Vegetable oil: 400-450°F
- Flaxseed oil: 225 degrees F
Now we personally recommend flaxseed oil as it has a low smoking point so it’s more energy efficient, it bonds better to the pan and it has a neutral flavour. However vegetable oil is also a good option if that’s all you have.
Step 2: Preheat your oven
The first thing you need to do is to preheat your oven, as you need it hot to season your pan properly otherwise the oils will run off your pan before they get chance to bond. You should preheat your oven to the smoking point of the oil your using.
Step 3: Wash your pan
Now that your oven is preheating, you need to wash the pan. The cleaner it is, the better the oils wil bond to the metal. So make sure you put a lot of effort into this step as this dictates how long the seasoning will last.
Step 4: Pan Seasoning
Season your aluminum pan by pouring some cooking oil into the pan and using a paper towel to smear it all around the pan, this is to ensure it has an even coating all the way through or you will end with uneven seasoning which causes sticky areas whilst cooking.
Step 5: Place it upside down in the oven
Now that your pan is seasoned, place it upside down in the preheated oven, this will make sure that any excess oil left over will drip off.
Just remember to put some foil underneath the pan to avoid oil dripping into the bottom of the oven.
You should leave it baking for around 1 hour at the smoking point temperature, this will create a great bond between the oil and the aluminum pan.
Step 6: Wash your pan without soap or a dishwasher
Now that your pan has a clean seasoning on it, take it out of the oven and let it cool.
Once your aluminum pan has cooled, rinse it under some warm water and use a non abrasive cloth to clean it. This is just to make sure that any contaminants like dust which may have stuck to it during the seasoning process are wiped off.
Don’t use a dishwasher or soap for this step, as the bonding has just formed and you don’t want to use anything harsh with it.
Step 7: Dry your pan with paper towels or a cloth
Do not skip this step.
After cleaning your pan under some warm water, ensure you dry the entire aluminum pan properly. As metals are prone to rust and even though you have a seasoning on it now, you don’t want any rust to form.
So wipe it with a cloth or some paper towels, and then heat it one the stove to evaporate any left over water droplets.
If you have followed the above information correctly, your aluminum pan is now perfectly seasoned and ready for use!
Routine Maintenance Tips for Your Aluminum Pan
Now that you have a seasoned aluminum pan, you need to make sure you perform routine maintanence, as this will keep the seasoning and the aluminum pan in optimal condition.
- Preheat your seasoned aluminum pan with oil first to distribute the heat more evenly, avoiding hotspots on the seasoning.
- Don’t burn your oils to the point where they are smoking, if you see any smoking, turn the temperature down.
- Clean your pan after cooking as soon as possible, this reduces the time the food can react with the seasoning
- Don’t burn food as this will mean you’ll need to scrape it off using something abrasive which will wear the seasoning away faster.
- Keep stirring foods that burn easily such as vegetables so they don’t end up burning and sticking to the pan
- Aluminum is a great conductor of heat so ensure that you monitor your food to avoid burning as it can happen quickly
With all these tips in mind, you should keep your aluminum pans protected for longer as you should get a long lifespan out of them.
Seasoning is something you should do to every metal pan, not only does it give benefits such as a better non stick coating and making it easier to clean, but it also protects your aluminum pan for longer.
Seasoning is not a difficult process, and after your first few times you should know it from heart and be able to apply it to any future metal cookware.
Always take care after seasoning your pan so you don’t have to season it too often, this will keep your pan in great condition and give it a healthy lifespan which ultimately saves you money.