When I cook steak, I always use my stainless steel skillet to sear it before popping it in the oven to finish cooking. But that made me wonder: can all stainless steel go in the oven?
This got me inspecting and researching the rest of my stainless steel cooking items to see if they are also oven-safe. What I discovered was super interesting, so I’m glad I get to share it with you here.
In this article, I am going to cover:
Can Stainless Steel Go in the Oven?
Most food-grade stainless steel can go in the oven. 300 and 400 series stainless steel, mainly used for cookware, is safe in the oven up to 500°F. However, 200 series stainless steel – usually sold in the form of cutlery, bowls, and lightweight storage containers – are not oven-safe.
Stainless steel cookware and bakeware will have a mark on the bottom indicating whether it is oven-safe.
Is All Food Grade Stainless Steel Oven Safe?
Food-grade stainless steel is any stainless steel determined by the FDA and USDA to be safe to contain or cook food without reacting, pitting, or leaching chemicals. During use, utensils, cookware, and other stainless steel items are subjected to high temperatures, water, and cleaning chemicals.
Food-safe stainless steel must have a smooth, impermeable surface that can withstand all these elements for use after use. But not all food-grade stainless steel is oven-safe.
Although to the untrained eye, all food-grade stainless steel might look the same, there are actually a variety of grades that have their own properties. Let’s look at these different steel forms to get to the bottom of this issue.
Food-Safe Grades of Stainless Steel
Food-grade stainless steel is categorized into series: 200, 300 and 400.
200 series stainless steel is the lowest quality food-safe option. It has a lower nickel content with additional manganese and nitrogen in its makeup. The 200 series is less corrosion-resistant, so it is mainly reserved for cutlery, storage containers, water bottles, or serving ware. The items are usually very thin and lightweight, so they are not oven-safe.
The 300 series is the highest quality food-safe stainless steel with the highest percentage of nickel and chromium. It is entirely nonreactive even when in contact with salt or acidic food for long periods.
304 and 316 are the most commonly used of the 300 series. You might notice your cookware is advertised as 18/8 or 18/10. This means it’s 304-grade stainless steel with percentages of chromium and nickel indicated.
So 18/8 stainless steel means it’s mostly iron with 18% chromium and 8% nickel. 18/10 has 18% chromium and 10% nickel. These added metals make the iron in the stainless steel alloy more durable and corrosion-resistant.
The 300 series is the most common – and probably best – grade of stainless steel cookware. 300 series stainless steel pans will often be layered with aluminum or copper for maximum heat conductivity.
The 400 series is a cheaper alternative to the 300 series but much higher quality than the 200 series. This stainless steel will be labeled 18/0 because it contains 18% chromium but no nickel. It is less corrosion resistant and won’t last as long as their 300 series counterparts.
Oven Safe Stainless Steel
So, yes, most stainless steel is oven-safe. Both the 300 and 400 series are oven-safe up to 500°F. These series are used to make stainless steel bakeware and pots and pans that are completely oven-safe.
But it’s not just bakeware and cookware that can be oven-safe. In this video, you can see how home cook Joe uses a stainless steel bowl to create an oven within an oven to bake bread.
This technique can only be executed using a heavy gauge stainless steel bowl with an oven-safe mark on the base. You can also see how much the constant use has discolored the stainless steel, but this is natural and not harmful.
Non-Oven Safe Stainless Steel
As I mentioned above, not all food-grade stainless steel is oven-safe. Any lightweight, stainless steel items like mixing bowls, kids’ bowls, and stainless steel drinking cups are likely made from 200 series stainless steel. This grade is not oven-safe due to its lower levels of nickel.
My general rule of thumb is: if it is not marked oven-safe, don’t risk putting it in the oven.
Any stainless steel vessel, regardless of the grade, that has plastic or wooden handles or a non-slip base is not oven-safe.
At Which Temperature Can You Put Stainless Steel in the Oven?
Although stainless steel has a melting point of around 2000°F, most cookware is labeled as oven-safe up to 500°F. But it is doubtful that you’ll need to cook anything hotter than that anyway!
Placing an empty stainless steel vessel in an oven that is too hot may discolor it, but this is not harmful. Very thin stainless steel could warp in these conditions, but I wouldn’t recommend using lightweight items in the oven at all.
Is Stainless Steel Broiler Safe?
Yes, any oven-safe stainless steel is broiler-safe unless it has plastic or silicone handles that can melt or burn under intense heat.
Are Lids on Stainless Steel Pans Oven Safe?
If your stainless steel pots and pans have steel lids, the lids are probably made with the same grade of steel as the pans themselves, and should be okay for oven use.
I should warn you, though, that most tempered glass lids that come with stainless steel cookware are not oven-safe or, if they are, not to the same temperatures as the pan itself. If your pan has plastic or silicone handles, it may not be oven-safe, so you will need to confirm with the manufacturer’s specifications.
Can You Put Coated Stainless Steel in the Oven?
Regarding nonstick or ceramic-coated stainless steel pans: you will need to consult the individual brand specs to see if they are oven-safe.
Some brands do claim that their coatings are oven-safe, but it’s usually at a lower temperature than bare stainless steel – especially if you have nonstick-coated pans.
For example, the Blue Diamond ceramic-coated stainless steel pans are advertised as oven safe to 600°F, but the glass lids are only safe to 450°F.
Gordon Ramsay’s famous Hexclad pans – which combine stainless steel and polymer nonstick coatings – are oven safe to 500°F (pans) and 400°F (lids). But this Bell Rock stainless steel frying pan with a nonstick (PTFE) coating does not appear to be oven-safe at all.
How can you tell if a stainless steel pan is oven-safe?
There are two ways to tell if your pan is oven-safe. The easiest way to tell is to look at the bottom of the pan, where it will be marked as oven-safe. If you are unsure, you can check the manufacturer’s guidelines or website for your pan’s specifications.
What are the Advantages of Stainless Steel Bakeware?
Stainless steel bakeware provides a nontoxic, durable surface that withstands use after use without warping, scratching, or pitting. I know many people swear by ceramic or stoneware bakeware, but I prefer stainless steel because there is no risk of thermal shock cracking it. It conducts heat far more efficiently than glass bakeware, though not as well as aluminum.
These days, many people are concerned with aluminum coming into contact with their food because the long-term health effects are not entirely known. In this case, stainless steel is a great alternative. Your cakes or cheesecakes baked in stainless steel pans may not be quite as fluffy as they were in your aluminum pans, but they’ll come out way lighter than if you used ceramic or glass.
Using stainless steel in the oven is pretty straightforward, but here are a few things to keep in mind:
Recommendations for Stainless Steel Pans that are Oven-Safe
There are so many great options for oven-safe stainless steel cookware out there that it can be hard to choose just a few. I’ve narrowed it down to my favorite stainless steel frying pan, bakeware set, and roaster to get you started.
MadeIn Stainless Steel Frying Pan
This MadeIn Stainless Steel Frying Pan is the perfect all-purpose pan to whip up flawless eggs or a well-seared steak.
Made from 5-ply 430 stainless steel, this pan is great for those with nickel allergies, because of its lower nickel content. It’s oven-safe up to 800°F without warping. So you can take it from the stovetop to the oven seamlessly. It may be hand wash only, but in my eyes, that’s a small price to pay for such a high-quality pan.
E-far Stainless Steel Bakeware Set
This E-far Stainless Steel Bakeware has every piece of bakeware you could possibly want for a very affordable price. This set includes:
This set is a great value for money and ideal for keen home bakers. The heavy gauge stainless steel creates an even heat that helps you bake flawlessly every time. All the pieces in this set are oven, freezer, and dishwasher-safe. It’s this versatility that really sold this set to me.
Cuisinart Stainless Steel Roasting Pan
This Cuisinart Stainless Steel Roasting Pan is my go-to pan when I’m making a roast chicken on a Sunday.
This roaster is 16.8×12.8×3.4 inches and is constructed from heavy gauge stainless steel, creating the perfect even heat. The roasting rack nestles within the pan and allows you to get the perfect browning all the way around your roast. The pan below catches all the juices to make a delectable gravy with them later.
This pan is dishwasher safe, so there’s no fussy cleanup once you’re done.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Stainless Steel Oven Safe at 450°F?
Yes, oven-safe stainless steel is safe up to 500°F. Many home ovens only reach 450°F (or maybe 500°F with a broiler), so your cookware will be safe even at maximum heat.
What Cookware Materials are Oven Safe?
Most cookware materials, including stainless steel, aluminum, stoneware/100% ceramic, cast iron, and enameled cast iron, are oven-safe. However, you should check your cookware’s specifications before popping it in the oven to be totally sure.
Is 18/10 Stainless Steel Oven Safe?
Yes, 18/10 stainless steel is from the 300 series and is, therefore, oven-safe up to 500 F. 18/10 stainless steel is mostly iron with 18% chromium and 10% nickel.
Most stainless steel cookware is oven-safe, but you should always check for an oven-safe mark on the base to make sure. But no matter the quality of the stainless steel, if it has plastic or wooden elements, then it is not oven-safe.
#1 Recommendation: Made In Cookware – Stainless Steel Frying Pan
If you have any extra questions, don’t hesitate to comment and share your thoughts!
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