Whether you use a ceramic pan or a non-sticky metal pan, you know it’s going to lose its temper at some point in time. You can never stop a pan from corrosion or scratches, but you can delay it. And that’s where seasoning a pan comes into play.
Seasoning is simply the act of applying a layer of oil-based coating to increase the non-sticky effect of a pan. If you know how to season a ceramic pan, you can use the same knowledge with other metal pans in your house. We’ll talk about the process in a step-by-step fashion and some tips in this guide.
How to Season a Ceramic Pan?
It’s not too complicated to season a ceramic pan by yourself. But be careful. Know about the steps carefully and have a clear look at the common mistakes people make with them. With that in mind, let’s talk you through the steps:
Step 1 – Gather Materials
You have to have a piece of soft cloth, some oil (Cooking or any other oil with high heating points), water and soap. And these are enough to start seasoning your ceramic pan.
Step 2 – Cleaning the Pan
You can use baking soda to clean your ceramic pan if you can’t manage a good quality commercial cleaner.
Also, lemon water works very well. Don’t scrub hard on the ceramic surface. It’s a coating, and it’s going to break if you do so. Use a soft scrubber and gently remove the dirt and stains from the ceramic.
Step 3 – Oil Heating
Apply oil on the pan. You can put a piece of cloth in this step. Again, you don’t need to apply a thick layer of oil. Just a light coating will do. But make sure the oil reaches every corner of the pan. Don’t leave any places uncovered, or it won’t get well seasoned.
Put the pan on the stove and start the flame. Start with a low flame, and once the pan comes to a point where the oil seems to have heated up enough, increase the flame. Keep the pan in high heat until you notice smoke coming from oil. Once it starts to smoke, turn the stove off.
You can also use an oven for this step. Refer to your ceramic pan’s manufacturer’s packaging manual. There will be written instructions regarding whether the pan is oven-safe or not.
Step 4 – Cooling Down
Get your pan in a cool, dry place and rest it for a few hours. Don’t put it in the fridge to speed up the process. Sudden changes in the temperature can break the tempering of the ceramic and damage the coating. Let the pan cool down slowly and absorb all the grease inside it.
Once it has completely cooled, take a cloth and rub the excess oil off. Don’t wash it now. Washing will take most of the grease out, destroying your time and work.
And that’s basically all that you need to know about the process of seasoning your ceramic pan.
Oils for Seasoning
There’s no special oil you have to use for seasoning your ceramic pan. But it has to have a high heating point. Why? Because when you put the pan on flame, the oil will start to vaporize and turn into smoke and fly off quickly. If this happens, the pan won’t get enough coating as much of it will leave anyway.
That’s why something with a very high heating point is necessary to use here.
Peanut, cooking, coconut, avocado, soybean, sunflower oil are some of the commonly used oils for seasoning. These have a high boiling point, and you’re free to choose any of these to get the best coating results.
How to Maintain a Ceramic Pan’s Seasoning?
We’ve talked about the process of seasoning a ceramic pan. But if you can’t maintain the pan in a good way, what’s the point in seasoning it? It’s going to get damaged anyway. So, it’s a good idea to learn about some maintenance ideas.
Don’t Do Drastic Temperature Changes
Because of the composition of the ceramic coating, it has to be in a certain temperature range. Even if the temperature is below or higher than the range, it can still do well. But what it can never easily handle is sudden temperature changes. The change damages ceramic compounds and makes them weaker, brittle.
So, anytime you need to clean your ceramic pan after use, let it cool down just for a little while. Don’t shove a heated pan into the sink. Let it come down close to the room temperature and only then make it come into contact with water.
Regular seasoning has no fixed timetable. It depends on your use case and the type of cooking you do on the ceramic pan. The more often you season it, the better it’ll last. Try to do it every few months or so.
One of the easiest ceramic pan cleaning methods is using a softener cloth that’s specifically made for removing stains off the pan. It’s easy to use – put the cloth sheet on the pan and run some boiling water over it. Let it rest for a few hours and take the cloth away. Rinse the pan off, and the stain’s gone.
Commercially available stain removal cleaning agents are quite beneficial in removing stain marks off of the pan. But don’t use it much. The more you use them on your pan, the quicker the seasoning will go away.
A good alternative for commercial cleaners is baking soda. It’s safe and doesn’t do much harm to the ceramic coating as the acidic cleaners do. You can soak the pan in baking soda mixed water to soften stains up. And you can also use vinegar too. These two work similarly, so anything is fine.
Though vinegar and lemon are much safer than an acidic cleaner, try to use these as little as possible. This will help you maintain the coating for longer.
Using Ceramic Safe Materials
Since ceramic is just a coating and coating can break, don’t use any utensils that may break the coating layer. If you ever break the coating by any means, you’ll be just left with the metal pan underneath with no non-stick benefits.
Don’t use metal spatulas or spoons. Metal is very hard, and a careless heavy tap on the ceramic can break the coating apart. Once the coating breaks, chipping will start, and it’s impossible to stop this from spreading. Use wood or soft rubber, or plastic-based utensil to ensure the safety of the ceramic.
Ceramic is unlike other metal pan materials and takes only a fraction of the temperature to create enough heat on it for cooking. This is because ceramic has a very high heat sensitivity and can spread most of the heat from the oven or stove.
For this reason, you don’t need to turn your stove up as much as you’d with other non-stick pans. Start the heat up slowly so that the pan gets enough time to distribute it up evenly. Try to maintain the heat in the mid-range. This will prevent the ceramic coating from getting stained from oil smoke and burnt foods.
Using Chemicals and Dishwasher
The ceramic coating on a pan, while getting made, goes through several chemical tempering and heat applications to create a certain composition. When you put the ceramic pan in a dishwasher, the intense force of boiling hot water isn’t taken lightly by the pan. The coating can’t withstand such high heat for a long time.
As a result, what you’ll notice once you start washing your pan in the dishwasher is it starting to show some chipping. What’s happening here is the coating’s bond is softened from the heated water, and it’s trying to come off. So it’s best to wash with your hands.
Another problem with using a dishwasher is the washing detergent. The detergent uses some harsh chemical compounds, which, although are good for steel, are harmful to ceramic. Similar to heat, the chemical will soften the ceramic bonding and help it come off from the metal core inside.
Some people like to use spray oils. They make lives easier but since they contain a few chemicals that aren’t good for ceramics, they should be avoided as well.
Hopefully, you got some ideas on how to season a ceramic pan easily. It’s not hard but what’s hard to do is the maintenance of a ceramic pan. The better you’re able to keep your ceramic pan in a good shape, the longer it’ll last.
However, sooner or later, the coating will start showing signs of chipping. And at that point, you won’t be able to do much from your side to season it or keep the coating intact. It’s natural and happens inevitably. But you’ll get a metal pan once it happens. That won’t be non-sticky but still a lot usable.