How to Know if Your Pan is Oven-Safe: The Heat Guide

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There are different ways you can know if your pan is oven-safe, but the best way is to double-check the manufacturer’s info.

You’ve got your eye on some new cookware, but you’re not sure if it can go in the oven. Or maybe someone has gifted you a pan, and you’re not sure if you can use it for your favorite frittata recipe. How do you know if it’s oven-safe?

I’ve put together this guide to help you find out if a pan is oven-safe, even when you don’t have access to the product information. This is helpful for those family heirlooms or pieces you found at a thrift store.

I’ll also answer some general questions about the different types of pans and which ones are generally safe for oven use.

Ready to get started? Keep reading to learn more.

What Kind of Pans Can Go in the Oven?

Cast Iron Frying Pans

Brown rice with veggies and pork in a cast iron pan

Cast iron pans are some of the best oven-safe cookware. They’re affordable, readily available, and practically indestructible.

Cast iron frying pans are relatively free of risk and have the added benefit of being versatile. They’re perfect for those stovetop-to-oven dishes.

Cast iron is fantastic oven-safe cookware, but it does require proper care and maintenance. You’ll need to season your cast iron pans to release food and improve the performance of your pan. Here’s how you season cast iron:

  • Scrub your cast iron pan in hot soapy water.
  • Immediately dry the pan thoroughly.
  • Use vegetable oil or shortening to spread a thin layer over the surface of the pan.
  • Preheat your oven to 375° (190°C).
  • Place your cast iron pan upside down on the rack. Line the lower rack of the oven with foil to catch any drippings.
  • Bake for one hour. Let the pan cool completely before handling.

Seasoning a cast-iron pan prevents rust and increases food release. It’s also a great way to “rehab” a pan that’s seen better days. When properly cared for, cast iron pans should last a lifetime.

Read more about how to clean your cast iron cookware.

Enameled Cast Iron

Enameled cast iron in the oven

We’ve talked about bare cast iron pans, but what if the pan has an enamel coating? Enameled cast iron is a popular material for Dutch ovens, casseroles, and even frying pans.

The good news is that enameled cast iron qualifies as oven-safe cookware. Most porcelain enamel coatings are oven-safe for temperatures up to 500°F (260°C). This includes Dutch ovens from some of the most beloved brands, including Le Creuset, Staub, and Lodge.

However, this maximum oven-safe temperature is not universal. To check the maximum temperatures for your enameled cast iron, check the manufacturer’s information or product description.

Enameled cast iron lids are also oven-safe, although the exact temperature varies. Much of that depends on any knobs or handles the lid has. Again, it’s important to check the product info for exact details.

Stainless Steel Pans

Stainless steel pans are one of the most versatile pan types out there. They’re durable, non-reactive, and able to withstand high heat, so they’re also broiler safe. Stainless steel makes for solid oven-safe cookware.

Most stainless steel pans have stainless steel or metal handles, but some do have plastic handles. In that case, use caution and check the product description. Plastic handles can melt under high temperatures.

The same goes for the lids. Stainless or metal lids should be fine, but glass lids won’t be able to go in the oven in most cases.

Many times, stainless steel pans will have extra layers of metal bonded together. These are called multi-clad pans. The layers are called plys, so a pan with three layers will be triple-ply or tri-ply, for short.

Stainless steel is not highly conductive, so most manufacturers will add a layer of aluminum or copper inside the stainless steel layers to increase heat conductivity but keep the pan non-reactive. This extra layer (or more) makes the pan more expensive, but it gives a big boost to the cooking performance.

Aluminum Pans

Aluminum is one of the most frequently-used materials within the cooking world. It’s inexpensive, easily accessible, and highly heat conductive. However, aluminum is highly reactive with acidic food, which could impart a metallic taste into your food.

To solve that problem, many manufacturers use anodized aluminum. Hard-anodized aluminum is when the metal has undergone an electrochemical process that makes it harder and non-reactive. Essentially, the metal is oxidized, forming a layer of aluminum oxide on the outside.

Many cookware makers also add a non-stick coating to aluminum cookware.

Aluminum pans are great for baking. The high heat conductivity provides even heating throughout the pan.

However, this applies mostly to aluminum bakeware. Aluminum frying pans are often covered in Teflon, with plastic handles that are not oven-safe. You can check the product description or the manufacturer website, but most aluminum non-stick frying pans would not be considered oven-safe cookware.

On the other hand, hard-anodized pans are more often oven-safe. Again, this depends largely on what type of coating, if any, the pan has. If you’re unsure of which hard-anodized pans are oven-safe, check out my guide to the best hard-anodized cookware.

Carbon Steel Pans

If you’re looking for oven-safe cookware, you might consider carbon steel. Carbon steel has a lot of properties of cast iron, but it’s thinner and lighter weight. It’s a popular material for woks and other cookware.

Most carbon steel pans are oven-safe up to 600°F (315°C). They’re also broiler-safe and suitable for the grill.

Like cast iron, you must season a carbon steel frying pan. That seasoning will protect the frying pan from rust, but it also serves as a natural non-stick layer that releases food. A carbon steel frying pan is not dishwasher-safe, but it’s easy to clean. Just be sure to dry it immediately. Leaving wet carbon steel for an extended period will cause rust.

Copper Pans

Old fashioned copper baking pans hanging on the wall

Copper pans are superb conductors of heat, meaning they react quickly to temperature changes. They’re fast to heat and fast to cool. Copper cookware is great for baking. However, copper is highly reactive and extremely expensive.

Copper is impractical for many people due to the cost and high upkeep. It’s not dishwasher-safe, tarnishes easily, and requires polishing. Not only that, but you can’t use overly high temperatures, so it won’t work for high-heat cooking.

Is copper oven-safe cookware? Generally speaking, yes. Would I go for a copper pan first? Absolutely not. And like all pans, you have to check the handle material to make sure it can handle oven temperatures, as well.

Things to Consider

Are the Handles Oven-Safe?

Many times, the pan itself is oven-safe, but the handles are not. Common handle materials include wood and plastic, materials that are not oven-safe.

Wood and plastic are popular handle materials because they insulate the handles and prevent you from burning yourself on metal. Plastic and wood might be heat-resistant, but they aren’t oven-safe. Plastic can melt in the oven, while wood is highly flammable.

Many silicone or rubber handles are oven-safe, although they can’t handle high temperatures. We’re talking 350°F (180°C).

Metal handles are also oven-safe. They can withstand high heat without problem. Of course, you should make sure to use oven mitts or pot holders to remove these pans. They’ll be super hot!

Another option is to have detachable handles. Modern oven-safe frying pans come with removable handles that allow you to switch from stovetop to oven cooking. They also help save space in the cupboard, which is always a bonus.

These handles are designed to release upon the press of a button, making it easy to switch between a frying pan and oven-safe pan.

Are Lids Oven-Safe?

Lids are great for helping dishes finish the cooking process and for preventing your food from drying out in the oven. I generally use lids for stovetop cooking, but there are some recipes that call for a covered pan in the oven.

Here’s the rub: most frying pan lids are not oven-safe. They are primarily designed for stovetop use and not for oven cooking. Glass lids, for instance, are typically only able to handle temperatures as high as 350°F (180°C), although that varies among individual products.

Stainless steel or cast iron lids are generally safe for oven use. Of course, the best thing to do is to check the instructions that came with the cookware.

If your oven recipe calls for a lid, you can use foil as an alternative. Tightly fit the foil to prevent your dish from losing moisture.

Can You Put Non-Stick Frying Pans in the Oven?

Non-stick frying pans are not generally safe for oven use. There are a few reasons for this.

For one, most non-stick pans have glass lids and plastic handles that aren’t designed to handle high temperatures. A lot of glass lids can only handle temperatures up to 350°F (180°C), which severely limits its usefulness in the oven.

Another reason is that the non-stick coating used to make the frying pans release food can give off harmful fumes if overheated. PTFE (a.k.a. Teflon) will release toxic fumes when heated above 500°F (260°C). You should only use a Teflon non-stick pan on the stovetop, and at lower temperatures.

There are non-stick coatings that don’t include PTFE, generally ceramic non-stick coatings. But many of these pans aren’t oven-safe, either. Why? Because high temperatures can cause a non-stick coating to break down and flake off into food. Since many non-stick pans are aluminum, you’re also exposing your food to aluminum, which is a reactive metal.

If you’re debating whether to use aluminum, read all about whether aluminum is safe to cook with.

If you want to minimize clean-up and increase food release, you can always line your oven-safe cookware with parchment paper or butter before placing it in the oven. You can also use well-seasoned cast-iron frying pans which develop a naturally non-stick surface when seasoned.

What About Non-Stick Bakeware?

While I would never put a non-stick frying pan in the oven, non-stick bakeware is a different story. There are two primary reasons for this difference.

For one, I generally bake at lower temperatures than when cooking. I roast vegetables, cook pizza, or sear steak at high temperatures, between 400°-500°F (205°-260°C). However, most of my baking recipes are for 350°F (180°C), a much safer temperature for non-stick.

Secondly, non-stick bakeware doesn’t have glass lids or plastic handles which can also affect oven safety. Still, if you’re nervous about using non-stick bakeware in the oven, you can line a stainless steel pan with a silicone baking mat to easily release baked goods.

Read more about choosing the best bakeware.

Precautions for Using Oven-Safe Frying Pans

If you’re going to use an oven-safe frying pan, there are some measures you should take to ensure safe cooking.

First, you should consult the manufacturer’s instructions for proper handling, cleaning, and care. Different materials have different guidelines for temperature and cleaning, so it’s important to know what those are. If you can’t find manufacturer info, let the material of the pan dictate how you treat it.

Secondly, you should always let a baking dish or frying pan cool completely before washing it. If you run cold water over a pan after taking it out of a hot oven, you risk damaging the pan through thermal shock.

Lastly, don’t assume that oven-safe means broiler-safe. Putting a pan under the broiler that can’t handle it will ruin the pan and ruin your food. Check before using the broiler. Better safe than sorry!

How to Know if a Pan is Oven-Safe: Final Word

Now you know, the best course of action is to check the manufacturer’s instructions or check their website to confirm if the pan is oven-safe.

But for gifted or thrifted pieces, make sure that there aren’t any materials that are unsafe for high temperatures (plastic, wood, etc.), and ensure that the pan doesn’t have a Teflon non-stick coating. If your pan is 100% metal, you should be good to go. Otherwise, do some research before you use the pan in the oven.

Visit my complete guide to choosing the best oven-safe cookware.