How To Tell If A Pan Is Oven Safe? (Quick & Confident Guide)
It's important to know how to tell if a pan is oven safe.
Especially before you put it in the oven.
Because if it's not oven safe, it'll ruin your food and pan.
We've put together a list of common types of pans to determine which are oven safe.
And there's one little unknown method that will give you confidence to bake with the pan.
Let's get to it, shall we?
Things to Consider When Trying To Decide Whether A Pan is Safe for Use in the Oven or Not
Different pans are composed of many components.
Most people don’t expect pans to have that much going on, but these extra components come with extra materials and extra hazards.
It is super important for you to consider whether all of these different components can withstand the high temperatures the frying pan will be subjected to whilst in the oven.
Examples of these components can be the coating that the surface of the frying pan is covered with, the handles on the pan and the type of material that the pan is made out of.
As well as this, you may not have thought about whether or not the lid of the pan is also safe to put into the oven - if you intend to cover the pan with the lid whilst baking, it also needs to be heat resistant.
Another thing to consider might be whether or not the handles of the pan enable you to take it in and out of the oven easily. If you are a little clumsier than most, or have weak wrists, then you might find taking the pan out of the oven to be more difficult, and as a result, more dangerous, than you would a normal baking pan.
Below, we will give you some easy tips about all of the pans components so that you can decide whether or not your frying pan is oven safe!
What Material is the Pan Made From?
If you are trying to decide whether or not you can safely put your frying pan in the oven, one of the very first things that you should consider is the material that your frying pan is made out of. Oven-safe pans tend to be made from a few specific oven space materials, such as copper, stainless steel, aluminum, ceramic and cast iron.
These materials are all able to deal with the high temperatures they will be subjected to in the oven - materials that aren’t mentioned above are more likely to be unsafe in the oven and we heavily advise you to do copious amounts of research before using them in such a way.
Your frying pan is probably safe to go into the oven if it has been made from either one of these materials (copper, stainless steel, aluminum, or cast iron), or a combination of them - however, if you don’t know what the material is, the pan may not be safe and you should do some further research to determine what the material is made from.
It’s always important to check with the manufacturer if you aren’t certain - just in case. Certain pans may have small elements of a material that cannot go into the oven, rendering them as a whole unsafe for baking in the oven.
Baking these can let off fumes or warp your pan, potentially making it unusable for cooking with in the future.
Does it Have a Heat-Resistant Coating?
The very next thing to think about when considering how safe it is to put your frying pan in the oven is the coating on the surface of your pan.
Manufactures nowadays will use non-stick coatings such as Teflon (PTFE) on a lot of their frying pans, as this coating helps to prevent both sticking and therefore burning when frying foods.
This can be problematic when trying to use a frying pan in the oven, however, as the Teflon coating means that there may be specific restrictions on the temperature the pan can reach, as the Teflon coating can limit how heat resistant your frying pan is.
The coating of a Teflon non-stick pan will usually become quite damaged if it is exposed to temperatures as high as 500°F. At this point, the coating will begin releasing toxic fumes into the air and breaking apart, rendering the frying pan unusable and unsafe, as well as any food that you may have been using the frying pan to cook.
This should be the only reason you need to always try your best to avoid baking in non-stick pans.
If the pans are enameled or ceramic-coated however, they are usually oven-safe up to 500°F, so you can use these pans instead - although you should always make sure to check that the instructions for use that come with the pan allow it.
Looking on the website of the manufacturer by searching for the model of your frying pan can often give you information on how you should care for your pan, including what it is made of, how long it can withstand the heat of the oven and whether it can be placed into the oven with the temperatures the oven can rise to at all.
This might also give you some information as to other things that may damage the coating of your frying pan, as well as cleaning instructions and general care.
Does it Have Oven-Proof Handles?
Often, it’s not the pan itself that prevents you from using it in the oven - it’s the handle or handles. Materials such as wood and plastic are often used to insulate the handles of pans in order to prevent you from burning yourself on the heated metal.
Plastic and wood are often not oven-safe, however, as wood is flammable and plastic can melt easily at high temperatures, meaning that using pans with plastic or wooden handles in the oven can be dubious, and may cause you damaging either your pan, oven or both.
An excellent alternative to plastic handles are silicone handles, as they are safe to use in the oven, because they can withstand temperatures in the regions of 330°F and 475°F. Rubber handles are another suitable alternative, as they are usually oven-safe - even if the color changes a bit, they’re usually fine and the color change will not affect the functionality of the pan.
Metal handles are safe to put in the oven, alongside cast iron handles, as they can both tolerate high temperatures of up to 500°F - although, you should always be careful before handling them if they have been in the oven, as these types of handles will, of course, conduct heat and be extremely hot as a result, so always wear oven mitts.
Does it Have Detachable Handles?
A lot of the newer, modern models of pans can come with detachable handles.
Detachable handles can be life-changing for some cooks, as they allow you to switch from cooking on the stove to the oven. These are also great as space-saving solutions if you live in a small house or apartment with limited kitchen space, as it means that you don't need to buy separate baking trays and frying pans.
Often they’re super easy to use too - all you need to do is press a button, which allows you to remove the handle, instantly creating an oven-safe frying pan.
If your frying pan has detachable handles, it almost certainly has an increased resistance to heat! This means that your pan is extra safe for a vast variety of ways - it doesn’t just have to be on the stovetop!
Are the Lids Oven-proof?
Lids can be incredibly useful for baking as they can help to keep your food from drying out in the oven and losing all of its moisture, whilst also preventing any liquid from splashing out.
Most frying pan lids are not supposed to go in the oven. This is because they haven’t been designed with this in mind, so the manufactures might not have ensured that all of the materials are oven-safe, even if they are safe for your stovetop.
If your pan lad is stainless steel or cast iron, it has a far greater chance of being oven-safe. There are definitely brands out there with stainless steel or cast iron pan lids that aren’t safe for the oven, however, so always try to check the instructions that they came with or the manufacturers’ website to be sure.
Glass frying pan lids can usually tolerate temperatures up to 400°F. That doesn’t mean that every glass lid can, however, as a lot of glass pan lids will have a plastic handle on the top of them to allow the user to handle the lid when it is on the stove.
The only issue with these plastic handles though, is that they can make glass pans less heat resistant, as the handles can easily melt if in the oven.
Sometimes, you can purchase stainless steel handles for the tops of frying pan lids, and these can replace the plastic handles. Providing that no other components of your frying pan lid are wooden or plastic, you should hopefully be ready!
If you’re not able to use your lid, aluminum foil might be a suitable alternative. As long as it is tightly fitted, the foil will trap the condensation when it tries to escape, leaving it to drip back into the food, preventing it from drying out. It could be an idea to use two layers of aluminum foil in order to ensure that it’s secure.
Which Pans Can Go in the Oven?
The next section will take you through the pans that can and cannot go in the oven, now that we have covered the heat tolerance of each component of the pan. These can vary based on the material that they are made from, and some require to be used specifically.
How Oven-safe Are Non-Stick Pans?
So, as discussed, non-stick pans aren’t usually suitable if you would like to use them to bake at high temperatures.
This is because the Teflon coating used to make these pans non-stick, also known as PTFE, might give off harmful fumes at high temperatures.
Even if you try to replace the plastic handles and remove the glass lids, the coating itself means that the pans will still get damaged if they are exposed to high temperatures whilst they are in the oven. This is caused by the deterioration of the non-stick coating, as it gives off toxic fumes and cracks and breaks if subjected to high temperatures, similar to those of an oven.
This is never good, as the toxic fumes can pollute your food, meaning that it won’t be safe to eat. It’s always a good idea to avoid using non-stick pans for baking so that you don’t waste all of your hard efforts!
A good alternative to using non-stick pans is to line an oven-safe pan with baking parchment or butter before placing it into the oven. The butter and parchment will react the same as when you grease or line a cake tin, helping the delicious item you’ve cooked to remain intact and tasty, just the way you wanted it.
How Oven-safe Are Cast-Iron Pans?
Pans that are made out of cast iron are almost certainly the safest for baking out of all of these options, as they are only made of metal.
Because a cast iron pan doesn’t tend to have any other materials making up any of its components in the same way a regular frying pan does, cast-iron pans are fairly risk-free, and are actually quite often made for use in the oven, as well as on top of the stove.
One important thing to check is that your cast iron pan doesn’t have a plastic handle - this is super rare, but can happen.
If the cast iron pan has a plastic handle, it is unsuitable for use in the oven, and you should refer to any instructions that they might have on the manufacturers’ website to ensure that you don’t cause any damage to your pan, oven or food. Plastic handles can easily melt in the oven, so this definitely needs to be checked.
Similar to the detachable handles, cast iron pans are extremely versatile as they are easily switched from the top of the stove to the oven at a moment’s notice, and they can help you to save cupboard space.
Importantly, they need to be seasoned correctly, as seasoning the pan makes the surface of your cast iron pan non-stick, making it incredibly useful for baking. You can season your cast iron pan by following the directions below:
- In hot, soapy water, give your cast iron pan a good scrub.
- Dry the pan thoroughly, ensuring no moisture is left.
- Next, use either vegetable oil or melted shortening to spread a thin layer over your cast iron pan.
- With your oven at 375°, place the cast iron pan upside down on the middle oven rack. It is a good idea to place foil on the lower rack of the oven in order to catch any drips.
- Allow the cast iron pan to bake for one hour, before letting it cool for an ample amount of time in the oven, so that you don’t burn yourself.
Seasoning your cast iron pan can bring back its luster and prevent it from rusting. The beauty of cast iron pans is that they allow you to avoid all of the wear and tear that can come with traditional baking tins, as well as frying pans.
Keeping up with seasoning your cast iron pan is important, as it’s seasoning them that keeps them maintained and able to work as well as they do. The seasoning is also what prevents your food from sticking to its surface while baking.
How Oven-safe Are Aluminum Pans?
Aluminum is used within cooking all the time - aluminum foil is used to line cookie trays before they go into the oven, for example, or on grills. Cookware that is made out of aluminum is quite often anodized.
This makes the metal both safe to handle at higher temperatures and non-reactive. If your aluminum pan has been treated in this way, it will be safe for baking. Aluminum pans have a very high heat conductivity and are extremely popular for baking in as a result.
Aluminum pans are brilliant for baking, as their high conductivity allows the heat of the oven to distribute evenly throughout the pan. Baking with less conductive materials can lead to colder and hotter spots in different areas of the pan, preventing your food from being cooked evenly.
Cooking and baking can be hard enough as it is, the last thing you want is for your cookware to let you down too!
It’s important to note that cooking with non-anodized aluminum pans can make acidic food taste metallic, as well as cause the cookware to warp and rust, so you should always opt for anodized stainless steel pans.
How Oven-safe Are Stainless Steel Pans?
Stainless steel pans are often both durable and non-reactive, meaning that they are usually safe to use for baking in the oven.
Stainless steel pans are able to take quite high temperatures in the oven, and they’re non-toxic as long as they haven’t rusted. They’re oven-safe, yes, but that doesn’t mean that you should always choose them as your first option for baking in the oven.
Stainless steel pans have one massive downside - unlike aluminum pans, mentioned above, stainless steel pans have a very low conductivity of heat.
This means that heat isn’t distributed evenly throughout the pan, and your food can often end up burnt in some areas and slightly undercooked in others. If you have another option, it’s probably a good idea for you to try that option out first.
How Oven-safe Are Copper Pans?
Copper plans have exceptionally good heat-conducting properties. As a result, copper pans will react quickly, altering their temperature based on adjustments you might make to the oven whilst cooking. Because of this, copper cookware is quite often a go-to for baking, as it gives the cook even more control over the food.
Unfortunately, copper cookware can be expensive compared to other types of cookware, and the reactivity can cause some food to taste like copper as a result.
It is also good to note that whilst copper can be a brilliant choice for baking, it is, of course, a reactive metal, so it can’t really handle very high temperatures as a result. It’s not able to be washed in the dishwasher either, so it’ll need to be taken care of s dictated by any instructions that might come with it.
How Oven-safe Are Ceramic Pans?
Not only are ceramic pans super appealing due to their shiny coating, but they’re a genuinely good choice if you’re looking for some extra flexibility in the kitchen!
Ceramic pans are basically metal pans with a silicone coating. This silicone coating can be called sol-gel and is basically silicone oil. This releases every time that your pan is used in order to create a non-stick surface for cooking.
The silicone coating is on the surface of the pan, and it is used to prevent food from sticking to the pan and resultantly burning. The great thing about ceramic pans is that they heat up gradually this can be super convenient for baking!
Ceramic pans are completely non-reactive, so are especially good for baking more acidic foods.
The shiny coating of ceramic pans means that they’re also able to be used as serving dishes, saving you on washing up whilst allowing you to keep your food looking scrumptious and presentable!
Can I Put my Slow Cooker Pot in the Oven?
Some slow cookers have stoneware inside that can withstand temperatures of up to 400°F, meaning that they would be considered safe for use in the oven. This is all brand-dependent, and so you should consult the manufacturers’ website and manual for the specific brand of slow cooker that you would like to use.
Neither the heating element nor the lid of a slow cooker is safe to use, as they contain materials that can melt, such as plastic.
Despite this, it is always important to use kitchen equipment and cookware in accordance with the directions and any safety instructions that come with the product.
It is important to always be cautious in the kitchen, and when baking with a tool you haven’t used before you should take even more precautions.
Kitchens can be incredibly dangerous, from sharp knives that can cut you if you aren’t paying attention to food poisoning if food items aren’t stored in the fridge properly, or for longer periods of time than they should be.
That’s why we’ve put together a quick guide to precautions you should take in the kitchen, with everything we could think of to help you (and your loved ones) to remain safe.
Don’t Make Assumptions
Don’t ever just assume that your pan or pan lids will be safe for use in the oven. This is particularly true of pans with non-stick coatings such as Teflon, as these coatings can break apart at high temperatures, letting harmful fumes into your home.
They can contain materials that aren’t safe for your oven, as certain materials can tolerate certain temperatures. It is especially important to avoid any pots or pans with plastic or wooden elements.
Sudden Temperature Changes
When cooking with your pan, you should always try to avoid sudden temperature changes, as these can cause breakages or warping.
Sudden changes in temperature can also weaken the base metal of the pan. These temperature changes might take place when you’ve stored a pan in the fridge for a period and then placed it into the oven. When you have stored a pan in the fridge, it is important to always let it rise back up to room temperature before placing it into the oven.
Use Oven Mitts
You should always use oven mitts when taking anything out of the oven. It is also important to use two hards in order to make sure that you don’t drop it.
Using good oven mitts is essential. This is because poor-quality oven mitts may be too thin or not made out of a heat-resistant material, meaning that the heat is able to travel through the mitts and burn your skin.
This can lead to worse injuries, such as the entire thing falling on your foot or spilling out onto another area of your body, causing bad burns.
Keep An Eye
Always set timers and keep a close eye on your food whilst it is in the oven, especially if you are baking in a frying pan. Not taking the appropriate precautions here may leave you with burnt food, or worse. Liquids can sometimes splash or flare up whilst in the oven, so you should always stay close by.
Always pay attention to any utensils you have used for cooking and where you have put them. A stray knife can easily end up on the floor (or in a foot) if it is not paid attention to and brushed off of the side as a result.
Non-stick in Broilers
It is incredibly important to make sure that you never use a pan with a non-stick coating in the broiler. Broiler heat can exceed 500°F quite easily, which will degrade the non-stick coating and release harmful fumes. The direct exposure to the flames of the broiler can increase how rapidly this will take place.
Do not ever put an empty frying pan into an oven. The pan will get extremely hot and start to warp, as it has no food to help distribute the heat to. This is because frying pans are often made of thin metal, so warping can take place quite easily.
Keep loose items such as tea towels, aprons and oven mitts away from any open flames. Take special care to make sure that no items get caught on the door upon closing.
Other loose items that can be dangerous around ovens are the actual items in the pans themselves.
So, the general rule of thumb when trying to determine whether or not your frying pan is oven-safe is to make sure that they aren’t made of any materials that aren’t safe for high temperatures (plastic, wood) and that they don’t have a non-stick coating like Teflon.
Unless the pan you are considering using is completely metal, such as a cast-iron pan, we would advise you to double-check by looking at the manufacture instructions that came with your product or check your manufacturers’ website. It’s always better safe than sorry!