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Old 09-20-2016, 06:33 PM
Rucksinator Rucksinator is offline
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Location: Kentucky
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"Seasoning" a cheap stainless steel muffin pan

A while back I decided to make some muffins so I went to Wal-Mart and bought a cheap muffin pan for $.88 and, since I'm cheap, some canola oil instead of Pam (spray-on food-release oil). Soon after I discovered that "stainless" does not mean "rustless".
Back in the day at the pizza place that I worked at I remembered that when we got some new pizza screens, and the first thing we did was spray them down with food-release oil and run them through the oven several times until they went from a shiny silver color to more of a copper color.
Would it be wise to coat my pan in canola oil and put it in the over for a while? Or are my only options to clean and dry it quickly or buy a better pan? If I can, any recommendations on temperature and/or time?
Old 09-20-2016, 06:43 PM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is offline
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Location: State of Jefferson
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Stainless Steel means it stains less is all ... but for 88¢ at Wal-Mart it's probably half lead anyway.

A good quality muffin pan for 12 muffins in stainless will run you about $25 ... I've never heard of seasoning stainless ... cast iron, yes ... but never stainless ...
Old 09-20-2016, 06:54 PM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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Location: Milwaukee, WI
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It would probably be wise to either use it a few times and toss it when it falls apart or return it since the quality is so low that it rusted after, what, one use?

I'm gonna guess it's not trully stainless steel but some other metal clad with SS. Either that or it's rusting around some weld spots or places where it's scratched.

As watchwolf said, a good quality SS pan is a bit more. I'm seeing them on Amazon for $15-$20. I have some non-stick muffin pans by Wilton that I really like and I see them on Amazon for about $10.
So use it a few times, get your 88 cents worth and toss it.

And don't season it. It's just going to rust more. I'm guessing at the pizza place they're were just cleaning it/burning off any chemical residue. Not accelerating the rusting process.
Old 09-20-2016, 06:54 PM
Bones Daley Bones Daley is offline
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Originally Posted by watchwolf49 View Post
Stainless Steel means it stains less is all ... but for 88¢ at Wal-Mart it's probably half lead anyway.
No lead ...molybdenum, chromium, nickel, but no lead.

The cheapos are type 304 stainless, which corrodes, the expensive ones are type 316 stainless, which doesn't.
Old 09-20-2016, 07:01 PM
Francis Vaughan Francis Vaughan is online now
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Location: Adelaide, Australia
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Seasoning involves filling pores in the metal with what amounts to polymerised oil. Cast iron needs this. SS not really.

I like to joke that there is actually no such thing as stainless steel. There are corrosion resistant steels, but you can make any SS stain with the right level of abuse. Real stainless steel has a significant chromium content that forms a protective oxide layer. Adding nickel improves the corrosion resistance in the face of chloride attack - which is important once the temperature gets much above room temperature if there is salt around. 18/8 or 316 are the typical nickel chrome SS variants you will see. There is no way at all that 85 cents gets you something made of 316. Cheaply chrome or nickel plated maybe. Nickel plate looks enough like SS that you may be fooled.
Old 09-20-2016, 08:22 PM
Rucksinator Rucksinator is offline
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Location: Kentucky
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Thanks to everyone for the responses.

I put "seasoning" in quotes because I figured that what people do with cast iron skillets was different than what we were doing with the new pizza screens, but didn't know a better term to use (caramelizing? IIUC, we were basically baking a layer of vegetable oil onto them so that food wouldn't stick. I have no idea if rusting would have been a problem if we hadn't done this.)

As far as I know, the only similarities between the pizza screens and my muffin pan is that they both started out with a silver color.

Unless anyone tells me that this would be dangerous (i.e. the equivalent of mixing ammonia and bleach), I think I'm going to do a science experiment with canola oil and an 88 cent pan. What have I got to lose? I'm using the oven to cook other food anyway.
Old 09-20-2016, 09:26 PM
mmmiiikkkeee mmmiiikkkeee is offline
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There's no need to do a science experiment; seasoning cook ware is well established and you'll not be adding any new knowledge by spraying down a cheap muffin tin with canola oil and heating it up.

Here is one of the many web pages out there; I used the advice here and seasoned a cast iron pan; worked out well. Realistically you'll probably pay more for just the oil you put on the muffin tin than the entire thing is worth, let alone the time and effort.
Old 09-20-2016, 10:12 PM
Ethilrist Ethilrist is offline
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Sounds like it might be time to spend another $.88.
Old 09-21-2016, 02:30 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Do you use paper muffin cases? If you do, the presentability of your muffin tin suddenly matters not at all.
Old 11-17-2017, 09:22 PM
SDUser2017 SDUser2017 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 1
I seasoned my $0.88 Walmart muffin pan with flax oil and it transformed it

I see there are a lot of opinons bouncing around here, none of them useful. This was the only thread I could find on the subject. I have seasoned heavy cast iron pans and my homemade 1/4" pizza steel and gotten great results. The first time I used this cheap muffin pan, the muffins stuck badly, and broke to pieces trying to get them out. I used paper liners the next time, and that worked, but the paper, even though I oiled it heavily, pulled off some of the nice browned outsides of the muffins, and is a hassle to remove. With the 12-cup nonstick muffin pan I have, I can simply butter the cups and top of the pan and get nice browned muffins that release with a butter knife used to pry up one edge. I wanted that with this 6-cup pan so I can make muffins in my 12" wide toaster oven. The pan fits perfectly so I thought I'd try seasoning it like cast iron. There is a good page that tells how to season a stamped steel sauté pan here––How to Season a Carbon Steel Pan. I applied some left-over flax oil, the preferred oil for seasoning steel, with a silicone brush, to the preheated pan, and let it bake at 500ºF for 15 minutes. I repeated this several times and I noticed the congealed polymer was wavy and uneven. I tried reducing the thickness by heating it until the oil smoked. I ended up with a burned mess with black carbon scales that would not come off even with coarse stainless steel wool. Next, I bought a new pan––that's the great thing about the $0.88 price, and started over. This time I applied a very thin film of oil with a cloth, covering the entire top surface––the cups and the top flat surface, and baked it at 400ºF this time. I repeated this several times until I got a fairly thick layer of varnish-like polymerized oil. I then baked it until the oil turned blackish and was no longer 'tacky'. The oil is now fairly smooth, though I could have gone easier on the the amount I put on at a time. It has some 'blemishes'. I then baked a batch of blueberry muffins in the toaster oven, heavily buttering the pan's cups and top surface, and much to my surprise and delight, they came out of the cups just like they do with the more expensive non-stick pan, that doesn't fit the toaster oven. It feels good to transform a cheap PRO-stick pan into a cheap NON-stick pan using old time cast iron seasoning techniques.
Old 11-19-2017, 08:43 AM
bob++ bob++ is offline
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Worcestershire UK
Posts: 5,710
I have a steel wok that I bought about 30 years ago and used maybe 50 times a year. I had no experience of woks at the time, so I did some research which told me that non-stick was a waste of money and steel needed seasoning. It also told me that I should not over-clean it, so after use, I scrub it with a kitchen brush, dry it, wipe it with some oil and heat it up on the stove until it smokes. The outside is black but the inside is still fine.


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