How To Keep Seasoning From Sticking to the Pan (5 Tips)

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A foolproof seasoning blend is the secret to excellent home-cooked meals, but what to do if most of that seasoning sticks to your pan and not your food? Having to scrape off layers of seasoning from your pan costs you time and money and results in less flavorful food. However, the good news is that this problem is easily amended by taking proper care of your cooking pans. 

Here are five tips to keep seasoning from sticking to the pan:

  1. Dry foods before cooking.
  2. Always make sure your pan is clean.
  3. Preheat your pan before cooking.
  4. Use the proper oil for your pan.
  5. Turn up the heat and take your time.

After reading this article, you’ll be armed with a handful of tips helpful for making sure that you end up with fully seasoned foods and an easy-to-clean pan. Let’s get started!

1. Dry Foods Before Cooking

An easy way to keep your seasoning (and food) from sticking to the pan is to pat foods dry before seasoning them or putting them directly into the pan. This is especially important when cooking fish and meats but can also be helpful when cooking eggplant steaks or jackfruit. 

At the most basic level, all this means is patting your meats and veggies dry with a paper towel before putting them in the pan. This allows the oil in the pan and any non-stick surfaces to do their jobs best. 

You can also level up your game by dry-brining your meat. This method is a bit more involved, but it allows you to introduce a level of flavor similar to marinade without all the messy hassle of wet ingredients. 

There are many simple dry-brine recipes out there, but if you’re pinched for time or want to have your own tried and true dry-brine mix at the ready, you can always check out this Plymouth Rocks Dry Brine Mix (available on Amazon.com) from Boston Spice. 

2. Always Make Sure Your Pan Is Clean

It sounds silly to suggest that a clean pan is one of the most straightforward ways to stop seasoning from sticking to your pan, but there’s more to cleaning a pan than just running a soapy sponge across the surface. 

Depending on the type of pan you have, you might not be caring for it properly. Different kinds of pans have different needs, and improper pan-cleaning could be the culprit to your sticking woes. Even a tiny amount of residual food or cleaner can cause other particles of food to stick to the surface of your pan. 

This guide to cleaning every kind of pan walks you through some great tips on cleaning your pans. Regardless of the method you use to wash your pans, there is always a chance that a small amount of residual food will remain. Make it a habit to give your pans a quick wipe before putting anything in them. 

3. Preheat Your Pan Before Cooking

Many of us remember to preheat our ovens before cooking, but preheating your pan is a step that many people forget. Preheating your pan before putting anything in it allows the pore of the metal pan to open up and allow oil to absorb into its surface. 

Even non-stick pans need a bit of preheating before using them for cooking, so be sure not to forget this critical step. 

4. Use the Proper Cooking Oil for Your Pan

There are so many types of oils on the market. Knowing which one to use for your cooking pan is key to making sure your seasoning and food don’t end up stuck or burnt to the bottom of your pan. 

To choose a cooking oil, look at the smoke points. The smoke point is the temperature where fat is no longer stable and starts to burn. Choose higher smoke points for foods that require more heat to create a sear. 

Olive oil, such as this Extra Virgin Cold-Pressed Oil by Pompeian (available on Amazon.com), is an excellent high-smoke point, flavorful oil to use in various cooking recipes. 

Another type of oil, Avocado oil, has a slightly nutty flavor and compliments a variety of foods as well. This Avocado Oil by Chosen Foods (available on Amazon.com) has a high smoke point and tastes great on its own in salads or used as cooking oil. 

Not sure what the smoke points are of the oils in your kitchen? This guide shows several healthy oils and the smoke points of each type. 

5. Turn Down the Heat and Take Your Time

Another tip to keeping your seasoning from sticking to your pan is to turn down the heat and take your time when cooking. We often bounce between too little time and too much heat. This leaves us with food that’s burned but raw on the inside. Stepping back a bit and letting foods cook enough so that the food releases itself from the pan is another way you can avoid food and spices getting stuck on your pans.