A skillet that can go from stove top to oven (aka an oven-going skillet or oven-proof skillet) is a handy tool for one-pan cooking. But if you've owned your skillet long enough that you no longer have the box or manufacturer's directions, you may wonder if you're using an oven-safe skillet. Recipes like some frittatas, skillet cookies, breakfast skillets, and seared steaks will start cooking in a skillet on your stove, but then finish baking (or possibly broiling) in the oven. If you put a skillet that's not oven safe into a hot oven you may damage the pan permanently. Use our tips to help determine if your skillet can go in the oven.
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Can You Put a Skillet in the Oven?
According to Kristin Billingsley, Senior Director of Product Management at Meyer Corp. (makers of brands such as Anolon, Circulon, and KitchenAid), most cookware is oven safe, but to what maximum temperature depends on many factors.
"What material is the cookware made of? What is the coating on the pan? What is the handle material? What is the lid material? All of the components play a factor in determining if a pan is oven safe and to what temperature or if a pan is broiler safe," says Billingsley.
Our Better Hom Test Kitchen uses these general guidelines to determine if a skillet can go in the oven. First, check the manufacturer's directions. If those aren't handy, they look at the pan's construction. If the pan is all metal (with metal handles, too) it's typically fine for the oven. Avoid putting skillets with silicone handles or other plastic or wood elements in the oven and definitely not under a broiler.
According to Billingsley, "Oven-safe pans are usually made of copper, cast iron, stainless steel or even aluminum," says Billingsley. "As far as broiler safe goes, nonstick cookware is not designed for the high temperatures of a broiler. Wood, plastic, or silicone handles are not broiler safe."
In general, all-metal pans are oven safe to at least 350°F. Mary Rodgers, Director of Marketing Communications at Cuisinart says that holds true for Cuisinart skillets, "All Cuisinart pans are oven-safe up to at least 350°F, but the stainless steel and hard-anodized aluminum collections are oven-safe up to 500°F. Cuisinart's stainless steel lids are oven-safe up to 500°F, and glass lids are oven-safe up to 350°F."
Can You Put a Cast-Iron Skillet in the Oven?
Yes, this is one of the big draws of cast-iron cooking. It is just fine to go from stove to oven or boiler.
What About Enameled Cast Iron?
According to Lodge, their enameled cast iron is oven safe to 500°F. You should be able to bake most anything in enameled cast iron, but note that the typical broiler temperature is 500-550°F so be wary of putting it under the broiler too long.
Check for an Oven-Safe Symbol on Cookware
Perhaps your skillet has a series of icons on the bottom of the pan to indicate what type of burners the skillet is safe for and whether your skillet can go in the oven. Unfortunately, there is no standard on what an oven-safe pan symbol looks like.
"Icons vary. Some include the maximum temperature in the icon. We use a square with an oven inside," says Mary Beth Brault, Group Manager, Corporate and Consumer Communications at Hamilton Beach Brands, Inc.
Though every manufacturer and every pan may have different recommended maximum oven temperatures and icons to indicate that, the next time you need an oven-safe skillet you'll know what to look for. Go ahead and make this frittata or a sweet breakfast popover knowing your pan can handle the heat.