Ovens are some of the most priceless equipment in the kitchen. However, ovens can also be disastrous when you are clueless about the right pans to use. Using pans that are not oven-safe can result in the burning of food, melted handles, and toxic fumes from the burning. So, which are the best oven pans for long cooking under heat? Whether you love cooking as a hobby or looking to start cooking professionally., here is a comprehensive guide on oven pans. You will surely pick a thing or two to make you a master of the appliance. Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
How to identify pans that are safe for the oven
· Oven mark- the simplest way to identify an oven pan is through an oven mark sign, usually on the bottom of the pan. Most brands are keen to indicate that the pan is oven safe and the temperatures it can withstand. Any oven pan that is marked as a baking dish is also safe for use in the oven.
· Check for any plastic material- the handles of an oven pan should never be made with plastic. Plastic quickly burns under high temperatures producing toxic fumes and ruining tour oven and food.
· Non-stick exterior and interior coating- oven pans are usually made from non-stick coatings such as Teflon.
· Check with the manufacturer- it’s effortless to seek confirmation from the manufacturer on the temperature the oven pan can withstand.
· Check for the material- there are different materials used in making pans but cannot be used to make oven-safe pans. All materials react differently when exposed to high temperatures. Let’s take an in-depth look at it.
Which materials should be used for an oven pan?
i. Metals- most metals can withstand high temperatures. However, not all metals are safe for use in the oven. Some metals release toxic chemicals when exposed to extremely high temperatures. Some metals suitable for oven pans include cast iron and stainless steel.
These materials are full metal and do not depend on non-stick coating such as Teflon. They are coated using fats and oils, which can withstand high temperatures without burning. Aluminum is also a great option since its very light in weight and has good thermal conductivity. Aluminum however, needs to be mixed with other metals for strength.
ii. Ceramic- ceramics are safe for oven pans since they can withstand extremely high temperatures. However, ensure that the pan does not have adhesive designs that can melt. The pans should also not be glazed.
iii. Silicone- oven pans made using silicone can withstand temperatures of up to 450 degrees f. They are not only safe for the oven but also the microwave. Silicone oven pans are available in different shapes and sizes.
iv. Oven safe glass- This is glass that is specially designed for use in the oven. Not all glass can be used in the oven. Also, oven pans made of glass should not be placed in cold water immediately. The glass may crack if exposed to extreme temperatures directly.
Materials to avoid
i. Plastic- plastics burn when exposed to high temperatures. Although some plastic materials claim to be safe for the oven, they can be challenging to identify. Its recommended avoiding plastics all the same.
ii. Wood- unless you are trying to light up your oven, wooden pans should be avoided at all costs. The heat from the oven also causes wooden cookware to warp. The pans may also split when the heat comes in contact with high temperatures.
Why should you use oven pans?
· To avoid damage- using pans that are not safe for your oven can damage the pan and the oven.
· For health purposes- pans that are not safe for your oven may burn to release toxic fumes that are not safe for your health. These fumes may also contaminate your food leading to poisoning.
· To avoid fire hazards- using a pan that is not safe for use in the oven can lead to a fire hazard. For instance, when the wood or plastic handles starts burning.
What should the handles of oven pans be made of?
· Silicone- this material is a good conductor of heat; hence it can withstand high temperatures. Be keen to use oven mitts however, since these handles can burn.
· Metal- metals generally have low thermal conductivity. They take longer to heat up, unlike other materials. They are the best for handles. They also last longer than silicone handles.
Uses of oven pans
Oven pans are simply used in the oven for recipes that require long slow cooking. Oven cooking is ideal for such recipes since it distributes the heat around the pan for even cooking. Pot roasts, braised meats, and pancakes are some of the simplest uses of oven pan in cooking.
Some oven pans also double up as regular cooking pots that can be used on the stove. Talk about killing two birds with one stone. So, if you are on a budget, you may want to look out for these pans.
How to make regular pans oven pans
What happens when you don’t have an oven pan, but your recipe requires tossing the food in an oven? You can improvise with your pan but with a few workarounds. Most materials, for instance, aluminum that is used in making other pans can withstand high temperatures. The only problem should be the plastic handle. Here is how you can prevent a plastic handle from burning.
· Wrapping the handle with aluminum foil breaks the heat that reaches your handle since aluminum is a low thermal conductivity. You can double or triple the layers for ultimate protection.
· Using paper towels and a double layer of aluminum foil- wetting the paper towels is recommended. Ensure that the paper towels are entirely soaked so that the moisture does not evaporate before the cooking elapses. The double layer of aluminum foil adds protection.
· Use temporary silicone handle covers- silicone can withstand the heat of up to 450 degrees. It takes longer to heat up, therefore safe for use in the oven.
Not every pan is an oven pan. You always need to be sure you are using an oven pan before putting it in the oven for safe cooking. Make sure, therefore, that you check on the material, heat limit, and the oven mark. I hope that the discussion we had will shape your decision when shopping for an oven pan. You can also change your regular pan into an oven pan if you do not have one.