The ability to transfer your skillet from the stovetop to the oven can be incredibly useful.
You can quickly sear meat, for example, then slide it into the oven to achieve results that are more tender.
What if you’ve inherited a skillet though? Perhaps you’ve never really used the one you bought before, and no longer have the manual.
It’s important to make sure that all elements of this piece of cookware have been designed for oven cooking.
Here’s what you can do to check whether you skillet is oven safe or not:
- Check the bottom of the skillet
- Read the manual (or check online)
- Contact the manufacturer
(If you want to explore more of my cookware content, take a look at the home cookware guide I have on the site.)
Important – Oven Safe Temperatures
Before I go on, I want to cover an important point.
Not all oven safe skillets are created equal.
It’s one thing to be able to put a skillet in the oven, it’s another to be mindful of the maximum temperature that any given skillet can tolerate.
These temperature ceilings vary from 350F / 177C to 500F / 260C – or even higher.
You won’t often get a lid with a skillet either. If you do though, make sure the temperature tolerance of the lid matches the pan. If they’re different, use both accordingly.
Step #1 – Check The Bottom Of The Skillet
Assuming the skillet hasn’t been damaged or scratched too much, check the underside of the cookware.
Many manufacturers etch the oven safe status of their cookware into the bottom of their skillets.
This is the easiest way to check if a skillet is oven safe, and if you’re very lucky you’ll need to read no further than this!
Step #2 – Read The Manual (Or Check Online)
So, you haven’t had any success checking the bottom of the skillet. What’s next?
If you still have the owner’s manual for the skillet, it will almost certainly contain information about its oven safe status.
If you don’t see anything in there, it is much better to assume the skillet is not oven safe. In this case, reach out to the manufacturer for clarification (see the next step below)
No owner’s manual? Try checking the internet.
Assuming you at least know the brand of your skillet, jump onto Amazon and search for it there.
Amazon’s the best place to start, simply because it has the widest variety of cookware from all the major brands. Yours isn’t guaranteed to be listed, but it’s the best possible start.
Next, check the product listing itself.
Oven safety is a crucial component of choosing a skillet, and I cannot recall a time where this information wasn’t displayed prominently in the product listing.
Step #3 – Contact The Manufacturer
Assuming you’ve at least got a lead in the form of a brand name, reach out to the manufacturer’s customer support.
Make sure you include a couple of images in your email when you do this though.
Snap a couple of pics of the entire skillet from a couple of different angles. Include a close-up that shows any model branding as well, even if it’s scratched or burned.
If the brand markings are no longer visible in any way, you’ll need to do a little extra sleuthing before reaching out.
You can try searching through Google Images for popular skillets, for example. Alternatively, consider posting on a forum like Reddit.
There is always someone out there who’ll at the very least recognize the brand – maybe even the exact model if you’re really lucky.
What Makes A Skillet Oven Safe Or Not?
I hope that one of those steps will lead you to the answer you need!
What are the factors that make a skillet oven safe though?
If you’re in the market for a new skillet, here are a few things you might like to think about when shortlisting your options.
Exterior Skillet Materials
Not all cookware materials are suitable for use in the oven.
Skillets that have been constructed with the following materials are often – but not always – safe to use in an oven though:
- Cast Iron
- Stainless Steel
Why did I say “not always” just above though?
The reason is that there are other components to a skillet.
The handles need to be able to tolerate high temperatures for example. If you have a lid for your skillet, it needs a handle or knob that won’t melt.
Interior Skillet Coatings
Non-stick coatings are fantastic for hassle-free cooking, but it’s crucial you check that coating can tolerate oven cooking.
Even if a non-stick skillet can be used in the oven, you should expect a lower temperature tolerance.
Check the manual or online product listing carefully before working with this sort of cookware.
These can often be the weak point when it comes to the oven safety of any skillet.
If the handle has any kind of protective covering, it’ll definitely be more comfortable to handle – especially when full.
If it’s not made of a truly heat-tolerant material though, the whole skillet will be incompatible with oven cooking.
There are some solutions if you want to keep your hands cool!
These do a particularly good job of withstanding high temperatures. They’re also comfortable to hold and carry as well.
As always, make careful note of the maximum temperature on the product listing. These things can take a lot of heat, but always work within the manufacturer’s recommendations.
The flipside of silicone handles?
They have a tendency to fade over time, and after exposure to a lot of heat. They’ll still be very effective, they just won’t look quite as appealing as they did when they were fresh out of the box.
If you just want to reduce the heat of bare handles on the skillet you already own, there is another option.
Removable silicone sleeves are readily available from the usual online marketplaces. These make transferring hot skillets from the stove to the oven much easier.
Just make absolutely sure you remove them before closing the oven!
That should be everything you need to work out if your skillet is oven-safe or not.
Once you’ve done so, just make sure you check the temperature tolerance of your cookware.
Mark’s a lifelong food fanatic and spent ten years working as an entertainment journalist. He now combines his love of food, drink and writing as the founder and editor of Viva Flavor. Read more