Learn how to properly season red copper pans

Written by Luisa Davis on . Posted in Cookware

Are you more than a bit annoyed by the sometimes arduous process of red copper pan cleaning? While many people understand how to season a cast iron skillet or even a stainless steel skillet, the knowledge of how to season a red copper pan is somewhat rare. 

I personally love red copper skillets because they are free of the chemical chips that can make their way into your foods if you use something like Teflon and they are very attractive aesthetically. The chief issue with this type of pan is that so few people know how to clean red copper pan because high-protein foods tend to stick to the pan’s surface, which is why I’ve decided to create this how-to guide.

Why You Should Consider Red Copper

Red copper isn’t just the latest cookware craze. In fact, there are more than a few advantages to cooking with this type of cookware that branch out significantly from just cool looks. First, it’s essential to know that many manufacturers blend the copper with other materials like ceramics to increase the nonstick properties, but this isn’t always the case.

Outside of the blend, here are a few additional benefits to using this type of skillet or pan:

  • It’s anti-scratch – If you’ve gotten used to Teflon, then you probably have gotten used to avoiding scratching the pan’s surface with things like metal forks, knives, and steel wool. This isn’t just a way to keep your Teflon looking nice, it’s required for safety, but it can be a bit annoying having to be so fastidious. Red copper pans are naturally scratch-resistant, and if a scratch does occur, you won’t have to worry about chemicals making their way into your foods.
  • Most can be used in the oven – Many of these products have an upward heat tolerance of about 500 degrees Fahrenheit, which means that you should easily be able to place your pan in the oven. This is perfect for preparing a great steak because you can heat it to an optimal internal temperature and then transport it to the stove top to finish it off.
  • You won’t necessarily need oil or butter – These are naturally nonstick pans, so cleaning can be much easier than cleaning other types of pans. That being said, seasoning makes them even easier to clean and cook on.
  • They are very strong – Copper is a very strong and lightweight material, so flipping omelets and other foods are very easy to do with a good red copper pan. Also, if an accident does occur, you can depend on one of these pans withstanding the occasional drop without suffering so much as a ding.

Red Copper Pan Seasoning Instructions

When my red copper pan is sticking, it’s a fairly simple process to restore its nonstick properties. While this material is fairly nonstick, over time, problems can occur, which is a why a good seasoning layer is very useful. For this process, you’ll need a few key ingredients:

  • About a tablespoon of oil with a high smoking point
  • Oven mitts
  • Soap
  • Warm water
  • Paper towels

The first thing that you need to do is to clean the pan thoroughly. When I’m starting the seasoning process, I don’t trust my dishwasher to do the job.

The first thing you’ll want to do is heat the water coming from your faucet so that it’s slightly hot – for this part, I use rubber gloves to protect my hands from the heat. Next, with a mild dish detergent, I scrub the ENTIRE surface of the pan so that there’s not even a little bit of oil or food stuck on the surface. For this, I sometimes use a sponge with a scrubbing surface.

Once it looks good, give the red copper pan a final rinse and either let it dry in the drain for about 10 to 20 minutes or use some paper towels to ensure that it’s perfectly dry.

After the pan has dried, turn on your stove top and bring the heat to medium. Coat the pan with a layer of the oil – I tend to use grapeseed oil for this, but sesame oil or peanut oil also has a high enough smoking point to work well. When coating, make sure that every aspect of the pan’s internal surface is covered, which is why I usually opt to use an oil-soaked paper towel when I’m seasoning to work the oil onto the surface of the copper.

Once you’ve got a good coat, you can place the pan on the heated stove top. At this point, you’ll want to heat the oil for about three to five minutes or until the pan starts to smoke. When working through the seasoning process, I always use an oven mitt because the pans can get fairly hot.

After the pan starts to smoke, it’s time to drain any excess oil that is left over. Once semi-dry, wait for the pan to cool down until it’s warm to the touch but not scalding hot, which should take about 15 minutes. When this is done, use a dry paper towel or cloth to dab away any excess wet oil from the surface of the pan. At this point, your pan is now seasoned and ready to be used in your next recipe!

How to Keep Your Seasoned Red Copper in Good Shape

You’ll need to perform some basic upkeep to protect your seasoned red copper pans from damage. First, while red copper is known for its durability, it’s a good idea to use either a cloth or paper towel so that you can prevent scratching of the surface or the seasoning layer. To do this, once the pan is dry after you’ve used it, place a cloth or a paper towel atop its surface. This will provide a layer that will prevent other pots and pans from grinding against the surface and causing damage.

Additionally, avoid soap after you’ve seasoned your pans. Dish detergent is designed specifically to cut grease and oil, so if you’re using it on seasoned pans, you are just removing the polymerized oil from the surface, which just wastes the time you spend seasoning it. To clean these skillets and pans easily, just use a paper towel on mild messes, and if the pan is really messy, take a dab of oil and salt and grind away any of the food that might have accumulated on the pan’s surface.

Seasoning provides a protective layer, but this shielding does require periodical upkeep to maintain the performance. For this reason, you’ll need to season your pans again at least every few months so that it can last as long as possible. Additionally, in my experience, seasoning one of these pans as soon as you buy it will greatly extend its lifespan, so start this process right out of the box.

Perfect Steaks on a Red Copper Skillet

To be honest, I find it amazing the sheer amount of “perfect” steak recipes there are out there. Most likely, the reason for this is that the concept of perfect is very subjective. That being said, a pan that can be transferred to or from the oven can make some truly delicious steaks, which is why I wanted to show you a recipe for my favorite kind of steak using a red copper skillet.

It’s important to note that steak, which is very high in protein, is one of those foods that just loves to stick to pans. This is why using a seasoned pan is perfect for this recipe – the excess steak will just slide off with a paper towel!

Ingredients

  • One one-inch thick cut of steak
  • Garlic butter to taste
  • Two tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

You don’t need a whole lot of ingredients for this recipe – it’s all in the prep. The common line of thinking says to sear your steak on the stove and then place it in the oven to finish, but this recipe flips this common way of preparing your steak on its head. Instead, you’ll be baking the steak for a few minutes before skillet-searing it.

Coat the steak in salt and pepper, and throw it in a 275-degree Fahrenheit oven. You’ll need a thermometer to judge when the steak reaches 125 degrees Fahrenheit, but when it does, you’ll want to immediately transfer it to the stove top. Let it sit there for about fifteen minutes before turning on the heat. Cook it for about one minute per side. Add the garlic butter to the top, and you’ll have one of the best steaks in your life.

Final Thoughts

I hope this guide on how to season red copper pan helps you make the meal preparation process simple and easy. Red copper pans are very convenient and are known for their lastingness, so I hope that this seasoning technique helps you make thousands of meals that are absolutely scrumptious.

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Luisa Davis

Luisa Davis

Luisa Davis is a frelance writer and foodie based in Portland, California. Though raised on her mother's homestyle Italian cooking, she has spent most of the last five years traveling and immersing herself in other countries' cuisines. Her work have been published in various publications, both online and offline.

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