The Best Pancake Pan And How To ‘Prove’ Or ‘Season’ It

“You never actually own a pancake pan… you merely look after it for the next generation”…

……with apologies to Patek Phillippe


Non-stick pancake pans are a quick fix – lightweight (literally) rubbish, which soon fail to live up to their promise, and even begin to shed ominous looking black flakes.

Get a pan which will last, which become an old friend, and yes, which you can pass on.

If you can’t find a cast iron pan, blue steel (heat-treated to make it tougher and less brittle and protects against rust) or stainless steel will do.


Things to consider when buying a pancake pan

  • 16cm is a really good size for a pancake pan – not too big and heavy, not too small so the batter spreads out evenly and doesn’t form a ragged edge.
  • you don’t want a pan with an iron handle, it’ll get hot and be difficult to hold.
  • it needs sloping-out sides, with a curve at the bottom, so that it is easier to toss the pancakes
  • don’t use it for anything else except dry-frying seeds, pepper corns, and nuts


How to prove* or season a pancake pan, or a frying pan

You need to ‘prove’ or ‘season’ your pancake pan if it is new, or if you haven’t used it for a bit by:

  • putting a couple of tablespoons of oil and salt in the pan,
  • heating it until it starts to smoke and the salt starts to go black,
  • donning an oven glove,
  • and then (having taken the pan off the heat obviously), using three or four sheets of scrunched up kitchen paper, exfoliating the pan.
  • Clean the pan out using more kitchen paper, but NO WATER OR DETERGENT.


If you are using the pan a lot, and only for pancakes you don’t need to go through this procedure every time. If you haven’t used it for ages do it again before you begin. Thereafter DO NOT USE DETERGENT. The result is a natural ‘non-stick’ finish which should last for a long time.


* the word ‘prove’ is derived in English, via medieval French, from the Latin, ‘probare’, to test or approve, in its turn derived from ‘probus’ meaning ‘good’.


Want to know how to season a wok – go to the excellent Online Cookery School blog – for the best post on how to do just that.



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