I have an old set of nonstick aluminum pans that have gained scratches and lost their non-stick coating over the past several years.
There's nothing physically wrong with them except for those few microns of Teflon that are flaking off.
I'm wondering if I can scrub off the non-stick coating and season the pan as I do my cast iron skillet (coat with oil, then apply high heat in the oven).
I'd need to remove the handle when seasoning it, but that shouldn't be a problem as they're attached with screws, not rivets.
So - can I get that beautiful dark glossy patina on my aluminum pan, or is it destined to be a food magnet?
Wow, I am going to say no. I haven't research it that mush but my guess is it is a bad idea. Aluminum pans are cheap, I would just pick up a new one.
But to really answer your question. I don't really think you will be able to season an aluminum pan. I have a couple that I saute and pan fry with all the time that, even if I wasn't trying to intentionally season them they should have developed some sort of coating like a cast iron pan or carbon steel wok would do naturally over time.
It is possible that I just wash it to aggressively after use. I would say the only way to really know for sure would be to give it a try. But I wouldn't mess with the non-stick pan. Just buy a new aluminum pan.
I've never heard of seasoning aluminum, but a casual search turned up similar suggestions that it's do-able. On the other hand, it is quite easy to cook in bare aluminum, and I find it easier to scrub of stuff that's seriously burned on, compared to stainless. Restaurants particularly like aluminum cookware because it's dirt cheap and conducts heat extremely well.
Personally, I don't think it's worth the hassle of scrubbing off all the nonstick layer. For something as fragile as a teflon coating, it proves remarkably difficult to fully expunge all traces of the nonstick coating, and the layers that help it adhere to the metal. Let us not forget that these layers contain toxic PFOA, so you'll want to get every last trace gone.
Seems like a bad use of time, when you can buy a brand new, NSF-certified aluminum pan for under $20.
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