Why Do Pans Warp In The Oven?

Have you ever noticed how your baking pans, frying pans, or cookie sheets warp when heated in the oven?

Why do these pans warp in the oven, you might wonder?

You’re not alone if this is the case!

Sheet pans, frying pans, and cookie sheets are all critical necessities for cooking.

We use them regularly for :

  • Tossing them in the oven to bake cookies for our kids’ bake sale,
  • To create a side for our neighbors’ yearly potluck,
  • To polish off a perfect med-rare streak,
  • To wow our coworkers with Christmas delights.

That loud metallic thud you hear in the kitchen, warping, is responsible for:

  • Unevenly cooked brownies
  • Hard and soft biscuits
  • Half-raw roasted veggies you pulled out of the oven.

Poor-quality cookware and improper care are known to cause warping.

Warped pans are not only unattractive, but they also cook unevenly and are hard to clean.

Due to differences in thickness, metal expands disproportionately when heated in the oven or on the stovetop, generating warps on the pan’s surface.

In a nutshell, “heat.”

  • Things that are heated expand like a hot air balloon or popcorn.
  • Due to the rapid application and withdrawal of heat, it is unevenly distributed, causing the warping of the pan.
  • Your pans will be distorted if subjected to high-temperature variations, such as those seen in the oven or cooktop.
  • When metal is heated irregularly by hot spots and cooled, it expands and contracts unevenly. The pan has grown too much for its surface area and deformed into a warped shape, which is why you hear a loud metallic thud at irregular intervals.

Warping is more likely with lower-quality cookware that isn’t thick enough to withstand the heat, such as thin aluminum baking sheets or flimsy nonstick frying pans.

Higher-end sheet pans, such as those constructed of thick-gauge steel and long-lasting nonstick materials, are less likely to distort.

Why does metal warp?

an image of metal wrap

When heated, many materials, including metal, expand.

Heat is energy, and when applied to matter, it alters the atoms that make up the substance.

These atoms are already moving in gases and liquids but not as much in metals and other solids.

Heat causes those atoms to travel faster, and the more space they take up, the more the material expands.

Related Readings: Can Calphalon Pans Go In The Oven – Read More.

What temperature does stainless steel warp?

The melting point of 304 stainless steel is between 2,550°F and 2,650°F (1399°C and 1454°C), according to an AK Steel datasheet.

The closer steel gets to its melting point, the less tensile strength it has.

How do we prevent pans from warping?

You can do a few things to maintain your pans in good shape and prevent them from warping.

The easiest approach to keep pans from warping is to keep them away from sudden temperature changes.

The most common cause of warping is rinsing hot pans in cold water.

Make sure you get pans that are constructed of good materials and are of a decent thickness.

Look for pans that are compatible with your burner and that fit properly to disperse heat evenly.

When it comes to skillets and frying pans, appropriate heating is critical.

This entails allowing time for your pans to heat up before adding food and cooking at the right temperature for the material.

As specified in the instructions, you most likely tossed it away.

How do you stop baking sheets from warping?

When it comes to sheet pans, make sure you clean them thoroughly.

It’s tempting to put your sheet pans in the dishwasher and scrape them with a steel wool pad to make them gleam.

But this is one of the worst things you can do.

Instead, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for hand washing all types of cookware.

Heat your cookie sheets or sheet pans no higher than the recommended temperature.

Before using your frying pans in the oven, double-check that they are oven-safe.

Many aren’t, so you don’t want to finish a steak to unleash a flood of chemicals into it since it wasn’t designed to be baked at 400 degrees.

How to fix a warped baking sheet?

Now that you know how to keep pans from warping, how can you fix one that has already done so?

The simplest solution is to toss a warped pan in the garbage and replace it with a new one.

We’d chalk it up to a learning lesson and make sure it never occurs again if it’s a cheap pan and you can buy a new one.

However, before you throw it away, verify the warranty.

Because warping is nearly often the consequence of usage, most manufacturers do not cover it, but some do, so it’s worth checking.

If you have a costly pan or one you don’t want to part with just yet, you might attempt the Towel Method or the Wood Block Method to return it to its former shape.

The Towel Technique

The Towel Method is the easiest to repair a warped pan and is excellent for minor warping.

Step 1:

Begin by locating a flat, firm surface.

A workbench, stone bench, or concrete floor is the ideal surface.

Step 2:

Place a towel flat on your preferred surface.

This towel will cushion to protect your pan from further harm throughout the procedure.

Step 3:

Cook on low heat for 7 to 10 minutes.

A heated pan is easier to work with than a cold, hard pan.

Step 4:

Place the pan on the towel the same way you would on the stove if the cooking surface is warping upward (toward the ceiling).

Place the pan face on the towel if the cooking surface is curved downward (like a bowl).

Step 5:

To protect the pan, drape another towel over the upward-facing side.

Step 6:

Using a hammer or mallet, gently hit the warped section of the pan until it returns to its former shape.

If it still doesn’t budge, apply more pressure.

To get it perfect, you may need to flip the pan over and tap on the other side for a few minutes.

The Wood Block Method is the greatest option for badly deformed pans.

The Wood Block Approach

The Towel Method follows the same first four steps as the Wood Block Method.

Step 1:

Find a level area to work on.

Step 2:

Place a flat towel on the surface.

Step 3:

Preheat the warped pan on low heat for 7 to 10 minutes.

Step 4:

If the cooking surface is bent upward, lay the pan on the towel with the open side up.

If the cooking surface is warped downward, place the pan upside down.

The Wood Block Method varies in this regard.

Step 5:

Place a flat wooden block over the warped section of the pan instead of a second towel.

It’s best to use a 24 wood stud.

Cut the 24 in half to fit within the pan’s walls and lie flat on the stovetop.

Step 6:

Using a hammer or mallet, pound the wooden block repeatedly until the pan returns to its original shape.

The wooden block distributes the hammer’s power equally over the pan, flattening the whole surface.

You may need to strike different block portions to smooth things out.

Step 7:

Reposition the block until the pan is in its original form.

If you overdid it on the first side, flip the pan over and hit the block on the other side.

Best baking pans that don’t warp

Nordic Ware Commercial Natural Aluminum Half and Quarter Sheets from Baker’s

Nordic Ware baker’s sheets are constructed in the United States of America from high-quality aluminum and are designed to heat rapidly and evenly.

They are sturdy, long-lasting, and rust-free!

Because these sheet pans are composed of aluminum, you can’t clean them with metal utensils or anything abrasive.

They must also be washed by hand.

For about $60, you can acquire two half sheets and two-quarter sheets that will last you a lifetime if properly cared for.

With over 30,000 Amazon ratings and accolades from major publications such as :

  • The New York Times
  • Food and Wine
  • Southern Living

It is the indisputable King of Baking Sheets!

Silpat Premium Nonstick Silicone Baking Sheet (sold by Amazon)

Mostly liked silicone and fiberglass baking mats, such as the Silpat seen above, produced in France.

Baking mats like these may be used hundreds of times before needing to be replaced, and they’re really easy to clean.

Aluminum also conducts heat more efficiently than iron, steel, or most other materials.

It is, in fact, the finest heat conductor typically available in cookware, aside from copper.

Because aluminum can transfer heat rapidly, it can also lose heat quickly.

Once a tray is removed from the oven, you won’t have to worry about the material taking a long time to cool down, radiating heat the entire time.

This process occurs fast, and rapid heat dissipation aids in preventing scorching.

Available on Amazon: NerdChef Ultimate Steel Stone High-Performance Baking Surface for Pizzas – 14.25 x 16 x 1/2 Inches

You want a baking surface that can store and radiate heat energy regardless of what is placed on top of it for pizzas and bread.

You don’t want the temperature of the cooking surface to change (much) after a food item with a lot of mass is placed on top of it.

If the oven is set to 500°F, and the cooking surface is up to temperature.

Because of its capacity to hold heat energy, cast iron is an excellent candidate for this.

This is why thicker examples are occasionally used in place of baking or pizza stones.

Some of the more expensive models, like the NerdChef model, come in 1/4-, 3/8-, and even 1/2-inch thicknesses.

Best nonwarping frying pans

an image of non warping frying pan

Related Reading: Roasting Pan vs. Dutch Pan – Learn More.

Nonstick Frying Pan Set Circulon Radiance Hard-Anodized Circulon Radiance

If you’re looking for a set of high-quality cookware, Circulon’s Radiance Hard-Anodized Nonstick Frying Pan Set is a great option.

For about $80, you can have three frying pans: an 8.5-inch frying pan, a 10-inch frying pan, and a 12.25-inch frying pan.

The frying pan is also oven-safe up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, so that you can use it for almost any cooking task!

This set has a limited lifetime warranty and may be washed in the dishwasher (again, stay away from the dishwasher!)

Anti-Warp Pan, TFal Anodized

The TFal Anodized Anti-Warp Pan is a terrific choice.

It has a hard Titanium nonstick inside with a hot spot indication that allows you to correctly heat your pan and avoid warping!

The pan also has an aluminum core for equal heat distribution and quick cooking times, ensuring that your food doesn’t burn from hot areas.

A lifetime guarantee is included with this frying pan.

It’s also dishwasher safe (though we prefer hand-cleaning), oven safe up to 400 degrees, but just 350 degrees for the lid.

This is a low-cost frying pan, with a 12-inch skillet costing less than 45 dollars.

12 Inch Hybrid Stainless Steel Frying Pan by HexClad

We’ll start with the more expensive choice, which costs about $140.

Gordon Ramsey endorses HexClad, and it’s a fantastic choice for non-warping frying pans.

With a Tri-ply design, the HexClad 12 Inch Hybrid Stainless Steel Frying Pan provides excellent heat distribution and durability.

They employ high-grade stainless steel sandwiched between two layers of even higher-grade aluminum for top-notch cooking.

It’s also nonstick, but here’s the kicker: you can use metal in it!

HexClad is distinguished by its patent-pending laser-etched hexagon design.

HexClad is also PFOA-free, oven safe up to 500°F, and compatible with gas, electric, and induction cooktops.

This is a pan that will serve you for a decade!

Can you use a warped baking sheet or pan?

The fault may not be in the ingredients if you’re scratching your head over every batch of cookies, wondering why some came out flawless while others fell short.

According to Bon Appétit, “a warped sheet pan is never ideal for baking cakes, roasting almonds, or toasting vegetables

Because it creates uneven cooking.

The result will be inconsistent if a sheet section contacts the oven rack but one corner does not.

Your baking sheet may be able to stay around for a little longer, depending on the severity of the bent.

Although minor warping won’t impair your cooking.

If you buy your sheet pans from HomeGoods and use them long after they’ve bent sufficiently to pop and hiss in the oven.

You should replace them with a new, heavier-duty set with a higher rim to help hold it down.

Do stainless steel baking pans warp?

Stainless steel frying pans will warp if heated too quickly or if they come into contact with a cold surface when hot.

To prevent this from happening to your pan, gradually raise the heat and let it cool before touching it.

Non-toxic baking sheets may be made from stainless steel at a reasonable price.

Ensure you don’t leave excessively salty or acidic meals on stainless steel for long periods.

If you do, it may leak dangerous levels of iron and nickel into your diet.

Why do sheet pans bend in the oven?

Every item has an atomic makeup, according to science.

The greater the number of atoms, the more solid it is.

The atom structure of metal molecules is solid.

The atoms may travel quicker and cluster away from the heat source due to the intense heat.

The heat is accumulated on the bottom of the baking sheet, making the borders and inner side the colder side of the pan.

This is why the metal atoms travel farther to the bottom of the pan, allowing the metal to lose its structural integrity through a “passageway.”

On thinner baking sheets, this happens more quickly.

It’s an early warning of a baking sheet going to warp if you hear the metal sheet popping and splitting in the oven.

Buying a thicker baking sheet and monitoring the temperature of your oven are just a few steps you can take to keep your baking sheet from warping.

Related Reading: Best Gas Double Oven – Click Here.

Final Thoughts

The essential thing to know about warped pans is that warping happens when the cookware is subjected to rapid temperature fluctuations.

Thin, single-ply pans made of soft metals like aluminum and copper.

On the other hand, they are more prone to warp than thick, multi-ply pans made of strong metals like steel and hard-anodized aluminum.

Investing in high-quality cookware and taking adequate care is the best method to avoid warping.

When heated, low-quality cookware is more prone to distortion than high-quality cookware.

This implies that if you don’t take adequate care of the weak aluminum frying pan, your grandmother got you for Christmas last year.

It will warp in no time!

Remember not to submerge a hot frying pan in cold water and stick to the manufacturer’s maximum heat specifications.

To extend the life of your baking sheets, pans, and delicate equipment, keep them out of the dishwasher.