How to Season or Re-Season a Cast Iron Skillet

Jan has been cooking and writing about food for over 20 years. She has cooked on multiple television stations, including the Food Network .How to season, re-season, clean, and cook with cast iron cookware. How to season, re-season, clean, and cook with casting iron cooking utensil. Artur Rutkowski via Unsplash ; Canva

Caring for Cast Iron

A cast iron frying pan is one of the most versatile tools you can have in the kitchen. If you take concern of it properly, it will last a lot longer than you will. And, unlike you or me, it will achieve a closely perfect non-stick coat. Want the crispiest fry chicken always ? A gorgeous, crackly cornbread crust ? flush temperatures for trench electrocute ? The perfective parch on a steak ? then cast cast-iron is your supporter. There are some rules, though. Cast cast-iron does n’t like three things : high-acid foods ( like citrus or vinegar ), soap, or water. And even old, well-seasoned pots and pans will need to be re-seasoned over the years to maintain their shininess. Keep these things in mind and you ‘ll have some of the best cooking utensil in the populace .A perfectly seasoned cast iron pan. Oooo—a thing of beauty and wonder! A absolutely seasoned cast iron pan. Oooo—a thing of smasher and curiosity !

How to Rescue a Rusty Cast Iron Pan

sometimes, you might abuse or neglect your shed iron cooking utensil. other times, you might find an old rusty frying pan or early piece of cooking utensil that was n’t cared for correctly. These rescue pieces can be hidden gold, but you have to know how to bring them back to their glory. I had one recently that was brought to me for checkup attention. here ‘s how I nursed it back to glory. note : You can do the same for a new frying pan ; you fair will be removing the protective coating the manufacturer applies to protect a ‘pre-seasoned ‘ frying pan from oxidizing if it comes into liaison with moisture .This is how much cast iron hates water: I was interrupted, so I left the wet pan on the counter for about an hour to do something else. When I came back, the rust had already appeared. This is how much cast iron hates water : I was interrupted, so I left the wet pan on the counter for about an hour to do something else. When I came back, the rust had already appeared .The rusty cast iron skillet before triage. The rust roll iron frying pan before triage .

How to Re-Season Cast Iron

The photograph above shows what an abuse piece of cast cast-iron looks like. It was out of practice, and there were lots of places where the carbon paper seasoning had cracked and was actually flaking off. Since I did n’t want carbon paper dust in my food, I had to do something. All you will need is some steel wool, paper towels or rags, your oven, and some cook oil .

  1. Clean it thoroughly with warm, soapy water. (Note: This is one of the only times you should ever use soap on your cast iron pan!)
  2. Next, you’ll want to break out the steel wool. There’s really only one way to do this: Scrub it to get off the grime. Normally, steel wool is the enemy of cast iron because it does so much damage to a seasoned surface. But that’s what you want here: Scrub until clean.
  3. Next, grab some paper towels or rags and keep rubbing. If you have an old skillet, the Lord only knows what all you’re wiping off at this point.
  4. Note: Some people scrub the outer surface of the pan as well—the part that comes into contact with the burner—which looks nice but isn’t necessary.
  5. Once you’re down past all the rust and carbon gunk (yes, gunk is a technical term), you’re ready to treat that old skillet the same way you’d treat a new one: Preheat your oven to 450 to 500°F, break out some paper towels and a little vegetable oil, and you’re ready to go.
  6. Cover the entire surface (the inside and outside of the pan) with a thin coating of oil. Not too much or you’ll gunk it up again.
  7. Put the pan upside-down in the oven and bake it for an hour at 450 to 500°F.
  8. Remove it from the oven, and once it’s cool enough to handle, rub a paper towel or rag across the surface. If it comes away clean, you’re done. If you’re still pulling off icky stuff, then repeat the rub, oil, and bake process.
  9. Once the towel comes clean, you have a seasoned surface.

How Often Should I Re-Season Cast Iron?

A few times a year, depending on how you use and caution for your pan, you may find the need to re-season your cast iron in the oven .A super-clean, just-scrubbed skillet still releases a LOT of gunk. Keep wiping down with fresh oil and clean paper towels, and you'll get it REALLY clean. A super-clean, just-scrubbed frying pan still releases a LOT of sludge. Keep wiping down with fresh anoint and blank paper towels, and you ‘ll get it REALLY uninfected .The only thing left on this towel is clean oil - the skillet is now truly clean. The only thing left on this towel is uninfected petroleum – the frying pan is now rightfully blank .

How to Season Cast Iron

Before you use a stigmatize new cast iron pan, if it is not pre-seasoned, you will need to season it beginning. The method acting of seasoning a frying pan is the lapp whether you ‘re restoring one or getting a raw one ready for cooking .

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 to 500°F.
  2. Pour a little vegetable oil into your skillet and rub it thoroughly around the interior cooking surface and exterior of the pan, too.
  3. After wiping away any excess oil (which could lead to a too-sticky surface) but leaving a thin coating, you’re ready for the oven.
  4. Put the skillet in upside-down and bake for an hour at 450 to 500°F.

What If My Pan Is Sticky After Seasoning?

It ‘s probably that you used a too-thick layer of oil or that your oven was n’t hot enough .

What’s the Difference Between Seasoning and Re-Seasoning?

“ Seasoning ” is equitable baking anoint into shed iron in a process called polymerization. It gives your cast iron that glistening and glazed black patina and creates a natural nonstick cooking surface that repels corrode. The beginning meter you use an unsalted project iron pan, you ‘ll want to season it first. From then on, you ‘ll want to re-season it any clock carbon paper or sludge builds up or if you ever see any corrode .

What Does “Pre-Seasoned” Mean?

If your frying pan came ‘pre-seasoned, ‘ it will have a protective coat applied by the manufacturer. Some good companies do the season for you ahead of time and petroleum and bake their cooking utensil at the foundry. Lodge, for exercise, has been pre-seasoning all their cooking utensil since 2007. sol if you bought a pan that has been formally ‘pre-seasoned, ‘ you do n’t need to season it before first using it ( although all cast iron pans will need re-seasoning finally ) .

How to Prevent Cast Iron From Rusting

The best way to preserve cast cast-iron is to use it ! every time you cook with anoint, you ‘re adding a layer of good to your pan. If you ‘re cleaning it by rights and avoiding certain ingredients ( see list below ), then the more you use your cast cast-iron cooking utensil, the better and more non-stick the surface will get. It will finally look gorgeous, glazed, and black. The more you use it, the more you ‘ll fall in sexual love with it and find you want to care for it—nice how that happens .
To preserve it, use it!

Tips for Maintaining Cast Iron Pans

To care for cast iron that has already been ‘seasoned ‘ ( it already has a black, screen of bright open that ‘s closely non-stick ), just do the follow :

  1. Don’t cook high-acid foods in cast iron. Chicken piccata is best done in a different skillet. You can use small amounts of acids (like wine, lemon, tomato, or orange juice) without a problem, but try to keep acidic ingredients in check when you’re using your cast iron.
  2. Wash by hand. Never put cast iron in the dishwasher! To clean it, you can use soap if you must, but mostly you’ll just use hot water and a sponge or bristle brush. Use a stiffer brush to remove stuck-on bits. Instead of soap, you can simply rub it with a couple tablespoons of salt. Rinse it well and dry it immediately and thoroughly.
  3. Dry completely and immediately. Remember: Water will rust your cast iron! After washing, heat the pan on the stovetop to get it to dry quickly and fully. While the water is evaporating, use a paper towel to smooth a tiny bit of vegetable oil all over the surface of the pan.
  4. Periodically re-season the surface. On occasion, especially if you use it a lot (or rarely!), rub the interior and exterior of your pan with a thin film of oil, place it upside-down in an oven at 450 to 500°F, and let it sit for an hour.

That ‘s it—give it a little manage, and it will give a bunch back to you .
After washing, heat the pan on the stovetop to get it to dry quickly and fully.
While the urine is evaporating, use a paper towel to smooth a bantam snatch of vegetable anoint all over the inner surface of the pan .

Common Questions About Cast Iron Cookware

What kind of oil should I use on cast iron?

When you ‘re cooking, any petroleum can be used, and the oils of both veggies and meats add layers of luster to your pan. For seasoning, though, vegetable oils set a better and harder finish than animal fats and will besides not get rancid, so I use vegetable vegetable oil. If you do n’t have any, canola oil petroleum or shorten will do .

Can I use soap to clean my cast iron?

If you actually need to, you can use a balmy soap to clean draw iron, but soap is normally not necessary and should be avoided. Remember, your cast iron likes to stay a little oily ! But when you very rarely need to cut the overindulgence grease, a little soap wo n’t hurt .

Can I clean cast iron with water?

It ‘s fine to rinse your cast iron, arsenic long as you dry it quickly and completely and coat it with a thin layer of vegetable oil. Just skip the soap .

Do I need to wash cast iron right away after cooking?

When you do n’t have time to wash the pan right away, what is best : leaving it dirty or leaving it to soak ? You should never leave a roll iron pan to soak. If the food you cooked is n’t acidic, it ‘s fine to leave a greasy pan nightlong .

Should I clean both the inside and the outside of the cast iron skillet?

It is not necessary to scrub and season the external of your cast iron cooking utensil since this surface never comes into contact with your food ( although many people do because they like the direction it looks ) .

Can you ruin a cast iron pan?

It ‘s identical hard to ruin draw iron, but it is possible. Iron is not durable. extreme hotness can bend and warp it, and if it ‘s cracked, it ca n’t be saved. It is possible to ruin a cast iron pan with excessively much rust, but a little corrode is not the end of the world ; it ‘ll good take a fiddling elbow grease .

What kind of cooktop can I use with my cast iron cookware (gas, electric, induction, etc.)?

You can use vomit iron on any type of heat source—flame or electric—except a microwave. It can even be used in the oven or on a clique fire .

Can I use metal utensils with cast iron?

Utensils of any material will work—wood, silicone, or metallic element .

Do you always have to season a new cast iron pan?

If it was not pre-seasoned at the foundry, all modern and unused casting iron cooking utensil should be seasoned before use .

Is it true that I can’t cook any acidic foods?

A little lemon juice or tomato sauce is n’t going to ruin a well-seasoned pan. large amounts of acidic foods can thin the temper and may hasten the necessitate to re-season, but they wo n’t ruin your pan. In fact, cooking highly acidic foods will increase the amount of iron that leaches from the pan into your food, which can be a good thing .

Is cast iron bad for your health (like teflon)?

Cast iron will not leach dangerous chemicals into your food. It may leach cast-iron, but that ‘s a great thing, specially if you ‘re anemic ! Cooking with draw iron can increase the iron message of the food by adenine much as 20 % ; acidic foods increase the release of cast-iron. Shea on December 22, 2018 : I use a much higher hotness. I bake it at 500 Liza from USA on December 19, 2018 : such an concern and intimate article about the casting iron. I need to do to my hurl iron frying pan ! Thanks for sharing.

DanaK on June 19, 2018 : Read Lena ‘s comment below ; she ’ mho correct. Get yourself a stainless steel steel pad, the heavier the gauge the better. My regimen : I cook, transfer the contents to a dish, carry ( use potholder ) the frying pan to the cesspool rejoinder, empty overindulgence oil, rub clean in a circular motion with newspaper towels, then hang it up from a hook on my pan rack. Yes, it ’ randomness silent piping hot but that ’ sulfur fine. It remains season because I don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate allow water system to touch it. I use the united states secret service pad if I overcook and something adheres to the come on. Louise on April 03, 2018 : cautiously followed instructions and frying pan came out with awkward surface Joel on December 28, 2017 : New Skillet here ! Gon na season immediately, per instructions. Do I HAVE to scrub off the manufacterer ’ sulfur “ preseason ” though ? What happens if I don ’ metric ton ? I ’ d have figured my flavorer would lone add to what ’ south already there. Delilah on September 25, 2017 : Interesting information. My founder used to cook with cast cast-iron. Jan Charles (author) from East Tennessee on August 25, 2017 : What an amazing heirloom ! I use mine for precisely the like thing ! Thelma Raker Coffone from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA on August 23, 2017 : I have a cast iron frying pan that is over 100 years old … my grandma used it, my mother, and I have had it for 40 years. It makes the best cornbread ! I have treated it as you said and it keeps working great. Lena Durante from San Francisco Bay Area on May 03, 2017 : personally, I shudder every time I hear about person washing a shed iron pan with soap. I cook everything in cast iron, because it adds iron to your diet. If you ‘ve built up a estimable flavorer through years of regular use, high-acid ingredients are good fine ; in fact, they ensure more iron is transferred into your food. Of run, I besides regularly cook in the same pan with fats, which helps. And if I ‘m ever worried, I just give it a dear rub with petroleum. Cindy on May 02, 2016 : I dug my old vomit iron pan out of the cabinet. Looked all right, no rust, but needed temper. I rubbed vegetable petroleum in the pan, then into the oven at 350 for 1 hour. When I took it out, the vegetable oil feels sticky and I can see revilets of petroleum on the inside, what did I do ill-timed ? besides much anoint ? Cindy Annie on February 24, 2016 : A few years ago. I bought at a parsimony patronize a old cast iron kettle hole, that has a manage, that I want to bake boodle in. It besides came with the eyelid. It looks clean, glistening and smooth on the inside bed. Out side looks like dark mold cast-iron. Is that what the inwardly should look like ?, does any one think something nasty was used inside, which makes it unhealthy to use this ? ? ? I have two identical previous frame iron modest pans that I have not had any luck using to cook evening eggs in ! I have seasoned those besides. What could I be doing incorrectly, that makes me NOT like using these two skillets ? Thank you, Annie kitkat1141 from Ontario, Canada on March 06, 2013 : With all of the chilling information out there about not stick pans, I constantly use my cast iron frying pan ! I looove them. Nothing brown kernel quite like a cast iron. I have bought several at flea markets, including corn boodle ones. The alone thing I do n’t like is how heavy they are to lift out of the oven ! ! Jan Charles (author) from East Tennessee on February 25, 2010 : I ‘m therefore glad ! Give it a try – you ‘ll fall in love with hurl iron. It ‘s indeed easy to use once you know the tricks, and works american samoa well or better than most ‘high end ‘ cooking utensil ! askjanbrass from St. Louis, MO on February 24, 2010 : I ‘ve constantly been very intimidated by cast iron cooking materials, barely because I had this theme that they take then much work to clean, etc. But this article is surely eye-opening, and I ‘m going to reconsider making a purchase ! Thanks for the boost. Jan Charles (author) from East Tennessee on February 22, 2010 : estimable point J.S. ! I tend to use a identical sparse film of oil, so I have n’t had one dribble in a while, but you ‘re right ! I love my cast iron – I inherited some amazing old pieces – my pride and joy is a 150+ corn joint pan that was my fourth great grandma ‘s. No pull the leg of. And yes – lodge rocks ! As a tennessean I take great pride in it ! It ‘s my favored excessively ! JS Matthew from Massachusetts, USA on February 21, 2010 : well, Dixie, you ‘ve hit a soft-spot here ! I am an avid exploiter of Cast Iron. My inaugural exposure to it was in the Boy Scouts as a child. I never truly grew up with Cast Iron in the base but once I moved into my own place, I began to purchase “ bleak ” ( unseasoned ) Cast Iron Cooking Supplies ; I prefer the “ Lodge ” brand as it is made in the USA. I ‘ve got quite a collection now and I have most of all the sizes and styles of pans, minus the “ fancy ” ones. I have a great Grill Press, Dutch Ovens, Frying Pans of diverse sizes, and other things. I have a couple of pans in the basement that need to be seriously repaired … possibly this summer ? anyhow, capital Hub ! One thing that I would like to add, is that when you are seasoning the pans in the oven, it is a full thing to turn the pans upside down and put Aluminum Foil on the bottom of the oven to catch the drippings. This can be smokey & fetid, so proper breathing is necessary ! capital job ! Jan Charles (author) from East Tennessee on February 20, 2010 : I ‘ve heard that – just have n’t tried it. It ‘s a good mind – I personally HATE touching steel wool – and it will kill a manicure. LOL ! I normally bribe person with bake goods to do that separate for me, cause steel wool will poke right through rubberize gloves.

Great estimate ! Devil Anse on February 20, 2010 : very commodity advice but if you do not want use steel wool, you can toss the cast-iron piece into a a wood burn and roast the slice well. This will burn off all of the sludge and when taken out of the arouse the clean up is much easier. then it is time to season. Got this from my 94 year old grandfather .

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