Caring For Cast Iron

Cast iron sometimes gets a bad reputation as hard to care for. If you’ve never used a cast iron skillet before, rest assured: once you’ve done a few simple first maintenance steps, cast iron is even easier than caring for a special nonstick coated skillet.castiron


Before you use your cast iron skillet for the first time, it needs to be seasoned. Seasoning is a process of creating a natural non-stick surface, and it’s very easy. All you have to do is cover the entire skillet (including the handle and the outside) with cooking oil, and bake it for an hour at 350 degrees. It probably won’t emerge with the shiny look that it will develop later, but that’s okay. Simply dry it with a paper towel when it cools, and you’re ready to go.

As you use your cast iron skillet, you can season it as often as you like. If you notice that food has begun to stick more often, you see rust on your skillet, or your skillet is showing some scratches in the seasoned surface, scrub the old seasoning off with steel wool and follow the same process to re-season.

Daily Care

You should not use soap on a cast iron skillet, and it’s not best to set it to “soak”. Instead, it’s best to rinse a cast iron skillet or pot with hot water right after cooking. In most cases, this is all you need. Wipe dry with a paper towel and you’re done. However, if there is some burnt food stuck to the skillet, you may need to use a bit of coarse salt or a non-metal brush to scrub it away.

Storing your cast iron is very easy. If you want to keep dust off the surface, use a paper towel to cover it; but otherwise, you don’t need anything to protect your skillet from bumps or scratches. The seasoning is durable enough to withstand being stacked.

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12 thoughts on “Caring For Cast Iron

  1. You are so right, nothing can match such a skillet. Of course, as with women, they both need a proper care which is easy.

    Thanks and enjoy

  2. i have always used cast iron frying pans, but i had to try these new ceramic coated ones and i must say after a months use i am impressed. they do what they promise and stuff does not stick.

  3. I gave up my iron skillet for a Scanpan from Denmark (a gift) which is also great (washes in the dishwasher); but have to admit Mother’s old iron skillet was the best.

  4. yea liked the artical i have inherited a wonderful iron skillet but it smells rancid???!!! argh what would you suggest i do …since i shouldnt wash it….i did put baking soda in dry for a while then took it out…not working….open for instructions to fix so i can use this wonderful skillet…thanks

    1. the pan needs to be cleaned again then seasoned…use course salt and baking soda and a little olive oil….use a scouring sponge…and work in the salt mixture to clean the pan,….when finished rinse clean with hot water and dry with a paper towel…then put a thin layer of olive oil on the pan and sides and put on a low heat….after about 20 minutes, turn off the flame and let the pan cool down..while still warm, rinse the pan with hot water then just use corse salt and the course side of a scrubbing sponge and clean the pan as before and dry with a paper towel…again apply a thin layer of olive oil on the pan…..that should do it and your pan should be ready to go

    2. My father, who lived to be 90, always took the old surface off of iron skillets by building a fire, letting it burn to a point where it had some good hot coals, then he inverted the skillet so the cooking surface was in direct contact with the fire. He left it till the fire burned down. He carefully, with hand protection, removed the skillet from the fire. He then washed away the ash, which was all that was left of the old seasoning. It’s like a new skillet and you do have to reseason it in your oven. I hope this helps.

  5. Try heating your skillet to a boil. With a small amount of soap for a few mins . All way use cooking oil when not using your skillet. please leave uncovered. You need to see when Iron rust.

  6. Try heating your skillet to a boil. With a small amount of soap for a few mins . All way use cooking oil when not using your skillet. please leave uncovered. You need to see when Iron rust.

  7. Flaxseed oil is the foodsafe counterpart of a ‘drying’ linseed oil. I have had excellent results with thrift store cast iron pans in poor condition by using steel wool to ‘sand’ the surfaces of the pan smooth. Then I clean up the pan with a cloth that has a little flaxseed oil on it – old t-shirts work well as do cheap microfiber cloths – something not lint-y. (Don’t use paper towels.) I then place the pan THINLY coated with flaxseed oil in my electric BBQ grill on high for about 20 minutes or until it stops smoking. I repeat this process several times depending on the condition of the pan, letting it cool between applications. The trick is to keep the coats thin. In my experience the outside of the pan has never needed additional seasoning. The inside of the pan can be easily reseasoned on the rangetop.

    If the pan is in reasonably good shape, I’ve also had good luck filling it with salt and a high smoking point oil. I heat the oil and salt mixture until the salt turns amber colored. Salt is cheap compared to filling a pan with oil as recommended above and there’s never a gummy fill line on the sides of the pan.

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