Cast iron pans are durable and versatile for cooking. Proper seasoning and care of cast iron cookware makes your pans resistant to food sticking. This guide contains solutions for seasoning cast iron pans.
I rotate my 3 cast iron skillets and Dutch Oven and bake a batch of corn bread to keep them in top shape.
Pour one tablespoon of oil in bottom of skillet and put it in oven to heat while preheating to 400 degrees F to cook the cornbread.
Mix your dry ingredients in one bowl and your liquid ingredients in another. When the oven is at temperature, take skillet out of oven and set on stove. Quickly mix ingredients until just mixed, pour into hot pan and bake for 20 minutes.
Your pan will just need crumbs wiped out and will be ready to use.
Wonderful thought! I will do that more often...
Thank you. That is a fantastic idea!
When seasoning a cast iron pan, I always heat the pan on the stove pot until very hot. Using a paper towel dipped in oil, wipe the inside of the pan, the sides, and the bottom with the oil. Let cool and wipe out any residual oil. Do not wash the pan, just wipe it with a paper towel. When very dirty, wash with soap and water and re-season.
By Marty from Tell City, IN
This is the way I season cast iron. It may take several applications to get a truly non stick surface. I wouldn't put my cast iron away without cleaning it. I wash it every time I use it and the season is not affected. I just make sure I use no abrasive pads or cleansers and dry it thoroughly before putting away.
If you have sauteed onions in cast iron, what you cook next will have a slight onion taste. I get around this by filling the washed pan with warm water and adding a tablespoon of baking soda, allowing it to set for a few minutes before rinsing.
It is important to remember that when preheating cast iron, you should never allow it to heat to the smoking point. This can destroy the season.
To season a brand new cast iron skillet, heat skillet on stove top. When the skillet gets hot, remove from heat and thickly coat with pretty much any kind of cooking oil. The inside and outside of the skillet should be shiny.
I have tried the conventional method (2-3 hrs in a 250 degree F oven with Crisco rubbed in it, and also placing it in a 450 F oven for 30 minutes. Thanks for any advice. It does say "cast iron' on the bottom.
I always boil mine with salt and then scrub it with salt before trying to season it. Once you season it try never to wash it with soap again.
I use a fireplace for heat in the winter. I place the skillet in the fireplace for 2 or 3 hours, then cool and rub with vegetable oil, turn upside down on a sheet of tinfoil in my oven @ 300 degrees for about an hour. Afterwards I wash with warm water, but no detergent, this washes the seasoning off.
If you have a self-cleaning oven, put the pan in the oven and turn it on to "clean" mode. Leave it until it cools. Then rub in the Crisco shortening, put a layer of aluminum foil on the rack below the rack your pan will sit on, set the pan in the oven upside down, and turn the oven on to 250 F (or so) for several hours. Let it cool completely, and it should be good to go. If it is still kind of sticky, you need to cook it some more.
If you have a self cleaning oven put it inside while you run a cleaning cycle..t will come out completely raw, like when it was new. You can also place it in a bond fire, since this is the season, and it will burn all the pre seasoning off. My Dad cleaned lots of cast iron these two ways. Good Luck.
I have a new cast iron pan that I would like to oil or season before using it? What is the best way?
Oh boy-- the magic of the Internet!
If-- for some reason-- you can't get to this site, here are the basics--
(Please forgive any typos.)
Seasoning is the process of applying a thin coat of cooking oil to the entire surface of the cookware (inside and out) then baking the oil onto the cookware creating a natural non-stick finish. Here's how it's done:
1.) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
2.) Wash the cookware (inside and out) with mild detergent using a stiff brush.
3.) Rinse, then towel dry the cookware thoroughly.
4.) Spread or spray a thin coat of MELTED solid shortening or spray-on vegetable oil over the entire surface of the pan, including handle and exterior surfaces.
5.) Lower both your oven racks to the bottom positions. Line the lower rack with aluminum foil (to catch drippings), and place the cookware UPSIDE DOWN on the middle rack. Bake for 1 hour. Turn the oven off leaving the cookware in the oven until cool.
Original finish cookware will come out slightly brown and ready to use. However, if you would like to repeat this process it will only further season the cookware, turn it even darker, and improve the appearance.
"The blacker it gets, the better it cooks."
After cooking, clean with a mild soap and warm water. Rinse thoroughly and towel dry.
Do not cover when stored. And NEVER clean cast-iron in a dishwasher.
"Super-Cleaning" -- after many years of use, there may be "gunk" building up on some areas of the pan. You need to get that pan as hot as humanly possible to burn it all off. My solution? I waited until winter and got a good fire going in the fireplace and tossed it in there-- got it red-hot, then let it cool in there over night. In the morning, I wiped out the ashes, then washed as mentioned above, and re-seasoned.
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A side note:
Funny, isn't it?
Our parents and grandparents knew how to season and use a cast-iron pan or dutch oven-- that information had been passed down for a long time. These days, this same information almost seems...esoteric. Like folk lore.
And it also seems that those of future generations will one day find an interesting old cast-iron skillet at a yard sale-- paint it with a high gloss lavendar enamel and hang it on their dining room wall as a decoration-- then use the microwave to cook an egg.
"Where are we going? And why are we in this handbasket?"
What has always worked for me for new cast iron is to get some suet from the butcher or meat market. Smear it over the surface of the cast iron, then I'd put mine in my gas barbecue for a while, put on more and keep cooking. It will season it nicely. This works well for new or cast iron that needs reseasoning. Oil can also be used. This keeps the smell of the cooking cast iron out of the house, and the heat out in the summer.
The best way to clean off rust is with salt. Rub a handfull in with a couple of paper towels. Rinse, dry, and season as usual. Also, always dry the skillet well after rinsing. I put mine on the burner for a couple of minutes. Never use soap on your skillets.
To season my cast iron cookware I wait until we have a bon fire and grease my pots really well and let them burn all night. the next day they are still hot but get a pot holder bring them in wash them dry them and oil them pick them up.It always works.
How can I repair my cast iron frying pan that was washed with too harsh a detergent?
If the patina is not all gone (chunks missing), you need to remove it with steal wool and reseason. If it is just not shiny you can just reseason it. Rub the inside of the pan with lard (corn oil will work but lard works better). Place in a 300 f. oven for 1 hr., let cool and wipe out. Do this 4 or 5 times and it will be good as new. You can find lard where the Crisco is. This is how my grandmother reseasoned her pans before non stick coatings. Never put acid foods in them, no tomatoes, etc. They will eat off the patina.
Place aluminum foil on the bottom rack of your oven or use a cookie sheet wide enough to hold the frying pan.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
I presume there is little rust, so scour it off with steel wool and rinse lightly. Dry pan.
Heat the pan on top of the stove on low heat and add about a teaspoon of shortening or oil. Remove the pan from the heat and wipe the entire surface with the oil.
Place the pan upside down in your oven so that any excess oil drips down instead of pooling in the pan.
Bake for 1 hour. There may be some slight smell and smoke. No cause for worry.
After the hour, turn off oven and keep pan in there until oven and pan have cooled.
After use, clean and re-coat with a light layer of oil before putting it away. Put paper towel over surface if any other pot sits inside of it. (That prevents rust forming.)
Fry bacon in it. Do not eat the bacon. Rub the bacon greese all over the inside and place the skillet in an oven under low heat. 180 will do. You may cook something else in there too to not waste the energy. Do this for an hour. Then wipe the skillet out good and it should be fine.
To keep my cast iron skillets and pots seasoned, I wash them in hot soapy water after use and then dry them on the stove. As soon as they dry, I spray vegetable oil from my spray pump onto the surface of the pot or skillet, wipe the excess off with a dishrag or paper towel and then take them off of the heat. The hot iron absorbs the oil and keeps the pots from sticking.
I have seen some people burn theirs off in a fire. Others say spaying the pan with Easy Off and placing in a black bag for a while takes off the gunk, to where you can re-season it. (07/06/2009)
You should not use soap when washing cast iron, they can absorb the soap. I use hot water, kosher salt, and a sponge with a scrubby side. They should be washed immediately after using for easier cleaning. I've had mine for over 10 yrs and use them for everything. You can make the best upside down cakes in them. (05/07/2010)
You can put any kind of oil (or bacon grease) smooth around the whole inside and put in warm oven (250) for an hour or so. This will let the pot season itself. Good luck!
We just got a brand new set of cast iron skillets for a gift at our wedding this past weekend. The side of the box they came in had directions for seasoning them and this is what it says:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, wash thoroughly in hot soapy water and hand dry immediately. Using a cloth or paper towel, grease the pan thoroughly with a thin coat of vegetable oil or melted vegetable shortening. Be sure to coat entire surface. Place cookware in the oven for 1 hour. Remove while hot and let cool to room temperature. Wipe away any excess oil, being careful not to scrub clean, and store.
Also says it should never be placed in the dishwasher or scrubbed with steel wool or scouring pads. Instead, wipe clean with a sponge or dishcloth in hot water, but without soap. Any burned-on residue can be removed by boiling a little salt and vinegar in the pan, or by rubbing it with a paper towel and course salt. Hand-dry immediately after washing and brush with a thin coat of vegetble oil before storing. (09/12/2005)
For one NEVER wash a cast iron pan with soap it will cause sticking the next time you use it. As for seasoning one after you've cleaned it with water, place on the stove on high heat, wipe dry with a paper towel, then take and use some form of grease (not oil) and wipe the entire inside. If it's an OLD (Antique) set, the best way to season is build a fire grase the pan real heavy with bacon fat, lard or crisco all over the pan (inside & out), then place the pan into the fire until it's red hot, bring out the fire (be careful not to get burned), set to the side until the pan is cool enough to touch so that you can regrease, then store and use as normal. Then the next time you cook in it all you'll have to do is wash with water, dry on the stove (high heat), wipe dry, and grease the inside. (09/13/2005)
You can also season your cast iron on a barbecue. To clean the rust off your cast iron you may need to use vinegar. After you have TOTALLY cleaned the rust off, coat it with oil or shortening and put it in your barbecuer on medium for one hour. You could also do a search on the internet about cast iron pans or dutch ovens, there is a HUGE assortment of information there, I know, because I have been surfing that alot lately. :)
Good luck with your lucky find. (09/13/2005)
The way (us Cajuns!) season an iron pot is... When we burn stuff like wood, etc. outside, you oil your pot ready good with cooking oil and put it in the burning fire until the fire goes out. ONCE COOLED DOWN, remove your pot and soap well with a brillo pad. Rinse well and pat dry. We ALWAYS put our pot on the stove, turn the fire on and heat it until it dries. Wait until it cools to save.