Can anyone tell me how to clean built up and burned on food from an iron skillet?
By Sandi from St Louis, MO
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I have cleaned my burnt on foods from my iron skillet by filling the skillet with water to cover the burnt food, adding several tablespoons baking soda and put on simmer until water is near boiling. Turn off heat, let sit till water cools. I then take my spatula and loosen burnt food. After removing water and burnt food, I wash in hot soapy water and re-season my skillet in the broiler of my stove.
If you have a self cleaning oven, leave 1 rack in it and put the iron skillets upside down. Start self cleaning mode. After the oven has cooled down remove skillet and wash and reseason. They will look brand new when done.
You can use a stainless steel scrapper or an SOS pad on it; if really bad you can use steel wool; once it's clean; be sure to put oil in it and put in oven for about 15 min; to "season" it; afterwards when washed always put it for a few seconds on a burner to "dry" it; and then put a small amount of oil in it and rub in; good luck!
The archives tell you this. Put it in a self cleaning oven for the duration of the clean cycle. Or in the olden days it was put in a campfire cover with coals and hot ashes and left to bake quite a while. I always scrub mine with salt and a paper towel or rag, rinse well and put away dry! Good luck, they are wonderful cooking utensils to have.
There is a good website, www.gardenfork.tv, that has step by step video and written instructions on how to clean and season cast iron cookware.
I have not done this personally, but I have read if you place it in a dishwasher it will come out like a new one and you just need to re-season it. I have cleaned several using a bonfire and it works great! Good luck. I swipe mine with shortening and always dry mine on the burner to prevent any rust.
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How do you clean an iron skillet?
By Rebecca from Cincinnati, OH
The old folks literally put the iron skillet in a fire and let the fire do the work. All the old grease that was burned on was then burned off, both inside and out. I have put one of my skillets in my electric oven and run the oven on clean, that worked also. Don't forget to re-season the skillet after either of these two methods. (03/01/2010)
How can I get an older cast fry pan back in shape? Any ideas are most welcome.
By Elaine from Ontario, Canada
Make sure your cast iron is clean with mild soap. Never use a scouring pad like SOS pad. Dry by putting it in a warm oven for a few minutes until dry. Then rub a small amount of vegetable oil all inside the skillet. The skillet has to be warm during this process. If you use too much oil, then remove excess with a paper towel. Place it back in the oven. Be sure the oven is warm 250 degrees no more than 300 degrees for 10 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the skillet in oven until ready to use the skillet or oven. I hope this will help. (12/21/2009)
I did this once. If you do it, be careful!
Build a campfire. Put the skillet in it. Cover it with coals. Leave it for a pretty good while then rake it out of the fire on to a sandy, stony, or otherwise fireproof place with some kind of tool. It is very hot. Do not touch it! Give it some cooling time and then stand way back and poor some cooking oil into it. The Skillet should be real hot, but not so hot as to catch the oil on fire. You will need to use some judgment on this. Also, do not splash the oil.
The skillet will come out clean as a whistle and seasoned as well. Another method is to use a wire brush attachment on a drill. Another is to make a little bag of salt, oil the skillet and scrub it with the salt bag. I always clean my good skillets with a wipe down with a damp cloth and set them on the wood stove to dry. No wood stove, just set them in a warm oven that has already been turned off (in case you forget). (12/22/2009)
By old dog
I bought a badly charred cast iron pan in a garage sale for 25 cents. This worked for me:
Set your cast iron pan on a layer of newspaper, in a heavy trash bag. Add a couple layers of newspaper on top of pan, and pour in a couple cups of ammonia. Seal the bag and set it in the sun. I let mine sit 24 hours. The next day, all the char washed right off. Wash well and season, and you are good to go.
By Jbing from Three Rivers, MI
Ammonia? Who wants to put that stuff on anything you cook in? So you have a bad cast iron pan. OK, soak it with baking soda, if you want to use water, which doesn't hurt for real cleaning and a little bit of elbow grease. When most of it is off, put a little bit of oil in the pan, rub it around, get it warm and use a lot of salt to clean the rest. It will come out nice and shiny and no chemicals.
After each use, just put some salt in, use a paper towel and clean it while still warm and it is good to go for the next time. No use for water (unless you burned something in bad). Always clean with oil and salt afterward. This is an old restaurant trick. (10/25/2009)
When the need is bad enough I put mine in the self cleaning oven, while I am cleaning the oven. Then I wipe it out and season it. Easy peasy. BJ (10/26/2009)
I have a lovely old cast iron skillet. I know soap isn't supposed to be used to clean it but how in the world do I scrub off the baked and cooked on mess and know that the pan is clean? What material can I use to 'scrub' my iron skillet besides a sponge or washcloth? I need some thing abrasive.
Also, has anyone had any success in fying eggs in their skillet? My mother swears by it but mine just scorch and well ... now I need help cleaning it off!
Thanks in advance!
You can use soap as long as you reseason the skillet afterwards. I use a scratchy pad, works great to reseason. Just coat in oil and then bake in oven about an hour. Good luck (06/24/2005)
Having used iron skillets for many years, maybe this will help -- I use soap and/or Brillo pads for scrubbing. When clean, rinse well, and dry. Then coat inside with Crisco or other shortening and put your pan in a warm oven for 15 or 20 minutes. This will "season" the pan and your eggs won't stick. It seasons better the longer you have it, so do it every time. (06/24/2005)
By Rev Alex
After you cook something and it leaves a mess in the skillet, just fill about half full of water and boil for a few minutes, then wash it and use an sos pad. Always set it on the burner to dry, then spray a little cooking oil and wipe it with a paper towe. Do this every time you use your skillet and you will see the difference. (06/24/2005)
A little Pam, or other no-stick spray works wonders before heating. It sounds like your fire is too high. Be very patient with eggs. Personally, I LOVE eggs. I think that they may be my favorite food item. Lower your temp to medium and you will be happier. Also, I'm afraid that I NEVER use Brillo or SOS pads on iron skillet! Mild detergent and a plastic scrubber, and then season a few times after using a new iron skillet, or an ill used one. Season by rubbing a bit of oil in the skillet and baking in the oven for an hour or so, but it may take a few times.
I've just been using Pam to cook (use oil, also if needed for recipe) and I don't think I've used anything but warm water and a nylon scrubby for years. I asked for an iron skillet for a wedding gift, 35 years ago! I know what a real blessing they can be, ever tried "REAL" fried chicken in one? Coat chicken in just flour, or add a little paprika and poultry seasoning in the mix, in a plastic bag, and shake chicken and fry in iron skillet with three or four tablespoons of shortening and an equal amount real butter (medium heat), brown, lower temp. cover for fifteen, or so minutes, and uncover and crisp on medium for a few minutes on each side. Use the drippings for gravy for mashed potatoes and, maybe a few biscuits. Hope this helps.
PS: I have a recipe for "killer" gravy, too!
I wash with the dishes and rinse well.(No dishwasher though). Every few years when it gets too heavy I put it in a bonfire to burn off the outside coating,and season by rubbing with fat and placing in the oven a while. (06/24/2005)
The next time you have a live fire in a barbecue or fireplace, carefully put the pan directly in the flames upside down so the fire hits the crusted-on food. The food will burn off. Don't forget to use an oven mitt on your hand when taking the pan off the coals. Once the pan is cool, rub the pan, inside and out, thoroughly with a vegetable oil, and bake it in a warm oven for about a half hour to season. Let it cool in the oven. Once the pan is seasoned, wash it after every use with only water, using an UNSOAPED scrubber such as plain steel wool to clean it. Dry the pan thoroughly; hang it to dry if possible. Use a paper towel to rub a thin layer of vegetable oil over the dry pan after every use, and repeat the full seasoning with baking every six months, or sooner if needed. When the pan is seasoned well, very little food will stick to it, and only a little bit of oil is needed to cook. (06/24/2005)
After you have your iron skillet seasoned and ready to use, always heat the skillet BEFORE putting in the grease, butter, or whatever you are using to fry with, and stuff doesn't stick to the skillet. I make my gravies in my iron skillet and as soon as I take the gravy out, I clean the skillet with hot water and a nylon scrubber while it is still hot, and dry it right away, and it is very easy to clean. They say that cooking in an iron skillet is healthy, cause you get a little iron in your diet, don't know if it is true, but it won't hurt. (06/25/2005)
The best way to clean your cast iron skillet, is to put tap water in it and put it back on the burner. Once the water starts to heat , just use a spatula or a like utensil to start scraping off the grease and food. It works like a charm, drain and rinse. Dry with a good terry cloth towel, (06/27/2005)
By Cindy Lou - Houston
If you have a self-cleaning oven put the pan in for the whole cycle. It will burn off anything in it. All you will be left with is ashes. Rinse off, dry well and season with oil. Preferably olive. (07/11/2005)
By Fran Marie
Wow! I just received a iron skillet and it is a mess. However, as I read the above I am confused. I have read that you should not clean the skillet by boiling water in it 'cause it unseasons it. I have read that you should never use brillo, steel wool or anything that abrasive. I have heard that the use of coarse salt, like kosher salt or probably sea salt is the best way to clean because it does not unseason the skillet. The oven cleaning is only for very badly abused skillets and should be allowed to cool to cold before being taken out of the oven. Now remember I am just starting to use an old skillet which was passed down to me by my late mother-in-law. The Lord only knows how long she had it. I think I will use the coarse salt method and a little olive oil after I dry the old pan. Have a good day. (08/15/2008)
The inside is not a problem. How do you get the crusted, hard coating off of the outside? (11/16/2008)