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Seasoning a Cast Iron Pan

Category Kitchen Tools
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.
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By 6 found this helpful
July 12, 2011

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.

By jeanne

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By 3 found this helpful
July 13, 2011

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.

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By Marty from Tell City, IN

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July 27, 2011

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 any kind of cooking oil. The inside and outside of the skillet should be shiny. Then put your skillet in the oven at 250 to 300 degrees F and "bake" the skillet for a good hour. Let cool, then wipe down skillet with paper towels to remove any excess oil.

Now use skillet normally, after each use it should be wiped out with paper towels rather then washing. If your using a fairly new skillet that has just recently been seasoned, spray Pam over skillet inside and out and put back on hot stove until skillet is warmed back up again.

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If your cooking ingredients have stuck to the skillet, wash in warm soapy water and re-season as stated above. Determining which method to use depends on the age of your skillet. If the skillet is fairly new you may want to season it in the oven several times, until you get a good amount of oil in the skillet.

By llpensinger from Ocean City, MD

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October 10, 20110 found this helpful

I bought an old, Griswald cast iron round griddle. I cleaned all of the rust off, washed and dried it, then tried to season it several times. No matter what I use or try, it keeps coming out sticky. I can't even wipe it out with a paper towel when I take it out of the oven. And it isn't black like my other skillets; it is more of a shiny gunmetal color.

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When I try to season it (twice now) it turns a coppery color. Any ideas of what I can try on it?

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.

By Kathy

Answers

October 10, 20110 found this helpful

I was told by a friend a while back who I did civil war reenactments his method of reseasoning cast iron. He said if I found some decently priced pieces at a rummage sale or thrift store that were either rusty or sticky to take them and put them in a campfire or fireplace in the hot coals for a few hours. I guess the idea was to burn off all of the rust and/or stickiness.

Afterward rinse it well with water and rub on ample amounts of Crisco all over the piece and place in the oven for a few hours at 350, and repeat a couple of times. Maybe the acid in the campfire coals helps somehow? I've never tried it myself, but he swore by it. Whatever method you use, be careful not to burn yourself, and I hope that you're able to restore your piece!

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October 10, 20110 found this helpful

It might just have a build-up of baked on grease. You could try spraying the griddle with some oven cleaner.

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Spread out some newspapers and make sure your area is well ventilated. Why not pick a nice day outdoors. Just follow the directions on the can of oven cleaner.

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October 12, 20110 found this helpful

Please do not use oven cleaner. It will pit the cast iron and you will have defeated your purpose. The reenactment friend was right and you only need to leave it in the coals long enough to get all the gunk off it. Then try cooking over a real flame till it is seasoned. It may be the Crisco too. I use lard and now even that has an additive added to it. The nearest you can get to the natural way of seasoning an iron pan is over outdoor fire but the oven will work. You could just keep on like you have and just get it hot each time and let it cool and add more grease each time. It builds up in layers but takes a while. Cook biscuits on it and just wipe it off each time usually works.

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October 12, 20110 found this helpful

The shiny gun-metal color part makes me wonder if it's true cast iron. I don't know. But sure makes me wonder. I'd try all the other tips from people, especially the one from imafrayedknott, and then if it still doesen't come out right, I'd have it checked to be sure what it's made from.

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As for putting it in a fire, if you don't have a fireplace or a place for a campfire, I suppose you could put it in the fire in a grill. It's worth a try.

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October 12, 20110 found this helpful

I use lard, not Crisco.

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October 12, 20110 found this helpful

So you have a self cleaning oven? If you can't use a campfire, I would think that would work to clean it.

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October 13, 20110 found this helpful

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.

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October 13, 20110 found this helpful

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.

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October 13, 20110 found this helpful

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.

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October 13, 20110 found this helpful

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.

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October 27, 20110 found this helpful

If putting it in the oven doesn't work & you can't put it in a fire, you can get the sticky residue off by washing it with hot, soapy water, this is not going to hurt it, will just take the oil off. It sounds like maybe you put too much Crisco on it in the 1st place. Mine does that when I use to much oil, don't have a hot enough oven, or don't leave it in long enough. I just wash it off & do it over.

When I get a 2nd hand cast iron piece that is covered with crusty black stuff, I just send it on a Boy Scout camp out with my husband & sons. My husband sticks it in the campfire coals & lets it burn the stuff off.

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By 0 found this helpful
June 25, 2008

I have a new cast iron pan that I would like to oil or season before using it? What is the best way?

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June 25, 20080 found this helpful

As a young Southern gal, I grew up with my Grandma and Mama using cast iron pans, mostly for cornbread and biscuits. I now own a cast iron pan and one of those that make the cornbread sticks, both are 'old' cast irons. I was taught to leave the cast iron in the stove at all times, and when you cook whatever in it, to grease it with shorting. My question is , after an incident where I made a mess of my cornbread stick pan, by dripping batter all over it and then leaving it in the stove to burn off. And then tried to clean it and reburn it, but there are black flakes chipping off of it, to the point where I can see the metal underneath. Do I need to just wash it and reseason it? Thanks yall, for any advice yall send my way!

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June 26, 20080 found this helpful

Oh boy-- the magic of the Internet!

http://www.lodg  com/usecare1.asp

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."

Cleaning:
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.
*** *** ***
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.
hmph.
Funny.

"Where are we going? And why are we in this handbasket?"
:-)
hmph.

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June 26, 20080 found this helpful

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.

Susan

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By kayray (Guest Post)
June 26, 20080 found this helpful

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.

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By Anita Broxson (Guest Post)
September 10, 20080 found this helpful

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.

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By Tim (Guest Post)
December 17, 20080 found this helpful

I got an old wash pot for my birthday from my parents, and it has 17-3's stamped on the side of it. Can anyone tell me what this means?

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By 0 found this helpful
January 9, 2011

How can I repair my cast iron frying pan that was washed with too harsh a detergent?

By anak

Answers

January 9, 20110 found this helpful

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.

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January 12, 20110 found this helpful

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.
Use pan.

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.)

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January 12, 20110 found this helpful

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.

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By 0 found this helpful
August 6, 2013

How do I season a cast iron pan?

By T.C. from Dallas, TX

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January 9, 20110 found this helpful

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.

By Donna

Answers:

Seasoning Cast Iron Skillets

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)

By Kim

Seasoning Cast Iron Skillets

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)

By jill

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June 25, 20080 found this helpful

I bought a cast iron pot with cover at a garage sale. I have scraped and sanded with sandpaper several times. But, I forgot how to season it for use. Would appreciate any help.

Thanks,
Annette from Maine

Answers:

Seasoning a Cast Iron Pot

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!
(09/12/2005)

By Mo

Seasoning a Cast Iron Pot

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)

By tiffany

Seasoning a Cast Iron Pot

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)

By Kiddo

Seasoning a Cast Iron Pot

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)

By Bobbi

Seasoning a Cast Iron Pot

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.
Enjoy. (09/13/2005)

By Cindy

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