How To Season Cast Iron Cookware

“Easy Step-By-Step Process to Season Cast Iron Cooking Pans”

Seasoning is the best trick to maintain and increase the lifespan of cast iron cooking vessels.

However, if not done properly, then they start to rust and become useless.

Fortunately, seasoning isn’t a complicated process. You just have to spend some time and follow certain guidelines.

If you are unaware of the process, then this article is for you. Read the following information carefully to know how to season cast iron cookware the natural way.

How to Season a New Cast Iron Cookware?

Follow the instructions provided below carefully to successfully season your cookware.

1. Wash Your Pan

Whether it is a newly purchased cast-iron cookware or if you are new to using one, it is okay to wash them. While many people argue not to put soap on them, it is not completely true, and using soap is totally fine. However, make sure you use a soft scrub brush to gently scrub your skillet and clean it with warm soapy water.

Nevertheless, you can always skip this step if you recently purchased the skillet or have been using it for a while. If you are someone who is using it after a long time and pulling it out from the depths of your kitchen drawer, you can also bypass this step.

2. Dry It Very Well

The next step in the process is to dry the cookware to remove the moisture from it. Every time your skillet gets wet, ensure it is completely dry. Even after you dry it with a towel, there are chances for the moisture to still remain. The easiest and the safest way to get rid of it is by placing your cookware on the stovetop flame for a minute or two. This will help let go of the tiny water drops lingering on the pan or the moisture. Now, turn off the flame, and allow it to cool before you start handling it for the rest of the seasoning process.  

The next step is seasoning your cast iron cookware with oil. Remember that fat and water do not mix. If your pan is wet, it will not absorb the oil and leave you with an awesome non-stick layer of seasoning.

3. Grease Your Cast Iron Cookware

The next crucial step in the seasoning process is to grease the cast-iron cookware. We will tell you how to do it easily and effortlessly.

  • In the previous step, you cleaned and dried your pan.
  • Now all you have to do is apply cooking oil all over the pan, including the inside, outside, and handle.
  • After applying, take a paper towel or an old rag rub it thoroughly. Make sure you do not leave it halfway but do the entire job to maintain the seasoning.
  • For seasoning the skillet, use oils like vegetable oil, corn oil, and unsaturated fats (spread easier than saturated fats) for seasoning our pans.
  • After you finish coating it nicely, take another paper towel (or you can use the same old rag by folding it) and wipe off the excess oil.

Cleaning the excess oil on the pan is a must here because even a small amount of it can make the cooking surface sticky.

4. BAKE The Cookware

Now, it is time to heat the cookware in the oven. Follow the steps below:

  • Preheat the oven to at least 400F.
  • Put the pan in it upside down on a rack.
  • Put another pan, baking tray, or sheet or piece of foil beneath it to collect any oil drips during the process. (You wouldn’t want oil in the bottom of your oven. Would you??)
  • Leave the cast-iron skillet for about half an hour inside. (You can set the timer, as well.)
  • Now, turn off the oven and leave the cookware inside with the door closed.

You can also use a stovetop burner for this purpose, but it will lead to uneven seasoning. Hence, using an oven is the best idea because it produces even heat that will help the oil to set effectively all over the pan.

5. Repeat 3 & 4 Steps 

Now repeat the third and fourth steps a few times.

  • Take the pan out and rub it with oil once again.
  • Put it back in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes.
  • Repeat the oiling and heating process about 3-4 times until the solid layer of fat on the skillet is set.
  • Once done, allow the pan to cool down. Your cookware is all ready for cooking.

With a thick layer of seasoning, your cast-iron skillet is now smooth, shiny, resilient, and non-stick. When you notice the food sticking to the cookware surface or if it has a dull or rusty appearance, that is a clear indication that your skillet needs seasoning.

How Do I Clean Cast Iron Cookware?

The cleaning process of a cast-iron skillet is similar to that of the seasoning. Here are the steps to help you do it the right way:

This is all you need:

  • Sponge or stiff brush
  • Paper towel or a clean, dry cloth
  • Vegetable oil

Instructions:

  • Clean the skillet using a paper towel to remove any food residues.
  • Rinse the pan thoroughly with water. Use a scrubber to scoff any stubborn pieces of food particles gently.
  • Heat the pan on a cooktop to dry it completely.
  • Apply cooking oil all over the skillet using a paper towel or a dry cloth. Rub it on all surfaces, including inside and outside.
  • Wipe off the excess oil using a paper towel.
  • Store the cast-iron cookware in a dry place.

Cleaning cast-iron cookware often includes certain do’s and don’ts. If you want to keep your skillet in a brand-new condition, follow the instructions below:

Do’s for Cleaning a Cast-Iron Pan

  • Clean the pan only when it is cool enough to handle. If the pan is hot, allow it to cool down for a while. This helps in easily removing the leftovers in the pan.
  • Wipe the skillet using a cloth or a paper towel.
  • If there are any stubborn pieces of leftover food, scrub them gently using warm water. You can also use a small amount of mild soap, provided the skillet is well-seasoned.
  • Use only a dry cloth or a paper towel for drying.
  • Use only vegetable oil or unsaturated fats for priming the pan.

Don’ts for Cleaning a Cast-Iron Pan

  • Do not clean the pan when it is hot.
  • Do not put your pans away wet.
  • Do not leave any food residue on your skillet.
  • Do not put your skillet in the dishwasher.
  • Do not let your pans soak.
  • Do not overheat your pan or place it on the roaring fire to heat it quickly.
  • Do not let the surface of your pan feel sticky when seasoning.

Some Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What Is the Best Oil To Season A Cast-Iron Skillet?

Ans: You can use vegetable oil for seasoning provided it is pure and refined. Grapeseed Oil is highly recommended, and so is flaxseed oil. Other alternatives include corn oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, etc.

2. What If My Pan Is Sticky After Seasoning?

Ans: If your pan is sticky after seasoning, this is a clear indication of excess oil on the cookware surface. Here is how you can fix it. Place the skillet upside down in the oven and bake at 450-500 F for about 30 minutes. Allow it to cool and repeat the process, if necessary.

3. What Is the Difference Between Seasoning and Re-Seasoning?

Ans: Seasoning is the process of priming the cooking vessel with oil or fat and heating it for producing a corrosion-resistant and non-stick coating. You do it for the very first time before using your brand-new cast-iron skillet.
Re-seasoning is repeating the process once in a while to retain the pan’s lustre and prevent rusting.

4. What Does Pre-Seasoned Mean?

Ans: Many cookware comes with pre-seasoned, these days. This means the manufacturer already applied a protective coating. Some companies even do the seasoning (oiling and baking process) for you ahead of time. When you purchase pre-seasoned cookware, it means you do not have to season it before using it for the first time. However, they will need re-seasoning after continuous usage.

Conclusion:

Wrapping up, seasoning your cast-iron cookware can be a lengthy method but highly recommended. I hope this article cleared the air for you on how to have a clean, rust-free, and well-seasoned skillet. Now that you know the ultimate way to season your pan, try it out and let us know your experience. 

If you know other methods to season cast-iron, write to us in the comments section below. We would be happy to learn a lot from you guys.

>