Get the most out of your cast iron with this easy-to-follow tutorial on how to properly season and take care of your cast irons!
Cast Irons are like a fine wine… they get better with time! Or in this case, they get better with more use!
Cast Irons are an incredible piece of cookware that we easily have at our disposal. You can cook, bake, AND fry all from one pan- and the more you use it, the better seasoned it becomes. The better seasoned it becomes, the better your food will be. After so many uses, you’ll have a natural non-stick, heavy duty, trusty and reliable delicious piece of iron right at your fingertips! Yes, I said delicious. Over time, you’ll understand to just accept that seasoned cast irons are pure magic.
Spencer and I bought our first house about a year and a half ago, and while we occasionally used our cast irons, time just got away from us, and as life usually happens, things “got in our way” and we became lazy and shoved our cast irons on the bottom shelf and neglected them for quite sometime- NO MORE. We realized that we were desperately missing something in our culinary lives… delicious food cooked in a cast iron! It was actually an idea for a Frittata that really got us hooked back on the cast irons, and we won’t be looking back to that “lazy” period… we hope you can forgive us you wonderful cast iron pans! Needless to say, we had a lot of work on our hands to clean up our rusted and dried-out cast irons- and I am sitting here typing this about 36 hours after we started the process and Spencer and I don’t regret one second!
Also, don’t worry. It only took us 36 hours because we had 3 pans and a dutch oven all made from cast iron that we needed to clean AND season. If you only have one or two, you’ll be done in approximately 8 hours- you’ll want to make sure you tackle this tutorial when you have a whole day you can just lounge around and be “attached” to your oven.
What you will need:
- Your Cast Iron Pan
- Oil (We used Canola)
- Paper Towels
- Steel Wool
- Non-Abrasive Dish Detergent
- Scratchy Pad/Sponge
Check out our BEFORE photos:
Check out our AFTER photos:
How to Season your Cast Iron
- Cast Irons Cookware
- If your cast iron is rusty (like one of ours was- check out the photos in the post!), remove the rust by using a steel wool (no water, just the steel wool) and scour and scrub like crazy until your rust is gone (pictured above).
- Wash the cast iron with warm dish-soapy water, making sure that the dish soap is non-abrasive (we used Palmolive free and clear).
- Dry the cast iron with a clean paper towel making absolutely sure that the entire pan is thoroughly dry.
- Preheat your oven to its lowest setting (ours is 170 degrees Fahrenheit)
- Place your cast iron in the oven for 5-10 minutes to heat the cast iron up and allow it to readily receive the oil.
- Take the cast iron out of the oven and apply a small amount of oil to it. Use a paper towel to rub the oil in EVERYWHERE, including the handle and bottom of the pan (the side that would be sitting on the burner!) For reference, we used a tablespoon of oil for the dutch oven and large skillet, a teaspoon for the medium skillet, and half a teaspoon for the small skillet cast iron.
- Crank the heat on your oven as high as it can go (ours is 500 degrees Fahrenheit- it will make your kitchen hot!) and place your cast iron upside down on the top rack, making sure to place an aluminum-foil lined pan on the rack below to catch any of the oil drips. Leave in for one hour.
- After one hour, turn the oven off and let the pan cool down so you can touch it.
- Repeat steps 6 - 8 twice more, for a total of 3 times.
- Voila, you now have a beautifully seasoned Cast Iron!
- Whenever you finish using your seasoned cast iron for ANYTHING, be sure to use a paper towel and some kind of course-ground salt (we use Kosher) to rub into your pan. This should remove any stuck on food or grime. Empty the cast iron into the garbage, and complete steps 6-8. You only need to do these steps once after each use.