Learn how to season cast iron cookware and ensure any piece of cast iron you own lasts a lifetime!
Why do you season Cast Iron?
Cast iron is famous for being passed down in families through generations. The reason that cast iron is able to last so long and perform so well is through the process of seasoning! Sealing cast iron in oil provides your cooking surface with a protective nonstick coating.
How to Season Cast Iron
There are a few steps to seasoning a new piece of cast iron. Follow these tips for nonstick success!
- Wash your cast iron in warm water with dish soap. You may have heard that you shouldn’t wash your cast iron with soap, which is true! Soap will remove oil, but since you are seasoning your cast iron for the first time, there isn’t a layer of oil on your cooking surface yet.
- Dry your cast iron very well. You need to dry your cast iron immediately- do not let it air dry! This could lead to rust. Wipe your cast iron dry with a cloth or paper towel or you can place it on the stove top over low heat to make sure it is completely dry.
- Add oil to your cast iron. Apply a light layer of oil. Don’t add too much- a little oil over time is what leads to your cast iron lasting a lifetime. You can use canola or vegetable oil, or Lodge makes a Seasoning Spray.
- Bake your cast iron. Heat your oven to 450 degrees F. Put your cast iron upside down on the center rack and bake for one hour. When the hour is up, allow your cast iron to cool in the oven. If your cast iron is not nonstick after the first round of seasoning, repeat the process. You may want to line the bottom of your oven with aluminum foil to catch any drips from the pan.
How to Season a Cast Iron Dutch Oven
If your seasoning a piece of cast iron that has multiple pieces, like a dutch oven, you will follow the steps as listed above but apply them to all of the pieces of your cast iron. So in the case of a dutch oven, follow the seasoning steps for the lid and the pot. You will also season a cast iron griddle in the same fashion, just be sure to get oil in all of the ridges.
How to Season a Rusty Cast Iron Skillet
If your beloved cast iron has fallen on hard times, or if you’re breathing new life into an old piece, never fear! Before we go into how to revitalize your rusty cast iron, just remember some ground rules when using any cast iron cookware: never put your cast iron in the dishwasher and do not let your cast iron soak in the sink! Both of these can lead to rust.
Here’s how I have saved a rusty cast iron skillet in the past. First, scrub at the rusty areas with steel wool, then wash your cast iron with hot water and dish soap. Depending on how rusty your cast iron is, you may need to repeat the steel wool step.
Next, dry your rusty cast iron skillet thoroughly (do you see a pattern here?). Either dry with a cloth or paper towel or put on the stove top on low heat. Once your cast iron is dry, apply a thin layer of oil. Bake upside in a 450 degree F oven for an hour and allow to cool in the oven. Your cast iron cookware will be back to it’s former glory in no time!
How long to season Cast Iron?
To season cast iron, bake in the oven at 450 degrees F for one full hour and allow the cookware to cool completely in the oven. I usually let mine cool for an additional hour, just to be safe.
The best tools for seasoning Cast Iron
There are some great products out there to make your cast iron seasoning super easy! Lodge makes a great Seasoning Spray which is very helpful for ensuring you aren’t adding too much oil to your pan. I have also used this Cast Iron Wax for helping to keep my cast iron well seasoned. This cast iron Seasoning Stick is great as well- you just run it over your cast iron cookware. If you’re rescuing a rusty piece of cast iron, these Steel Wool pads will help the process.
The best tools for caring for your Cast Iron
There’s a lot on the market for helping you to keep your cast iron in it’s best shape. Here are a few of my favorite products:
- A soldered stainless steel cleaner pad for when you need some extra elbow grease to get your cookware clean
- A scrub brush with bristles that are specifically made to get into every corner of your cast iron
- A scraper set for when you are bringing a new piece back to life (or if you used your cookware before it was seasoned)
- Heat resistant handle covers to help you carry these heavy pieces easily
How do you clean Cast Iron?
Now that your cast iron cookware is seasoned and ready to use, how do you keep it clean? Here’s how you do it! Once your done cooking, wash your cast iron with water. If needed, use a little soap and scrub. Next, dry your cast iron thoroughly and add a light layer of seasoning. These simple steps will keep your cookware performing for decades!