Cast iron skillets are perfect for home, but they are also ideal when you are cooking in the outdoors. Whether you are trying your hand at a cast iron skillet pizza, or you are reclaiming an old skillet from a second-hand store, you must know how to properly season the cast iron skillet so that it will last you for years.
A cast iron will lose its shine and become porous, which means everything you cook in it will start to stick. Cast iron skillet seasoning is what breathes new life into a worn-out skillet pan. You bring back the luster and protection from rusting just by rubbing, oiling, and baking your pan.
5 Easy Steps to Seasoning a Cast Iron Skillet
- Scrub: First, scrub your skillet using hot soapy water. Do not use a scouring pad. Everything should come off with a sponge.
- Dry: Dry the skillet thoroughly with a towel to prevent rust formation.
- Oil: Spread a thin layer of vegetable oil or melted shortening over every portion of the skillet. This includes the handle, the bottom of the skillet, and the corners.
- Bake: Next, place it upside down on the middle rack of your oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. You will want to put foil below to catch oil drips while it bakes.
- 1 Hour: You will cook your cast iron skillet for one hour, then turn off the oven and let it cool there. Do not remove until the skillet cools itself inside the oven.
Proper Care is Key
To create that perfect cast iron skillet steak or even your grandma’s infamous cast iron skillet cornbread, you need to maintain the beauty of your cast iron pan. You do this by ensuring rust is gone. You can get rid of rust stains with a rust eraser, which is found at your local hardware store. After you remove the rust, you will need to re-season the pan.
When cleaning your pan, just use a brush or plastic scrubber under water. You do not use soap. If you have stains or baked-on food, then use Kosher salt to help scour them away. You will never use soap because that will remove your seasoning. You only use soap if you plan to season your cast iron in the oven again.
Never marinate food in your cast iron. The acid will etch away at your seasoning, and you must redo the process over again.
Even though the pan is seasoned, you must still lubricate before cooking. That means applying vegetable or olive oil, or shortening to the pan. Then, preheat the pan on low heat and slowly increase the temperature. If you increase too quickly, you can scorch the oil in the pan and burn your food — leaving a taste inside the pan.