If you have purchased a new cast iron cookware or have an old one then today you will learn, how to season and clean cast iron cookware?
So once you get cast iron you have to prepare it for use. This is done through a process called seasoning.
Basically, when you’ve seasoned a pan you are putting fat inside the little ridges and grooves inside of the pan and then baking them to create a slick surface that you can cook.
The main goal is to get the fat molecules consistently and evenly spread over the cookware and then bring it up to a temperature that allows the fat molecules to polymerize on the pan. This is like creating a matrix webbing over the pan that is sort of permanent.
Table of Contents
- 1 How To Season And Clean Cast Iron Cookware?
- 2 How to Season a Cast Iron Cookware?
- 3 How to Clean Cast Iron Cookware?
- 4 FAQ’s
- 5 Conclusion
How To Season And Clean Cast Iron Cookware?
First of all, we will learn how to season your new cast iron pan then the old one and later we will learn about cleaning and caring for your skillet.
So let’s start
How to Season a Cast Iron Cookware?
Almost in all cookware, the process of seasoning is the same but the only difference is the time. I had already written articles on seasoning nonstick, stainless steel, and ceramic cookware. You can check that out if you want to season your other pots and pans.
For a New Pan
Follow the simple directions below:
- First, place aluminum foil on the bottom of the oven (this is done to protect the oven from oil dripping) and preheat the oven to 200°F or 93°C.
- Now wash the skillet or dutch oven with soap and water and then wipe with a paper towel to dry it.
- When the pan completely dried out, place it into the oven for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, just remove the skillet from the oven and coat it with a very thin layer of oil (flaxseed, canola, Crisco, lard, etc).
- Again, preheat the oven to 450°F or 232°C.
- Now, wipe off as much oil as possible using a lint-free paper towel or a soft cloth.
- Then, place the pan upside down into the oven for an hour or so.
- After the hour is up, turn off the oven and let the skillet cool with the oven.
- That’s it, your cast iron cookware is now completely seasoned.
- But, to get the best results you have to season your pan at least 3-4 times. Just repeat the steps from 6-8 to re-season the pan.
Note: You can do the same process using a gas stove, just pre-heat the pan for 20-30 mins and then coat it with oil and after wiping, heat the pan for about an hour or so and you are done.
For an Old Pan
- Clean the cookware completely with soap and water. If food is stuck then dip the pan to a solution of vinegar and water. After that, sprinkle some baking soda and clean it using steel wool.
- After cleaning the pan, wipe it with a paper towel or a soft cloth to dry the skillet.
- Now, the process will be the same. Just follow the above directions from step 2 to step 8 and you will be done. Make sure you have to season it for 3-4 times to get better results.
- No matter how old or rusty is your cookware, the process is always the same.
I think, now you know how to season a cast iron cookware whether its new or old. So, now let’s move to our next topic of cleaning it.
How to Clean Cast Iron Cookware?
To clean a cast iron is simple if food not stuck to it or it is not rusty. But, if you take care of your cookware then cleaning is not a big issue.
Don’t soak the pan in soap water and wipe it hard with steel wool or any hard scrubber, if you do so then all the hard work of seasoning will be ruined and you have to season again.
How do you clean a cast iron pan after cooking?
For simple cleaning just follow the steps below:
Directions to follow:
- After cooking, just wash your cookware with mild dish soap and a soft scrubber or stiff bristle dish brush, but don’t rub hard or soak it.
- Now wipe it with a paper towel and put it on the burner and turn on the stove for few seconds or a minute. You can heat the pan until you can touch it with your bare hand.
- Once dry, turn off the heat and pour a few drops of vegetable or flaxseed oil to the inner surface of the pan and wipe it with a paper towel.
- After wiping with a paper towel, just put a paper plate or paper towel in the mouth of the skillet to absorb the extra moisture and finally store it.
How to Clean Cast Iron Cookware that’s Rusted?
The main problem with cast iron is that it rusts if we are not careful. If the pan is not dried completely while storing then it will start rusting slowly.
So, to protect the skillet from rusting, just clean your cookware and dry it out completely before storing it.
Directions to follow:
- First, soak the pan for 4-5 hours in a mixture of vinegar and water (50/50).
- After that, take out the pan and sprinkle some baking soda in it and wipe it with steel wool or any hard scrubber and rinse it.
- Now, wash the skillet with dish soap and rub with a scrubber and rinse through clean water.
- After cleaning, dry it out with a paper towel and season it with oil. Just follow the seasoning process that I have discussed above and your rusted pan will be like new again.
Also read – How to Season a Nonstick Pan for First Time
What is the best oil to season a cast-iron skillet?
The best oil to season a cast-iron skillet is flaxseed oil. I prefer flaxseed oil compared to vegetable or coconut oil because it makes the cast iron surface smooth, hard, and even.
On the other hand, vegetable or coconut oil leaves the skillet soft and prone to scratches or wear and tear. You read the science behind this on Sheryl’s blog.
How often do you season cast iron pans?
The newer pans should be seasoned at least 4 to 5 times for smooth cooking. If you follow the cleaning techniques wisely, then you can season once or twice a year.
But, if dip your pan in soap water or rub roughly, then you have to season it again.
You May Also Like: Best Enameled Cast Iron Cookware Sets
How to Clean a Rusty Cast Iron Skillet?
I have already given a solution to this problem. Just soak your pan on a mixture of vinegar and water for 4-5 hours. After that, sprinkle some baking soda and clean it using steel wool and rinse through clean water.
How to Clean Black Residue Off Cast Iron Skillet?
According to some experts, the black residue is not bad. It is just the iron mixing with oil comes out of the pan and if you are deprived of iron then this is good for you.
There are many methods to clean it. You can try the same method used to clean the rusted pan or you can also try baking soda, soap, and water methods.
Just sprinkle some baking soda in the pan and leave it for some time. Then wash the pan with dish soap and water. Doing this will wipe off the seasoning but your problem will be solved.
Another method you can try, just after cooking while the pan is somewhat hot, sprinkle some salt in the pan and lightly rub with a paper towel. The salt will collect the black residue and largely disinfect the skillet. The abrasive properties of the salt help to clean the residue.
After doing this, wipe out the brown salt from the pan and pour some oil in the pan and rub with a paper towel and store it.
The best thing about cast iron is that if you take care then it will last you for a lifetime. Literally, cast iron cookware is indestructible.
Today, I have covered both the topics, how to season and clean cast iron cookware?
If you buy new cookware then follow the first instructions or if you already have one then just follow the second instructions.
Nothing will happen to your cookware if you clean and store it properly but make sure to dry out completely before storing it.
You can check this book “Care and Feeding of Cast Iron Cookware” that can help you to maintain it properly.
So, what strategy will you follow to season and clean your cast iron cookware? Please share your opinion in the comments section below and also, please share this article with your friends and family.