The chore of seasoning a cast iron pan is a small price to pay for a reliable piece of cookware that heats food evenly, can be transferred straight from stovetop to oven, and is so durable it will last forever. Lean how to season a cast iron pan properly, with tips from the experts at Lodge Cookware.
Cast iron cookware has been around for thousands of years, with a particularly long history in Asia. It was developed long before stoves became commonplace, and many of the cooking vessels were originally designed to withstand the heat of an open fire.
When the age of Teflon dawned, heavy cast iron pans fell out of favor. Other, more lightweight and modern alternatives, such as aluminum, ceramic, and stainless steel pans took their place. But the humble skillet has remained a popular option for professional chefs who regularly list cast-iron cookware in their top lists of kitchen essentials they just can't live without.
How to Care for Cast Iron on a Day to Day Basis
There's a lot of folklore around the "proper" way to care for cast iron, but the process is actually pretty straight-forward. The most important thing is to dry the pan thoroughly to prevent rust.
- Wash the pan with hot water and a stiff brush (you can add soap, if you prefer).
- Rinse and dry the pan thoroughly.
- Apply a very thin, even coating of shortening or cooking oil (vegetable oil is best) to the inside and outside of the pan. Be careful not to apply too much oil, as this will result in a sticky finish.
If your pan was recently seasoned, you can finish here. If your pan needs to be re-seasoned, continue with the following steps.
How to Season a Cast Iron Pan
- Place aluminum foil on the bottom rack of your oven (this is to catch any oil drips while you season the pan)
- Heat the oven to 180 to 200 degrees Celsius.
- Place the pan inside the oven and allow to bake for at least one hour. Once the hour is up, turn off the heat and allow the pan to cool inside the oven.
- Once cool, the pan can be safely stored away
- You can repeat this process again to reach the desired level of seasoning
How to Remove Rust from a Cast-Iron Pan
A bit of rust on your pan isn't ideal, but it's not the end of the world. Even if the pan has been particularly neglected, chances are it's nothing a little elbow grease can't fix.
Scrub any rusty patches off with a stiff brush and just re-season the pan. Good as new!
Cast Iron Tips for Beginners
- If you're a beginner to cast iron, look for designs that are light-weight and pre-seasoned.
- Lodge Cookware's Blacklock range are triple-seasoned and are up to 25 percent lighter than traditional cast iron pans on the market. Once you've got your pan, here are some things to keep in mind:
- It's a good idea to preheat your cast iron pan for about four to five minutes before adding food.
- Add oil or butter to the pan before food, and this will prevent food from sticking to the pan
- The pan handle will become hot with use, so use a protective silicon cover. Only use the handle when you're ready to use the handle, as it too will heat up if left on the pan.
- The non-stick quality of the cooking surface will increase with each use.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Homes to Love.