Cast Iron Cookware

How to Season and Care For Cast Iron Cookware


Using cast iron cookware has a lot of advantages. 

Cast iron is an ideal heat conductor.  It heats evenly and consistently, it is relatively inexpensive and will literally last a lifetime (actually several lifetimes) if cared for properly, and it’s a way to cook fat free. When it has been well seasoned, cast iron will be stick resistant and require no additional oil when cooking.

It can go from stove to oven, making it a good choice for skillet suppers and cornbreads, things like that.

If you don’t yet own a CAST IRON SKILLET, it’s well worth the money to invest in one. Remember, these last for generations!

A cast iron dutch oven is another good option. They are not only for cooking on an open fire at a camp out, but they can be used at home in your oven for making stew or chili.  I have been using my Dome Lid Dutch Oven for making my favorite Artisan Bread! (Click HERE for my recipe!)

Cast iron griddles make amazing pancakes.  If you see one, snatch it up.  You’ll use it all the time!

I think the best cast iron cookware is found at thrift stores, yard sales, flea markets, or even on  E-bay. If you can’t find “vintage” cookware, Lodge is a really good brand to look for when buying new.

Cast iron cookware must be seasoned.  That means, it needs to have a protective coating.  When seasoning cast iron, the most important thing is the OIL.  I have found that the best oil for seasoning cast iron is FLAX SEED OIL.  It is the food grade equivalent to linseed oil.  It creates a resin-like coating on the pan when heated to a high temperature.

Using a paper towel or soft cloth, wipe a really thin (and I mean really thin!) coating of FLAX SEED OIL all over the pan, both inside and outside.  If it’s globbed on too thick, it will run when heated and make hardened resin drips.  Don’t ask me how I know this! 

Then, bake the cookware in a 500° oven for 30 minutes. Since they are almost red hot, I turn off the oven and just leave it in the oven to cool down. 

It is now ready to use!

When you clean it, do not use soaps or abrasives.  Just hot water and dry with a soft cloth.  I store mine with a paper towel inside so it doesn’t get scratched.

You will love your cast iron cookware (and so will your great-grandchildren!)

photo source

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23 thoughts on “How to Season and Care For Cast Iron Cookware

  1. Megan Boos

    I have been given my grandmothers old case iron cookware but it is pretty crusty on the outside and a little on the inside. How would you clean up something like that? It looks like it was well used.

    Reply
    1. Justin Long

      The easiest way I have found to clean your cast-iron if you have buildup or years of abuse is to throw it in the oven when you are using the self-cleaning settings on your oven. It also prevents you from having to use the chemicals most people recommend.

      Reply
      1. grandmabee Post author

        i haven’t ever tried it that way, but it sounds like a real time saver! You would probably need to re-season it again after that.

        Reply
    2. Sandra Freeman

      If you have self cleaning oven, it works great to remove all of that gunk and even get the skillet totally stripped. I found this out accidentally when I left my skillet in the oven thinking it wouldn’t make a difference since I was going to reseason it anyway. I don’t know if this is recommended but I did this with my 20 year old skillet. That skillet has been used 15 more years and the seasoning has survived everything including a good bit of abuse. I love my skillet and I bought a larger skillet from Lodge. I think I love it even more than my old skillet. Just another good tip I always keep in mind. Tomatoes or any tomato product does not ever belong in an iron skillet because the acid can damage the seasoning.

      Reply
  2. Nicole Sauvageau

    I’ve been shopping around for cast iron and it seems that Lodge and some others are pre treated/seasoned. Would like to know what they are treated with before I purchase. Would you happen to know? And/or do you know of any brands that do not pre season? Was also looking into DeBuyer Mineral pans, but not in my budget at the moment.

    Reply
  3. Dave

    I’ve heard using rock salt and a potato cut in half works to scour your cast iron, then rinse with water and re-season it.

    Reply
  4. Janet Johnson

    If you’re interested in the science behind flaxseed oil and what makes it such a great seasoner for cast iron, check out my blog “Chemistry of Cast Iron Seasoning” at chuckwagoneer.wordpress.com

    Reply
  5. Pingback: Seasoning and Caring for Cast Iron Cookware

  6. Shanon

    I have had a cast iron skillet for years that I have not been caring for properly. How do I get it back to prime condition if I have been scratching it and scrubbing it with soap and abrasives?

    Reply
    1. grandmabee Post author

      I would probably first give it a good washing with hot soapy water. Try seasoning your skillet as described, but you may need to do it 2 -3 times to give it a good coating. (Don’t glob it on too thick, it’s better to do two or three thin coats, otherwise you will get drips that harden onto the skillet!) When you do wash it after using, just use hot water (no soaps) and use a soft sponge or cloth, nothing abrasive.

      Reply
  7. Sarah

    I’ve been told that I need to re-season my pan after every use. Are all of these steps necessary every time I use my pan?

    Reply
    1. grandmabee Post author

      No, not at all. Once your pan is seasoned, and as long as you don’t use soaps or abrasives, it should last a good, long time. Just wash it in hot water (no detergents) and use a NON-abrasive sponge or cloth to clean it. Make sure to dry it thoroughly so that it doesn’t rust. If you find that your food it starting to stick again, it may need to be re-seasoned.

      Reply
    1. grandmabee Post author

      It will perform much better if it’s properly seasoned. Gently remind her that soap removes the protective coating!

      Reply
  8. Janet Fazio

    I’ve always used olive oil to season, but I will try flax seed oil. I didn’t know about baking it, which is probably why I have to re-season fairly often. Thanks for the tip!

    Reply
  9. JOE MIRIZIO

    I have two cast iron skillets, my family love them, but I don’t know of they’ve been seasoned properly
    (can you tell?)……..we make French toast and they are FABULOUS!!…

    Reply
    1. grandmabee Post author

      I think if things are starting to stick, it should be re-seasoned. Don’t you love how things cooked in your cast iron skillet always seem to taste better?

      Reply
  10. lea

    I have the same cast iron skillet my great grandmother used when I was a child. After years of sitting in the bottom of my cabinet I had to reseason it several times to get it back to prime condition. I never used flaxseed oil but will try this next time. Best cornbread ever comes out of this pan.

    Reply
  11. jeni

    Old crusty skillets can also be ‘cleaned’ by putting them in a wood fire. The fire coals burn all the gunk off. Then rinse and steel wool/scouring pad it, dry it and season with oil in the oven.
    I use oil regularly with my skillets… sauteing onions and peppers, or a coating of butter when i make cornbread… Maybe mine isnt ‘seasoned’ enough? oh well! Clean with a warm dish rag and hot water and dry on the stove then wipe a little oil in it!
    Theres not really any need to be ‘gentle’ with cast iron. I stack 3 cast iron skillets inside each other in my cabinet. They dont scratch. My mom keeps hers in her oven with whatever oil or grease is in it.. (for cooking eggs and bacon mostly). No need for expensive or coated skillets! Cast iron is timeless!

    Reply

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