I love my cast iron skillet. The ability to go from stove top to oven, cook in one pan, and the diversity of types of dishes that can be cooked make the cast iron skillet and absolute must have.
Food tastes better when it’s cooked on cast iron. My favorite cast iron meals are all actually breakfast. Biscuits and sausage gravy, eggs and bacon, and pancakes all cook up wonderfully in a cast iron skillet.
Cooking in a cast iron skillet is just as comforting as eating the wonderful comfort food that comes out of it. In this post I’m explaining how to care for your cast iron skillets, griddles, and pots.
Welcome To The Cast Iron Club
I remember purchasing my first cast iron skillet. I wanted it solely for crispy chicken thighs because no other baking dish or pan could give me that delicious crisp.
I was pretty intimidated by this pan though because it’s not a use and wash pan. The pan should be washed with soap, it shouldn’t be put in a dishwasher, it needs to be seasoned to keep it working well. There are a lot of rules for a cast iron that other baking dishes just don’t have.
However, once you learn how to care for your cast iron it’ll become your preferred pan to cook with. You’ll start cooking everything you can and coming up with new dishes using your cast iron skillet.
Cleaning A Cast Iron Skillet
There are two separate ways to clean your cast iron skillet. There is the cleaning you’ll do before seasoning your cast iron and the cleanings you do in between seasonings.
Below I’m detailing how to clean your cast iron skillet both ways.
If you notice that food is sticking to your cast iron more or it’s lost that beautiful shine it might be time to prep your pan for another seasoning.
First, you will want to check the pan for rust. If you have rust you will gently clean away that rust with a stainless steel scrubber. Get ones like these not the ones with chemicals.
Using a stiff bristled brush and a small amount of dish soap scrub the pan out. Make sure you rinse the pan well to remove all soap from the pan.
Dry the pan completely to make sure there is zero water on the pan. Once this is finished you can skip down to my seasoning instructions.
For Already Seasoned
If your pan is already seasoned cleaning is pretty simple. While the pan is still hot rinse it under warm water and rub off bits of food with a paper towel.
Once all the food is off and the cast iron is cleared you dry it completely with a paper towel. From here you simply spread vegetable oil over the inside of the cast iron pan and heat it on a stove top until hot and smokey.
Once the pan is completely heated you can turn off the stove top and let the pan sit and cool completely before putting it away.
How To Season Your Cast Iron
Seasoning your cast iron skillet is simple. The step by step guide is below.
- Preheat your oven to 350F.
- Spread vegetable oil all over the skillet, inside and out.
- Place a lined baking sheet on the bottom shelf of your oven.
- Put the pan upside down on an oven rack.
- Bake the pan for an hour.
- Shut off the oven and let the pan sit and cool completely in the oven.
I typically will let the pan cool for the rest of the day or overnight depending on when I started the seasoning process. As always be extremely careful with cast iron and give it plenty of time to cool before handling.
As a side note, a lot of people recommend lard to season a cast iron with. I do not, I prefer using vegetable oil. The trick to keeping your pan from becoming sticky with vegetable oil is to use a smaller amount.
If you used the correct amount of oil there shouldn’t be any drips of oil inside the lipped cookie sheet that you placed on the rack under your skillet after baking. If the skillet has a beautiful shine to it and no drips on the cookie sheet you likely seasoned it perfectly.
Lard and other animal fats are likely to go rancid if they sit for too long on a cast iron. Use an oil to protect you and your family and to keep your cast iron upkeep easier to handle.
How Often To Season Your Cast Iron
There isn’t a strict time frame to follow on how often you should season your cast iron skillets, pots, and griddles. It all depends on the look and how a pan performs before you decide to re-season your cast iron.
If it loses its shine or the food you are cooking sticks to it heavily, it’s probably time to clean it and give it another seasoning.
Keep in mind that as long as you heat a small amount of oil in the pan before cooking and then clean your skillet properly it should work just fine on one seasoning for a long time.
Cast Iron Love
Cast iron skillets, griddles, and pots make some of the best cookware. Once you get used to handling your skillet and caring for it, it quickly becomes a favorite.
Remember, cast iron spreads heat evenly and holds on to it longer so the entire pan will get hot. Be extremely careful when you handle cast iron handles. Use oven mitts or hot pads any time you have a cast iron in use.
What is your favorite cast iron recipe to make? Let me know in the comments below. Follow me on Pinterest for more like this and pin this to your favorite cleaning and cooking boards.
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