Cast iron cookware is awesome! The cookware is easy to care for, and cook food at an even heat. Learn how to season your pans to get that wonderful non stick coating!
Cast iron is amazing. No matter what size pan or pot, you can go from meats to desserts with equal ease. Once your pan is well seasoned, there’s almost nothing you can’t do with it. It will be non stick and food will amazingly come right off, with very little effort.
There is a lot of different ways to season your cast iron. The idea is to use a saturated fat that will cool onto the cast iron and stay. Vegetable oil, such as corn or soybean, can be used, if you really want, but it’s not preferable due to the consistency (and the idea that it’s not a healthy fat).
A saturated fat will help seal the pores of the cast iron pan, and will solidify enough that it will not drip off. Saturated fats are also high heat resistant and will not break down when the pan is heating for food use.
Some fats you can use to season your cast iron skillets with:
- Rendered tallow
- Coconut oil
- Palm oil
- Flax oil
- Melted shortening
To season a cast iron pan, or to reseason it:
- first remove as much of the old coating as possible. You can use copper scouring pad to remove gunk and even rust. Some people will spray their pans down with oven cleaner and put in a plastic garbage bag overnight to help facilitate this. I personally just scrub them.
- Place the cast iron pan in a 200 degree oven to warm them up and open the pores.
- Squirt about a Tablespoon of flaxseed oil on the warm pan
- Tilt the pan around to allow the oil to run all over
- Using a cloth rag, gently wipe the oil to spread it evenly.
- Bake the pans, right side up, in a 500 degrees oven for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, turn the oven to 250 degrees.
- CAREFULLY add a bit more flax oil to the hot pan, then allow it to spread around the cast iron pan by itself.
- Return the pan to the oven.
- Continue to bake at the lower temp for an additional 30 minutes.
- Turn off the oven, leave the pan in the oven and allow it to fully cool.
This gives it an awesome non stick coating that will last a long time, with proper care.
To use your cast iron, here are some quick tips:
- Heat the pan as much as you can BEFORE adding food. This will help with the non stick factor.
- Use the pans on as low of heat as needed to cook the food properly, but not burn the pan.
- Add a bit of butter or other fat as needed to cook the food.
- Clean your pans as quickly as possibly after use.
Cleaning your seasoned cast iron is fairly simple.
- Once you are finished cooking, wipe out the pan as quickly as possible.
- If you need to wait to clean the pan, reheat it first.
- Most of the time, a well seasoned pan will only require cloth or paper towels to wipe it clean.
- For stuck on food, try a plastic scraper (such as this one) to help remove stuck on food.
- Pour about ¼ cup of kosher salt on the warm pan, then scrub around to help loosen food bits.
- Rinse completely, the heat the pan again.
- After every use, when the pan is clean, apply a thin layer of oil on the hot pan and allow to cool. This will help maintain the seasoning.
Some tips on how to care for cast iron:
- Don’t use soap on your pans. If you need to remove hard gunk, simply add some water and boil for 10 minutes to loosen any stuck on food.
- Don’t allow water to just “sit” in your pan. This can cause it to rust.
- After cooking, clean the pan as quickly as possible. This will help remove food bits.
- Once pan is warm, wipe a thin layer of oil, such as coconut, or flax oil on the pan again and allow to cool. Wipe off excess oil, if desired.
- Only use soapy water if absolutely necessary, as soap can destroy the seasoning.
- Don’t stack the pans directly on top of one another for storage, as this can scratch the seasoning. Add a paper towel, cloth, or coffee filter in between each one to protect it.
What’s your favorite cast iron piece? How do you prefer to season it? Need some recipe ideas? Get over 45 delicious recipes to use on your seasoned cast iron here!
Heather’s homesteading journey started in 2006, with baby steps: first, she got a few raised beds, some chickens, and rabbits. Over the years, she amassed a wealth of homesteading knowledge, knowledge that you can find in the articles of this blog.