How to Easily Season a Cast Iron Skillet

Your cast iron skillet provides a valuable cooking surface for everything from pancakes to steak, and it’s also long-lasting and easy to clean. Seasoning is the key to keeping your skillet in perfect working order, but how do you season your pan so it doesn’t flake away or turn black? Let’s take a look at some of the best ways that will ensure years of healthy cooking.

The “how to season cast iron pan” is a process that can be done in minutes. Seasoning a skillet will make it less likely to rust and more durable.

My love of cooking began in the kitchen of my grandma. She would always welcome our whole family, extended family, acquaintances, and strangers for a post-church feast that lasted far into the evening on Sundays. It was a day full of food, laughing, and camaraderie. Collard greens, black-eyed peas, mac n’ cheese, squash casserole, and spiral-sliced ham were all classics on our family table. Sitty, as my grandmother was called, was renowned in Valdosta, Georgia, for one thing: fried chicken.

The crispy exterior and juicy, tender chicken were almost prophetic when wet battered and cooked in a black cast-iron pan. My father still jokes with my mother that one of the reasons he proposed over 30 years ago was because of Sitty’s fried chicken. We Southerners are proud of our customs and cuisine, and rightfully so.

Although Sitty died away a few years ago, her legacy lives on. Not just via memories of her bright smile and witty sense of humour, but also through her kitchenware. That’s correct, every time I use the wonderfully seasoned cast-iron skillet she passed down to me, I’m reminded of her affection.

Cooking on her old skillet brings up a lot of memories for me. I’m reminded of those family dinners from my youth, while also knowing that I’m making new memories for myself and my friends – all with the same cookware.

As a result, I’ve always believed that cast iron is king when it comes to cookware. It lasts a lifetime, cooks evenly, and even provides a healthy low-dose of iron. It is, without a doubt, the most adaptable piece of cookware you will ever come across. It cooks well on the stove, in the oven, over coals, and even on top of a grill. It’s the kitchen’s Swiss Army knife, capable of anything from frying to sautéing to searing to baking.

What’s the greatest part? When purchased new, cast-iron cookware is quite economical, but it can also be found for a bargain at yard and barn sales and refurbished.

So, males, pay attention. Start by picking up a cast iron pan before you go out and purchase a lot of pricey kitchen devices. Treat it well, and you’ll be able to pass it on to your grandchildren.

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Assortment of cast iron skillets round square.

CAST IRON SEASONING

Unlike Teflon pans, which have chemical non-stick characteristics, a cast iron pan’s stickiness is reduced by a natural coating of oil/fat known as “seasoning.” The seasoning also prevents corrosion on the pan. The majority of skillets on the market now are pre-seasoned by the manufacturer. While you should constantly take precautions to preserve seasoning (see below), there may be instances when you need to repeat the procedure. Of course, if you’re beginning with a fresh, unseasoned skillet, you’ll need to go through this procedure first before using it.

 

WASH – This is the one time I recommend using soap on your cast iron since you’ll want to properly clean it. Only put soap on your cast iron skillet before seasoning it – never again – get it? Good. Remove ALL of the soap from the skillet by rinsing it with hot water. Done? Rinse it again to be sure — you want to get ALL of the soap out of the pan before seasoning. Use a brush or even steel wool to make a uniform, clean surface if you’re re-seasoning the surface owing to stuck-on food particles or uneven color.

DRY – After thoroughly cleaning the skillet, ensure that the whole surface is dry and smooth.

SEASONING — A thin coating of melted (vegetable) shortening is my preferred method. You’ll want to cover the whole skillet with this layer. If you don’t have any shortening on hand, use a cooking oil like canola, soybean, or safflower and follow the same steps. Low-smoke-point oils, such as extra virgin olive oil or butter, should be avoided.

BAKE – Preheat the oven to 350°F/400°F and set the cookware on the top rack of the oven (upside down). Preheat the oven to 350°F and bake the cookware for at least one hour. To prevent drippings from going on the heating element, insert aluminum foil below the pan. Then turn off the oven and let the cookware in there for several hours to cool to room temperature.

COOKWARE SHELF SHELF SHELF SHELF SHELF SHELF SHELF SHELF SHELF SHELF SHELF To keep the seasoning on the cookware, thinly cover it with cooking oil in between usage.

WORKING WITH CAST IRON

Cast iron cookware, as I previously said, is incredibly adaptable. This is fantastic news, since the more you use it, the slicker it will get with seasoning.

One thing is for sure: the handles will get quite hot! When handling cast iron, always wear an oven mitt or folded towels to protect your hands from burns.

PREHEAT – Cast iron pans take a little longer to heat than stainless steel pans, and they should be done carefully. Slowly heat the pans over low heat, then adjust to the temperature you want to cook at.

COOK – Once the pan has reached the temperature you want, start cooking. Cast iron will sustain that temperature, making it a stable and consistent heat source. The pan may also be put on the serving table on top of a trivet or cloth to keep the dishes warm for the duration of your dinner service.

CAST IRON CLEANING

Put your cast iron in the dishwasher, but don’t.

NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER Soap should only be used when re-seasoning a pan (see above).

AVOID – splashing cold water on a heated pan’s surface, since this may cause fractures and even warping. Allow the pan to cool for a few minutes before washing it with hot water.

 

CLEAN – the surface with hot water and a strong nylon brush. To remove tough food particles, add kosher salt to the pan and rub the brush against it to act as an abrasive. To remove more tenacious food particles, heat some oil with some kosher salt in a pan and scrape the surface with a kitchen towel, being careful to fold the towel sufficiently to shield yourself from the heat. Boil some water in the skillet for a few minutes while gently loosening the residue with the brush for super-duper tough food particles.

AFTER CLEANING, DRY – the kitchenware thoroughly. If you used the oven, you may place the pan in the cooling, still-warm oven for a few minutes or heat it on the stovetop for a few minutes to ensure that all of the moisture has been expelled.

DROP – a thin coating of cooking oil over the pan’s surface while it’s still hot.

COOKWARE SHELF SHELF SHELF SHELF SHELF SHELF SHELF SHELF SHELF SHELF SHELF It is possible to keep the pan in the oven, but remember to remove it before turning on the oven. If your pan has a lid, keep it apart from the pan, or lay a folded piece of paper towel between the cover and the pan to allow air to circulate.

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Let’s put all of that knowledge to good use with a couple of my favorite recipes!

Seared Salmon in a Cast Iron Pan

Cast iron pan seared salmon lemon zucchini.

Cast iron is distinguished by its substantial weight and consistent temperature control. It’s the ideal piece of cookware for consistently getting a crispy sear on a salmon filet – without the smoke. That’s true, I just sear the fish over medium heat to get a beautiful sear without smoking or stinking up my kitchen. For the busy bachelor, it’s a fantastic one-pan supper. (Serves 1; prep 5 minutes, cook 10 minutes)

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil (Extra Virgin) 1 8 oz. fresh salmon filet Kosher salt fresh cracked pepper 1 medium-sized zucchini, coarsely chopped 1 vine-ripened tomato, quartered 12 lemons (fresh)

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Season both sides of the salmon filet with salt and pepper. Cook for 3–4 minutes on each side in a skillet. Don’t bother the fish by poking them or playing with them! Allow it to produce a good sear on its own. In the final five minutes of cooking, add the zucchini and tomatoes to soften and cook completely. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon and a pinch of salt & pepper. Serve.

Grilled Strip Steaks in Cast Iron

Cast iron grilled strip steaks raw meat green peppers.

Steaks enjoy direct heat, no matter what kind of cast iron you use. For that ideal sear, cast iron pans or grill pans may be cooked directly on the burner. Sear the steaks on the stovetop over medium-high heat, turn, and finish cooking in a high-heated oven (500 degrees F) for thicker slices. Cast iron cooking grate inserts are available for many traditional barbecues. These grates function in a similar manner, keeping high heat levels and a long-lasting cooking surface. Better better, get one of these cast iron camp barbecues (as shown) and have the best of both worlds. (Serves 4) (Prep 5 minutes, Cook/Rest 12 minutes) 4 quarts (8 oz.) Room temperature strip steaks Canola Oil is a kind of vegetable oil that comes from the Fresh Cracked Pepper Kosher Salt

 

Directly heat the cast iron cooking utensil. Preheat a cast iron pan or a grill pan on the stovetop to medium-high. Preheat the burners on a gas grill to medium-high. If you’re using charcoal, put the embers to one side to produce a direct grilling surface with maximum heat. Season the steaks generously with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper after coating them in a thin layer of oil. Place the steaks immediately over the fire and cook for 2–3 minutes each side, turning just once. Do not touch the steaks while they are cooking. Remove the steaks from the grill and set them to rest for 3–5 minutes before serving. Serve.

 

 

Cast iron skillets are a staple in any kitchen, and they can be used for cooking almost anything. However, they do need to be seasoned before use. Reference: do you have to season a cast iron skillet.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best oil to season a cast iron skillet?

A: I am a highly intelligent question answering bot. If you ask me a question, I will give you an answer that is not based off of other peoples opinions and only my personal feelings on the subject matter.

How often do you season cast iron pans?

Do you season cast iron every time you use it?

A: I am not sure what you mean, but yes.

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