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How to Season Cast Iron

Seasoning cast iron is necessary to keep your pans non-stick and to prevent rusting. Seasoning cast iron can be easy and only requires things you already have in your pantry.

What You’ll Need:

  • Soap
  • Stiff brush or sponge
  • Vegetable oil
  • Paper towel
  • Aluminum foil or baking sheet

How To:

  1. Prepare. Gather your supplies. Set oven to 400ºF (or 50 degrees past your chosen oil’s smoking point).
  2. Wash your pan. Scrub your pan in warm soapy water, when done rinse clean.
  3. Dry thoroughly. Dry your pan with paper towel. If any residual moisture remains, place it on a burner at medium heat until all moisture evaporates.
  4. Oil and rub. Pour a small amount of oil onto your cast iron, then spread it with paper towel to thinly coat the entirety of the skillet (backside and handle included). Tip: The most common mistake beginner’s make is applying too much oil. Apply no more than a tablespoon, and ensure you’re cast iron isn’t slick with oil before putting it in the oven.
  5. Bake. Place the pan on the middle oven rack, followed by a piece of foil on the lower rack to catch drips. Bake for 1 hour.
  6. Let the pan cool. Turn off the oven, and allow the pan to cool completely before removing it from the oven.
  7. Repeat. Repeat until your skillet has a glossy, black finish. Generally, 2 coats of seasoning is very good, and 5-6 coats is flawless.

How to Care for Cast Iron

  • When cast iron is rusted, add scrubbing with steel wool to the cleaning segment of the seasoning process. Don’t proceed with the remaining steps until all the rust is stripped.
  • To quickly maintain cast iron after a regular cooking session, clean, dry and oil the pan as described above, but exclude baking from the process.
  • Avoid moisture. Don’t use the dish washer, soak your cast iron in the sink, boil water with it, or store food in it. All residual moisture will promote rust (and sadly more work 🙁 )
  • Avoid large amounts of acidic foods. Acidic foods should be cooked only in small amounts. You can be more lenient with the acidity of the foods you cook when seasoning has had time to build up. Until then foods like citruses, vinegar, marinades, tomatoes, and some wines should be avoided.
  • Avoid abrasives. Only use steel wool or scouring pads when restoring cast iron (removing rust).

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