How To Season A Cast Iron Pan

Cast iron pans have been around forever, even dating back to the Han Dynasty [1]. And in reality, a old cast iron pan is every bit as good as a new one as long as it is kept properly seasoned. “Seasoning”, when talking about pans, involves rubbing oil into a clean surface. New cast iron pans do not come seasoned. So, whether old or new, a cast iron pan must be seasoned now and then. This black beauty was a workhorse for my Grandma and remains my favorite pan.

You can tell a seasoned cast iron pan just by looking at it. A seasoned cast iron pan has a smooth and shiny appearance. If your cast iron pan appears dull, lumpy or rusty then it is time to season your cast iron pan. If you don’t trust your eyes, then try cooking on the pan… if food sticks to your pan, then it is for sure time to season your cast iron pan.

So, arm yourself with a scrub brush, oil and a paper towel and you are all set to season a cast iron pan in a few easy steps – just wash, apply and bake. These steps to season a cast iron pan are detailed below.

How To Season A Cast Iron Pan

Food Waste
  1. Wash the skillet with warm, soapy water (dishwashing liquid) and use a stiff nylon brush to thoroughly scrub the pan both inside and out. If the pan is rusty, then use steel wool to scrub until the rust is removed. If the pan is new, or kept properly seasoned, then scrubbing is not really necessary. A warm water rinse and then proper drying should keep your cast iron pan in pretty good shape between seasonings.
  2. Rinse and then thoroughly dry the pan.
  3. Apply a layer of vegetable oil to the entire pan. Use a piece of paper towel to apply the oil evenly to both the inside and outside of the pan.
  4. Place a piece of aluminum foil with the edges turned upward on the bottom rack inside your oven.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
  6. Place the pan upside down on the top rack of the oven, above the aluminum foil.
  7. Bake the pan for 1 hour. The oil will drip down and seal into the pan.
  8. Turn off the oven and allow the pan to remain inside the oven for another hour.
  9. Remove the newly seasoned pan from the oven with a potholder and store it in a dry place, uncovered.

Replacing A Cast Iron Pan

If you need a new cast iron pan, although to be honest we have never seen a cast iron pan that a good re-seasoning won’t fix, here is a quality pan to purchase. Look for “made in the USA” to get a cast iron skillet that you won’t ever want to give up.

To find out how long other foods are good for, please visit the Dairy, Drinks, Fruits, Grains, Proteins, Vegetables and Other sections of Eat By Date or use the search function below.

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