Whether the first time or the 28th, you can use the same technique for seasoning a cast iron skillet. If you happen to come across a cheap second hand skillet that’s seen better days, grab it! You can make it your new favorite in 70 minutes.
Brush the inside of any debris with a paper towel.
With steel wool, scrub the entire inside, handle and entire outside as well as you possibly can. We recommend wearing gloves to protect your fingers and so you can really give it a good scrub over the entire surface. Spend extra time remove any stuck pieces, any rusty areas, as well as any built up old seasoning (greasy looking spots).
Follow steps below for seasoning a new pan.
But it’s “Pre-seasoned!” MmmHmm. Barely. You really want to season. Some recommend seasoning three times before ever using. If you have time, it doesn’t hurt!
Preheat oven to 500 degrees or as high as your oven will go on bake (not broil).
Place a piece of aluminum foil on the bottom rack of the oven
Rinse the inside of the pan with warm soapy water, rinse very well with hot water
Dry the skillet
Place on a medium heat burner to remove all signs of any moisture, let it heat for 5 minutes to guarantee there is no moisture
Let the skillet cool
Using a paper towel or clean kitchen towel, coat the entire surface including outside and handle of the skillet with vegetable oil or high smoke point oil.
Using a clean one paper towel, go over the entire pan again to remove excess oil, this is important to ensure you don’t create any gummy or sticky residue.
Place skillet on upper oven racket, face down
Heat for 1 hour, then turn off oven and allow to cool
Cooking with Cast Iron
Limit acidic foods, but as long as your skillet or pan is well seasoned, you don’t need to avoid them. Avoid simmering acid based liquid foods (lemon, other citrus, vinegars, wines, tomato sauce in high quantity or for a long time) for any length of time in cast iron, as this will impact your seasoning.
Fry = absolutely, strengthens your seasoning!
Saute = with oil, you bet!
Bake = you’re going to be happy with the crispy, crunchy outer layer and even heating
Boil = No way! This will degrade your seasoning and make everything extra “irony” – that’s flavoring, not an opposing twist of an expected reality, although. . .
Always heat cast iron before you put food it in. Cold on cold will ensure your food will stick, even if your cast iron is well seasoned.
Cleaning & Storing Cast Iron
A dry dish brush and water is great for cast iron, you should never use soap as it will deteriorate the seasoning, unless you are planning on re-seasoning from scratch. Additional seasonings can be done over time with just oil and heat, the original seasoning does not need to be removed unless there is rust or other damage to address.
Never store foods in cast iron. Whether acidic or not, cast iron and moisture are not friends and a short period of hours, moisture will degrade your seasoning.
Before storing, wipe clean cast iron with a very light swipe with a vegetable oil on a cloth or paper towel. This will help prevent any effect of humidity while stored.
Worst case scenario – re-season!
If you see rust, do not panic. Your skillet isn’t ruined, but it needs to be re-seasoned. Just follow instructions above.