Cast iron pans are some of the most versatile pieces of cookware you can own, but they also require more upkeep than other materials, such as nonstick or stainless steel.
Cast iron pans require seasoning and should never be washed with rough material or run through the dishwasher, but even seasoned cast iron will lose its coating over time if it isn’t cared for properly.
Seasoning your cast iron cookware can improve its durability and performance for years, creating an easy-release surface for sensitive ingredients. The more you use your cast iron cookware, the seasoning will improve over time, creating an easy-release character for years to come.
These tips on how to season your cast iron pan will help you keep your pan well-seasoned, avoid rusting, and make cleanup easier than ever.
Let’s get started:
What is Seasoning?
Seasoning is the process of protecting your cast iron pan from rust and giving it a nonstick surface. It’s easy to do and only requires a few ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.
It would be best if you seasoned your pan before the first use and then periodically after that. While seasoning, the process involves coating a pan with oil or fat and heating it, which creates a nonstick surface and prevents rust. It also gives the pan a nice patina. It would be best if yed.
The more you cook, the more often you will need to reseason.
The main seasoning component is vegetable oil, but there are other options, such as shortening or lard, if you don’t want to cook with vegetable oils for health reasons. MMost people recommend using bacon grease because it has a high smoke point and does not contain polyunsaturated fats like many vegetable oils.
If you’re allergic to animal products, try using canola oil instead. To season your pan, coat it with about 1/4 inch of cooking fat (bacon grease, for example) and heat on medium-high until smoking hot — this takes about five minutes per side.
Nonetheless, seasoning is vital for your cast iron cookware. The essential thing is following the right steps to ensure everything works perfectly. If you do it wrongly, the cast iron cookware is prone to rust.
If you want to know how to season cast iron cookware correctly, this is your article. We have prepared this step-by-step guide for you. So, you don’t have to do it wrong, but do it right and increase your cast iron cookware’s durability.
Here are the steps to follow while seasoning your cast iron cookware:
Step 1: Wash and Dry Your Pan
Wash your pan with water and a stiff brush. You can also use a sponge if you’re concerned about scratching the pan. Make sure to rinse all the soap off the pan. Then, dry your pan completely with a clean towel or paper towel. If your pan is still wet, it won’t season properly.
Dry the pan by heating it on low heat for an hour. Once cooled, you can move to the next step.
Step 2: Rub It All Over With Oil and Buff Well
Rub the entire surface evenly with oil if you’re seasoning a brand-new pan.
If you’re seasoning a pan already used, scrub it with soap and water to remove any cooked-on food.
Then, rub the entire surface evenly with oil.
Once the pan is coated with oil, use a paper towel or clean cloth to buff it until the surface looks shiny.
You may need to reapply the oil and buff it several times to build a good seasoning.
Rub on vegetable oil to evenly coat the surface of the pan. Let stand overnight, and wipe off excess fat in the morning before using it again.
Remember that cast iron pans need periodic reseasoning with vegetable oil and careful cleaning when used frequently over high heat (a wire scrubber may be necessary). This pan cooks eggs, omelets, pancakes, and French toast.
Step 3: Heat It in the Oven
The process is easy if your pan is new or has been used but needs to be reseasoned.
First, heat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, coat the bottom and sides of the pan with a layer of vegetable oil. Be sure to use a high smoke point cooking oil, like canola or grapeseed oil. Then, place the pan upside down on the top rack of the oven and bake for one hour. This will help create a nonstick surface on the pan.
After an hour, you should turn off the oven to allow the pan to cool inside. And once the cookware is cooled, it is ready to use!
Remember that cast iron requires seasoning before each use, so don’t forget this step next time you cook something in your newly seasoned pan. You can also season cast iron pans in the oven without using oils by heating them to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour.
Step 4: Repeat 3 to 4 Times
Once you have completed seasoning, you must repeat the process more often. The process is the same as what you did above.
The advantage of repeating seasoning three to four times is to ensure that the pan is ready for use. This is essential for new cast iron cookware. If you have used cast iron cookware at other times, keep seasoning after washing it to preserve it. And it will not rust or have food sticks while cooking.
There are many benefits to seasoning your cast iron pan. It creates a nonstick surface, prevents rust, and makes cleanup a breeze. Plus, it’s easy to do and only takes a few minutes. Remember that regular cast iron pan seasoning is recommended to help maintain it for a long time. However, if you want to avoid the hassle of seasoning, you can purchase enameled cast iron cookware. These types of cookware will not need seasoning and are durable. So, the choice is yours, and learning how to season cast iron cookware is important.