How To Season a Cast-Iron Pan: A Step-By-Step Guide
Cast-iron pans are popular in the kitchen because they are sturdy and versatile. But to keep them working perfectly, they need to be properly cared for, and that includes regular seasoning. If you’re new to cooking with cast-iron, or just need a refresher on how to season your pan, we’ve got you covered.
What is Seasoning?
Seasoning is the process of heating oil in a cast-iron pan to create a non-stick surface. It helps prevent food from sticking to the pan and protects the pan from rust.
What You’ll Need
To season your cast-iron pan, you’ll need several things:
- Warm, soapy water
- A scrub brush
- A clean towel or paper towels
- Neutral oil (such as vegetable, canola, or grapeseed)
The Steps for Seasoning a Cast-Iron Pan
1. Clean Your Pan
If your pan is dirty or rusty, it needs to be cleaned before seasoning. Here’s what to do:
- Fill your sink with warm, soapy water, and use a scrub brush to clean the pan thoroughly. If there are any stubborn bits of food or rust, you can use steel wool to remove them.
- Rinse the pan with hot water and dry it with a clean towel or paper towels.
2. Apply a Thin Layer of Oil
Now that your pan is clean and dry, it’s time to apply a thin layer of oil. Here’s how to do it:
- Using a clean paper towel, apply a thin layer of neutral oil to the entire surface of the pan, including the handle.
- Wipe away any excess oil with a clean paper towel.
3. Heat the Pan
The next step is to heat the oiled pan in the oven. Here’s what to do:
- Preheat your oven to between 350°F and 450°F.
- Place the oiled pan upside down on the top rack of the oven.
- Place a sheet of aluminum foil or a baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven to catch any drips.
- Bake the pan for one hour.
- Turn off the oven and let the pan cool in the oven.
4. Store Your Pan
Once your pan has cooled, it’s ready to use. Here’s how to store it:
- Store your pan in a dry place.
- Avoid stacking other pots and pans on top of the cast-iron pan.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Here are a few mistakes that people commonly make when seasoning a cast-iron pan:
- Using too much oil.
- Not cleaning the pan thoroughly before seasoning.
- Not heating the pan long enough.
- Not storing the pan properly.
Seasoning your cast-iron pan is an easy process that will keep it in good working order for years to come. By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your pan is properly seasoned and resistant to rust and food sticking.
1. How often should I season my cast-iron pan?
You should season your cast-iron pan after each use, or when the surface becomes sticky or rusty.
2. Can I use butter or unrefined coconut oil to season my pan?
No, you should avoid using butter or unrefined coconut oil to season your pan because they contain milk solids and pulp that can burn and scorch.
3. What is the best oil to use for seasoning my cast-iron pan?
The best oils to use for seasoning are neutral oils with a high smoke point, such as canola, vegetable, grapeseed, sunflower, and safflower.
4. Can I use soap to clean my cast-iron pan?
Yes, you can use soap to clean your cast-iron pan. Just be sure to rinse it thoroughly and dry it completely before seasoning.
5. Can I season a rusty cast-iron pan?
Yes, you can season a rusty pan. Just be sure to clean it thoroughly and remove any rust before seasoning.