A cast-iron pan is a molded iron in a particular shape. Cast iron can be used to prepare almost any kind of food. Well-maintained cast iron in good condition will be durable and serve better. How to season a cast iron pan to be non-stick is what most users find very challenging, which the solution is knowing how to season and re-season the cast iron.
Do you want to know How To Season A Cast Iron Pan? Seasoning cast iron is by scrubbing the skillet well in hot soapy water, then thoroughly drying it with a towel or heat. Immediately after getting it dry, spread or rub the vegetable oil all over the skillet surface and body part, place it in the oven at 375 degrees with the surface upside down and let it bake for 1 hour till it gets cool in the oven before removing it.
Seasoning cast iron comes with super non-stick strength and a protective coating formed by heating oil over it. And also, regular re-seasoning prolongs the non-stick power and protects it from rusting. After several layers of seasoning and re-seasoning with oil have been applied, what will happen to the skillet surface is not just a greasy coating but harden and blackened layers that protect the metal.
There are two ways of maintaining the seasoned surfaced skillet: regular reasoning after usage and placing it in the oven after rubbing with oil.
What is a cast-iron skillet?
A cast-iron skillet is a versatile heavy cooking pan made of cast iron to function as a roasting pan for meats and vegetables. It is very durable, versatile, useful, beautiful, and more resistant to scratches than any other cookware on the market, making it very easy for you to maintain the cookware and last for many years.
It can be used for deep-frying, sautéing, braising, boiling, stewing, smoking, roasting, baking bread, and much amazing soup. Cast iron skillets are great for preventing overheating as well as lowering the cooking temperature of a pot of boiling water by a couple of hundred degrees which equals less energy usage.
Suppose you don’t like the mess and hassle of charcoal, gas, or electric grills. In that case, cast iron will be a better alternative to use as it provides even heating throughout the cooking time and maintaining heat for delicious meal cooking.
Cast iron weighs much more than stainless steel or aluminum cookware, yet it heats evenly, retains heat well, and cleans up easily. Iron skillets develop a natural non-stick surface over time, but you can also restore the old-school cooking surface if your skillet becomes tough and rusty.
Materials needed for skillet re-seasoning
- water and Dish soap
- Sponge or stiff brush
- Clean, dry cloths or paper towels
- Aluminum foil
- Vegetable oil or shortening (or other oil of your choice)
How to season a cast-iron skillet for the first time
Here are the steps to be taken for a successful cast iron griddle seasoning:
1. Wash skillet with warm and soapy water
Scrub the skillet with soap and warm water since we can’t tell what has happened to it between production and the point of purchase. It will take back the cast iron that has just been produced.
2. Dry thoroughly with a dry towel
After washing, make sure you give a deep cleaning with a towel, most of the time, the water might not get dried, and that’s why you will need to put the pan on a stovetop flame or oven for a minute or two to drive off any lingering water.
3. Rub It All Over with Oil and Buff Well
Apply oil after the skillet is washed and dry. Rub the interior and exterior with oil by spreading it all over the cast iron. Too much oil can turn the skillet sticky if left unused for a few days.
4. Place the skillet upside down in an oven at 375 degrees
Place the cookware upside down into the oven at 400-500 degrees heat level. To not mess up your oven, place an aluminum foil below the oven rack to protect the oven bottom from a droplet that might emanate from the cast iron.
5. Bake for 1 hour
You will have to leave the skillet in the oven for at least 1 hour to achieve the purpose of seasoning the cast iron. Don’t open the oven during the process.
6. Let it get cool in the oven before removing it
It is best to leave the skillet in the oven even at the 1-hour mark. To put it in there, allow the steamed cast iron to get dried and ready for use.
How Often To Season Cast Iron
Keeping your cast iron in a high-performance position and remaining non-stick takes a lot of maintenance and care. There are ways to go about this which are explained below.
1. Avoid cooking acidic food in cast iron
Foods with high acidic content like lemon and tomato will affect the non-stick layers already built by regular seasoning. Foods with high acidic ingredients should be avoided, and use other cookware. Try to keep acidic ingredients in check when using your cast iron to keep it high performance.
2. No dishwasher
Don’t try putting cast iron into the dishwasher but instead, use your hand in washing; you can also use soap if it’s necessary to use it. Most time uses hot water with a stiffer brush to remove stuck on the surface. Another alternative to soap is to use a tablespoon of salt, scrub and rinse it very well and make sure it dried completely before re-season.
3. Dry thoroughly and immediately
Don’t allow water to remain on the cast iron after wash as it will aid rusting. Make use of the stove stop drying it after wash if it’s available for use. Then use oil to rub it in the process, most especially the surface of the pan.
4. Re-season the surface regularly
Re-season is one of the prerequisites for a non-stick pan surface and a lasting rust-free life span. When re-seasoning, rub the cast iron’s interior and exterior the place it upside down in an over 400-500 heat degree, and let it stay in there for 1 hour; let it get cold inside the oven even after switching the oven off.
How to season cast iron without oven
These steps will help you season cast iron without having to use the oven:
To season your cast iron skillet without an oven, you first need to soak the cast iron skillet in hot water. Do this for 1-2 hours. This will expand the pores of the metal, which will then create a better bonding between the oil you will be using and the metal. Use any edible oil that is solid at room temperature, spread the oil evenly on the surface of your cast iron skillet.
Place the skillet on a stove; the temperature of the stovetop is not very constant. When heating your cast iron on the stovetop, watch it closely to avoid getting too hot. If you see smoke, take off immediately and allow it to cool.
Although cast iron skillets are made to withstand high heat, they still can rust if not properly handled or cared for. Before using your cast iron cooking skillet for the first time, you must establish the seasoning in the skillet.
This prevents rusting in the skillet and, in addition, makes cooking foods in it easier. The next time you cook with your cast iron skillet, you do not need to re-season it if it was seasoned correctly when new. If your cast iron will be used to cook acidic foods like tomatoes, be sure to clean and re-season after each use.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best oil to season a cast-iron skillet?
The best oil to season a cast-iron skillet is one that contains no flavors or fragrances. Use oil that is tasteless and won’t cause particles from your food to stick to the pan while it’s being cooked. Neutral cooking oil does a great job of seasoning a cast-iron skillet.
How do you season a cast-iron skillet after each use?
After each use, use cold water to rinse the skillet, then use a dry paper towel to rub the entire surface of the skillet, so it’s completely dry. Next, dip a wadded-up piece of newspaper or a rag dip into vegetable oil and coat the whole surface of the skillet with a very thin film of it. Put your skillet on a preheated burner set on medium or medium-high heat for two to three minutes. Leave it to get cold there before removing it. Repeat it after every use.
How do you know if you need to season a cast-iron skillet?
When food starts sticking to the cast iron’s surface and the skillet surface looks dry and dull, then you’ll likely need to season your cast iron skillet. The seasoning provides a natural non-stick coating and also protects the pan from rusting or cracking after it’s been through some wear and tear.
Can you ruin a cast iron skillet?
Cast iron skillet could ruin your skillet by putting it in the dishwasher and stretching the shape, or you could ruin it by leaving soap residue in it and ruining the seasoning. Skillet can also be ruined through lack of care and maintenance. If left in a wet place and no regular re-seasoning, it will sure get destroyed.
Do you clean cast iron after every use?
Cast iron needs to be cleaned after each use with this soap and oil specially formulated for cast iron. Lubricates the surface, as this will help to protect the skillet against rust. You can easily wipe the interior with a paper towel to remove any remaining food particles, then scrub with hot water with a soft brush, dry with a towel, and oil the whole surface. Leave it to dry before storing.
Cast iron would be perfect cookware to own if properly maintained and managed. This page has explained how to season a cast iron pan by simply putting an oil baked onto cast iron through a process called polymerization. With regular re-seasoning, your skillet will be smooth, shiny, and non-stick in the form of classic black patina. Whenever it’s time to re-season your cast-iron skillet for natural coating, your food will start sticking to the surface or if the skillet appears dull or rusted. Well-seasoned cast iron will prevent it from rusting and lasting for years.