Using Cast Iron Skillets

Using Cast Iron Skillets

11 February 2021

Valentine's Day is a great time to use our cast iron skillets.  A nice seared steak or fish can make the evening very special, even if you are at home.  But not everything we own can be cleaned with cleaning solutions. Cast iron skillets are one of these rare items.


Cast iron is a wonderful option to use whether cooking at home or in a restaurant. This versatile utensil can come in the form of a frying pan or Dutch Oven.

Cleaning cast iron is actually easier than you might think. With a stiff brush, a clean cloth or paper towels, vegetable oil, and maybe some coarse salt you can maintain this environment pretty easily.

The main trick to cleaning cast iron is to clean it immediately after use when it is still warm. A well-seasoned skillet will be much more nonstick if cleaned quickly after use, before the food can dry on it. You never want to soak cast iron in water for long periods of time as the pan will rust.

Ways to clean cast iron:

Always wash cast iron by hand with hot water and a sponge or stiff brush. Never use the dishwasher or dish soap. Using soap will actually strip the seasoning on the cast iron.

If you do find you left your skillet to long and you end up with food stuck to it, scrub the pan with a paste of coarse salt and water. Really stuck on food residue can also be loosened by boiling water in the pan.

Drying cast iron:

The key to cast iron is drying. Any moisture left will create rust, which is not what you want to be eating. It is best to use paper towel. To ensure it is fully dry place in the oven on a low heat till fully dry.

Once the cast iron is fully dry apply a light coating of vegetable oil to the inside and outside of the skillet. Make sure to buff the skillet to remove excess oil.

Always store your cast iron in a dry place. If you do not use your cast iron on a regular basis, check on it weekly to ensure it is still dry and not full of dust.

Tackling rust:

If you find your cast iron is rusted you will want to thoroughly clean it and remove the rust before reasoning the cast iron. You can remove the rust with steel wool or by sprinkling with baking soda and scrubbing with a cut raw potato.

Seasoning cast iron:

To season cast iron first clean and remove any rust. Next oil the inside and outside with vegetable oil, bake upside down in a 325 degree oven for 1 hour. You can use a piece of aluminum foil on the rack below the pan to catch any drips. Once the hour is up, turn off the stove and leave the pan untouched until cooled down (about 2 hours).

On a regular basis you should have no need to re-season your cast iron. However if you have the need to remove rust or your food sticks to the pan, it’s time for some seasoning TLC.

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