How to Clean and Season a Cast Iron Skillet

Cast Iron Pans – Well crafted, totally non stick, high end, they last a lifetime and they are inexpensive. The perfect pan.
How to Clean an Old Cast Iron Skillet

I have had my iron skillets for so long, I can’t even remember where they came from. They are well crafted, totally non stick, high end, they last a lifetime and they are inexpensive. I love things that last a lifetime because I dislike shopping so much, I love to get high quality things that last.

Can You Use Cast Iron Pans if You Have an Electric Stove?

YES!! Gas is the best and will conduct the heat the fastest. You have to allow a little more time for the pan to heat up with an electric stove, but it is totally worth it.

Emergency Ready

The electricity went out in our log cabin this winter, so I immediately brought my camping gas stove up from the cellar with the 3 weeks supply of gas canisters. My husband was most amused, but I had been waiting all winter to get my emergency supplies out. I was very excited and it felt like I was camping again but with all the home comforts. The power was restored about 10 minutes later, but I kept my stove out for the rest of day (just in case). I was amazed at how well the cast iron pans worked with the gas having always had an electric stove.

The Perfect Pan

I do most of my cooking with cast iron pans. They conduct heat beautifully, use less oil, the non stick is chemical free and some iron will be added to your food (I have had high iron levels ever since I started using these pans).

I did get one old cast iron pan from a garage sale. It looked very sad and it was dirty and full of rust. I didn’t know how easy it would be to restore it, but I bought it anyway and hoped that I could save it. When I got home I looked up how to clean and season a cast iron pan and I set to the job. Here’s how…

How to Clean Your Cast Iron Pan

This is the easy part. Just set your oven to self clean and put the pan in the oven, upside down, while it does it’s thing. When it comes out it will look like it is totally ruined. It will be covered in dust and rust and have all kinds of mess all over it. DON’T PANIC. That’s good. That means you have a perfect pan, that is now as good as a perfectly new pan, that has never been used.

Wash it

Wash the pan thoroughly under the tap an dry it. Your pan really doesn’t like water, so make sure when you use it, you always leave it dry.

How to Season Your Cast Iron Pan

Now that you have your pan back to new, you are ready to season it. There are lots of ways of doing this, and the best way is to put it in the over for 30 minutes with a layer of oil. Animals fat is best and I use ghee. But you can also use a heat stable oil such as coconut. Do not use olive oil. This is useless and should never even be heated.

Start by putting your pan in the oven for about 15 minutes on 200F to open the pores. Now wipe your oil over the entire surface. Use a kitchen towel or a cloth.

Now put the pan back into the oven on 350F for an hour. Switch off the oven and leave the pan until the oven is cold. Repeat this process until you have a solid black even coating. Perhaps 4-5 times. I put the pan in the oven every time I baked anything for the first year or so. It’s like giving it an extra season. Once you have a good base, you won’t have to do this anymore.

It can take a while for your pan to become non stick. But don’t give up. Once you build up a good layer of oil over time, your pan will be forever non stick of you season it after every use.

How to Season After Every Use. 

When you finish cooking, take a kitchen towel and wipe out the pan until it is clean. Then wipe your oil around the pan ready for the next time you use it.

Bacon is the best way to season your pan if you eat meat. After you have cooked a slice of bacon, just wipe out the pan with a clean kitchen towel.

Sometimes if you have cooked something messy, like a curry, you need to run the pan under the water to take off all the lumps. Don’t use a metal scrubby, just a cloth. It is much easier to do this while the pan is still warm. Make sure you thoroughly dry the pan by placing it back on the heat. Put a little drop of oil into the pan and wipe the oil around the entire pan using a kitchen towel. Turn off the heat and let the pan sit until the burner and the pan are cool.

I have a number of different cast iron skillets, all different sizes, and they all have their own job.

Meat does really well in cast iron pans and slow cooked  Caramelized Onions are a dream to make. You can also make bread.

Check out my video of how non stick a cast iron pan can be if it is correctly seasoned………….


How to Clean an Old Cast Iron Skillet

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