D3 asked in Food & DrinkCooking & Recipes · 1 month ago

Tips for maintaining a cast iron skillet?

I bought one previously and was inexperienced and ruined it. How would you recommend maintaining its integrity and cleaning it? 

16 Answers

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  • 1 month ago

    Your First Cast Iron Cleaning

    If you are just peeling the sticker off that new Lodge skillet or you found one at a thrift store — the very first thing you should do is wash the skillet. This washing will be slightly different than daily upkeep because we’re going to suggest hot, soapy water!

  • 1 month ago

    Rinse with warm water and use a brush or scraper to remove stuck-on bits. ...

    For really stuck-on food, scrub with salt and oil, rinse and wipe clean. ...

    Dry the pan and coat with a thin layer of oil. ...

    Store until ready to use.

  • 1 month ago

    The pan needs to be 'seasoned' before using. To season it, turn up your oven to 500F. Oil the inside of the pan with solid vegetable shortening or a high-heat oil such as corn oil, canola oil or peanut oil--don't use olive oil. Wipe off excess. Place the pan in the hot oven and leave it there until the oil turns the inside of the pan black. Then turn off the heat and leave it until it cools down. DO NOT run the hot pan under cold water. Do NOT attempt to use the pan until it's cool enough to handle. 

    Once it is cool, then wipe away the excess oil with a paper towel. Don't use soap, but the paper towel can be damp. Clean off any excess oil and put the pan on top of the stove, and try to cook an egg in it--if the egg sticks, you'll need to season it again. Go through the same process as before until you can cook an egg in it without the egg sticking. 

    Then store your seasoned pan in a cupboard. When you wash it after use, you can use soap and water, but no scouring--not with anything.  Never use a steel-wool soap pad on it, and if you have food that sticks, use coarse salt to remove it or let it soak until the food scrapes away easily. Always store your pan DRY, and if you have to, rub it with a paper towel and a little oil.  NEVER put it in a dishwasher. 

    As long as your pan remains seasoned, it will last you for DECADES--I've got cast iron cookware that is 70 years old and still working perfectly. If it ever gets scratched or rusty, re-season it again. 

    I don't recommend using meat fat or bacon--because the remaining oil can quickly go smelly and rancid--though some people swear by it. Solid vegetable shortening has worked just as well and doesn't stink later. 

    And remember, never put your hot pan under cold water--cast iron can and will crack from the sudden temperature change. 

  • kswck2
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Short of running it over with a Steamroller, you cannot Ruin a cast iron skillet, even if it is rusty and orange from rust.  

    Refinishing an iron skillet takes a while-like about a week, depending on how bad it is. YouTube has Many videos on restoring one. 

    I took a bright orange one out of the garbage. Spent a good week 'fixing' it. It is now my Best iron skillet-rarely use the one i bought anymore. 

    You need to strip and re-season it. And TAKE the time to, until you can cook ONE egg without it sticking. 

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  • 1 month ago

    Never wash it with cleanser or soap. Just hot or warm water. You can also use coarse salt or one of those stainless steel skillet scrubbers (they look like chain mail). Then dry to prevent rust. I dry them by putting on stove with low heat for a minute or so.

  • 1 month ago

    Did you leave it out in the rain for a couple of years? That's about the only way to ruin a cast iron pan. If it rusts, it can be scoured and re-seasoned.

    Clean it by scrubbing it with plain hot water and a sponge or cloth or brush, and dry it immediately. If food is stuck on, soak it in hot water for ten minutes and then scrub it. Applying a tiny bit of oil after, if food has been stuck on, is helpful to maintain the seasoning.

    That is how I have looked after my cast iron pans for the last 40 years or so.

  • Darla
    Lv 5
    1 month ago

    Leave a little grease. It's good for it. 

  • CB
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    We used to just clean them with coarse salt (as an abrasive) and some fresh water then a little wipe of vegetable oil. 

  • 1 month ago

    I recommend using a special cleaner for cast iron (for example bar keepers friend)  then using a small amount of vegetable oil and rubbing it all over the entire skillet, then wrap it in a towel to store it, hope this helps

  • Barry
    Lv 6
    1 month ago

    Don't bother with a cast iron version. They are a pain to maintain and clean. Invest in a non stick ceramic coated one. It must be ceramic not Teflon. These pans are magic and only need a wipe with a paper towel to clean.

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