Check out these easy tips on how to season cast iron cookware and care for it so that it will last you a lifetime!
Hi there, my Kenarry friends! It’s Robin from A Home To Grow Old In again, and I’m back today to share how I care for my cast iron cookware. It’s my favorite thing to cook with, but I recently had a little snafu with mine and thought you might like to know how I brought it back to life.
Are you a fan of cast iron cookware? I’ve been using it for as long as I can remember. I’m from New Orleans originally, and I can remember my grandmother cooking Cajun dishes with her cast iron when I was a little girl. It’s always been around. But I have a lot of friends that have never used it, or have used it, and didn’t like it because it wasn’t seasoned properly. Cast iron cookware is incredibly non-stick without harsh chemical coatings, but it takes a little bit of work initially to season it (that’s what they call the non-stick coating) and get it that way.
How to Fix a Burnt Cast Iron Skillet
Alright, so back to my snafu. Recently, I was cooking some chicken in my cast iron skillet when my neighbor stopped by to show me something outside. I’m really not sure why I didn’t take the chicken off the stove, but I didn’t. I headed outside with her and got to chatting, and who knows how long later, I came back inside to a very stinky kitchen and some carbonized chicken. Not exactly the recipe I had in mind.
As well seasoned as my cast iron cookware was, it was no match for that burnt chicken! After a LOT of scrubbing, I was finally able to scrape the chicken off, but a lot of my seasoning came off, too. The nice thing about cast iron is that it’s fairly easy to reseason if you need to. It takes a bit of time, but you’re actually only working on it for about 2 minutes.
This is what my skillet looked like after I cleaned it. The dull spots are where the seasoning came off.
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How to Season Cast Iron Cookware
To season your cookware, pour about a tablespoon of oil into a clean cast iron pan. Over the years I’ve tried a variety of different oils, even shortening, but flaxseed oil is by far my favorite. It provides a really strong non-stick surface. Flaxseed oil is easy to find online, but I picked mine up at Homegoods for a great price.
Then, use a paper towel to spread the oil evenly over the entire surface of the skillet.
Next, you will harden the oil in the oven, but before you do, line the bottom of your oven with aluminum foil for easy cleanup. Place the cast iron skillet in the oven at 500 degrees F/260 degrees C, upside down so that any excess oil can run off for 1 hour. Then, take the skillet out of the oven and allow it to cool down. Repeat the process 3-5 more times until you have a nice even coat.
That’s all there is to it! You will have an amazing non-stick surface to cook all your favorite meals on.
How to Care for Cast Iron Pans
Here are a few of my favorite tips for taking care of your cast iron cookware:
- You don’t need to buy expensive pieces. I’ve been using this cast iron skillet for longer than I can remember.
- Even if your cast iron cookware says that it was “pre-seasoned” and that it’s ready for use, go ahead and follow the steps above. The manufacturer’s seasoning isn’t nearly as good as doing it yourself.
- Never use soap! Soap will remove the seasoning you worked so hard to build up. Don’t worry about bacteria, the heat from cooking will take care of that.
- Kosher salt is great abrasive to help clean up your pan after you cook with it. Just pour some onto the bottom of the pan and use a wet washcloth to scrub away any stubborn food. Make sure to rinse out all of the salt when it’s clean so that it doesn’t rust the pan.
- After washing, place your cast iron on the stove at low to medium heat until it’s completely dried. Then, let it cool off before you put it away.
If you take care of your cast iron cookware, it should last for generations. I love using it because it cooks food so evenly, and it has the extra benefit of adding a little iron into the food you’re making. It can also go from the stovetop to the oven for more flexibility in how you cook.
Interested in what else I’ve been up to this spring? Take a look at some of my spring projects.
While you’re here, be sure to check out some of the easy recipes you can make in a cast iron skillet:
- Skillet Lasagna Recipe
- Skillet Cookie Recipe: A Simple Sweet Treat
- Quick and Easy Hoppin’ John Side Dish
Robin is a home decor and DIY blogger at A Home To Grow Old In that lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and 2 young boys. She moved into a 90 year old Tudor-style home in 2015 after spending the last several years in Bangkok, Thailand. While there, she had an opportunity to attend culinary school and enjoys sharing many of her favorite recipes on her blog. Robin’s days are spent enjoying time with her boys that are growing up too fast or making over rooms in her home by refinishing furniture she already owns or repurposing things that she finds.