How To Season And Clean A Cast Iron Skillet

Every time you use your cast iron skillet, you’re left with a stubborn mess of cooked-on food and grease. So you fill it with soapy water in your kitchen sink and leave it to soak, returning later to scrub with your steel wool soap pad in hand. But getting your skillet clean after cooking shouldn’t require so much time and muscle. By seasoning your cast iron skillet, you can actually cut cleaning time down to seconds! Seasoning a cast iron skillet doesn’t require salt or pepper. We’re referring to the process of sealing your skillet by baking oil into the surfaces at high temperatures. Some cast iron cookware will come factory-seasoned, so check the label to see if your skillet requires seasoning.

Seasoning A Cast Iron Skillet Step By Step

1. Place a sheet of aluminum foil along the bottom rack of your oven and preheat to 400°F.

2. Thoroughly clean your skillet using a mild soap and a scrub. Rinse until the water runs clear (you don’t want to leave any soap residue behind) and then dry the skillet with a towel or cloth.

3. Using cooking oil and a paper towel, lightly coat the interior and exterior surfaces of the skillet.

4. Place the skillet bottom-up on the top rack of your oven and bake for one hour.

5. Turn the oven off and let the skillet cool before removing it from the oven.

6. Once your skillet has cooled down, store it in a low moisture area.

Cleaning A Cast Iron Skillet

Kitchen sink sizes vary and only those with deep kitchen sinks can really accommodate cleaning large cookware. Are you splashing soapy water all over your countertops? That probably means you have one of the kitchen sink sizes that are on the smaller side. Luckily once you’ve seasoned your cast iron skillet, cleaning is simplified a hundredfold, and even those without deep kitchen sinks can keep water where it belongs.

To clean your cast iron skillet, all you need to do is rinse it with hot water and wipe gently with a non-abrasive sponge. Dry your skillet over heat to remove excess moisture, allow it to cool, and then apply a thin layer of cooking oil using a paper towel. This will extend its lifespan and allow you to continue to reap the quick-release benefits of your seasoned cast iron skillet.

In the case of really cooked-on food that doesn’t come off by simply rinsing or wiping with a sponge, you have two options. You can add a little kosher salt to your sponge and try buffing the spot away or you can boil some water in the skillet to loosen the debris. Either of these methods should work in removing cooked-on food or rust, so don’t reach for that steel wool soap pad (as tempting as it may be).

By always cleaning your cast iron skillet properly and storing it in a low moisture area, it will maintain its sheen and non-sticking properties for years to come. If you ever do get to a point where you feel your skillet is no longer functioning as well as it once did, simply follow the steps to season your skillet again.

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