How to Clean and Season Your New Cast Iron Pan
- by Omaha Steaks
- Last updated Aug 24, 2023
There’s a reason cast iron pans are revered by home cooks and chefs across the world – they are economical, add incredible flavors to your food, provide a nice steakhouse-style sear on your favorite steak, and when properly cleaned and seasoned are essentially non-stick and will last a lifetime. New cast iron pans always come with some pre-seasoning on it, but you’ll want to add a few extra layers to make sure it has a nice, protective coating and non-stick properties before using. Learn how to season your new cast iron skillet in five simple steps. It’s easier than you think!
How to Season a New Cast Iron Pan
Congrats on your new cookware! Follow these steps to season your cast iron pan before using.
1. Wash Pan
Wash your new cast iron skillet with warm, soapy water. With normal maintenance we do not recommend using soap to clean a cast iron pan because it can strip the seasoning. However, it’s okay on your new skillet because this process will re-season the pan.
2. Dry Thoroughly
Your skillet needs to be completely dry before seasoning. Use a paper towel or lint-free cloth and make sure there is no moisture on your pan.
3. Rub with Oil and Buff
Once your cast iron pan is clean and dry, rub a thin layer of vegetable or canola oil on every surface of the pan, including the handle, using a clean kitchen towel. Then buff with the towel until the cookware is no longer greasy.
4. Bake for 30 Minutes
Place the cast iron pan upside down in a preheated 400°F oven with a sheet of aluminum foil or a drip pan on the bottom rack below it to catch any drips. Bake the pan for 30 minutes. The oven will provide even heat to set the oil on all sides of the cast iron pan for all-around seasoning and a protective layer.
5. Repeat 3-4 Times
After 30 minutes, take the pan out carefully. It will be very hot! Rub it again with a very thin layer of oil and buff. Then place it back in the oven to bake for another 30 minutes. Repeat this process three to four times for an initial layer of seasoning. Once done, turn off the heat and allow the pan cool in the oven. It’s now ready to use!
Cast Iron Cooking Frequently Asked Questions
Why Do You Need to Season a Cast Iron Pan?
Seasoning protects the metal in the pan from rusting, provides nonstick properties, and allows for easier and quicker cleaning.
How Long Does Seasoning Last on Cast Iron Cookware?
The more you cook with your cast iron skillet, the more seasoned it will become. Always make sure to clean it properly and lightly season after each use following these instructions to ensure it lasts a lifetime. Cleaning with soap or cooking acidic foods can strip the seasoning. If this happens, simply follow the steps again to re-season.
What are the Best Foods to Cook in a Cast Iron Skillet?
Steak! Of course! Filet mignons, Ribeyes, NY Strips, T-bones, and Top Sirloins will all have an incredible crust and flavor when pan seared in a cast iron skillet. Thick-cut bacon, pork chops, cornbread, and pot pies are also great choices to cook in your cast iron skillet.
What Foods Should You Never Cook in Cast Iron?
Acidic foods, like tomatoes, lemon juice, wine, or vinegar should be avoided when cooking with cast iron. The high level of acid in the food can react with the metals in the pan, strip the seasoning, and give your food an undesirable irony flavor.
Can You Use a Cast Iron Skillet on the Grill?
Yes! Place the cast iron skillet directly over the heat source on the grill grates and let it get ripping hot (about 10 minutes.) The heat is evenly distributed in a cast iron skillet on the grill and will provide an incredible sear on your steak or burger. Cook meat, vegetables, pan sauces, and more. The cast iron skillet will be extremely hot – always use caution when handling.
Can You Use My Cast Iron Pan on a Glass Stovetop?
You can use your cast iron on a glass-top range with extreme caution. Place the skillet gently on the stovetop and be mindful when moving it around to avoiding damaging or scratching the cooktop’s glass surface. Another great option is to use a heat diffuser with the cast iron cookware to distribute the heat evenly and protect your glass stove top from the rough bottoms of cast iron skillets.
What if Your Cast Iron Pan Gets Rusty?
Don’t panic! There’s no need to throw away a rusted cast iron skillet. Unless the pan is completely rusted through, you can easily use this same process to restore it. Simply scour the rusty sections with steel wool and wash in warm, soapy water. Once the rust is removed, simply follow the steps above to re-season your pan. Voilà! It will be brand new and ready to cook your next steak dinner.
Try these recipes with your cast iron skillet:
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