How To Season a Cast Iron Skillet

Cleaning Lessons from The Kitchn

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In recent years, I fell in love with my cast iron skillet. It’s one of my most used kitchen tools. It’s the perfect vessel to cook up a great pork chop, crisp up some chicken thighs or even bake a great batch of brownies. I love being able to transfer things from the stovetop to the oven with ease. Oh, and they’re super easy to clean!

You can use a cast iron skillet for most anything as long as you take the time to maintain it and keep it in good condition. I’m going to show you how to easily season your cast iron skillet and keep it in great working order!

I know I mentioned I’ve only in “recent years” come to love cast iron, but there’s nothing new about this material. I’m sure most of you have memories of your grandparents or even great-grandparents lugging out their heavy-bottomed skillets and frying up dinner. There’s a reason these pans get passed down from grandparent to grandchild. There is science behind the seasoning process and the skillet’s durability! Learn how to maintain your pan, and it will last you a lifetime.

Let’s get to seasoning!

How To Season A Cast Iron Skillet

What You Need

Materials
Cast iron skillet
Dish soap
Sponge or stiff brush
Clean, dry cloth or paper towels
Vegetable oil or shortening (or other oil of your choice)

Equipment
Oven

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 325°F.

2. Wash the skillet with warm, soapy water and a sponge or stiff brush. Cast iron should not normally be washed with soap, but it's fine here since the pan is about to be seasoned.

3. Rinse and thoroughly dry the skillet.

4. Using a cloth or paper towel, apply a thin coat of vegetable oil or melted shortening to the inside and outside of the skillet. Vegetable oil and shortening are the most commonly recommended oils used for seasoning, but according to Lodge, you can use any oil of your choice.

5. Place the skillet upside down on the oven's center rack.

6. Place a sheet of aluminum foil below the rack to catch any drips.

7. Bake for an hour.

8. Turn off heat and allow to the skillet to cool completely before removing from oven.

Additional Notes: A seasoned skillet is smooth, shiny, and non-stick. You'll know it's time to re-season if food sticks to the surface or if the skillet appears dull or rusted.

(Image credits: Gina Biancaniello)

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