Can I Rescue My Cast Iron Skillet?

published Nov 5, 2015
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Q: I left my cast iron skillet on the stove top too long. The damage caused about half of the top layer to be burnt off, so there are parts that are dark black and other parts that are lighter.

None of it is “flaking,” but when I try to scrub either the dark or light parts with steel wool and vinegar, or even just water and a paper towel, a black residue (almost tar-like) comes off.

I’ve read so much about seasoning it, but I have seasoned it once since this occurred and it didn’t help. Do I maybe need to season it multiple times? Is there something I can do to get all the black residue off first or is that just the deep layers of the cast iron? I’m desperate; please help!

Sent by Cary

Editor: The good news is that cast iron is really resilient cookware, so there’s definitely hope for your pan. It seems like you may need to really scrub the pan until no more residue comes off, then give it a good seasoning.

Kitchn readers, have you ever experienced anything like this? Do you have any advice to help Cary bring this pan back to life?