How To Season A Cast Iron Pan

Empty old cast iron skille on dark stone background.

  • Wash the pan: use a gentle dish soap and warm water to wash your cast iron pot or cast iron frying pan completely.
  • Dry the pan: use a dish towel or paper towel to dry your cast iron pan as well as you can. Still, some moisture might remain. In turn, place your cast iron skillet on your stovetop, with high heat, for a minute or two.
  • Rub the skillet down with seasoning oil: use a paper towel to rub your cast iron frying pan with a thin layer of seasoning oil. Make sure to rub it inside and outside the cooking surface, and on the handle. Use an oil with a high smoke point, like vegetable oil, flax oil, canola oil or grape-seed oil. 
  • Heat the pan in the oven: Heat your oven between 400 and 500 degrees and place your skillet upside down on a center rack. Remember to put aluminum foil underneath the pan to catch the excess oil. Let your cast iron pan sit in the oven for an hour. You can cool your pan in the oven, as well.  Do not worry if there is some smoke.
  • Take the pan out and repeat the process: Repeat this seasoning process three times to ensure that your cast iron pan will have a non-stick surface.

Content Gallery:

  1. How To Care For Cast Iron
  2. Stainless Steel Cookware vs Cast Iron Cookware
  3. Alternatives To Cast Iron Cookware
  4. Frequently Asked Questions

1. How To Care For Cast Iron Cookware

Dirty and greasy cast iron pan with scrubbing brush and kitchen towel next to it on stone background

  • After cooking with your cast iron skillet, use a stiff brush or plastic scrubber, while running it under warm water. Avoid steel wool, which might scratch and damage the nonstick cooking surface. Kosher salt works well to remove stubborn stains from acidic foods or bacon grease. But remember not to use dish soap, or you will need to re-season your cast iron frying pan.
  • Before you cook with your cast iron cookware, add your vegetable or avocado oil to the griddle or skillet’s surface. Start with low heat, and gradually increase it slowly.
  • Do not use your cast iron cookware to marinate. It is time to reseason cast iron pan, when food or lard starts to stick to your frying pan’s surface; your food starts to taste metallic; or you see rust on the pan.

2. Stainless Steel Cookware vs. Cast Iron Cookware

Dalstrong Oberon Series Frying Pan & Skillet Balancing On A Wooden Counter Against A Green Wall

12" Aluminum Frying Pan & Skillet - The Oberon Series

When deciding on the next set of cookware for your kitchen, you have a choice in material. Cast iron and stainless steel are both popular options, I mean there is a reason that cooking schools insist that you learn your trade with both. They each have their pros and cons. For instance:
  • Cast iron pans require regular seasoning and extra work, but offer your dishes a deep, rich flavor.
  • Stainless steel pans are great for your daily cooking, are durable, and are low-maintenance.

So, how to choose? Well, not all food reacts well with cast iron. In this way, cast iron pans do not offer the versatility of stainless steel pans. 

Stainless steel’s versatility
Stainless steel pans can be your workhorse. They heat quickly, distribute heat well, and work for all ingredients in your kitchen. Also, with stainless steel cookware, you are in charge of choosing how nonstick you want the surface. Finally, stainless steel pans are a breeze to clean, even after cooking acidic foods or with burned on grease. You can even wash them in warm water, using just dish soap and a sponge.

So, stainless steel or cast iron?
If you are a serious chef, you will want both stainless steel cookware and a cast iron dutch oven or skillet waiting for you in your arsenal. However, if having both cast iron and stainless steel cookware is not an option right now, stainless steel offers you more versatility and greater ease of use. Therefore, in our opinion, the best place to start is with stainless steel pans.  

A question of quality
Now, the question becomes what stainless steel pans to choose? Remember, regardless of what type of material you prefer, quality is essential in the effectiveness and durability of your cookware. In the following section, we will showcase some of our favorite high-quality, stainless steel pans.

3. Alternatives To Cast Iron Cookware

Dalstrong Avalon Series Skillet Frying Pan and Lid Resting Against A White Kitchen Tiled Wall On A Grey Granite Counter

12" Skillet Frying Pan - Hammered Finish - Silver - The Avalon Series

1. 3 Quart Stock Pot | Silver | Oberon Series | Dalstrong ©

3 Quart Stock Pot | Silver | Oberon Series | Dalstrong ©

This stainless steel stock pot will last you a lifetime. This cookware features impeccable conductivity to evenly heat and cook a wide range of culinary delights Its 18/10 stainless steel excels at browning and braising foods, while looking great in the process. This stock pot works on your stovetop and inside your oven. It looks great and is low-maintenance. 

Pros:

  1. True heavy gauge cookware - ultra strong 2.5mm thickness that will never dent or warp under prolonged heat, for consistent cooking results every time.
  2. Freezer, dishwasher, and refrigerator safe
  3. Easily transitions from cooking on the stovetop to finishing in the oven.
  4. Boasts non-toxic, non-hypoallergenic materials that are PFOA and PTFE free
Cons: 
  1. If in the market for a large stock pot or heavy-duty dutch oven, this pot might be a bit on the small size
  2. Does not feature a nonstick coating like the Avalon model

2. 12" Skillet Frying Pan - Hammered Finish - Silver - The Avalon Series

12" Skillet Frying Pan - Hammered Finish - Silver - The Avalon Series

    Stunning design and high performance make this stainless steel skillet frying pan an ideal addition to any chef’s cookware set. Unrivaled conductivity allows this saute pan to handle a wide-range of culinary delights. It features 18/10 stainless steel and premium aluminum for enhanced heat retention and to preserve the nutritional qualities, taste and color of foods.

    Pros:

    1. Premium conductivity that heats 5X better than iron pans and 20X better than basic stainless steel
    2. True heavy gauge cookware - ultra strong 2.5mm thickness that will never dent or warp under prolonged heat, for consistent cooking results every time
    3. Included is a stainless steel lid that will last a lifetime, while still maintaining a perfect sea
    4. The vented hole on the lid serves as a pressure release to prevent rattling and food from boiling over.
    ` Cons:
    1. This top of the line skillet might exceed some budgets
    2. 5-Ply Copper Forged Foundation might make for a more heavy-duty frying pan than some are looking for

    3. 12-Piece Cookware Set | Silver | Avalon Series | Dalstrong ©

    12-Piece Cookware Set | Silver | Avalon Series | Dalstrong ©

    Skip the individual purchase of pots and pans, and invest in a state of the art stainless steel cookware set. The Avalon series cookware set marries luxury and practicality. It boasts unrivalled conductivity to quickly heat and evenly cook a full range of culinary delights.

    This professional cookware allows for precise searing, browning, sautéing, deep frying, quick boiling, sauces, jams, and even baking. This series rises above the competition with a Copper Core Foundation and additional thick gauge layers of nonreactive 18/10 stainless steel and premium aluminum. Your food will retain its taste and nutritious qualities when you are working with this beautiful cookware set from Dalstrong.

    Pros:

    1. Additional interior layers of smudge/free aluminum & 18/10 stainless steel above and below the Copper Forged Foundation provides maximum heat conductivity and retention
    2. Exceptional responsiveness to precise changes in temperature when increasing or decreasing heat for the perfect control required to preserve the nutritional qualities, taste, and color of foods.
    3. Securely and carefully fastened to the body of the pan with aluminum, non-stick covered rivets that will never loosen, break or rust, you can be confident in cookware that will last a lifetime.
    4. Allows you to enjoy healthy cooking with non-toxic, non-hypoallergenic materials that are PFOA and PTFE free.
    Cons:
    1. This top of the line cookware set features a price tag that might scare off those on a budget.
    2. More novice cooks might want to buy their pots and pans individually. 

    4. Frequently Asked Questions

    Oberon Series 6 piece Cookware SetOberon Series 6 Piece Cookware Set

      What is the best oil to season a cast iron skillet?
      The best oil to season a cast iron frying pan or skillet is one with a high smoke point. We recommend grape-seed, flaxseed, or vegetable oil. Stay away from cooking oil that smokes quickly, such as olive oil and coconut oil.
       

      How many times do you season a cast iron skillet?

      During the initial seasoning of a cast iron pan, you must repeat the steps three times. After that, you must season the skillet on a need-to basis. For instance, you will need to season cast iron when the surface is no longer non-stick and, after cooking, you have had to use kosher salt or baking soda to dislodge food. Also, after using dish soap on your cast iron pan, you will need to season it again. Finally, if you notice a metallic taste or see rust, it is time to season your cast iron pan once more.

      How do you season cast iron quickly?
      While the seasoning process is straightforward, we suggest that you do not take short-cuts. Make sure to have your oiled pan in the oven for the proper amount of time. Do not rush the seasoning process with your cast iron cookware, in the beginning, and you will get better use out of it during its lifetime.
       

      How can you tell if cast iron is seasoned?

      A seasoned cast iron skillet will have a nonstick surface. It will not have any rust or dull patches. Also, a seasoned cast iron pan will not be sticky or greasy to the touch.

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      Written by Jonathan Scolnick
      Born in Philadelphia and living in Argentina, Jonathan loves learning about culture through the food and conversation at the dinner table.