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How to season a cast iron skillet and how often you should do it

If you like cast iron cookware, you might want to know how to season a cast iron skillet. Not only are they sturdy, non-stick, and built to last, but cast iron pans are designed to withstand high temperatures to cook just about anything. From seared steak and pork to fried eggs, you can easily use it as part of your daily preparations.

But, if a cast iron skillet is not seasoned or properly maintained, it can often rust or wear out in the long run. Plus, it can affect the quality of your delicious cooking, especially if your pan starts to lose its non-stick appeal.

So what is seasoning? Essentially, seasoning (not the salt and spice kind) involves forming a protective layer on the iron by heating layers of oil.

What you will need

Laundry

Sponge or stiff brush

Cooking oil

Dry cloth or paper towel

Aluminium foil

Once hardened, it will keep your cast iron pan from rusting while retaining its natural black patina coating. Plus, the seasoning will ensure your cast iron cookware stays in pristine condition and lasts even longer.

While seasoning a cast iron skillet may seem like a huge chore, it’s actually quick and easy. Just follow our simple steps below and you will soon have a restored pan to cook on!

How to season a cast iron skillet

1. Preheat your oven – You must first preheat your oven to a temperature of 350 ° F in preparation for your seasoned pan.

Cast iron pan on hob

Cast iron pan on hob (Image credit: Avenir)

2. Add a little oil and rub to coat – Then take the oil of your choice and pour a tablespoon or two into the pan. Be careful not to add too much, as you will only need a thin layer of oil to season. Then, with a clean, dry cloth or paper towel, rub the oil around to coat the entire pan. Once you’ve oiled the inside, don’t forget to do the same for the outside and bottom of the pan.

Cast iron pan seasoned with oil

Cast iron pan seasoned with oil (Image credit: Avenir)

3. Put the pan in the oven to cook – The key is to place the pan upside down on the middle oven rack to bake for an hour (yes, an hour). It is always a good idea to place aluminum foil just underneath, to catch any dripping oil. Either way, you can always read our tips for how to clean an oven to keep it grease-free and spot-free.

Baking cast iron pan

Baking cast iron pan (Image credit: Avenir)

4. Let the pan cool before putting it away – Once your pan is cooked, let it cool completely before removing it from the oven.

You should notice a smooth and shiny surface on your pan, which means it’s ready for your next cooking session! Before storing it in your cabinet, it is recommended that you line the pan with a paper towel to further protect it from rust. But you can eliminate this with proper care if you follow our steps on how to clean your stove and remove rust.

More tips for seasoning your cast iron pan

  • Which oil should I use to season my pan? – As a general rule, you can use any oil in your cabinet. However, vegetable oil, melted butter, or canola oil are popular choices. Remember, you don’t have to use your best premium brand for seasoning!
  • How often should I season my pan? – To get the most out of your cast iron pan, it is recommended to oil it after each use. However, depending on the frequency of use, 2-3 times a year is sufficient.
  • How do I know if my pan is well seasoned? – A well-seasoned pan will be noticeably dark with a glossy, semi-gloss finish. Best of all, it won’t have any rusty spots and will look revived again!

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