In The Kitchen: Seasoning a Cast Iron Skillet

This weekend was full and life was happening and so much got done…

There was a spaghetti dinner for a race I wasn’t entered in.  I am down for carb loading any day of the week, race or no race!  Easy conversation over drinks post spaghetti dinner with the friend who needed those extra carbs.  Early mornings with english muffins and homemade strawberry jam.  A dog with such an early alarm clock that I wonder if I can board her just on the weekends.  A run was squeezed in between baking a quiche (coming soon) and a trip to the grocery.  Late evening baking and a flick via Amazon.  There was marathon cheering (Congrats Marina!) – we had a cow bell! – there was lots of coffee and trip to a bakery where I am still wondering the spice I tasted in the peanut butter cookie (cardamom?).  Pounds of rhubarb was graciously offered and was carried home as my own bundle of joy, swaddled in a kitchen towel.  A pregnancy was announced ( I had an inkling…).  I made a decent dent in the yard work that has been staring me down all week.  The yard mowed, the weeds were weed eaten (well mostly), thistles were pulled, 2 bushes were hacked, the patio table and chairs and umbrella are ready for warm evenings and cool drinks, a bit of rhubarb was chopped and tossed in a  sweet treat.  And I finally got around to seasoning my cast iron skillet.

It has been needing a bit of a spa treatment for some time and has been out of commission because of my lack of love and tender care.  Do you have a cast iron skillet that is dull in color and your eggs stick like they are made of glue?  I am betting, your cast iron skillet needs a bit of seasoning as well.

Things you will need. A cast iron skillet.  Vegetable oil (andy cooking oil, really).  A cloth or pastry brush.  A baking sheet.  An oven.

Ready?  Let’s roll!
P.S. I posted something similar on Steller this weekend.  I am loving that format.

Find your cast iron skillet.  Is it stowed away on a top shelf above the fridge?  Or in a box in the basement labeled ‘ stuff from grandma’.  Just find it.

First things first.   Preheat oven to 350F.
Second things second.  Give it a good scrub.  Warm water and a touch of dish soap and a bit of elbow grease.  A stiff brush works great…if you have one, but I don’t have them hanging out in my kitchen.  I used the scratchy side of a sponge.

Look how dull and sad my skillet looks…This is the face of neglect.

Vegetable oil.  Or melted vegetable shortening.  Or olive oil.  Or coconut oil.  What I am really getting at here is that any cooking vegetable oil will do the trick.  Search your cupboards, use what ya have on hand.
Pastry brush or cloth.  Really anything to apply a thin layer of oil.

Apply.  Again I stress, thin layer.  A little bit goes a looooong way.  If you have any oil that is gathering along the edges, dab up excess oil with paper towel.

Place a baking sheet or a large piece of tin foil on bottom baking rack.  This is to catch any excess oil that might drip off.  Don’t forget this…otherwise, you will have a smokey smelly mess on your hands.

Place cast iron skillet upside down on top baking rack that is placed in the middle position.  Center it over the baking sheet/tin foil.

Bake for one hour.
Go do laundry.  Oh, wait … that’s just me.  I have SOOO much laundry to do.  Laundry didn’t happen this weekend.

Once an hour has passed, turn oven off and let skillet return to room temperature while resting in oven.

Look how shiny!  So fresh and so clean!

This process can be repeated to create a stronger seasoning.  I did mine twice.   But once will get ya by and it always can be repeated when necessary.

Now – go cook!

Remember…never soak your cast iron skillet in water or run it through the dishwasher.  Never!

When you are done cooking, wash briefly with warm water and dish soap (UPDATE/CLARIFICATION:just a few drops of dish soap and apply to dish cloth and then gently and briefly swipe the pan with cloth).  Rinse and dry it thoroughly with a dish cloth or paper towel.  Place on a hot burner for about 2 minutes to ensure that all water has evaporated and that you are left with a born dry skillet.  Store in a cool dry place.

Hope you have a great week!

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Aren’t you supposed to avoid using soap on cast iron? I never use it on mine and I’m assuming that it will remove a hard-earned seasoning pretty quickly. I like coconut oil on mine, but I’ve never really baked them using this process, but mine are in pretty good shape.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Mal says

      When you are getting ready to re-season the pan, it is ok to really give it a good scrub because you are going to reapply that great oiled skin. After cooking with it, I like to give a quick and gentle wash to remove any food particles and such – plus, I have heard of oil (from the cooking) going rancid if it isn’t done. The trick is to be gentle, no real scrubbing, absolutely no soaking, and then quickly drying. I normally just squirt a bit of soap onto a dish cloth, do a quick swipe of the pan and then rinse and dry real well. So, the soap is probably doing nothing besides piece of mind. Doing this, mine stay in pretty decent shape for a good while…plus, using them a lot always helps. Do you coat yours after each use? When I started using more of my cast iron skillets and reseasnoing hand me downs, I found a million ways to do this. Probably goes under the ‘a thousand ways to skin a cat’. Sorry for the book!

    • Mal says

      Ditto! You did an amazing job (once again!) in creating a great experience for those running their first race or perhaps their 100th AND all in support of our livers! High – five to you!

  2. says

    How funny. I was just telling Ryan that we needed to reseason our skillet. We overcooked some food in it the other day…and sadly overscrubbed. This couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.

  3. says

    This is the perfect blog for anyone who would like to find out
    about this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to
    argue with you (not that I really will need to…HaHa).
    You definitely put a brand new spin on a topic which has been written about for ages.
    Excellent stuff, just wonderful!

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