How-To Season a Cast Iron Frying Pan


How-To Season a Cast Iron Frying Pan

clip_image002I have a cast iron frying pan. The sort with ridges; it makes those impressive restaurant-style lines on steak when you fry a slab of meat. It does the same for veg, too, in case you think this post is strictly aimed at meat-eaters. Now every good cast iron pan needs a proper seasoning to keep it truly stick-free and slick as Teflon – without the fear of possible toxic chemical fumes.

To season cast iron is dead easy; the oven does all the work for you. The only effort you’ll put into this exercise is lifting the pan. This is most easily done as an evening job. You’ll see why in a sec.

First: preheat your oven to medium-high. 400F or 200C should do it okay.

Next step: Using a pastry brush, ‘paint’ a light (but even) layer of vegetable oil over all the surfaces. I also brush the sides, bottom and handle just to be sure humidity in the air doesn’t rust the iron. Don’t use olive oil as it will start smoking and stink up your kitchen. I once set off smoke alarms by doing that. Put your pan in the oven UPSIDE DOWN with a sheet of foil on the bottom rack (to catch drips). This is why you don’t want to ‘paint’ too much oil on the pan; it’ll drip and make a mess. Just a thin,even layer is all that’s needed.

Last step: Let your pan ‘bake’ in the oven for an hour. Then shut off the heat, don’t open the door, and allow the pan to cool in the oven overnight. (See? That’s why it’s an evening job! You sleep while it seasons itself.) If the seasoned surface looks splotchy in the morning, brush on another layer of oil, very thinly, and repeat the process in the oven. Allow to cool overnight again.

It took two attempts to season my cast iron pan the first time. The second time was perfection. I also coat the pan with a tiny bit of oil after each use and/or before storing.

Do you have a seasoned cast iron frying pan? Do you prefer it over the Teflon surface?


8 Comments Add yours

  1. I was just thinking it’s that time again. The season to season my cast irons. Thanks for the refresher course, Misk. I need to get on that.

    1. Misky says:

      I did mine before the builders hauled my off oven off to oven heaven. 😉

  2. Gerry Wilson says:

    These are great instructions. I may bring out my grandmother’s cast iron skillet and corn stick pans (have you ever seen those?) and have a go at them. Thanks for the tip!

    1. Misky says:

      Give your gran’s old pan a good scrubbing with steel wool and mild soap with hot water, if the existing seasoning is more than a year old. Dry well, and then oil as per this post. I’ve not seen a corn stick pan, but I’d love to see it!

  3. I love cast iron pans, and I have a big iron fry pan that I use all the time. It’s so well seasoned I can make pancakes on it without using oil. (It stays that way mostly because I don’t wash it much, I expect.) I read somewhere that using flax seed oil makes a really good seasoning for pans, that won’t come off even with dish soap. I haven’t had a chance to try it out, though.

    1. Misky says:

      I shall keep my eyes open for flax seed oil, and I’ll let you know!!

    1. Misky says:

      Thanks, Liz! Happy Easter. 🙂

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