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The first time cooking with a cast iron skillet can be intimidating to some. Caring for cast iron is different than any other cookware you may own and it can take some getting used to. But once you do, you’ll feel like a pro. Here’s the low down on cleaning and seasoning your cast iron cookware.

Clean Your Cast Iron Skillet

You won’t need to clean your cast iron often. But when you do, you can usually clean it with just water and a non-abrasive brush or gentle scraper. Or you can lightly scrub it with salt and lemon.

A few tips:

  • Always hand-wash cast iron; never put it in the dishwasher.
  • Cast iron will rust, so never soak the pans and always dry them thoroughly, immediately after rinsing.
  • Coat your pan with oil after every use (and after every light cleaning) to keep it well-seasoned.

Also read: Your Guide to Healthy (And Not So Healthy) Cookware

Season Your Cast Iron Skillet

If you’ve just bought or inherited your cast iron, you’ll need to prepare it for seasoning.

If the pan is new:

  • Wash the pan and dry it thoroughly.
  • Next, preheat your oven to 325°F and set the pan inside for about 10 minutes, as it’s preheating.
  • Jump down to the “whether new or used” section below.

If the pan is used: (e.g., inheritance, yard sale, thrift store)

  • To remove any old seasoning and prepare it for a new coat, preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Scrub the pan with a bit of salt and water, paying special attention to any rust spots that need to be removed.
  • Place the pan in the oven for a few hours to cook away the old seasoning and give your pan a fresh start.

Whether it’s new or used

  • Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool.
  • Using a clean cloth or paper towel, rub enough ghee or vegetable oil (e.g., avocado oil, refined coconut oil, flaxseed oil) to coat the entire pan, inside and out.
  • Wipe in any excess oil until you see only a light sheen.
  • Place the oiled pan upside down on the top rack of the oven at 350°F for 1 hour.
  • Then turn off the oven, leaving the pan inside until it has cooled completely. It’s now ready for use.

Ok, you’re ready to go! That wasn’t so bad, right?


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