A cast-iron pan is an essential cookware tool for any kitchen. It holds heat well, it’s almost indestructible, it’s easy to use, and it’s amazing to use for cooking because it adds more iron and flavor to your food. Cast-iron can also be used for more recipes than you might expect.
One thing you may not know about this kind of cookware is that they require special care and maintenance as they can easily develop rust and the rustier, they get the harder it becomes to restore them. Here’s a list of steps you can take after cooking to help you maintain your cast iron pan and keep it in tip-top shape!
Step 1: Clean Your Cast-Iron Pan
This step is the most controversial of all. The battle between soap and no soap rages on the internet. The goal of washing a cast-iron skillet isn’t just to get it clean, but it also primes it for further seasoning. This step is an important part of the maintenance cycle to improve the performance of your pan over time. The best way to wash your pan is to start by using a fiber-cleaning brush to remove food residue. Next, you will want to use a small amount of mild dish soap, warm water, and a scouring pad or a cast-iron pan cleaning brush to clean the pan.
Step 2: Dry Your Pan Completely
This step is very important for taking care of your cast iron because any water leftover in a pan can cause it to rust. To make sure your pan is completely dry, use a paper towel to wipe all areas of the pan, top to bottom and inside and out. Next, place your pan on the stove, turn the heat on to medium, and let it sit for a few minutes. Doing this will ensure that any leftover moisture is removed from your cast iron.
Step 3: Season Your Cast-Iron Pan
Now that your pan is clean and dry, it’s time to season it, especially if you used soap. Seasoning your pan basically means coating the cast iron with oil. This type of cookware is porous, and adding oil helps to fill those pores and create a smooth, nonstick surface. The best oil for seasoning cast iron is grapeseed or flaxseed oil because of its high smoke point and versatility. Pour a little oil on a wad of paper towel and rub it over every part of the pan. Next, wipe the surface with a clean paper towel to remove excess oil and leave a dry, matte finish.
Step 4: Bake Your Pan (Optional)
The last step is completely optional, but it is very helpful for maintaining your pan and making it last a lot longer! Once your pan is seasoned, heat your oven to 375°. Once the oven is ready, place your upside down on a middle oven rack. Bake it for 1 hour and let it cool in the oven. Now your cast iron is clean, seasoned, and ready for cooking!
One more helpful tip for cleaning your cast-iron is to wipe it out after use and clean it with a slice of potato. I just use half a potato and rub it all over the pan. It’s amazing how well the trick works! After the potato wash, I let the pan sit and air dry, then I wipe some oil inside and recoat the surface and do it all over again!
Looking for an amazing cast iron recipe? Check out this post-holiday, take-it-easy, lay-around-in-your-sweats Cast-Iron Biscuits and Gravy dish from our Spring 2021 Recipe Book! This meal is super easy to make using our bulk country sausage and it’s perfect for whipping up once the holidays have ended and you need a day to recover.