Crash Course: Cast Iron Care
Have a cast iron pan—or thinking of getting one? It’s nothing short of a kitchen miracle: It’s inexpensive, naturally nonstick, great for retaining heat and essentially indestructible. You can use any utensil on it, including metal. It’s also oven- and stovetop-safe. Plus, the more you use it, the better it gets. The best part: If you take care of it, your cast iron pan can hold up through generations. Here’s what you need to know.
Use it often
The more you cook on cast iron, the better-seasoned and more nonstick it becomes.
Season your skillet
Some cast iron pans come pre-seasoned. (We like the Artisanal Kitchen Supply® 10-Inch Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Square Grill Pan, exclusively ours.) If yours isn’t, it’s pretty easy to do. Coat the pan with a layer of oil (vegetable, canola, flaxseed or any food-safe oil will work) and heat it in the oven at 350° F for about an hour. That’s it—you’re ready to go.
Clean it right after you cook
Cast iron stays hot for a while after you cook with it, so make sure you wrap the handle to protect your hands before cleaning. (A thick kitchen towel should work.) Use a bit of hot water and a stainless steel scrubber. And don’t be afraid to really scrub. Cast iron is extremely durable so you won’t ruin the pan.
If scrubbing alone isn’t getting rid of the grime, fill the pan with water and add a small amount of cast iron cleaner (about two teaspoons). We like one by Camp Chef, made of 100% all-natural oils and cleaning agents, so it won’t harm the pan. Use a brush to clean.
Once you’ve cleaned your pan, dry it thoroughly with a towel. Or let it sit on the stove on low heat until it’s completely dry.
Repeat step one. Coat the pan with oil, and add heat once you’re done cooking. You’ll need to do this every time to build the nonstick coating.
Store cast iron in a dry place—too much moisture may cause it to rust. If this happens, simply scrub the rust off and season the skillet again. Like we said, it’s pretty much indestructible.
Need more help? Stop in to your local Bed Bath & Beyond for all your cast iron and cookware questions.