How To Clean + Season A Cast Iron Pan

This Is How To Clean + Season Your Cast Iron Pan

If you, like us, read this article by Nicholas Kristof in the NY Times and immediately tossed or donated your nonstick cookware and splurged on cast iron pots and pans, you not only likely spent more than you ever imagined on kitchenware, but also likely found yourself wondering two things:

1. How the hell do you clean a cast iron pan?! And,

2. What is this “seasoning” business and how and when do I “season” a cast iron pan?

Well, we’ve been in your shoes (er, kitchen!) and have researched high and low…

This Is How To Clean Your Cast Iron Pan:

When you first buy a cast iron pan, season it (see below on how to season your cast iron pan). After that, here’s the deal:

  • Say No To Soap. Your cast iron pan doesn’t need nor like soap.
  • Cool + Wipe + Rinse + Dry. After use, let the pan cool to room temperature before cleaning. Then, use a paper towel to wipe the inside of the pan before rinsing with warm water and drying thoroughly.
  • Pay Attention. When your pan loses its nonstick brilliance or starts to look old or rusty, season it!

This Is How To Season Your Cast Iron Pan

Before using a new cast iron pan – or whenever it loses its nonstick charm or is looking old, dull, or rusty – it’s time to season it! Here’s how:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Line the lower rack of your over with aluminum foil to catch drippings.
  • Clean your cast iron pans with warm water and dish soap. (Yes, we know that this breaks the “say no to soap” rule above, but this is the one exception.)
  • Dry cleaned pans thoroughly.
  • Apply a thin layer of vegetable oil to the pan. (Coconut oil is a personal favorite but any will do.)
  • Put pans, upside down, on the upper rack of your oven so that the oil can drip on the aluminum lined lower racks.
  • Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.
  • Turn off the oven, leaving the pans inside to cool to room temperature.
  • Wipe any remaining residue and you’re ready to cook!