How to Season Your Skillet

by Julia Rathkey 08/12/2019

If you cook in a cast iron skillet or use other cast iron cookware, you’ll know that periodically, they need what is called “seasoning.” But just what does that mean? The way that cast iron works, oil baked into the service prevents the iron from forming rust and keeps food from sticking too much. As long as the pan is adequately protected, the seasoned finish improves with age, giving you that much sought-after easy-release veneer.

What you need

  • The manufacturers of newer pans sell special soybean-based oils that are highly refined to use on their cookware.
  • If you’ve inherited grandma’s cookware, however, she probably used cooking oil or even lard to keep her pan seasoned. If you cook in the pan all the time, lard (pork fat) or tallow (beef fat) still are excellent seasoning choices. But, when you use it only occasionally, both lard and tallow can become rancid and ruin the flavor of your food. Additionally, you may use melted shortening or vegetable oil.
  • A cleaning kit (sold at better homeware stores) or a soft, lint-free cloth.

How to

With a clean, dry skillet, cover the pan inside and out with a thin layer of oil (or lard/tallow). Be sure to get the bottom and the handle as well. For best results, rub the oil on with a lint-free cloth.

Heat your oven to 350°F. Place the pan upside down on the top rack of the oven and place a sheet of aluminum foil or an aluminum cookie sheet on the bottom shelf to gather any oil drips. Let your pan season in the oven for one hour. Let your pan cool completely before using.

Troubleshooting

If your pan feels sticky, excess oil may have built up on the surface, or the oil has not fully converted to seasoning. Turn your oven on to 400°F and place the pan upside down on the upper rack. Allow it to bake for an hour. After your pan has cooled, test the surface again. If it is still somewhat gummy or sticky, repeat the process at 400°F for an additional hour.

If dark residue appears on your cleaning cloth, your pan may be reacting to high heat or an acidic food such as tomato sauce. Just wipe it out as much as possible and continue to use your pan regularly. The darkened areas should resolve.

If your pan has rust, perhaps from improper storage, or because you picked it up at a garage sale, gently remove the rust with very fine steel wool or a scratch-free scrubber. Then, wash the cookware in hot, soapy water to remove all the metal filings and loosened rust. Let your pan dry so that you can see if all the rust is removed. Once is it completely clear of rust, follow the seasoning instructions above.

As your property professional if there are cooking classes in your area to become a pro at using your cast iron skillet.

About the Author
Author

Julia Rathkey

Hi, I'm Julia Rathkey and I'd love to assist you. Whether you're in the research phase at the beginning of your real estate search or you know exactly what you're looking for, you'll benefit from having a real estate professional by your side. I'd be honored to put my real estate experience to work for you. With 9+ years of experience, I understand the market well and take pride in positioning your property for a lucrative sale or finding you a dream home. Honesty, integrity and communication are important elements of my work ethic and I will continually strive to make your real estate experience a positive one. Awarded the International Diamond Society award for sales production, I am in the top 10% of all Coldwell Banker agents worldwide, and am known for bringing buyers and sellers together.

A native of Connecticut, I am passionate about my state and share that enthusiasm with my buyers as they begin their journey, and I give great thought to finding them the perfect match. I continually work on ways to position my clients for positive results and use social media in various forms to market a home, ensuring a wide and targeted audience. Please sign up for my blog posts to learn useful tidbits about selling and buying real estate, and check out my video testimonial on YouTube or my Facebook page. You can also learn more about me on Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn. I'm happy to answer any questions you may have so feel free to reach out!