How to Reseason a Cast Iron Skillet without All the Fuss!

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Do you have a dull cast iron skillet that needs reseasoned? In this post, I’m sharing all the things you need to know how to reseason your skillet.

I’ve been cooking with a cast iron skillet for about a year now. It is one of my favorite pans to cook with, but it definitely took some learning. I didn’t know how to maintain the seasoning on my pan, so after a few uses, it was looking pretty dull and food stuck to it a lot.

So I did some research and learned how to to properly care for my cast iron. It’s so much better now!

So what is seasoning a cast iron?

The seasoning on a cast iron pan is basically a layer of baked on oil that keeps your pan rust free and a non-stick surface. If you purchase a brand new skillet from Lodge, it is already pre-seasoned and has a pretty shine to it. However, that seasoning layer can easily be worn away with regular washing or scrubbing and/or not properly caring for your pan.

When does cast iron need to be reseasoned?

Every time you cook with your cast iron, you are potentially reseasoning it. If you cook foods with fat and oil, those oils are being added to the seasoning layer of your pan. However, if you scrub your pan a lot or cook acidic food, that oil layer can wear away.

That’s why I like to add a thin layer of oil every time I wash my cast iron skillet. Here’s an in depth article about washing your cast iron.

So reasoning should actually happen every time you cook with your skillet. However, if your pan is looking really dull or was rusty, you’ll want to do a “deep reseasoning” that you’ll need to use your oven.

I’ve broken down the steps in the next two sections. Depending on the condition of your skillet, you’ll either want to follow the steps in the first section: How to Reseason a Cast iron Skillet After Each Use or the second section: How to Reseason a Rusty Cast Iron Skillet.

How to Reseason a Cast Iron Skillet After Each Use

Rinse and scrub your pan clean after using it. Wipe completely dry.

Once your pan is dry add a little oil to a folded paper towel and wipe a thin layer of oil to the entire pan: top, back, and handle. Be sure there are no drips left behind. The pan should be covered in oil but not excessively so.

Then just store away until your next use. I like to add another thin layer of oil before I cook with the pan too. That way you are are sure to maintain the cast iron’s seasoning.

How to Reseason a RUSTY Cast Iron Skillet

If you haven’t been maintaining your seasoning and your pan is rusty, you’ll want to scrub the pan throughly with a strong scrubber such as steel wool until all the rust is scrubbed off.

Then wash with soap and water. Normally, you shouldn’t use a lot of soap when washing cast iron, but since you are deeply reseaoning it, you can use more dish soap.

Once it is washed and rinsed, dry the entire pan throughly. You don’t want to leave water on your pan or it will rust. I learned this the hard way! 🙂

Then add a thin layer of oil to the entire pan: top, bottom, and handle.

Place your pan upside down in your oven’s top rack and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. If you’re worried of any drippings you can place a sheet of aluminum foil on the bottom oven rack.

After an hour, allow the pan to cool in the oven.

This through type of reseasoning only needs to happen when you are restoring a rusty skillet. After that you can maintain your cast iron skillet by following the instructions above.

What oil should be used on cast iron?

You may think that there is a special oil used for seasoning cast iron, but there isn’t. You can buy pricey oil kits, or just open up your cupboard and see what you have on hand.

Canola oil, vegetable oil, sunflower, coconut…. It can all be used. However, some oils will add flavor and may smoke more than others. This article includes a handy guide to oils: Oils for Cast Iron Cooking.

Using a cast iron skillet to cook has been a lot of fun now that I know how to properly maintain the seasoning!

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