How to Save and Season Cast Iron

I love to cook with cast iron. If you don’t yet, I highly recommend it! Cast iron pans last forever and are comparable to the cost of other pans. They cook evenly, give a great crust to anything breaded, and are a cinch to clean. I think folks get scared off because they don’t know how to keep them. We gave our son a cast iron frying pan for Christmas one year and when I looked in his kitchen and didn’t see it, I inquired. “Oh, it was ruined! I threw it away!” I closed my gaping mouth. I think this might happen a lot though if one saw that their pan was rusty! And one would nary give a second look to a rusty or old cast iron pan at a flea market or garage sale. Here’s how easy it is to clean!

Saving Cast Iron: Dampen a paper towel with cooking oil (I use olive oil for about everything.) and wipe away rust. It comes off! Use steel wool if needed, but I have never needed to go that far. Once you get the rust and grime off, season your cast iron.

Seasoning Cast Iron: I wipe down the whole thing with olive oil (any fat will do) and put it in the oven at 200 degrees for 2 hours. Wipe excess oil off and store. Every now and again, we might oil our pan that we use every day lightly, and if anything comes out of the oven, we stick it in the hot oven as it cools down.

The pan in these photos is one we use nearly every day. I haven’t seasoned it in over a year but noticed it could use it. I got this old pan from a pile of junk in a warehouse for cheap years ago.

Cleaning Cast Iron: After the dog licks it clean (I wish I were kidding.), just use a little soap on a scrubber and wash it clean. Then dry well! No water should remain on the pan.

It’s as simple as that!

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Danielle says:

    Thank you for this post on how to care for cast iron! I’ve been slowly collecting cast iron over the years, and admittedly haven’t found an article until this that explains a simple way to care for them. Thank you! My wood stove tea kettle has a bit of rust on the top that I can’t seem to get off do you have a suggestion?

    1. Katie Lynn says:

      If oil doesn’t work, my friend mentioned on Facebook that she has used half a potato and salt! Worth a shot!

  2. Thanks for the tips! I love my pan and use it often. I thought you had to “season” it at a high temp. Good to know 200 works.

    1. Katie Lynn says:

      There’s probably lots of ways to do it!

  3. Rod Jensen says:

    LOL… It is amazing to me how many people don’t understand cast-iron utensils. I have some that are close to sixty years or more old. I wish I could use them more, but I now have a glass top stove and the large HEAVY skillet scratches the glass. I still used it when I can in the oven. I love making large batches of cornbread in it for the wonderful crust and added flavor.
    Thanks for reminding me that it’s time to make cornbread again… Rod

    1. Katie Lynn says:

      Ooh yum, I’d love some of that!

  4. I’d love to have a set of cast irons, but we have a glass top stove. Maybe I could at least get one for the oven. Wonderful post! It’s amazing how an old cast iron can be brought back to life with some TLC.

    1. Katie Lynn says:

      If nothing else, a good frying pan and a dutch oven are amazing!

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