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How To: Season a Cast Iron Skillet

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Cast iron cooking is back. You might have fond memories of it, likely in the form of a well-loved pot or a special cornbread pan hanging in your grandmother’s kitchen. Or you might have embraced this old-school method of cooking yourself. Either way, cast iron is one of the most treasured cooking tools there is, thanks to the unique personality of each pan.

This uniqueness is hard won through years of use and proper care, and many of us have lived through the tragedy of a cast iron pan run through the dishwasher. The upkeep of a cast iron pan has kept some away from them, but it’s actually not that hard to take care of cast iron.

All cast iron pans need to be seasoned before use, although some pans now come pre-seasoned when you purchase. What does it mean to “season” a pan? Rather than relying on a chemical nonstick coating, seasoning is the process of treating the surface of the pan with fat at a very high heat to help create a natural nonstick finish.

After the initial seasoning, years of use will help create an even better coating, and re-seasoning is only necessary if rust forms. To avoid rust, don’t stick your cast iron in the dishwasher or even clean with traditional soaps. Simply clean by wiping out excess grease and then washing with hot water, and your cast iron should last for many years!

Now that you know how to take care of cast iron, think about the recipes you can cook with it! While a newly seasoned pan shouldn’t be used for acidic foods like tomatoes, there are many other options that expand beyond the traditional deep fried chicken or sizzling bacon. We love to use cast iron for deep dish pizzas and even desserts!

Check out our favorite cast iron recipes.