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How to Seaon a Cast Iron Pan

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  • How to Season a Cast Iron Pan

    cast-iron-pans.jpg A lot of men that I am friends with are against cooking with cast iron pots and pans. For one, they do not want to buy cast iron because the price of cast iron is often higher than Teflon or other types of cookware. The other reason is that they also think seasoning and caring for cast iron cookware is too difficult and not worth the time and effort it takes to get the job done.

    First of all, let me combat the fear of the price of cast iron pots and pans. I have purchased a lot of high end pots and pans, and after doing some price comparisons, the cast iron equivalents are pretty close on price. You can find good deals on new and used cast iron cookware on websites like Amazon.com and also on Craigslist.org. Just two seconds ago, I found a pre-seasoned cast iron skillet for around $15.00. I also found a cast iron Dutch oven for around $30.00. All the prices were somewhere between those two prices, except I did see one for nearly $70.00. I do not see that as expensive, and I guess the advice "shop around" applies to cast iron pans as well.

    So how do you season a cast iron pan? Is it such a daunting task that you should scrap the idea of ever owning or cooking with cast iron? I think not! It is not that difficult and cooking with cast iron can give you that classic, manly, cowboy-style feeling, as well as some good tasting chow to eat.

    Let's take a minute and go through the steps it takes to season a cast iron pan:

    1. Wash your cast iron pan thoroughly before beginning the seasoning process. This is the only time you will want to use soap on your cast iron pan, so be sure to get it completely clean. After washing it, rinse it out with hot water and repeat the rinsing process until all the soap is completely gone from the pan. NEVER, EVER use soap again!
    2. Dry your pan completely.
    3. Liberally coat the entire pan on the inside and the outside with a thick amount of oil. The only time you do not want to apply oil to the outside of a cast iron pan is if it has an enamel coating on it. If it does, just do the inside of the pan. You will want to use a solid oil such as lard or vegetable shortening. However, you can use regular oil if that is all you have, but just be sure to cover the entire pan with it. Do not use butter or extra virgin olive oil. They are both low point smoke oils and can possibly smoke up your kitchen during the seasoning process.
    4. Preheat your oven to around 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
    5. Once the oven reaches 400 degrees Fahrenheit, place your pan on the top rack upside down. You will want to put a cookie sheet or some aluminum foil on the rack underneath your pan to collect the oil that will drip off the pan that you are seasoning. Bake your cast iron pan for at least one hour and then turn the oven off. Allow your pan to cool for several hours inside the oven.
    6. Repeat step five one more time if you want to, but it is really not necessary.
    7. Once you are done, store your cast iron pan in a cool place. The above process will make your pan into a non-stick cast iron pan. It will not rust after this process, provided you care for it properly.


    Seasoning a cast iron pan may seem like a lot of trouble, but if you think about it, it really is not. Once you apply your oil, you can kick back and watch a game, a movie or read a book for an hour. Then, go turn your oven off and catch a nap, do some yard work or take on a manly house project that you have been meaning to get to for months. Once you season your pan, you will want to give your cast iron pan a try. Cast iron cooking is a whole lot of fun and makes your food mouthwatering! You can use one cast iron frying pan or skillet to cook just about anything. You can bake cakes, sear a fish or beef filet, roast or fry a delicious chicken, fry up some potatoes or home fries, stir-fry your favorite vegetables, and so much more!
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