When I was younger, I used to think seasoning a cast-iron skillet was a complicated process. Fast forward to today … where life experience has taught me many lessons. I now realize that the proper care for a cast-iron skillet is extremely easy. Over the years I have tried different methods for seasoning; however, my preferred method is with vegetable oil or shortening. Seasoning is a layer of carbonized oil that’s been baked onto your cast iron pan, forming a protective layer on top of your cookware.
Here is the best way I have found on how to season a cast-iron skillet:
- The first thing you want to do is clean your skillet. With hot water, scrub it well with a brush – ensuring you remove any food particles. Do not use dish detergent, as it will strip your pan of seasoning. If your goal is to remove the old seasoning and start fresh, then using a mild dish detergent should be fine. Just be sure to dry the skillet thoroughly to help prevent rusting.
- Spread a thin layer of vegetable oil or shortening over the entire pan. My personal preference is to use Crisco Vegetable Shortening. I not only apply it to the inside, but also to the outside of the pan as well.
- Place the skillet upside down on the middle rack of the oven. It is a good practice to place a sheet of aluminum foil on the lower rack of your oven to catch any drips. (There should not be many, especially if you applied a thin layer of seasoning).
- Bake in a 350°F oven for 1 hour. Let the skillet remain in the oven until it has completely cooled. Then it’s ready to go!
Handy Tip – The term “seasoning” has nothing to do with salt, pepper or other spices. It has everything to do with oil or shortening. Don’t apply too much to the pan; otherwise, it may develop a sticky film. One teaspoon of oil should be enough to coat the interior and exterior of a 10-inch skillet. When using shortening (such as Crisco), then use about as much as you would normally use to coat a cake pan for baking.
And that’s all there is to it! Your cast-iron skillet will be freshly seasoned and ready to serve delicious meals for family and friends. With proper care, you will be enjoying your skillet for many years to come – even a lifetime. Many folks consider it a treasure worthy enough to pass on to loved ones. ♥