How to Season a Cast Iron Skillet – 2 Best Ways for Seasoning

How To Season A Cast Iron Skillet

Last Updated on August 10, 2023 by Emily Anna

Cast iron has always been favored for enhancing taste and aroma, making food more enjoyable. However, behind this secret lies a complete process known as seasoning. Seasoning involves subjecting cast iron to a unique process that creates a natural non-stick surface. This process not only enhances the flavor of the food but also ensures the longevity of the cast iron skillet.

If you wish to enhance the features of your cast iron skillet and extend its lifespan, it’s essential to learn the art of seasoning. This article aims to reveal the many secrets of the seasoning process, guiding you through the steps by step details how to season a cast iron skillet to achieve perfect cooking results. By following the instructions I am about to share, you can elevate your cooking experience to new heights.

How to season a cast iron skillet

    Follow these steps if you are going through the process of seasoning a cast iron skillet for the first time.

Clean the skillet

Clean the skillet by thoroughly washing it with any dishwasher or household soap before starting the seasoning process. Afterwards, rinse it thoroughly with lukewarm water to ensure the removal of any dust or particles from the cast iron.

Dry the skillet

Dry the cast iron cookware thoroughly after washing. You can use a towel for this. If it still needs drying, turn the gas stove to a low flame and heat the skillet for a few seconds. This will ensure the skillet is completely dry and perfectly prepared for seasoning.

  Apply a layer of oil

Coat the skillet with a thin layer of oil. However, when choosing an oil, always prefer one with a high smoker, such as flaxseed, grapeseed, or vegetable oil. Next, apply enough layers of oil to all sides and the bottom of the skillet and ensure that the cast iron surface is completely coated with a thin layer of oil.

  Remove excess oil

Remove any excess oil after coating. Thoroughly wipe off the remaining oil using a clean tissue or towel. The skillet’s surface should appear smooth, with no traces of excessive or insufficient oil.

 Preheat and bake

  Now, place the upside of the skillet down in the oven—similarly, place aluminum foil or a baking sheet on the lower rack. Preheat the oven to 375°F (175°C). Let the skillet bake for about an hour, ensuring it is well-cooked.

Allow to cool

After baking, turn off the oven and allow the skillet to cool. This process will further enhance the seasoning and prolong its durability. Once the skillet is entirely cool, please remove it from the oven.

Repeat the process

If you want to enhance the seasoning further, you can repeat the same process two to three times. This will strengthen the coating and make the surface of pots and pan more non-stick. As a result, the more times this process is repeated, the longer the life of the cast iron will be.

Also, remember that after seasoning, the more you cook the food, the more non-stick properties will develop in the coating. When you cook various dishes, the coating absorbs the flavors, resulting in a new flavor the next time you cook. 

Seasoning a cast iron skillet before cooking can enhance your food’s flavor. However, avoid using a harsh scrubber or detergent on the skillet after the seasoning process, as they can damage the non-stick coating and scratch the surface.

How to season cast iron without an oven 

If you want to season cast iron without using an oven, it is possible to do so on the stove.

  • First, turn on the stove to a low flame. Then, place the skillet on the stove and adjust the heat to medium. Now, coat the skillet with high smoke-producing oil using a paper towel. You can also hold a towel or use tongs to protect your hand from burns and heat.

  • Once the oil is well absorbed, allow the skillet to dry. When it has dried, please turn off the stove and wait for the skillet to cool down before removing it.

  • You can repeat this process as many times as you like to enhance the non-stick surface of the skillet further.

Conclusion:

Seasoning a cast iron skillet before cooking can genuinely enhance the flavor of your food. And by following above mentioned simple steps—cleaning the cast iron, applying a thin layer of oil, wiping off excess oil, and baking for an hour—you can give your skillet new life through seasoning process. 

FAQs on How to Season a Cast Iron Skillet


How many times do you season a cast iron skillet?

It would be best to season your cast iron skillet at least twice a year. However, if you want to enhance the flavor of your food, you can season it more frequently.

It should be noted, though, that excessive seasoning can make the surface slippery, and too much oil may cause food to stick to the skillet.


How long does it take to season a cast iron skillet?

If you bake cast iron in the oven at 450°F, it will take 30 minutes. However, if you want to bake it at 375°F, you must give it an hour. Similarly, you can bake the skillet at 175°C for an hour with excellent results.


Do you put oil first or heat cast iron first?

If you bake cast iron in the oven at 450°F, it will take 30 minutes. However, if you want to bake it at 375°F, you must give it an hour. Similarly, you can bake the skillet at 175°C for an hour with excellent results.


Do you use salt to season a cast iron skillet?

If you want to use salt, add a small amount to the skillet and apply a thin layer of oil immediately after scrubbing. Now, heat it on the stove shortly, remove and store it, and it will be ready for your next cooking session.


Which oil is best for seasoning cast iron?

Always choose oils that produce high amounts of smoke, such as flaxseed, grapeseed, and vegetable oils, for the seasoning process.


Is olive oil suitable for seasoning cast iron?

Olive oil has always been an ideal option for seasoning cast iron skillets because it meets all the criteria for seasoning, such as producing high smoke and being readily available at a low cost.


How do you know when cast iron is fully seasoned?

You can tell that a cast iron skillet is fully seasoned when its surface becomes completely black, smooth, and shiny. Additionally, you can test it by cooking an egg.

Heat a spoonful of oil for three minutes, then add the egg. The doneness of the egg will indicate if the pan is fully seasoned.


What is the fastest way to season a cast iron pan?

To quickly season a cast iron pan, thoroughly clean it and apply a thin layer of oil. Place the cast iron top in the oven with aluminum foil underneath.

Bake it at 375°F for 45 minutes, then turn off the oven and allow the pan to cool before removing it. This method is considered the best way to season cast iron.


What happens if you don’t season a cast iron pan?

Seasoning is necessary for food to stick to the surface of a cast iron pan. Moreover, pans without proper seasoning are prone to rusting, uneven heating, increased maintenance requirements, and a lack of non-stick properties. Proper care and seasoning are essential for extending the life of your cast iron cookware.

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