How to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet
Well seasoned Cast iron cookware offers one of the best surfaces for cooking as it heats food evenly, whether on the stove or in the oven. However, cast iron is a notoriously difficult material because it should never be washed clean.
So how exactly should you remove cast iron, fat and leftover food from cast iron without putting it in the sink or dishwasher? Follow this advice from the experts in the Good Housekeeping Institute how to clean your cast iron pan Dutch oven, or grill to ensure that your food will continue to be cooked for years to come.
How to season a new cast iron pan
As tempting as it is to throw food straight into the pan and start cooking, cast iron pans You need some care before you can start. Seasoning your cookware creates a clean surface on which vegetables, meat and desserts can be cooked evenly. Follow this step-by-step guide – unless, of course, you choose pre-seasoned cookware.
- Wash your new cookware with hot soapy water (the only time you should). Dry it thoroughly.
- Rub the entire surface of the pan, including the outside, with a cloth soaked in vegetable oil.
- Heat upside down in a 350ºF oven for one hour. Turn off the oven and let the cast iron cool completely in the oven.
- Place the greased object upside down in your oven and bake at 350ºF for an hour. Allow to cool and remove excess fat with a paper towel.
How to clean a cast-iron pan after cooking
The longer you use your cast iron pan, the darker it’s colour. A shiny black cast iron pan (a.k.a. a deep, dark patina) is a sign that it is well seasoned and gives your favourite dishes a natural taste. While food fat is an ideal flavour enhancer, clean all food scraps – especially acidic foods – to avoid rust.
Word to the wise: Never (we repeat: never) soak cast iron in water, put it in the dishwasher or scrub it with metal scouring pads. Otherwise, you’ll need to restore the spice again, which is a total waste of time. However, if your cast iron needs to be refreshed, follow this chemical cleaning method:
- Wash your cookware with dish soap and a stiff bristle brush, but don’t let it soak.
- Take it back to the burner and turn on the oven for 30 seconds or until the water begins to evaporate.
- After drying, turn off the heat and apply a few drops of vegetable oil to the inside with a clean paper towel.
- After cooling, put a paper plate or paper towel in your pan’s mouth to absorb and store moisture.
How to remove rust
Good news: it’s easy to bring a rusty cast iron pan back to life. Rust really is the result of a good spice job, so it shouldn’t discourage you. Profile rust, the most common type, can be removed with this step-by-step guide:
- Use a non-metallic washer to remove the rust.
- Wash with a mild detergent such as Dawn Ultra dishwasher detergent rinse well and dry with a clean towel.
- Season the surface again by coating it on the inside and outside with vegetable oil.