We recently added a new cast iron pan to our collection and wanted to season it properly before we began using it. After researching a few websites on the interwebs, I discovered that there are bunch of different ways to go about this. Some people swear by vegetable oil and some people solely rely on lard or crisco to get the job done. The first and probably most straight forward way is what Lodge recommends so that’s what we went with.
According to Lodge, if you do nothing else, just hand wash and dry immediately—even before first use. Rub with a light coat of vegetable oil after every wash to keep the iron “seasoned” and protected from moisture.
But if you want to “season” your pan (not salt and pepper), you should follow the instructions below. Seasoning a pan is essentially baking a non-stick coating into the cast iron resulting in a natural easy-release surface. As you cook, you will begin to build up the surface and create a patina. The more you use it the better it will get.
Step 1: Pre-heat the oven to 350-400 degrees F and place aluminum foil on the bottom rack of the oven to catch any oil drips.
Step 2: Wash you pan with with hot, soapy water and a stiff brush. If you are working with a new pan or refinishing an old one, it’s okay to use soap this time because you are preparing to re-season the surface. Be sure to also dry completely.
Step 3: Apply a thin, even coating of melted vegetable shortening or cooking oil of your choice. Be sure to coat the entire surface of your pan. Don’t go overboard with the oil because you will get a sticky finish in the end.
Yes, apply oil to the entire pan. Even underneath.
Step 4: Place your pan upside down on the top rack of the oven to allow any excess oil to drip away. Bake the pan for at least one hour. After an hour or so, turn the oven off and let the cookware cool completely in the oven.
Hint: It’s easiest to do this step overnight so you don’t have to worry about it.
Repeat this step as necessary.
Hint: If you want to give your pan a delicious seasoning, save your old bacon grease and use it in place of vegetable oil following the same steps outlined above. You will give you pan a non-stick surface AND everything you make from here on out will taste like heaven.
Please leave a comment if you have any questions!