Food Tips

How to season a cast-iron pan

How to season a cast-iron pan

Photography by Annabelle Waugh Image by: Photography by Annabelle Waugh Author: Canadian Living

Food Tips

How to season a cast-iron pan

Do you have a secret fear of cast-iron cookware? You're not the only one.

There are plenty of people out there who are too embarrassed to admit that their pan is sitting rusted, sticky and collecting cobwebs in the dark recesses of their kitchen—and it's all because they can't seem to achieve this elusive "seasoning bond" that everyone keeps talking about.

Why should you buy cast-iron pans?

Cast-iron pans are well made, durable and an essential addition to any kitchen, provided you know how to treat them. A well-seasoned pan is what our grandmothers and great-grandmothers used as their own version of a nonstick pan.

Here's how you season a cast-iron pan:

- Coat the bottom and sides of the pan with a thick layer of softened rendered fat or brush generously with oil.

season cast iron pan

- Bake the fat-coated pan in a 250°F oven for two hours. Turn off the oven and let the pan cool in the warm oven for 30 minutes.

- Drain any leftover hot fat into a heatproof container (use oven mitts!); let the pan cool completely on a rack before giving it a quick wipe with a paper towel. You're now ready to cook!

Recipe for success
Be sure to choose a fat or oil with a high smoke point, like beef tallow or avocado oil. Oils with a lower smoke point will create sticky black coating on your pan that is difficult to remove and interferes with the natural seasoning (nonstick layer) that you're trying to build.

How often do you need to season a pan?

Repeat the seasoning process after each time you use your pan for the first several times. Eventually, a very shiny nonstick patina will form. After the patina forms, you won't need to season it very often as the pan ages—only if you notice food starts sticking.

How do you clean a cast-iron pan?

Use a scrub brush and a bit of salt as an abrasive agent to gently scrub away any stuck-on bits of food. Don't use soap, as it breaks down your seasoning bond. Rinse your pan and give it a quick wipe. If you really have to scrub at your pan, it's probably time to season it again.

That's it! Now go and make this delicious pancake puff with your (now nonstick) cast-iron pan.

For more cooking tips and tricks, visit our Cooking School channel.


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Food Tips

How to season a cast-iron pan