How to Season Your Cast Iron Skillet

Find step-by-step instructions for how to season a cast iron skillet and how to clean a cast iron skillet.

skilletTatiana Volgutova/shutterstock

Keeping tools in top shape keeps ’em at the ready. Cast-iron skillets conduct heat so food cooks uniformly. With use, you may notice food sticking—it’s time to reseason the pan.

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Learn how to clean your cast iron skillet with coarse salt here.

How to Reseaon a Cast Iron Skillet

Seasoning is the process of adhering oil to the surface to create a nonstick coating. New pans are factory-seasoned, but here’s how to reseason an older pan:

  • Line the lower oven rack with aluminum foil and preheat the oven to 350°.
  • Scrub the pan with hot, soapy water and a stiff brush to remove any rust.
  • Towel-dry and apply a thin coat of vegetable oil to the entire pan—outside and handle included.
  • Place on top oven rack, upside down; bake for 1 hour.
  • Turn off the oven and leave the pan inside to cool. Now you’re ready to cook.

For daily cleaning, rinse with hot water, using a stiff nylon brush to remove residue. Avoid dish soap; it removes seasoning. And don’t submerge a hot pan in cold water; it can crack. Towel-dry and apply a light coat of oil while the pan is warm. Did you know it’s best to use a cast iron skillet to grill your steaks? Find out why here.

Plus: 25 Handy Hints for the Home Cook