How do you maintain a cast iron skillet?

Cast iron skillet
Updated on 27 May 2023
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Used by many chefs, also used by me: the cast iron frying pan. Such a pan can last for more than a generation, you can fry anything with it and it is actually suitable for any heat source. They also withstand high temperatures very well and are also suitable for cooking on induction. But how should you maintain such a cast-iron casserole to make the most of its durability?

Cast iron casserole types

There are a number of types of cast iron skillets you can buy. To be precise, there are 3 types. There is a cast-iron casserole that you have to burn in yourself. This is also called seasoning. There is a cast-iron casserole that is pre-seasoned and an enamelled cast-iron pan.

Seasoning a cast iron roaster

This is a cast-iron skillet that is often a bit cheaper because you still have to make it ready to use yourself. You cannot take it straight from the shop and start cooking with it. If you do, dishes will stick to the pan. A cast-iron pan needs to be coated with oil. 

The more often you use the pan, the more flavour you get in the pan. This, in turn, will end up in your dish. Don’t mind a small job and prefer to be a bit cheaper? Then buy a cast iron skillet that you still need to prepare before use.

Preparing for use

This is how to prepare it for use (in the oven): 

  • Clean the pan with water and soap. Make sure you dry the pan well and then spread neutral oil in the pan. This should stand up well to heat, peanut oil being a good example. 
  • Also, cover the bottom and handle of the pan well with oil and spread it all over. Take an oven tray covered with aluminium foil and then place the pan on a grill plate sitting above. This is because the foil will cause the drips of oil to collect. 
  • Let the pan roast for about an hour at 200 degrees Celsius. Let the pan cool down and repeat this process once or twice. 
  • Now the cast-iron frying pan is ready for use!

After use, dry the pan well and grease it with a layer of neutral oil. Then the pan will last a lifetime!

Pre-seasoned cast-iron casserole

Don’t feel like fussing and just want to be able to use the pan right away? Then buy a pre-seasoned cast-iron frying pan. You can easily get these in the Netherlands, in shops or online. As the name suggests, the whole seasoning process is already done. 

All that remains is to get started with the pan! Because you use it a lot, you will have less trouble with food sticking to your pan every time. For this pan too, simply dry it well after use and grease it with a layer of neutral oil.

Enamelled cast iron

A cast-iron casserole that is enamelled also does not need to be burnt in. The problem with cast iron is that it will rust if the pan is not properly dry. A cast-iron casserole with enamel on the inside and outside rusts less quickly and is easier to clean. You can also use these straight away and do not need to treat them. If the pan does not have a wooden handle, it can also go in the oven. In the dishwasher is not recommended.

Tips for maintenance

Finally, some bonus tips for maintenance:

  • Make sure you always dry the pan thoroughly. Otherwise, cast iron can rust easily so put it back in the cupboard dry. 
  • If necessary, make sure to oil the pan before putting it in the cupboard. Use kitchen paper for this, a thin layer is enough.
  • When using the pan, first put it on without butter or oil. After 2 to 3 minutes you can then use the pan without any problems.
  • Do not fry acidic ingredients such as tomatoes in the pan. This is because the natural non-stick coating is very sensitive to acid. The more you use the pan, the more you can use tomatoes because the coating is now resistant to acidic ingredients.
  • NEVER put it in the dishwasher. It is too rough for this, this will damage the pan and dry it out.

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Cast iron skillet

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