How do you season a new cast iron skillet?

Updated on 27 May 2023

Are you going to cook with a cast iron casserole for the first time? If so, you need to make sure it is sufficiently seasoned. In English, we also call this seasoning. This is done to create a non-natural non-stick coating. 

Besides, seasoning properly ensures that extra flavour is created, rust stays away and a pan can last several generations. Today, I will take you through the process of seasoning a cast iron skillet in more detail.

Cast iron skillet roasting: The steps

So you can buy a cast iron skillet pre-seasoned, but you can also buy one that still needs to be fired in. We see that many people are not averse to a chore and so burn in the pan themselves. Here’s how to do it.

Proper cleaning

To start frying, first, clean the pan thoroughly. You do this by removing any residue or layers from the shop. You do this with a soft sponge, hot water and a little washing-up liquid.

Note, however, that this is the first and immediately the last time you should clean a cast-iron skillet with dishwashing detergent. After roasting, the idea is to prevent the detergent from removing the natural non-stick coating. This is because dishwashing detergent is fairly aggressive.

Dry well

After cleaning, the pan must be dried well. For this, you can use kitchen paper or a tea towel. When all the moisture has been removed, the oil layer you will apply next can soak in better.

Grease the pan with natural oil

Now is the time to grease the pan with a thin layer of natural oil. No puddles of oil should be visible in the pan. Grease the cast iron skillet completely, including the bottom and the handle if it is also cast iron.

You can use groundnut, linseed or sunflower oil for this. It is very important that the oil you use can withstand high temperatures. That means it must have a high boiling point. Therefore, it is better not to use olive oil.

Heat the pan on the hob/gas stove

After greasing, the idea is to let your pan get extremely hot on the hob. The thin layer will then adhere to the cast iron. Then leave the pan for a while and then you can let the cast iron pan cool down. Make sure to remove any remaining oil by using kitchen paper. This should be a minimal amount.

Repeat at least five times

To ensure that you create a perfect non-stick coating, you need to fire the pan at least five times. So don’t start cooking dishes without having repeated the firing process at least five times.

Roasting in the oven

Instead of heating the pan on a hob or gas stove, you can also bake it in the oven. This can only be done with pans made entirely of cast iron. Elements like a wooden handle can be damaged in the oven.

The oven should be set to the maximum setting so that the oil burns and adheres to the cast iron. Put it upside down in the oven and put a piece of aluminium foil underneath so that no grease remains in the oven. Heat the pan in the oven for an hour.

A new non-stick coating

Have you not used your pan for a long time? Or has moisture caused it to rust? You can reapply the non-stick coating. Make sure you thoroughly remove the damaged layer with a steel sponge. When the original cast iron is visible again, you have done well. After this, you should therefore re-fire it at least five times.

Cast iron casserole colour change

A cast-iron casserole may change colour during the firing process. Do not be alarmed by this. When it turns an even dark brown to black colour, only then has the frying been successful and the colour change is part of the process.

If you see caked-on residue the first time you cook, that is not a problem either; the non-stick coating only really comes into its own after cooking with the pan a few times.

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