How to Use and Care For Your Cast Iron Skillet
Cooking with a cast iron skillet can be rewarding, but often confusing: What do people mean by “seasoning,” and is it true you should never wash your pan? Here are a few quick tips to help you get started cooking with cast iron.
Seasoning Your Skillet
Most pans these days come pre-seasoned, so check the label when you buy it. Even so, it’s a good idea to season it up. Start by scrubbing your skillet with hot water and soap, then drying it thoroughly. Spread a thin layer of melted butter, animal fat, or vegetable oil inside the pan and place it upside down on a middle oven rack. You can place a cookie sheet or tin foil on the bottom rack to catch any dripping oil. Bake for one hour at 375 °F and let cool. Your pan is seasoned!
Heating Your Skillet
Cast iron actually heats very unevenly, but it does retain heat like nobody’s business, which is what makes it so great for cooking. To avoid uneven hot and cold spots, add a thin layer of vegetable oil to the pan and preheat for 10 minutes before cooking.
Washing Your Skillet
Yes, you absolutely can wash your cast iron skillet. The real danger is not in washing off your seasoning — which has in fact been baked into your pan — but leaving your skillet to soak, which may cause it to rust.
The more you use your pan to fry with oil and sear meat, the better that seasoning is going to become, according to Serious Eats. Try making a sweet potato and pork belly hash or a seasonal fruit crumble.
Keep it Dry
Be sure to store your skillet in a dry place to avoid rust. If you do wind up with rust, you can learn how to remove it here. Maintaining your cast iron pan well will improve its longevity in your kitchen.
Learn great new recipes and techniques to use with your new cast iron skillet by booking a class with one of our professional chefs!