Cast Iron Skillets

How to Season Cast Iron

If you keep your cast iron skillets seasoned properly they will perform just like non-stick skillets but they will last forever.  I love buying and using things that you buy one time and can use throughout your life, and can then pass down to your grandchildren who can pass them down to their grandchildren and so on and so on.  More than 25 years ago I bought a 10-1/2-Inch Round Griddle from a yard sale and I have used it for years to make flour tortillas, pancakes and crepes.

We’ve got a 5-quart dutch oven as well, but my medium and large skillets are my favorites. I use them often. If I ever see a small skillet at a thrift store or yard sale, I definitely swoop it up.

Seasoning Cast Iron Skillets

If you buy your cast iron skillet pre-seasoned you are set to go.   Rinse with hot water once you get it home to remove any bacteria that may have accumulated from people touching the surface.  Dry with a cloth or paper towel and apply cooking oil to the surface before using.   Always place the cooking utensil on the burner prior to turning it on.

After using, scrape loose remnants of food from the skillet, rinse, dry and coat with cooking oil.  Your skillet is ready to use.

If food sticks, just soak the skillet with water and scrape gently to remove.

Soap or Rust

If soap is used on your skillet it isn’t the end of the world, although it does remove some of the seasoning it can easily be rectified by washing, drying and coating with oil.

If your cast iron skillet is allowed to air dry it may show rust. In this case it is okay to lightly scrub with a Brillo pad to remove all traces of rust, rinse, dry and coat with oil.

Some people are scared of using cast iron, but it is pretty easy to use. There are a couple of things you want to remember.

  1. Never use soap on cast iron
  2. Always dry after washing
  3. Always oil is after drying
  4. Season occasionally

When your skillet is well seasoned, it acts just like non-stick!

I wash my skillets with hot water and a metal scrubber (never soaped Brillo pads), dry them with a dish towel and coat them with butter or coconut oil. On occasion, I’ll put about 1/3 cup of bacon grease or coconut oil into the skillet with a potato cut in half lengthwise. Then I’ll put the skillet on the stovetop and set it on low and just let it season for a couple of hours.


Yours Truly,

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8 thoughts on “How to Season Cast Iron

  1. Hey Mrs. A,
    I didn’t appreciate cast iron until I was much older. When I was little it seemed those pots were always a cause of me getting into trouble, for clanging them on the stove because they were too heavy, I couldn’t wash them right, but not washing them was wrong. Frankly I hated the sight of them. I’m developing an affinity for them now, and I really love my wok, which works under the same principles. But the most frugal cookware I ever used was an old box wrapped in tin foil to make a solar oven, and a great summer project too.


  2. Ditto a.b. My mother had a big cast-iron skillet that she used every day to cook breakfast and many evenings to cook dinner. One of my chores was to wash the darn thing.

    Now I’d like to have one!

    You know what I haven’t been able to find is a cast-iron skillet with a SMOOTH SURFACE on the bottom of the interior. They’re all kinda nubbly on the bottom. Smooth…lots easier to clean. I just KNOW my mother’s was smooth, and Semi-Demi-Exboyfriend says the same — he remembers cast-iron cookware as smooth on the inside.

    Are we nuts? Senile? Have you found any like that?


  3. Hey funny,
    My hubby the gourmet says the smooth surface comes from use over time and cleaning it with kosher salt; it eventually grinds away all the nubblys. Like I needed an excuse to cook more. 🙂



  4. @Funny – I noticed the cast iron skillets at Walmart look like that. I found a page that explains the new skillets are not made like the old ones used to be. Go figure.

    @a.b. – Hmmmm… I know we bought one of our cast iron skillets from Walmart, but I can’t remember if it used to have that rough surface or not. All I know is the two we use now are very smooth. I am pretty sure the 10″ is one I’ve had for at least 20 years. I also have a griddle that I use specifically for making flour tortillas, and I KNOW I’ve had that one for over 20 years. I remember going to yard sales looking for one, and finally found one.


  5. Oh, and the other thing, the pre-seasoned ones, apparently they are finished with some type of non-stick something or other which defeats the purpose of avoiding the toxins of that stuff.


  6. Mrs A,
    My wife has a treasured set of cast iron pans (even two small ones). When I clean them, I use the plastic (teflon ?) scrubber that comes with pampered chef stones and bakeware. I also think the smooth pans that people are remembering were actually just well used and seasoned, the oils and such filling the pores of the skillet so to speak.


  7. Thanks for spreading the gospel of iron! It’s great stuff. I was lucky enough to find a large cast-iron skillet in the “free” box at a yard sale. Now I don’t know how I got along without it.
    I wrote an essay about this for the Smart Spending blog, “Finding wealth in a frying pan.” You can find it at
    Now I have to start looking in the free boxes for a cast-iron Dutch oven… 😉


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