You’ve just got your first cast iron skillet! It’ll open up your kitchen to a whole new dimension of cooking and flavor.
Or maybe you’re interested in buying one but afraid to try cooking with a cast iron because you’ve heard that the upkeep can be difficult.
All it takes to successfully cook with a cast iron is knowing how to properly care for it and store it. To best learn how to maintain a cast iron skillet, read on.
The First Cleaning
The first cleaning can be a bit nerve-wracking! But we’re here to help guide you.
Whether you’ve got a brand new pan or found one thrifting, you should give your cast iron a good preliminary scrub.
You’ll want to get hot and soapy water and a sponge.
You may have heard that soap is the enemy of a cast iron. This used to be the case when soap had more powerful ingredients, but since soaps are more gentle these days you can go ahead the first cleaning.
Give your pan a good scrub and let it dry.
Season the Pan
Next, you’ll season your cast iron with a layer of oil or other fat. Seasoning your cast iron skillet is an essential part of keeping it non-stick and rust-free.
Use a paper towel to make sure that the oil coats the entirety of the inside of the pan. After you get the skillet all oiled up, you’ll want to put the skillet in the oven upside down. Put a sheet of aluminum on the bottom rack to catch any of the drippings.
Bake the skillet for an hour at 350 degrees and then let it completely cool before storing.
Congrats! You’ve officially cleaned and seasoned your first cast iron skillet. You’re well on your way to being an expert.
How to Clean After Cooking
As a general rule, the less you mess with the pan, the better. If you can get away with just wiping your cast iron skillet with a cloth, do that.
You can use water and soap after cooking for stuck-on messes. Just make sure to not soak your pan in water.
Dry your pan before storing or seasoning. If you wish (or if you think you scrubbed at the pan too much), you can season your pan again after a deep cleaning. If you cook with your pan often, you’ll likely be able to get away without seasoning it again!
How to Maintain a Cast Iron Skillet’s Seasoning
If you need to season again, go ahead and put on a thin layer of your oil of choice and store it. Since you’ve already seasoned your cast iron when you bought it (or it came seasoned) you don’t absolutely need to heat it in the oven, but you can if you wish.
Storing the Skillet
A cast iron will rust if exposed to air or water for too long, so it is important to store the skillet properly.
Store the cast iron skillet in a cool, dry place with the rest of your cookware. Or right on your stove ready for your next meal will work!
Ready to Start Cooking With Your Cast Iron Skillet?
With proper care, you can cook almost anything you want with your cast iron skillet.
Just make sure to keep it dry, seasoned, and stored in a cool and dry place, and you’re good to go. Now you know how to maintain a cast iron skillet!
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