How to Season A New Cast-Iron Skillet
Today I’m going to share how we seasoned our cast iron skillet. I absolutely LOVE cooking in a cast-iron for so many reasons that I explain in-depth further below. Honestly, I can’t believe it took us this long to use a cast-iron on the regular. My grandmother always used a variety of cast iron skillets and I remember learning how to cook some of my very first favorite dishes in that style. I would make pepper gravy and fried okra in the cast iron with her growing up, but after college I got away from using them. I admit, I fell into the copper-bottom pots and pans collection luster for a while. Then, when John and I first got married we were gifted a fantastic set of non-stick cookware. I enjoyed how easy they were to cook with and clean up.
It’s only been within the last few months that I really started to miss cooking with a cast-iron. John and I were actually talking about the flavor of a perfectly over-medium fried egg when it came up. I said, “The eggs we make now are pretty great but you know what they’re missing? The cast-iron skillet flavor. Seriously, it’s totally different!”. John took my word for it but I wanted to prove it to myself to make sure I wasn’t crazy. We bought a cast iron skillet some months back and just hadn’t gotten around seasoning it. We were also dragging our feet on seasoning it because at the time we had a flat glass cooktop stove. I always heard that it was not a good idea to use a cast-iron skillet on a glass cooktop because it could cause serious damage. Funny enough, I was chatting with my mom about how sorry I was that she couldn’t use one on her glass cooktop. She laughed and said, “Yeah, they say not to do that, but I use mine on here anyway. I’m just really careful when I lay it on the burner and I don’t move it around while cooking.” Turns out with a little further research that a lot of folks with flat glass stove surfaces actually use cast-iron skillets on their cooktop. Even if you have a flat cooktop and don’t want to take the chance of harming it with the cast-iron, there are still a lot of delicious recipes you can use a cast-iron skillet in the oven.
I’m certainly glad that we decided to test out our cast-iron skillet and give it a good seasoning because now we’re obsessed! We cook almost everything we possibly can in the cast-iron and pretty much everything tastes better than ever.
If you’ve got a cast-iron skillet lying around that you’ve been meaning to season (like us), or you haven’t purchased one yet but are thinking about it, I’ll show you how easy it is to season and start using!
Preheat the oven to 375°F
Step 1: Wash & Dry
Wash your cast-iron skillet with a gentle and natural soap using very warm water.
Then, dry thoroughly.
Step 2: Coat with Olive Oil
We used about 2 Tbsp. of olive oil to coat the entire inside and outside of the cast-iron skillet before baking.
Using a small cloth and bowl for dipping, we dabbed the cloth with olive oil and wiped a coating inside the pan.
After the inside was coated, we flipped over the pan and wiped the entire outside with olive oil as well.
Step 3: Bake for 1 hr. 10 mins
Place your cast-iron skillet upside down on a middle rack in the oven and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Be sure to place a pan underneath the skillet to catch any drips that may occur during the baking process.
Step 4: Let it cool in the oven.
Once your cast-iron skillet has baked for an hour and ten minutes, turn off the oven but let the cast-iron skillet continue to cool in there for another hour or so.
You’re ready to start using the cast-iron skillet! I recommend starting with things like sautéed squash, onions and peppers, or fried eggs. In the beginning, you’ll have to use a little more olive oil (or Grapeseed) than you typically would for a nonstick skillet for cooking.
To clean your cast-iron skillet:
To clean your cast-iron skillet, run some hot water in the pan after using and let it set for at least 5 minutes. Then, using a stiff brush or plastic scrubber under running water scrape off any food particles. Rinse with water and wipe dry with a clean cloth. Just be sure NOT to use soap! This can strip all the work put into seasoning it.
The benefits of using a cast-iron skillet:
1. My number one reason for using a cast-iron skillet to cook is the wonderful flavor it gives. All of the food cooked in a cast iron just keeps building and seasoning to create a better flavor each time it’s used. It can sound strange if you’ve never used a cast-iron skillet before but trust me, the flavor is worth it.
2. Your food will be cooked more evenly. The cast-iron does a much better job of evenly transferring heat and cooking your dishes evenly.
3. Cooking in a cast-iron adds Iron to your food. It’s not just an old wives’ tale, there are many sources out there that have proven cooking in a cast-iron skillet will indeed fortify your food with more Iron. This is especially helpful for us females or anyone that struggles with iron deficiency.
4. A natural nonstick alternative. Once you season your cast-iron skillet and start using it regularly, it will develop a natural nonstick surface that’s much better for you to cook on than other nonstick pans like Teflon. Don’t get me wrong I will still use my nonstick pans from time to time, but you have to be careful not to scratch those pans. They can release chemicals in the air and onto your food which have found to be harmful to our health. With cast-iron skillets, this isn’t a concern.
5. They are durable. Unlike the copper bottoms or nonstick pans, cast-iron skillets can handle all the scrapes and dings associated with cooking. There’s a reason they’re humorously depicted as a weapon in movies and T.V. shows. They are tough cookware for sure. I like this because I don’t have to worry about what spatula I can use and I know I can throw it right from the stove to the oven.
There are so many reasons to love cooking on a cast iron skillet. If you haven’t bought or seasoned one yet, hop on this train and try it out! I promise you won’t be disappointed and like us, you’ll likely be cooking everything in it from there on out.
Do you have a cast-iron skillet or have you always been curious about cooking on one? Comment below and let me know how you take care of yours or share your hesitations in buying one!
Here’s to all the benefits of cast-iron cooking… Cheers!