Asked on Jan 03, 2012

HELP, how do I get rust off an old cast iron cornbread pan?

Rose S
by Rose S

I found this great pan at a thrift store and paid 50 cents for it. It is a neat Sugaro cactus design, too cool. But the previous owner let is get rusty. I already tried Easy Off and wanted to try Naval Jelly, but the Naval Jelly is caustic and cast iron is porous. Any suggestions on cleaning rust off the cast iron pan? Thanks :-)

  24 answers
  • Designs by BSB Designs by BSB on Jan 03, 2012
    Easy! You just need to re-season it! Remove any loose bits with a dry brillo pad then coat your with vegetable shortening (inside and out). Place in a 300 degree oven for one hour. Remove, and wipe off any liquified shortening. Your pan should be good as new!
  • Rose S Rose S on Jan 03, 2012
    Thanks Becky Sue, and that will really remove the rust? I'd hate to have 'too much iron' in my corn bread, but will give it a shot.
  • Designs by BSB Designs by BSB on Jan 03, 2012
    As long as you remove whatever is loose, it should work! Ive had small rust spots from the pan being cleaned or scrubbed too thoroughly and have done this myself without any problems! When the rust spot was quite small/shallow.. I used oil and heated it up on my stove top for a few mins before cooking and had no issue!
  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) on Jan 03, 2012
    I recommend that you don't wash in a dishwasher once you have it back into shape. I hand wash and dry mine, then apply a rub down of vegetable oil on a bit of cloth or paper towel to keep the moisture from re-rusting my iron pans.
  • Rose S Rose S on Jan 03, 2012
    Yes, I always dry mine in the oven after washing them. This was just too good a deal to pass up, since Lodge sells them for $25 + shipping, and I paid .50 cents. It is in the oven right now 'baking away'. Will let you all know how it turns out, because I am anxious to try 'cactus' cornbread. :-)
  • Bill H Bill H on Jan 03, 2012
    I do agree with Becky Sue with most of what she said ,but I would use a brillo or a wire brush to remove the rust then wash it out with soap and water rise well to remove all the soap then place it in to a fire or a gas grill and heat it till it stops smoking or for an 1/2 hour remove it with a pair of plyers and a pair of thick leather glove, then take the veggie oil and poor it all over the in side, then use a brillo pad or wire brush and old gloves to scrub the whole inside you don't need to do the out side because it will just burn off the next time you use it , let the oil sit in side the pan till it is cool to the touch ,then discard the oil properly and wipe the inside out till most of the oil is gone. Now that the pans treated you will have to do this every time you use it , but you will not have to use water anymore. If you have baked on food just place it in you gas grill up side down and burn off the the baked food then wire brush the chard remains and retreat the inside again.
  • Rose S Rose S on Jan 03, 2012
    Lady and gentlemen, I now have a wonderful, almost new, Lodge Sugaro cactus cornbread pan. It currently is cooling in the oven. I can't wait to try it, I almost want to invite you all over for Chili and cornbread. Thank you, you were great.
  • Rose S Rose S on Jan 03, 2012
    Love the picture of your dog. Mine will turn 19 at the end of this week. He sleeps most of the day and I check his breathing regularly. He is a sweet companion.
  • Miriam Illions Miriam Illions on Jan 03, 2012
    Wow, great conversation! @Bill, I love the picture of your dog as well. He/she is really something!
  • I always understood to use peanut oil, Or does it not matter?
  • Rose S Rose S on Jan 03, 2012
    I always think that peanut and olive oil leave a bit of a 'taste' residue, so I used just plain veggie/safflower oil. I can't wait to use it.
  • I don' t worry about taste. I burn everything anyway. When is dinner. We all will be right over!
  • Rose S Rose S on Jan 03, 2012
    I usually use olive oil, but thought that this may not need it. As to dinner, well, I'll serve it up as soon as you get here.
  • Designs by BSB Designs by BSB on Jan 04, 2012
    Peanut Oil is a very viable option! The bonus is that it (along with Safflower Oil) does not break down as fast under high heat and has less flavor. Disadvantage - most people don't have them in their pantry and they are more expensive. Olive Oil is not a good option because a) will transfer flavors and b) breaks down quickly. Side note .. We own several small cast iron pans. A few weeks ago I bought a 15" LODGE pan on Amazon for $40 for my husband to cook all his bacon on! And I'm telling you.. its awesome! I find myself wanting to use it for a lot of my large dishes that brown then finish in the oven. Its a breeze to clean .. just wish I could make it lighter .. its a heavy monster!
  • Rose S Rose S on Jan 04, 2012
    Thanks Becky Sue, when I want to 'fry' something with HOT oil, then I use peanut oil because it can tolerate much higher temperatures. I am one of those 'few folks' that have numerous oils in my fridge. It does take up lots of room, and usually I don't use but a small amount to flavor. Other than olive or saffron oil that is.
  • Bill H Bill H on Jan 04, 2012
    Just so everyone knows he is named Joey and he is 9 months old and 130lb he is a blue mural great Dane and he is the biggest baby
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Jan 04, 2012
    I do 95% of my cooking in cast iron...At home we have a 10" and 12" skillet, a "chicken fryer" ( which is a deep skillet with a skillet lid) a number of smaller 4 and 6" skillets, and my all time favorite a huge 14 qt coal top dutch oven. The last few years we cooked our thanksgiving turkey in it. We have a corn bread muffin pan in the shape of "corn on the cob" but the details of the kernels make for some crumbly corn bread. Most of the time we cook our corn bread in the 10" skillet ( like a cake pan" or we use our wedge pan. I'll oil it and "preheat it" over the stove burner...then add the mix and bake it. Preheating over the burner helps with the browning of the bottom and a good "release"
    comment photo
  • Rose S Rose S on Jan 24, 2012
    Now a new question: I have a cast aluminium heart shaped tray and would like to use it for Valentine's. But there are spots and discolorations on it. HOW DO I CLEAN IT without hurting it. Thanks.
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Jan 25, 2012
    Is this an anodized tray or is the aluminum "bright"? if bright you may be able to buff out the spots with a kitchen scrubby...if anodized...that is a hard "electro-chemical" treatment that has been done to the metal... fixing that is not very doable at a diy level.
  • Rose S Rose S on Jan 25, 2012
    I have no clue what kind it is. The sort of shiny top has these dark areas. I have had it for quite a while. There are no markings on the back, like some of my others. But it looks 'poured' if that means anything. It is a heart shaped tray that I usually serve cookies on. Baking soda and barkeepers friend have done nothing thus far. So I am stuck. But thanks for the input
  • Carolyn B Carolyn B on Apr 13, 2012
    I have always burned mine over an open flame fire pit..This will have an ashy look afterward but will wipe out! then wash really well..all the rust should be gone then start seasoning...From then on never put soap on it! Happy cooking!
  • Victoria S Victoria S on May 24, 2012
    when you season them to put in oven,turn them bottom side up! 225 oven heat
  • DianaB DianaB on Nov 03, 2015
    Yikes. Never clean cast iron with anything caustic. Put it in hot soapy water and scrub away with a stainless steel pad, soapy kind is okay. Scrub it down inside and out until everything is clean. You should get down plain old rusty-looking cast iron. Rub it all over inside and out with shortening, put it UPSIDE DOWN in the oven with a piece of foil on the shelf below it to catch the greasy drips. Heat it up in the oven at 350 degrees and bake it for an hour. Turn off the heat, let it cool in the oven to room temp. Wipe off any excess oil/shortening that remains. You can do the seasoning step over and over as needed throughout the years. When you clean the pan after use, never use soap because that will take the seasoning right back off again. Just hot water. If stuff is stuck, sprinkle it all down with salt and scrape it off and toss the salt into the trash, especially if it is full of grease from cooking. Dry with a paper towel (not air dry or in the dishwasher), rub it down again inside with a thin layer of oil or shortening and put it away until next time. Happy cooking :))
  • Sassysugarcreek Sassysugarcreek on Nov 05, 2015
    I have found if I have a stuck mess like after frying pork chops..just turn heat up to med high and add a small amount of hot water, then stir it well scrapping the sides down also. Kinda like you were making gravey until most of the water has cooked out. then dry well with a towel and always grease pan. Smiles