How to Season and Maintain a Cast Iron Skillet

Shawna Bailey
by Shawna Bailey
3 Materials
5 Minutes
We got these lovely second hand cast iron skillets and I was totally at a lost as to what to do for cast iron skillet care. I wasn’t sure how to clean it, and -- seasoning cast iron?? I had no idea what that even meant. A good friend came to the rescue and showed me how easy it can be to show some love to my cast iron pan. Now we use it all the time and it’s the best way to make eggs, mac & cheese, cornbread and about a billion other things. You should season your cast iron when you first get it, after every use, and if you haven’t used your pan in a long time. All you need to season your pan is cooking oil...

Here’s a dirty pan after I made cornbread in it.
Step 1: Rinse the Pan
I ran some water over my skillet. With many things just water will be enough to get everything off, but I made cornbread, which is a little sticky. I used a scrub brush to brush off the sticky parts -- they come off so easily, because a properly seasoned pan is basically non stick.
With any cast iron, it’s important not to use soap unless you absolutely need to. The pan heats up to enough during seasoning that you don’t need soap to sanitize it. Step 2: Heat up the Pan
The first part of seasoning a cast iron pan is to let it heat up. This is not only for cleanliness reasons, but because the hot iron will absorb the oil better. Step 3: Add Oil
The second part of seasoning a cast iron pan adding oil. I poured a bit of cooking oil on the pan. Step 4: Spread Oil with Cloth
I used a clean cloth to push it around (a paper towel works just as well). Make sure to coat the sides as well. Give it a minute til you see the oil absorbed into the pan.
And now your pan is seasoned! Look at that beautiful shine.
Suggested materials:
  • Cooking oil
  • Heat
  • Cloth
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 5 questions
  • Mary Ann Kay Mary Ann Kay on Jul 17, 2016
    My pan now has some rust! Help#

  • Terry G Terry G on Jul 18, 2016
    This is a question for those who use self-cleaning ovens to clean their cast iron pans. My oven says to remove the shelves when cleaning. Do you leave a shelf in when cleaning your cast iron or what do you do?

  • Michelle Collins Michelle Collins on Jul 19, 2016
    Our new glass stovetop instructions say not to use cast iron on it. Anybody have any experience with this? I sure do miss my cast iron.

Join the conversation
2 of 65 comments
  • Marla Bales Marla Bales on Sep 03, 2016
    I just spray Pam in mine and wipe it out.

  • 1ir9927391 1ir9927391 on May 20, 2017
    I bought an old rusty pan. Cleaned it with a wire spinning brush in my drill used steel wool too. Got all the rust off and then spread a layer of "Lard" yes lard they still sell it on both sides. Turned it upside down in my oven. Turned it on self cleaning. The pan came out with a patina and a shine that made it look brand new. I love this pan. Nothing ever sticks to it. I season it with peanut oil after each use.. I think it will outlast me,