How To Season Cast Iron

Cast iron kitchenware has a certain allure around it that other pots and pans can’t match. Many home cooks will swear by its ability to hold on to heat and make perfect steaks. Many of these cast iron aficionados also warn of the major responsibility that comes with such a piece. 


The process of keeping cast iron ready for cooking is known as “seasoning”. Whether you own a cast iron skillet, pan, or dutch oven, this guide will teach you how to season your kitchenware correctly.


What is Seasoning?

In short, seasoning is treating the surface of cast iron with oil to give it a coating. The coating helps keep the cast iron piece resistant to corrosion. Without seasoning, cast iron kitchenware will lose its non-stick surface and may be more prone to rusting. 


Seasoning also helps your cast iron look its best, giving it a shiny finish. Finally, it gives a layer of protection and resiliency, letting it better stand up to the scrapes and scratches that might be caused by kitchen utensils.  


How to Season Cast Iron

There are a few methods to season cast iron, but all involve the application of oil and heat. We’ll give you the steps for a thorough, strong seasoning that only needs oil and your kitchen oven.

Step 1) Wash Your Cast Iron

First, you need to clean your new cast iron, scrubbing it well with soap and water. Then you’ll want to dry it out thoroughly, leaving no soap or water behind. 

Step 2) Preheat Your Oven

Before moving on to the other steps, you’ll want to put a baking sheet with foil on the bottom of your oven. Then preheat your oven to 375°.

Step 3) Oil Your Cast Iron

Spread a thin layer of vegetable oil across the surface of the cast iron. You want to make sure that you get a smooth and even layer, ensuring you cover every inch.

Step 4) “Bake” The Kitchenware 

Next, place the kitchenware upside down on the top rack of your oven and let it “bake” for an hour or so. Turn off the oven when done and let the pan cool down on its own. The foil should catch any drippings of oil, preventing mess.


For best results, reseason your cast iron twice a year. 

Caring for Cast Iron

Seasoning your kitchenware is just one part of getting the most out of it. It’s also important to know how to clean cast iron. The good news is that scratches in cast iron can easily be restored in case of a mishap. Still, the more regular care you give it, the less chance you’ll have to do difficult cleaning processes in the future. 


After every use of your cast iron pan, make sure to wipe it down with paper towels to get rid of excess food and oil. If you need to scrub off some food, make sure that you use non-metallic brushes - metal will chip and scrape your cast iron. Don’t wait to clean your cast iron or soak it like you might other kitchenware, as this puts it at risk of rusting. 


You can use a bit of soap here. A common myth is that soap will undo all your previous seasonings. In reality, the oil is deeply absorbed and won’t wash away with soapy water. That said, ensure you’ve dried your cast iron thoroughly after each wash to avoid rusting. Some people even store their cast iron with sheets of paper towels to protect against moisture. 


If rust does develop you’ll want to attack it with a scrubbing pad and your cleaning solution of choice. Baking soda is often very effective, as is vinegar. Once you’ve gotten rid of the rust, make sure to clean and reseason the pan again. If you only remember two things let it be these: keep your cast iron dry, and keep it seasoned! 

Get Cooking Today

Now that you know how to season and clean your cast iron, it’s time to get cooking! Make sure to check out the great cast iron products at Vacuum Cleaner Market, such as our dutch ovens and casserole dishes. With the proper care they’ll last a lifetime, and longer.