If you are a cooking lover, you understand why cast iron skillets are one of the best kitchen utensils. But many kitchen experts refrain from using them as they do not know how to clean a cast iron skillet & other related details.
Cast iron skillets are like any other cookware in your kitchen, but far superior. They are indestructible, reliable, multi-purpose, affordable, and effortless.
All you need to know is how to work with this item, and you will never stop using it. Think of your cast iron skillet as a piece of machinery. You never stop learning, no matter how frustrating it gets until you succeed.
An item (no matter what) can serve you in the best way if you know the proper ways of using it. A cast iron skillet is the same. This utensil can make your food much richer & enhance its taste to the next level.
So, if you own a cast iron skillet or want to buy one but do not know how to clean a cast iron pan or maintain it, it is about time you learn.
Today we will discuss the easy ways to use a cast iron skillet, the best cleanliness & maintenance tips, and more.
Stay tuned with us & you will never stop cooking in your cast iron pan.
Cast Iron Cookware Skillets & More
The cast iron cookwares are one of the most versatile ones you can have in your kitchen.
They are extremely sturdy and long-lasting, and you can take them anywhere with you. Using cast iron is straightforward.
Food prepared in a cast iron pan tastes better than other utensils due to its iron properties, and superior heat retention.
A cast iron skillet can turn boring cooking time into a fun one. And if you are still contemplating why you need a cast iron in your kitchen, we have the answers.
Reasons Why You Need A Cast-Iron Skillet In Your Kitchen
A cast iron skillet or any other utensil can offer you much more versatility and benefits than any other cookware in your kitchen. It can help you handle your cooking tasks in much better ways.
So, before we begin answering how to wash a cast iron skillet, let us talk about the benefits of using one.
Here we have a few benefits that cast iron can offer you:
A. Easy to use
Cast iron cookware is easy to use. You can use it on your kitchen stovetop, outdoor grill, or open campfire.
The best part is you can cook the food and take the pan straight to the table for serving.
Another reason to own cast iron cookware is that it is made to last a lifetime. Compared to other utensils in your kitchen, this one is strong, possesses better heat handling, and will outlast them all.
A good quality cast iron skillet will cost you around $20 in your local home-good stores.
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Compared to high-end cookware, this one is easily attainable and a cost-effective way to boost the quality of your dishes.
D. Can Cook Anything
Cast iron cookware is versatile. You can use them to prepare any kind of food. Whether it is eggs, pork chops, grilled steaks, or simple stir-fried veggies. Cast iron can do it all.
E. Natural Nonstick
No one likes their food stuck on the pan. It is one of the biggest reasons we look for nonstick cookware that are pricier than the others.
However, a cast iron utensil comes with a natural nonstick finish. All you need to do is proper seasoning, and you can cook worry-free.
F. Enhances The Taste
Cast iron is well known for providing nutrition to your food and making it taste even better. You can enjoy healthier & tastier meals with this unique cookware.
How To Properly Clean A Cast Iron Skillet And Season It?
Everyone loves cooking until it is time for cleaning. Most food lovers out there refrain from cooking as they find cleaning afterward messy. And this is a huge one in the case of cast iron.
People have this misconception that using & cleaning cast iron cookware is hard. It is why many people avoid buying them. And if they have one, they refrain from using it.
But this is not true. Using cast iron cookware is just like using any other utensil in your kitchen. All you need to know is the correct way to do the job.
This section discusses the easy ways to clean your cast iron pan, followed by the proper seasoning method.
Best Way To Clean Cast Iron Skillet In Your Kitchen
To ensure you clean your cast iron skillet properly, meaning with no food or juices stuck in it, you need a few things.
Things You Will Require:
- Sponge or stiff brush
- Clean & dry paper towels or cloth
- Vegetable Oil
- Kosher Salt (It is optional)
After you have all the items with you, you need to follow the instructions mentioned below to clean your pan.
1. Immediate Cleaning
As soon as you are done with your cooking, get to the cleaning task. Do not leave it to soak or sit in the sink as it might rust.
So, if you are thinking about how to clean a cast iron skillet after use, simply fill it up with hot water and use a soft sponge or brush to scrub off the leftover food & juices.
2. Use Hot Water
As the food is greasy, it is wise to use hot water to clean the pan. Hot water helps in getting rid of stubborn food residue.
Wash your skillet with your hands using hot water. Use a sponge or stiff brush if it needs little scrubbing. It is better to wear gloves to protect your hands from hot water.
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Do not use harsh scrubbers like steel wool, soap, and dishwasher. Using them can strip off the pan’s seasoning.
3. Use Kosher To Scrub
If the food is stuck on the pan and using the sponge is not helping, you need kosher salt.
Put kosher salt on the stuck food and use spongs and water to scrub it off easily & nicely.
4. Dry The Skillet
To clean-dry, the skillet, use paper towels or a piece of cloth. You can also place it over the stove on low heat to dry it.
5. Oil It
Apply a light coat of oil to the pan using a paper towel or a piece of cloth. You can do both inside & outside as per your wish.
If you do not want oil, you can use melted shortening. Lastly, you can buff the pan to remove the excess.
6. Store It
After you are done drying & oiling your pan, store it away in your cabinet or any other dry place.
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Iron, in its nature, is not nonstick. Anything you cook in it is most likely to stick to its surface. However, there is a way you can make your iron cookware nonsticky, & it is called seasoning.
Whether you have bought a brand new cast iron skillet or already have one for a long time, you need to season & re-season it before use.
A well-seasoned skillet is shiny, smooth, and nonstick. If the surface gets dull or rusted or food begins to stick, it is time for reseasoning.
Follow our easy steps below to season your cast iron skillet like a pro.
A. Preheat Oven
Before we begin with the main process, you need to preheat your oven to 350°F. It is the first task you need to perform.
If you forget it, you can not season your cast iron.
B. Ensure Cleanliness
Make sure the skillet you will season is thoroughly washed and dry. There should be no food or crumbs left on the surface.
After cleaning and drying your pan, apply oil to it. You can use any oil of your choice, just ensure it is edible.
D. Rub The Oil
Use a clean cloth or paper towel to rub the oil properly over the pan. Apply the thin layer of oil inside, outside, and on the handle.
E. It Is Baking Time
Now it is time to put the pan in the oven. The best is to keep the skillet upside down. You can place aluminum foil on the bottom of the pan to catch any drips.
You need to bake your skillet for an hour.
F. Let It Cool
After an hour, turn off your oven and let the skillet cool down before you remove it from the oven.
It can take hours, so you need to be patient. Once your pan is all cooled, you are good to go.
Things You Should Know If You Are A Cast Iron Skillet For The First Time
Owning a cast iron utensil is a must. It is a kitchen essential in which you can cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
In addition, it is there to boost the taste of your food and is ideal for making larger portions.
People who are new to using cast iron skillets or other utensils tend to make more mistakes than experienced ones.
You read it. Even experienced users get it wrong from time to time. But with the right advice, you can always avoid the blunder.
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We have some crucial tips that will help you (especially if you are a first-timer) to use the cast iron skillet like a pro. Believe us. No one will realize you are a rookie.
1. You can use soap
Generally, it is advised that one should not use any soap to clean cast iron. The warm water, kosher salt, and a soft scrub are all you need.
But we believe that using soap once in a while is okay, as long as you can rinse it off well. Simply re-season it after cleaning.
2. Seasoning is easy
As a new user, you must know that your cast iron needs seasoning from time to time.
As many people will complain that seasoning a cast iron pan is hard, but in reality, it is not.
Seasoning cast iron is effortless. All you need is a working oven and well clean & dried skillet.
You can check out our step-by-step seasoning guide mentioned in the former section.
3. Use on all heat sources
Unlike other cookware, you can use a cast iron skillet on any kind of heat source. You can use it on electric, gas, or induction stovetop, oven, grill, and even on a campfire.
4. It holds in heat
The cast iron takes longer to heat up compared to your other pans. However, once it gets all heated up, it stays like that for a long time.
So, you should be extra careful as the handle will be too hot to touch.
5. Be cautious with acidic foods
While cooking acidic foods like citrus, tomatoes, or beans, you need to be careful.
You need to season these foods well as their acid can strip off the seasoning from your pan and lead to discoloration & metallic taste in your food.
The bottom line is to ensure your cast iron seasoning is well-built before you decide to make acidic foods in it.
6. Heat the pan slowly
If you want the best cooking out of your cast iron skillet, you should let it heat slowly.
The heat conduction of cast iron is highly efficient. And if you cook on high heat, the food will burn or stick to the pan.
7. Do not let it soak
Cast iron is susceptible to rust, so never let it soak in the sink as you do to your other utensils. It is always a good idea to clean it as soon as you are done cooking.
8. Store carefully
Whether you store your cast iron skillet separately or with other cookware, ensure you are doing it right.
If stacking it with other cookware, place paper towels in between to avoid running its finish.
9. Do not throw away rusty cast iron skillet
If your cast iron skillet is rusty, do not think about throwing it away. With proper measures, you can salvage it.
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Just use fine steel wool to remove the rust & scour the regio until you see raw cast iron.
Then wash & dry the pan, oil it properly, place it in the oven, let it cool, and you are done.
10. It can last forever
If you follow proper usage procedures and do proper care, your cast iron skillet can last for decades.
Cast iron just gets better with age & natural seasoning. So, caring on your part makes it a lifetime investment.
6 Important Things That You Should Never Do To Your Cast Iron
If you love your cast iron pan and want to ensure no harm comes to it, there are certain things that you need to be aware of.
There are many myths regarding the curing, caring, and cleaning of cast iron going around. Some are true, while others are complete blunders that a smart owner should avoid.
You will never require to shop for new cast iron cookware for years if you ensure you will not do certain things to your utensil.
Here we have listed six things you should never do to your cast iron skillet. Check them out to ensure you are not self-sabotaging.
A. Not Using It
Cast iron is known to get good with every usage. So, never stop using it. We understand that cooking in cast iron can be a hassle, especially with all the cleaning & seasoning.
However, the more you use it, the easier it gets to cook in it. So, use that cast iron skillet as much as you can.
B. Not Seasoning It
If you want your cast iron to be nonstick, you should season it after every use.
Seasoning cast iron means oiling it after every wash to ensure it does not lose its nonstick coating layer.
C. Soak It In The Sink
You must have heard people saying that one must not cook acidic food in cast iron as it can ruin it. However, acidic food will not harm it nearly when you leave it for hours in the sink.
Cast iron is different from your other utensils. Leaving it to soak in the sink can lead to moisture absorption and rusting.
So, even if you are exhausted from all the cooking, clean your cast iron pan immediately to avoid any issues.
D. Use Harsh Scrubbers
Never go for harsh metal scrubbers to clean your cast iron cookware. Using a steel wool scrubber will ruin the surface.
Instead, opt for soft sponges and kosher salt to get the job done.
E. Store It Empty
Storing your cast iron skillet with other utensils is not a good idea. Doing this can let the surface to get damaged by other cookware, plus there are chances of moisture retention.
Instead, use a paper towel in between the pans while storing them. The paper towel will absorb any moisture formation and protect your surface from getting scratched.
F. Store In The Oven
You need to cook your cast iron pan in the oven for perfect seasoning, but it does not mean you have to make it a permanent spot.
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If the oven is preheated before you store your skillet, it will only harm the pan.
So, store your skillet with your other utensils.
Is There A Need To Replace Cast Iron Skillet?
Cast iron utensils can last forever but only with proper care. Generally, you would never require to replace it, but there are certain scenarios when it is the only option.
If your cast iron skillet cracks or has chips or holes in the surface (probably due to corrosion or improper cleaning), you need to replace it immediately.
So, it is the right time to anticipate how to properly clean a cast iron skillet. You need to follow proper methods for cleanliness and maintenance, as your negligence is the only reason your cast iron will get rusty.
FAQs On How Do You Clean Cast Iron Pan
Which oil should I use for seasoning?
For seasoning your cast iron cookware, you can use any oil as per your preference. However, we think flaxseed oil is the best choice.
Flaxseed oil contains 9% saturated, 18% monounsaturated, and 68% polyunsaturated. It works faster in oxidizing & polymerizing than other oils.
However, it is a pricey choice. If you do not want to spend much, any affordable cooking oil will do the job.
How to know if my cast iron pan is well-seasoned?
If your pan is well seasoned, you will see a dark and slightly glossy finish on the surface. In addition, the pan will not be greasy or sticky to the touch, and there will be no rust or dry patches.
However, the best way to ensure it is to do the fried egg test. Try frying an egg in your cast iron pan. Your egg will not stick if the pan is seasoned well.
What is the reason for my cast iron skillet being sticky?
If your cast iron cookware is sticky and gummy, it indicates that you have used too much oil while seasoning.
Remove the excess oil by washing the pan with hot water and then seasoning it with a thin layer of oil.
Do I need to season my brand-new cast iron cookware?
There is no harm in extra protection. You will wash your cast iron before using it. So, after every wash, it is a good idea to season it too.
It is recommended to season your cast iron after every use.
Should I soak my cast iron pan in the sink to soften up the residual food?
NO. You should never let your cast iron utensil sit in water. To clean the stuck food, you should use hot water and a soft sponge to scrub it off.
You can also boil water in the pan and then scrape off the food bits using a wooden spatula.
Letting your pan sit in moisture for a long time can ruin it. Never make such a mistake.
What is the black residue I am getting on my food while cooking?
If you are cooking in your cast iron pan and you fin black residue on your food, do not get alarmed.
This black residue is carbonized food. It is the reason why despite looking clean, your food is sticking to the pan.
To get rid of the black residue, boil water in your pan and use a wooden spoon to scrape off the bits. Hot water helps in the process.
After scrapping all the residue, wash the pan and season it again.
What to do if there is rust on my cast iron?
If you find light patches of rust on your cast iron, you can use some elbow grease and steel wool to scrape it off.
For stubborn rust, you can opt for an easy home remedy.
Make a solution of water & vinegar and soak the rusted part in it for an hour. You can leave it a little longer based on the level of rust. But do not go overboard with the time.
After soaking, scrub off all the rust from the pan. Furthermore, thoroughly clean your cast iron with hot water, dry it well, and season it.
Lastly, to protect your sink from all the rust, it is better to use a separate arrangement. You can do it in a disposable aluminum pan or a plastic bucket of the desired size.
If you are someone who loves to cook, you have to own cast iron cookware. Using cast iron will only enhance your skills.
We hope after reading this article, you are now aware of what cast iron is, how to clean a cast iron skillet, different ways of maintenance, and related do’s & don’ts.
Do comment about your likes & dislikes about cast iron cookware.