How to clean a cast-iron skillet?

clean cast iron skillet

As a chef, I used many different skillets before. And cast-iron skillet is by far one of my most favorite. Yes, it requires more maintenance, but trust me, it’s easy to keep your skillet in a mint condition if you follow along with this helpful guide.

Keep reading if you want to learn:

What do you need to clean a cast-iron skillet?

what do you need to clean a cast iron skillet
  • A paper towel or a clean, dry cloth
  • Wooden spatula
  • Stiff brush or sponge 
  • Kosher salt
  • Vegetable oil
  • Rubber gloves

How to clean a cast-iron skillet?


how to clean a cast iron skillet
  • Step One: After every use, clean the skillet immediately while the skillet is still warm or hot. Wipe the surface with a clean, dry cloth or a paper towel to remove any excess oil or food. 
  • Step Two: Use a wooden spatula to remove stuck-on food. 
  • Step Three: Rinse under hot water. 
  • Step Four: Add a few tablespoons of kosher salt and a drop of hot water to the skillet.
  • Step Five: Wash the skillet by hand using a stiff brush or a sponge. 
  • Step Six: Again, rinse under hot water.

Avoid using soap. Trust me; it’s not how you should clean a cast-iron skillet. And I need to remind you that hot skillet and cold water don’t work together. It can damage the skillet. So try to avoid that if you want to maintain your skillet in a mint condition.

Apply some oil to the skillet after each cleaning

Apply some oil to the skillet after each cleaning

Use a clean, dry towel to dry the skillet after each cleaning. Put the skillet back onto the stove over medium heat until moisture evaporates. Add a teaspoon of vegetable oil to the inside of the skillet and apply it evenly using a cloth or a paper towel. Leave a skillet to cool. Store your skillet in a dry place.

How to Remove Rust from a Cast-Iron Pan?

how to remove rust from a cast iron pan

1. Scrub 

The best way to remove rust from a cast-iron skillet is to soak your skillet in hot soapy water for 10-15 minutes. Put on your rubber gloves and scour the rusty pan using steel wool. Once you removed the rust, dry the skillet using a clean cloth or paper towel. Put the skillet on top of the stove over medium heat to remove any excess water.

2. Apply Oil

Pour a small amount of vegetable oil on the paper towel. Then use this towel to rub this oil into the skillet inside and out. Be aware if you use too much oil, your skillet can become sticky. Apply a small amount of oil.

3. Bake

When the oil is applied to your cast iron skillet, place it in the preheated (450 degrees Fahrenheit) oven upside down. Cook it for an hour. Repeat this process two to three times. Also, place a tray or aluminum foil on the bottom rack of your oven to catch any oil that drips from your skillet.

How to Season a Cast-Iron Pan: An Easy Way

how to season a cast iron pan an easy way

You can either season your cast-iron skillet in the oven or on the top of the stove over medium heat. It depends on the condition of your skillet. Suppose one of my cast iron skillets in the restaurant doesn’t pass a fried egg challenge. It’s time to clean and season the pan using the stove. If there’s rust on my skillet, then it’s time to scour and bake it in the oven.

Season cast-iron skillet on the stove

Place skillet on the stove over medium heat for three to five minutes. Pour two tablespoons of vegetable oil into the cup. Use a paper towel with tongs to dip the paper towel into the oil. Wipe skillets surface with the same oily paper towel until the oil smokes and there’s no oil remaining. Let the skillet cool down. Repeat oil application times.

How long will it take to clean?

It only takes two to three minutes to clean the cast iron skillet after every use. But, if you need to re-season your skillet, it might take around three hours to do so. And if I plan a deeper clean such as removing rust, stains, or stuck-on buildup, I usually set aside three to four hours.

Additional Notes

  • To season a cast iron cookware, you can use many different neutral oils like soybean, sunflower, linseed (flax), canola (rapeseed), vegetable, grapeseed, refined coconut.
  • Acidic ingredients such as tomatoes and wine can be harmful if your pan is not seasoned well. To avoid any damage caused by these ingredients, just make sure to season your cast-iron skillet well.

Bottom Line

Cast iron cookware requires more care. You can’t use it straight out of the box without seasoning it first or use soap to clean it. But that’s is the only difference between stainless steel, copper, aluminum, or any other material used in cookware. Use this guide to clean your cast iron skillet if you want to keep it in good condition without having to re-season it too many times. And if you want something that is much easier to maintain, then read this review on Gotham steel pan review. 

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