Ultimate Guide on Cast Iron Seasoning

If you bought a cast-iron frying pan, you will have to season it at home. Cast ironing seasoning is very important to prolong the lifespan of your cookware. That is why it should be done properly, so let’s dive right in.

Is seasoning cast iron necessary? Yes, seasoning cast iron is necessary because it will prevent the food from sticking to the surface and burning. Cast iron will restore its properties while seasoning and get rid of the food and oil residue. So, seasoning cast iron is indeed necessary because it removes residual oil, restores the non-stick coating, and prevents damage of the non-stick coating. 

Why Should You Season Cast Iron?

Surely many of us asked ourselves the question of why we should season cast iron. There are pores on the surface of the cast iron that are invisible to the human eye. They are formed during the cooling of cast iron during the production of the pan. You should season cast iron to fill the surface of these pores.

In other words, pan oil forms a natural non-stick layer. And there is one interesting tendency: the more you fry in a cast-iron pan, the thicker this layer will become. As a result, food will never stick to the surface.

Do not be afraid to water the pan with cold water after seasoning it. Cast iron is a fairly strong material and it was repeatedly exposed to high temperatures during the manufacturing.

Your cast iron cookware should not deform or crack from seasoning. If the frying pan changes its shape or cracks appear on it, then you can return it to the store, since such pan is not of high quality.

People love cast-iron cookware because it evenly warms up and does not deform. But cast iron is a porous material. And its pores become clogged over time, which is why the food begins to stick and acquires a bad smell. When this happens, cast iron needs to be seasoned. This procedure must be performed regularly.

Ultimate Guide on Cast Iron Seasoning

Should I oil my cast iron after every use? Yes, you should oil your cast iron before and after every use, but remember that a thin layer of oil is enough because excessive oil will form a sticky greasy coating that you will have to scrape off later. Moderation is key. 

How many times do you season cast iron? You need to season cast iron at least twice a year. If you use the cast iron pan often, you should increase the frequency to once every three months. This will help you to prevent cast iron from rusting and from clogging its pores. 

Can you overseason cast iron? Yes, you can over season cast iron. Overseasoning will make the cast iron sticky and the food will burn on the pan. Just season cast iron twice a year or once every three months if you use the cast iron pan a lot. 

There are several cases when a cast iron pan must be seasoned:

  • When a cast iron pan is new. New cast iron pans still have industrial dust that must not get into your food.
  • When a cast iron pan is old and has a lot of carbon deposits. Carbon deposits are fat and oil that have been accumulated for a long time and are harmful to your health. Seasoning will easily remove carbon deposits from cast iron.
  • When you want to make pancakes. Since seasoning prevents the food from sticking, your pancakes will be delicious and will not burn to the surface.

What happens if you don’t season a cast iron pan? If you don’t season a cast iron pan, it will last less and it might become dangerous for your health. The pores will get clogged with food and oil residues, forming carbon deposits. Clogged pores will lead to food sticking and burning. This will negatively affect the quality and the taste of the food. 

The Best Oil For Seasoning Cast Iron

What oil is best for seasoning my cast iron? Linseed oil is the best for seasoning cast iron because it will create a waterproof coating that is resistant to washing detergents and acids. You may also use other oils such as flaxseed, rapeseed, hemp, poppy, coconut, and walnut. They will create a smooth thin layer that will protect the food from sticking and the cast iron pan from accumulating carbon deposits. 

Favorite Oils for Seasoning Cast Iron Video Guide

Can I season cast iron with olive oil? Yes, olive oil is eco-friendly and it can be used for cast iron seasoning. Olive oil is also good for seasoning because it will not leave any smell on your cast iron pan. But olive oil is not that good at drying, so you should opt for linseed oil instead.

Seasoning Cast Iron (Flaxseed vs. Old School Methods)

Can I season cast iron with coconut oil? Yes, you can season cast iron with coconut oil because it is an antibacterial oil that will kill all the bacteria in the pores of cast iron and creates a protective layer of healthy fats. Coconut oil also starts to smoke at very high temperatures, so it means that coconut oil will not give a smell to your house.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Season Cast Iron With Coconut Oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees.
  2. Pour the coconut oil into the pan and spread it with your fingers over the surface of the pan (the oil can be pre-cooled). The warmth of your fingers will help melt some of the coconut oil, and it will coat the pan in an even layer. Make sure the entire inner surface of the pan is greased (pay special attention to the walls). You can also grease the bottom of the pan on the outside, but this is not necessary.
  3. Place the pan upside down on a baking sheet and place in the center of the oven.
  4. Hold the pan in the oven for an hour and a half to two.
  5. Switch off the oven without opening the door. When the pan has cooled down enough to be handled with bare hands, remove it from the oven.

This can be repeated 2-3 times. It will harden perfectly and you won’t have any problems cooking.

Can you leave the oil in cast iron? No, remember that you can never leave the oil in cast iron because it will be difficult to clean this oil later when it hardens. Leaving the oil in cast iron will not help with the seasoning because it has to go over the smoking point to get into pores and form a protective layer. 

Is bacon grease good for seasoning cast iron? Bacon grease is perfect for seasoning cast iron because it can penetrate deep into the cast iron and form a dense and smooth non-stick layer. You do not need to use a lot of bacon grease because it is very saturated. Just put as much bacon grease as you would use for frying potatoes.

The Easy Video Guide On Seasoning and Restoring Cast Iron

Cast Iron Seasoning Temperature

What temperature do I season my cast iron? Season cast iron at 180-200 degrees.

  • Preheat the oven to 180-200 degrees;
  • Take a cast-iron skillet or a pan, rinse it with cold water, then put it in the oven for 40 minutes;
  • You can add a little fat or oil to the pan;
  • After 40 minutes, remove the pan from the oven using the stuck and rinse immediately with cold water.

Why is cast iron sticky after seasoning? If cast iron is sticky after seasoning, it means that you have applied too thick a layer of oil, or you have not seasoned it long enough or the temperature during seasoning was not high enough (less than 180 degrees). To make cast iron non-sticky again, just put the cast iron in the oven at 200 degrees temperature and leave it for an hour. Then wipe it with a towel and let it cool.


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