7 Steps To Season Your Cast Iron Skillet 2692

Your cast iron skillet won’t come with that signature sheet that you’ve undoubtedly seen on well-loved and used cast iron. You have to season your skillet for it to get that quality. Here’s how to do that in seven easy steps.

Step One

Buy a cast iron skillet. A good skillet is not cheap, but they can last forever so your family can use it for generations over a glowing campfire.

Occasionally you can find a used one at a garage sale or online, but then you risk taking on someone else’s issues and therefore have to do a restoration. Restoration can be problematic. As such, go new.

While you’re buying your skillet, you should also buy a good book to read. You’ll need it later.

Step Two

Thoroughly wash and dry your new skillet with warm, soapy water.

Step Three

Do not season your cast iron skillet in your RV. This process will suck up a lot of LP and then you’ll be left with an awesome seasoned cast iron skillet and no gas to cook anything in it.

To season the skillet at home, you need to set your oven temperature to 450F. Take your cast iron skillet and rub it well—inside and out and, yes, the handle too—with oil. The oil type doesn’t matter. Some swear allegiance to canola or lard or even a more exotic oil like flaxseed, but using expensive extra virgin olive oil to season a skillet seems like a bit much.

Step Four

Once the oven is at 450F and your skillet has been well-oiled, place it upside down in the oven on the middle rack, shut the oven door, set the oven timer for a half hour. Start reading your book.

After that half hour is up, take your skillet out (protect your hands), re-rub it with oil and put it back on the oven for another half hour. Continue reading your book.

Step Five

Repeat the previous step two or three more times. It’s a new skillet, so you’ll want to season it thoroughly. Keep reading your book; you have time.

Step Six

Don’t burn yourself! Take the skillet out of the oven using a good oven mitt or a pair of thick work gloves. Put it on the stove (if it’s gas) or on a cooling rack and let it breathe until it can be easily moved without the use of gloves.

Step Seven

Not really a step for seasoning, but a suggestion to help you keep it seasoned longer. When you use it, you only need to use hot water and a scouring pad to clean it out. Don’t use soap.

Soap will break down the seasoning, literally stripping it off. If that happens you will need to season it more often. For the most part, providing you are cooking foodstuffs that have oil in them, such as a good steak, your skillet should remain seasoned for quite some time.


Do you have any questions, concerns or thoughts? If so, leave a comment below. 

15 Comments

  1. A good way to clean the cast iron but keep the seasoning is to use a mix of cider vinegar and water mix, 4 parts water to 1 part cider vinegar. rinse pan with hot water and scrub with brush or scouring pad then rinse and spray on the mix. Cider vinegar is a great anti-bacterial that will not take the seasoning away from the pan. I even use it on my nonstick skillets to hold the seasoning on them. It is also a healthy alternative to harsh cleaning items.

  2. After the seasoning process, cook a batch of old fashioned cornbread in your skillet. This is what cast iron skillets were made for!

  3. Here is how I’ve learned to season a cast iron skillet from muy grandparents, I’m talking of a process from 100 years now. Simply wash in the sink with a scouring pad, rinse, then place on stove. Heat it on low until all water evaporates. Use a small dab of shortening (Crisco or an equivalent) and let it melt. Wipe the melted shortening all over inside of pan with paper towel or cloth, remove excess and let cool. Then put it back in the cupboard until next time. Simple. But yes, do start with a new pan and not someone else’s problem. NEVER let it rust.

    1. That is a good method. Not sure if it seals as well as using the oven but I am sure it works. With the price of good cast iron skillets getting more affordable (see Bob’s comment), buying a used one isn’t even worth the hunt.

  4. I don’t get the “A good skillet is not cheap” comment. An excellent Lodge 10 1/4″ inch cast iron skillet is available on Amazon for less than $13. Can’t get much cheaper than that for a piece of quality cookware.

    1. Good point, Bob. Is that the 10″ skillet? A good size for most campers, but some prefer larger. And you are correct, Lodge is a good brand.

  5. Do not EVER us soap on a cast iron pan! It will absorb the soap as cast iron is porous and your food will taste like soap! I did out door training for the Girl Scouts for many years, I know what I am talking about.

    1. Absolutely correct, Sue! Occasionally, if you are not cooking foods with enough fat or oil in them, the cast iron skillet will need to be re-seasoned, but using soap is a huge no-no. And way to go training Girl Scouts! I’m sure it was fun!

  6. Don’t pass over that old, used cast iron skillet or pot so quickly. I inherited one from my in-law that was covered with rust. After lots of scouring with course salt, emery cloth, oil and elbow grease I now have a 60+ year old skillet that is the best I have seen – EVER. Well worth the effort and a testament to the old adage, “They don’t make them like they used to!”

    1. If you know where that old cast iron skillet came from, then by all means you should rescue it! Good on you, Mary!

  7. Old, rusty skillet? Sand blast it down until ALL rust is gone. A wire wheel or sand paper is not good enough. Then follow the seasoning procedure. Results will be good as new. Any old cast iron can be resurrected.

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