If you were lucky enough to get your hands on a cast iron frying pan for Christmas this guide will tell you exactly how to season and look after it to make sure it does the job and lasts for a long time. If you haven’t got any cast iron cookware, it’s definitely worth looking out for second-hand. So long as it has no cracks or chips it will be as good as new once you clean and season it.
After having bought so many cheap pans, only for them to fall apart soon after, I’ve found cast iron so much more durable. They also distribute the heat really evenly, so they’re great to cook in. The other huge plus – is no Teflon. What happens to that stuff when it starts to flake off in your dinner…?
If you find everything sticks to your cast iron pan, you’ve probably not seasoned it properly.
How to season your cast iron cookware
Seasoning (also known as curing) just means filling up all the tiny holes and craters in the surface of the iron with grease/ oil to leave a smooth continuous non-stick surface.
If your pan isn’t non-stick, is rusty or hasn’t been seasoned yet, you’ll need to start by thoroughly cleaning the cast iron pan with a hot soapy water (this is fine to do before you season it, but not after).
I used lard to season my cast iron pan, but coconut oil should work well too. Firstly rub the oil all over the pan, but just lightly. Then rub off the oil with a paper towel.
Next, put the pan upside down in the oven (make sure you have a large tray on the bottom shelf to catch any drips). The oven will need to be at about 250 C (450F) and this stage will take about half an hour. Then, take the pan out of the oven and allow it to cool. You’ll want to repeat this process 3 or 4 times.
When you cook in your pan, you’re repeating this process, since the fats in your cooking will be continuing to fill any tiny holes in the surface again.
Do you cook with cast iron? How do you find it? Is this the method you use to season your cookware?