If you adore using cast iron pots and pans in your kitchen, you’ll no doubt want to make sure they last as long as they should and remain a useful tool to create everything from hearty casseroles to mouthwatering stir-fries or slow-cooked stews. With that in mind, it is important to know how to season cast iron cookware.
Everything you need to know about how to season cast iron cookware
When it comes to keeping your cast iron cookware in top-notch condition, seasoning cast iron cookware is essential. While some may think that seasoning is when you add salt and pepper spices to a dish, it means something entirely different in this sense.
What does it mean to ‘season’ a cast iron pan?
Seasoning cast iron cookware is a method used to help ensure that the pots and pans are resistant to corrosion and rust. This is done through a process of adding fat such as oil or lard and heating the pan in an oven. During the process, the heated fat bonds itself to the metal (called polymerization) and forms a protective coating that will prevent corrosion and also ensure that foods don’t stick to the pan’s surface.
However, there is some conflicting advice about the steps you should take to season cast iron cookware properly, and what products should or should not be used to get the best results.
At Dexam, we take caring for our cast iron cookware very seriously and therefore have experimented with the best oils and fats as well as the oven temperatures necessary for seasoning cast iron cookware properly.
Why season cast iron cookware?
Seasoning is required for cast iron cookware and carbon steel kitchenware because these metals are highly reactive and can easily corrode, rust or become damaged when subject to heat in the presence of water. This means that any water that’s released from foods cooked in the pan, or even just exposure to humidity could potentially harm the surface and reduce effectiveness if it hasn’t been adequately seasoned first. While some cast iron cookware products arrive pre-seasoned, most will require the owner to season at home. Therefore it is essential that cast iron cookware is seasoned to extend life.
The truth is that seasoning your cast iron cookware does not have to be a complicated, convoluted process. We believe that keeping things simple is the most effective way, and by using our easy to follow method, people are far more likely to continue to season their cast iron pots and pans when they first buy them, thus keeping them in excellent condition for as long as possible.
How often should you season a cast iron pan?
While there is no harm in re-seasoning your pan from time to time, if you follow the above steps correctly, you shouldn’t need to. When you use fat to cook with you’ll be adding to the layers of seasoning naturally anyway. This means it won’t be necessary to repeat the process over and over again, and you should be able to cook even acidic foods in the pan without worrying about spoiling it.
How to prepare a cast iron pan for first use: Seasoning
The great news is that you should only need to season your pan once, and if done correctly, this will ensure it lasts and works effectively for years and years. Here are the steps you need to follow to do so:
Step 1: Wash and dry the pan
Washing gently with a sponge and warm, soapy water and drying your cast iron cookware with a soft tea towel will ensure that the surface is clean and hygienic to start with. Doing so means no nasties from the factory will get trapped underneath when you begin the polymerization process. Just make sure that the cookware is completely dry before you begin the next step.
Step 2: Rub the pot or pan with oil
Next, take a good quality cooking oil and rub it all over the surface of the pan, both inside and out, and the handle also. You need to ensure that the entire surface is covered and that the oil is well rubbed in. We believe the best oils to use are those with unsaturated fats so vegetable, corn or canola. Once you are sure every inch is covered, give the cookware a good buffering until all the grease has absorbed into the pan. If you skip this step, little drops of oil could pool, and when you heat and then cool it, they could harden and make the surface feel rough and grainy.
Step 3: Time to add the heat!
The final step is to preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Once your oven is at the right temperature place your cast iron cookware inside and leave it there for half an hour. Doing so will ensure the oil polymerizes and forms the initial protective coating. An oven is the best place to heat as it will apply an even temperature all over the pan. Using a stovetop to do this means the pan will heat up more in some places over others creating an uneven coating.
Step 4: Annnd… repeat!
You need to repeat the above process four times to build up the protective layers and ensure that your pan has a first initial layer of seasoning to keep it working effectively. Once the pan has cooled, it’s ready to use.
So now you know, seasoning cast iron cookware is a simple and straightforward process that will ensure the longevity and durability of your pots and pans for years to come – so it’s well worth doing!
If you are looking for stunning cast iron cookware for your kitchen, why not take a look at Dexam’s fantastic range? Now you know how to season your cast iron cookware, why not take a look at our blog on how to clean your cast iron cookware?
Did you follow the steps in our blog? We would love to hear your feedback! If you have any questions you can always get in touch with our friendly customer services team – we’d love to hear from you.