The world of cast iron skillet care is filled with a lot of strong opinions and a lot of contradicting advice. But there is one thing everyone agrees on: you need to season a cast iron skillet with some type of oil. After this, the fighting begins. Is vegetable oil best? Do you heat it on the stovetop or the oven? And how often?
Well, there is really no wrong way to season your cast iron, as long as your pan stays non-stick and you are happy with its performance. But if you’re looking for a quick way to get beautiful seasoning on your pan, try this method.
Table of contents
- ❤️ Why you’ll love this recipe
- Why are we oiling pans exactly?
- A look at popular seasoning oilss
- A successful oil blend
- 🧂 Ingredients
- 🥣 Equipment
- The seasoning process
- 🥫 Storage instructions
- 👩🏻🍳 Expert tips
- 🔍 FAQs
- 📖 Here’s the recipe
❤️ Why you’ll love this recipe
- It’s super simple and you can make it in the microwave.
- It’s affordable: buying both of these oils will yield years and years worth of seasoning.
- It really WORKS!
Why are we oiling pans exactly?
It’s weird, right?
Well, we love cooking with cast iron because it gets super hot and retains that heat, allowing you to sear your food at high temperatures for a great crust and color. It’s also tough, so you don’t have to worry about chipping it or scratching it.
But iron, of course, loves to rust. Any water is its enemy. And it doesn’t have a perfectly smooth surface.
Seasoning takes care of those problems. When a fat is added to the cast iron and heated enough, it forms a bond. A bond that’s non-stick, smooth and protective.
But what oil is best?
A look at popular seasoning oilss
Technically, any oil will work. But the most important consideration is the oil’s smoke point. Let’s take a look at some popular choices and look at the pros and cons
|Vegetable Oil||Cheap, easy to find, easy to apply||forms a weak bond and can leave a sticky film if you apply too much|
|Shortening||bonds nicely with cast iron pan and the price is right||needs to be applied frequently since it’s not as strong as other methods|
|Coconut Oil||accessible, inexpensive, bonds nicely with cast iron pan||needs to be applied frequently since it’s not as strong as other methods|
|Grapeseed Oil||high smoke point, more affordable than the last two oils||more expensive than vegetable|
|Beeswax||bonds nicely to pan||awkward to get on the pan, not available in most stores, expensive|
|Flaxseed Oil||bonds very well||very expensive|
A successful oil blend
To be clear, you can absolutely use any of the oils above and cook with cast iron successfully! You’ll find that with some you’ll need to season more frequently and some will last longer. It’s just personal preference.
But if you’re willing to take a few minutes to combine two of the best oils, you’ll get a blend that’s truly perfect for cast iron seasoning.
It’s solid at room temperature and looks cute in a small tin by the stovetop. And it only takes a minute to mix up!
Let’s make some, shall we?
(If you absolutely do not feel like making this, I get it. My second choice of seasoning oil is plain old SHORTENING. It does a great job, you’ll just need to season it a bit more often.)
This is an overview of the ingredients. You’ll find the full measurements and instructions in the printable recipe at the bottom of the page.
That’s it! We get the advantages of beeswax but only need a little bit, which keeps this oil blend affordable.
The grapeseed oil is comparable in price to a medium-grade olive oil. If you can’t find it in stores, you can easily get it online.
For beeswax, you will have an easier time working with it if you buy the pellets: they melt faster and are easier to measure. (Trying to cut 20 grams off of a bar of beeswax is harder than you’d think.)
- A kitchen scale (helpful but not essential)
- A glass jar (at least 4 ounces)
- Paper towels that aren’t too fuzzy
This is easy as can be. I highly recommend measuring the oils and melting this right in a mason jar that you will use for storage. This recipe will fit right into a four ounce jar (one of the many great uses for mason jars!).
If you’re using a scale, simply measure the oil and beeswax right into the jar, zeroing out your scale in between.
To melt the oils, put them in the microwave on low or medium power for thirty seconds. Stir when the time goes off, and keep heating until the beeswax is fulling melted.
Safety note: beeswax is very flammable and you can’t let it get too hot. And be careful removing the jar from the microwave: even though the glass won’t be hot, the oil inside will be!
Once it’s thoroughly melted, put a lid on it and let it cool. It will be soft but solid at room temperature, like shortening.
The seasoning process
First, make sure your pan is clean and dry.
A new, unseasoned pan (or an old one you’ve stripped)
Most modern pans come pre-seasoned. If yours doesn’t, rub it with the oil of your choice, using a non-fuzzy paper towel. Wipe out any excess oil until it until it looks almost dry, and place the pan upside down in a 450 degree oven for 1 hour. (Make sure you coat the handles and the back.) Repeat twice.
The seasoning will continue to build up over time, so cook with plenty of fat on low heat for a few weeks. It will get there.
Touch up seasoning
Easy! After you’ve cooked, scrub out the pan with a brush and hot water. Towel dry it, then put it on the stovetop and heat it to get it really dry. Lightly rub it with your favorite oil, heat it briefly just until the oil smokes, and let it cool.
🥫 Storage instructions
Store this at room temperature near your stove top so you really use it!
👩🏻🍳 Expert tips
- Clean your cast iron with hot water and a scrub brush. Avoid dish soap. It’s not the end of the world if you have to use it, but over time it will break down the seasoning faster.
- Cast iron cookware has to stay dry. Even the most well-seasoned pans will rust if they stay wet. So after every use, towel dry your pans and take an extra minute to heat them on the stove to make sure they are completely dry.
- Cook with cast iron often and don’t be afraid of it. If you cook something acidic in it, no big deal. Just scrub and season.
- Use common sense when it comes to seasoning cast iron. If your pan looks dry or is sticking, season it!
Soy wax should work but I haven’t personally tried it.
You probably used too much oil. Scrub it out with soap (just this once!), and season it again, being sure to buff off most of the oil.
Just use shortening! It works great!
📖 Here’s the recipe
Homemade Cast Iron Seasoning Oil
- storage jar
- Combine the beeswax and grapeseed oil in a microwave safe container and stir. (It is easiest to use a mason jar that you will also store the oil in.)
- Heat in the microwave on LOW in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until the beeswax in melted.
- Pour the oil into a storage jar and cover. It will solidify as it cools.
- Apply to clean cast iron cookware as needed. Wipe out excess and heat to smoking to season surfaces.