A cast iron skillet is arguably one of the most versatile kitchen accompaniments. Oven-safe AND stovetop safe, these bad boys make cooking a breeze— That is, once they’re properly seasoned. A cast iron skillet is nearly useless without a good initial seasoning, and unless you purchase a pre-seasoned skillet, you’re on your own. Sounds intimidating, right? Don’t let us fool you— it’s simple, and less time-consuming than you might presume. Follow our guide to seasoning your skillet and prepare to enjoy the lifetime of delicious food it will provide you with— the options are endless.
So you’ve just purchased your very own, brand-new cast iron skillet. Now what?
• Preheat your oven to 325
• Gently rinse your skillet with a sponge and a little bit of soap and water. Dry thoroughly. NOTE: This should be the FIRST and LAST time you bring soap anywhere near your cast iron skillet— even during clean-up.
• With a paper towel or a clean cloth, wipe the inside (and outside, if you prefer) down with vegetable oil or shortening. Don’t use any other oils for the seasoning process— they’ll make your skillet sticky and you’ll never want to use it again.
• Once the inside (and outside, if that’s what you decided to do) of your skillet are lightly coated with oil, place the skillet in your oven upside-down, with an aluminum pan below it to catch any oil drippings that might fall.
• Bake the skillet itself for an hour, turn the oven off, and allow the skillet to cool completely before you remove it. Repeat as desired, but your skillet will continue seasoning as you cook with it, creating an all-natural non-stick surface.
CLEAN-UP: As we mentioned, now is the time to send the bottle of Palmolive into retreat. Your cast iron skillet is best cleaned with a gentle rub with a sponge under hot water. Soap will get into the iron, and nobody likes a soapy steak. Be sure to wipe between meals thoroughly. If your cooking session left your skillet slightly dirtier than you’d planned, we still recommend skipping the dish soap. Add some kosher salt into the skillet and rub with water to remove any bits of food. This will also help to remove unwanted tastes if you’re moving on to a different flavor palette with your next meal!
Now to the fun stuff (meaning: what can I eat next?). We mentioned that cast-irons are quite possibly a chef’s best friend in the kitchen. We weren’t lying. As long as your skillet is well-seasoned, you can do just about anything with it— even fry a couple of eggs. You can also bake in these beauties. Cornbread and brownies do well and get that perfect crispy golden crunch on the edges and top. If you’re looking for flawlessly roasted vegetables, the skillet is your go-to. And of course, there’s the meat (what we here at Roma’s live for!). While fish, especially the more delicate types, are not the best options to heat up in your cast iron skillet, a hearty steak or a couple of pork chops will do wonderfully. You’ll find yourself wanting to cast away all of your old pans and trade them in for cast-irons across the board.