How To Season A Cast Iron Skillet

I’ve been doing a lot of reading and it seems like cast iron skillets are making a comeback. They have a variety of uses and are great because of their durability and their ability to retain heat while cooking, allowing for more even cooking for your food. They are also favored because of the perceived risk of non-stick surfaces and the chemicals they use to make them that way.

I just got two from Amazon, an 8″ and 10″ which just arrived. One major difference between most post pots and pans you can buy and cast iron is the need to season cast iron to protect its non-stick qualities and prevent it from rusting.  I read and followed Alton Brown’s instructions in his book, Alton Brown’s Gear For Your Kitchen and found it to be relatively simple. Although mine came pre-seasoned, I wanted to learn the process, so here are the steps that I took.

I got my skillets out and pre-heated the oven to 350 degrees.

Seasoning A Cast Iron Skillet: My New Skillets
Seasoning A Cast Iron Skillet: My New Skillets

I then put a tablespoon of vegetable shortening in each skillet.

Seasoning A Cast Iron Skillet:Ready to go
Seasoning A Cast Iron Skillet: Ready to go

When the oven reached 350 I put the skillets inside the oven until they got warm enough to start melting the shortening. This only takes a few minutes.

I pulled them out and placed them on the counter.

Seasoning A Cast Iron Skillet:Warmed Up
Seasoning A Cast Iron Skillet: Warmed Up

The next step is to liberally coat the entire skillet with shortening. This gets messy, so you will want to use lots of paper towels.

Seasoning A Cast Iron Skillet:Wiping the pan
Seasoning A Cast Iron Skillet: Wiping the pan

Once each skillet was coated with shortening, they were placed back into the oven face down. This prevents the pooling of shortening at the seams. Place a baking pan underneath to collect any excess shortening to keep your oven clean.

Seasoning A Cast Iron Skillet:Curing
Seasoning A Cast Iron Skillet: Cooling

Once both skillets are in, you can turn off your oven and let the oven and skillets cool and cure. I did this over night so they would not get in the way of baking or cooking. This does stink a bit, so don’t do it before guests arrive, but it’s pretty easy to do.

And that’s it!

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