How to Care for Cast Iron Simply & Easily
Let me show you my simple and easy everyday care for all my cast iron cookware so that you, too, can use it confidently and comfortably!
Recently, a good friend was asking me about cast iron care. As in how do you take care of it every day. How do you cook with it and how do you clean it!
Little did she know that we absolutely love cooking with cast iron!
In fact, our cast iron skillets and dutch ovens is what we use 95% of the time.
Also, here at our gabled home, we don’t like anything complicated. It has to be easy and simple.
So if you are new to cast iron cooking or if you have been intimidated by it or have had some issues with it – keep reading!
This post is perfect for you!
This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Why cook with cast iron?
As with anything, there are pros and cons to everything.
For us, the advantages of cooking with cast iron outweigh the downsides.
For one, cast iron cookware is so sturdy. With some good care, it will last you forever. And even if you don’t take good care of it, you can easily bring it back to life (how? that is another blog post …).
Then, cast iron cookware is very inexpensive. That means you can add pieces to your collections without breaking the bank.
It has fantastic heat retention. Once cast iron is hot, it will stay hot keeping your food warm for a while.
Also, we love that it goes right from the stovetop to the oven to the dinner table.
And lastly, we love that cast iron has a rustic farmhouse look while being so very functional.
What about the cons you might ask?
Well, it is heavy so sometimes you’ll need two hands to move it from the stove to the dinner table. And it can rust if it is exposed to water or moisture for a prolonged time.
How to cook with cast iron
You could simply use a cast iron skillet as you use any other pan or skillet.
However, in order to get the non-stick function, this is what I do:
I place the dry cast iron cookware on the stove and turn on the burner. I leave it there for a bit because I want it to be evenly hot.
Next, I add my oil and let that heat up as well. We often use olive oil because we like the flavor but some people advise against that since olive oil doesn’t have a very high smoke point. Alternatively, you could use avocado oil or animal fats such as lard or tallow.
Once the oil is hot, I add the food I want to fry. And here’s the critical part: leave it there and resist the temptation to flip it too early. With a bit of experimenting, you’ll quickly get the hang of it. And then you can flip your food without any stickiness or it caking on the bottom.
That’s all there is for cooking with cast iron.
How to clean cast iron
I like to clean my cast iron soon after I have used it. On most days, that happens during my post-dinner clean-up.
If there are any caked-on bits of food in your skillet, I like to use these plastic scrapers to scrape that off.
Then, I place the skillet in my sink where I run it under hot water. I use a simple wooden dish brush to clean it.
While Lodge (a popular cast iron company) says it’s ok to use a drop of dish soap, I don’t typically use any soap. Just plain hot water.
From there, my skillet goes back on the stove. I turn on the burner until my cookware has completely dried off.
How to season cast iron
Once my cast iron cookware is completely dry and while it’s still hot, I put a very small amount of avocado oil or flax oil in it. With a small piece of kitchen paper towel, I rub it all over the inside of the cookware.
Now, I’ll let the cookware cool off so it can go back to its wall rack that my husband built for me.
And that’s all! It’s as simple as that.
All I can tell you is that cast iron gets better with use. So go ahead and use it often. Every time you do, you’ll add a thin layer of seasoning to it which will make it even more non-stick.
Cast iron makes it very easy to love it. At least in our home!
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Wooden dish brush: https://amzn.to/30xBooD
Lodge cast iron scrapers: https://amzn.to/36bG6Ml
Our oven is literally full of cast iron pans and I do my best to keep the kitchen at its best as my part, due to my incompetency in all things cooking. I have been scared for a while to do the care I know the cast iron needs as I’ve been worried I will ruin them but I’ll definitely have your post up as I take a shot at them
I used to keep my cast iron in our oven as well. But having all the skillets more accessible with our custom-built wall rack, it’s pretty much all I use. Happy cooking ~ Anja
Great Post! My kids hate cleaning the cast iron! I tell them it’s just as easy as cleaning anything else, but they also feel intimidated by it…something about drying it on the stove seems like an insurmountable task! Ha! Thank you for taking the time to share at Embracing Home and Family!
I love this!! Thank you for sharing your knowledge! I have cast iron pans but am always afraid to use them for fear of destroying them!
Oh, yay, hopefully you will now feel confident to use your cast iron pans!
Thanks so much Anja. Such great information to have. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you!! It makes my day to hear that you enjoyed this post!