How do I clean and season my cast iron skillet?

It seems like this should be simple, but I can’t for the life of me get my Lodge cast iron skillet to come out looking right.

I’ve been following the instructions in this Southern Living post for how to season it properly. But every time I try and re-season the skillet it comes out sticky.

I am using canola oil and putting the skillet in the oven for 1 hour at 375F. Wrong type of oil? Higher temperature or cooking longer? What am I doing wrong?

Hmmm, are you cleaning before attempting to season the skillet?

Generally you don’t want to use soap and water on your cast iron, but if you’re going to re-season it’s fine. Another potential issue is not wiping enough of the oil off before putting it in the oven. If the pan is coming out sticky, too much oil is probably your problem.

Here’s what I do:

  1. Clean the pan with dish soap and warm water. I use steel wool to get some of the more difficult gunk off. Dry with a rag or paper towel.
  2. Apply a small amount of oil with a cloth or paper towel. I prefer flaxseed, but it is on the expensive side. Canola should be fine. try and wipe the cast iron down as thoroughly as you can. It’s better to be conservative here.
  3. Put the skillet in the oven at 400 for about an hour.
  4. After an hour let the skillet cool in the oven.

I try and repeat this process two or three times whenever I season a pan.

Hopefully, that helps!

This is about the same thing that I do. I don’t seem to be able to get the same shine or texture I see on other posts about cast iron though.

Perhaps, I need to do a better job wiping off the oil though.

After doing some further research I found an interesting answer on reddit. u/Silent_Bob posted a detailed guide on r/castiron. I think his answer may be useful here.

His recommendation is to use Crisbee oil, but thinks that Crisco will be just fine. Two interesting things about this process that I haven’t seen anywhere else. There are temperature variations here—as opposed to throwing it in for an hour at 400.

The other interesting thing is taking the cast iron out after 20 minutes and wiping down the oil again. I wonder how important it is to actually have have a shop towel here?

This process is assuming you’re starting with a piece of bare iron. You’ve already stripped the old seasoning off either through lye (lye tank, yellow cap oven cleaner, etc), Electrolysis, vinegar scrubs, or magic voodoo. Stripping can be a different topic.

  1. Wash and scrub your pan with soap and water.
  2. Dry thoroughly with a towel.
  3. Immediately place in a 200 degree oven for 20 mins
  4. Take out (using gloves) and coat with liberal amount of Crisco. Use an old t-shirt, towel you don’t care about, or something like that.
  5. Most Important - try to wipe out ALL of the oil. Use a different t-shirt or towel. I do a two step wipe, the first with a towel, the second with a paper blue Shop Towel. You won’t be able to get it all and there’s enough left on the pan for the seasoning.
  6. Return to oven and heat to 300. Once it’s 300, take out and wipe down again. Note I don’t actually do this step anymore, but I recommend it to newbies or people having problems with their own process. It helps make sure all of the excess oil is removed.
  7. Return to oven and heat to 450
  8. Bake for an hour
  9. Let cool in oven (completely if you’re finished and have time. You can go to 200 if you’re going to do another round of seasoning and are in a rush)

Repeat process starting at step 3. Before starting step 2, check your pan. If you see any spots on it, that means you didn’t do step 5 very well, and I would scrub it down again starting at step 1, but if it looks good I go right to 3. Do this 2 or 3 times and you’ll get a well seasoned pan.

After seasoning your pan may look any color from brown, to dark grey, to black. Use and cooking fatty foods and time will eventually turn your pan that deep dark black you’re looking for.

Personally, I haven’t tried this method, but it sure seems like this guy knows what he’s talking about.

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