Seasoning a cast iron skillet is the secret to it’s efficiency and a solid sear. This guide will give you enough room to make some changes of your own. The objective here is to give you a coat of seasoning that isn’t uneven, is impermeable, and is, of course, non-stick.
- The piece you want
- An oven
- Your seasoning oil. Vegetable Oil, Canola Oil, and Crisco are the ones I recommend. All of them can provide a functional coat of seasoning that won’t let you down.
- A towel for spreading the seasoning on your piece
- Scott Shop’s Absorbent Towels. These are the secret to a nice coat of seasoning, and if you buy anything specifically to season your piece, this should be that purchase.
- Pre-heat your oven to a temperature between 200 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit. You should fine tune the temperature considering a couple of things: your oven might not give proper heat. I use the culinary fanatic method, with crisco, but I do 250F for my first step as opposed to 200F because my oven is simply not good enough. Play around with the temperatures until you get the desired product.
- Once pre-heated, Put your piece in the oven for 15 minutes. Take it out.
- Wipe your oil of choice on the piece. You can use as much oil as you want at this point, as long as you abide by the next step.
- Using an absorbent towel, wipe your skillet. In this step, wiping out the oil should not be a problem. What you want is to wipe every single excess of oil. Your skillet should not be wet, it should simply be shiny.
- Put your piece in the oven (Which is still at the temperature you first used). Set your oven at a temperature between 300 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Leave the piece for 20 minutes, from the time your oven starts preheating. Remember to think critically, for this step I use 350 F because my oven, again, just doesn’t heat as much as I would like to.
Take your piece out.
NOTE: At this point, your skillet should have a significant pattern of oil spots. It should look MOTTLED. If it doesn’t, it means you didn’t heat the skillet at a good enough temperature in the last step. Next time, up the temperature.
- Using your absorbent towels (which I won’t link to again, but you should definitely purchase them because they will help you have that even seasoning), and wipe out the skillet once more. You should use enough force that the mottled look that we witnessed in the last step should no longer be there once you are done.
- Finally, put your piece in the oven. Set your oven to a temperature between 400 and 500 degrees Farenheit and leave your piece in there for at least an hour. I personally do 450 F for only an hour, I don’t need more. There isn’t a sure-fire way to confirm that the temperature you used for THIS step works. IT SHOULD BE PAST THE SMOKING POINT OF WHATEVER OIL YOU ARE USING, and that’s about the only thing you can go by. Play around with it.
Now that it’s done you can either leave it in the oven to cool, or you can take it out and leave it in your stove to cool. Some times I’ve put it under tap water while it’s hot just so I can use it, and so far it hasn’t done anything bad to the pan, but exercising some good patience should get you the best results.
I wanted to provide an extremely simply guide to what I consider is the perfect way to season a pan. I hate mottled looks, I hate seasoning that flakes off, and I hate people who say “just cook with it.”
Once you are done seasoning, just cook with it.
As for cleaning your piece, there are enough guides out there, and cleaning a piece is much more versatile in results than seasoning it.
My recommendation? I run my pan under hot water, scrub it entirely using a non-scratch scrub pad like the one Culinary Fanatic uses, and then I rinse it under hot water. I dry it, and then I apply a coat of my choice of oil to it. I store it.
Culinary Fanatic has a method of maintenance that he explains at the end of the video where he suggests wiping the piece with some crisco, wiping the crisco off, and heating the piece on the stove until it smokes. So far this method, for me, hasn’t worked.
Above all, all you really should care about is how you season the piece. Cooking and cleaning you can do at your own discretion.