Cast Iron Skillet Article -
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Cast Iron Skillet

One Tough, Versatile Vessel

Not just for meats, cast iron caramelizes vegetables to perfection, and its dry, even heat makes sensational baked goods.

No Sweat!

Cast iron heats up quickly and cooks evenly, absorbing and retaining heat like no other surface; so foods brown and caramelize rather than sweat and stew.

‘Tis the Seasoning

Vegetable oil spread over a dry skillet and baked in the oven will season your skillet, creating a rust resistant, nonstick surface. This durable skillet will just get better with age.

Caring for Cast Iron

To clean, just use mild dish soap and a nonmetal pad. Then wipe out well, season with a few drops of oil and store with a paper towel covering the cooking surface. No dishwashers!

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Dec. 12, 2009 10:20 am
Check this Out.
Jan. 18, 2010 4:39 pm
I strongly disagree with using dish soap with cast iron. I use hot water and a dedicated stiff brush. When sesaoned this is all you need. Then wipe with veggie oil and store. Never use soap!
Jan. 21, 2010 7:25 am
I just had my grand mothers old cast iron skillet given to me. It apears to have been left unused for some time. There is no rust. How can I make sure it is clean enough to cook with?
Jan. 29, 2010 10:57 am
To remove cooked-on bits I use table salt and a paper towel then rinse with hot water.
Feb. 26, 2010 5:47 pm
Joenovick, Your grandmothers skillet is probably well seasoned and has a black pantina. If there is no food stuck to it you can just wash in hot water, dry and coat the entire pan with a light coat of veggie oil. Some people use Crisco or bacon fat applied to a warm skillet. Then bake the pan upside down in your oven for an hour at 350 and let cool. This will only add to the seasoning of the Skillet.
Mar. 19, 2010 6:51 pm
My pans are 40 plus years old...never use soap!! If I need to scrub..first soak for awhile and then I use salt and dry on stove and wipe with some oil if needed (rare!!) or I scrub with coffe grounds...yes coffee grounds..there is enough oil in the grounds so finish not affected. and while messy ..hey it's over the sink!!
Apr. 2, 2010 6:03 pm
i have a cast iron skillet but never knew how to care for it now it's rusted. is there anything i can do to revitalize it or do i have to throw it away?
Apr. 9, 2010 12:01 pm
Tesa, Simply scour off the rust using a very fine grade of sandpaper or steel wool and refer to

to re-season.
Apr. 22, 2010 2:38 pm
I use my great-great-grandmother's cast iron pan, which she used when her family moved from Oregon to Texas in a covered wagon! It has been handed down from daughter to daughter (or in my case, grand-daughter) for generations. To clean I never use soap - only hot water and a dry rub with salt if something is stuck in it. Every few years, I re-oil it.
Apr. 28, 2010 12:27 pm
never use soap! Grandma would chase you with a peach limb. boiling water and a dish brush will do most of your work. A paint scraper never did any harm either. You can't hurt it. The rust is easy to take care of: I just did this to a dutch oven I found being used as a planter. Just scrape off the dirt and anything loose, heat it up, and swab the whole thing with shortening and cook it for a while at 300 to 400 degrees F. scrape loose junk from the cooking surface again and wipe it out with a rag. get any grit out and don't worry about cooties; you've done them all in. Now cook a mess of bacon. eat the bacon. either wait til the fat cools and scrape it out and wipe the pan inside with newspaper or pour the hot fat off pour boiling water in scrub it with your brush, wipe it off. If you ever think you are having problems, fry some bacon.
Apr. 28, 2010 12:29 pm
Tessa if you want to throw your iron away, throw it my way!
Jun. 1, 2010 4:34 am
My mom and dad got a cast iron roaster at a yard sale years ago. It was rusty and they cleaned it in a self cleaning oven then oiled and seasoned it.
Jun. 5, 2010 1:49 pm
I have recently aquired some old cast iron pans. I use cast iron all the time, but receiving 'new' old pans, I have them sandblasted and start as if they were new. (it gets rid of any ransid taste you may find) I have had great success in this as I have done this for many years. The drawback, you start from scratch and it takes time to 'blacken' them. The final result, a perfect pan. I do not use any kind of soap as it will take the 'seasoning' off the pan. Bacon grease works best for oiling the pans.
Jun. 6, 2010 8:11 am
Granny had it soap in a Cast iron pan ever! We would wipe with bacon grease to season if needed and drying was a burner on low for a few mins if you washed it in the sink with water. I like the salt idea for a grit to clean. I am amazed that some TV chef has not brought back the fashion of cast iron cooking. Lasts for generations which makes them almost the cheapest pan sets around. They are great and the blacker they get with time all the better.
Jun. 16, 2010 5:53 am
I've been using cast iron for years! The younger generation have NO idea what they are missing, I have one I use for my cornbread, my fried okra, and my meats, I was blessed to get my mother's as well as my mother in law!! I have about 16!!! I love them!
Jun. 30, 2010 12:42 am
I agree with Grady. No dish soap has ever touched my irons. Hot water and a stiff bristle brush is all that is needed.
Aug. 13, 2010 8:51 am
Is there any reason not to use a cast iron pan on a ceramic top stove?
Aug. 14, 2010 6:27 pm
If your cast iron skillets have a buildup of crust on the bottom, simply put them in your self cleaning oven about 2 hours. They will come out shiny and free of the buildup
Aug. 17, 2010 6:00 pm
Okay, for those of you who say never use soap on a cast iron pan, remember that the kind of soap your grandmother or great grandmother in the covered wagon used was the kind she made herself from lye that would strip the chrome from the fender of your dad's Buick. Today's soap is not that strong and if you have you pan properly seasoned, that is, coated with carbonized grease or oil, then mere dish soap is not going to remove that. Dish soap, steel wool, hot water and a lot of elbow grease probably will but you'd really have to work at it.
Sep. 6, 2010 3:00 pm
Robinbuzb: it is not recommended to use regular cast iron on a glass cook top, because it can scratch the surface easily, and any seasoning on the outside of the pan can stick to our cooktop! I use mine on the grill and in the oven instead, works the same!
Sep. 12, 2010 10:58 am
I love my cast iron pan on my ceramic cooktop! Never scratched. I got my pan from an antique shop well seasoned & it has made perfect biscuits, pancakes, etc. I think it's especially good with ceramic cooktops because I notice a big difference between the heat on an electric or gas stove & my ceramic cooktop--ceramic just doesn't heat up as well or conduct heat as well. The cast iron has made it possible to cook with medium to low heat and get seared results as if I were using any other material at high heat.
Oct. 23, 2010 7:41 pm
Re: soap on cast iron ... that's a no-no! 
Oct. 25, 2010 5:44 am
My Mother only had cast iron when I was growing up. She used a mild soap to clean them when needed. She seasoned them by cooking cornbread or bacon. She was a wonderful cook and I have every size fry pan there is and I do the same as she did and my cast iron is great and never has rust. It's not the soap that hurts them, it's the care that keeps them in good cooking shape. Go for it and don't be afraid to clean them up when needed. Just enjoy. I bake, fry and grill all the time.
Dec. 26, 2010 2:15 pm
Jan. 28, 2011 3:13 pm
I love my cast iron pans . My husband got them for me when we got our first place, I was only 18 and truthfully not happy he did , But after 25 years later I thank him for them they are my favorite pans .And No to the soap my mother and grandmother never did and neither do I .
Apr. 5, 2011 5:27 pm
I see this is an old thread, but I have put my 2 cents worth in. I use my cast iron equipment several times a week. After the cooking is done I scrub the pans (frying, dutch oven, and roasting) with steel wool in the dish water after I've done the other dishes. I then put it on the stove burner to dry, then add a little extra virgin olive oil to the pan, rub the oil over all the exposed interior surfaces and heat it till it smokes; after it is cool to the touch I put it away. I've never noticed any off-taste and I what ever fond develops, it comes off easily when making sauces or gravies.
Apr. 28, 2011 1:16 pm
never use soap on your cast iron skillet that is seasoned. hot water and a brush. if your skillet gets rust or has been unused for a long while, clean it by heating it until it almost glows red. I have tossed mine on a log fire in my back yard and let it heat until it was cherry red. let it cool and it will look like new. then season it like you would a new one. Has anyone used a cast iron on a "glass" top stove?
Apr. 29, 2011 12:45 pm
Oooo...never EVER use soap to clean cast iron pans, just plain hot water, or you can use salt with it, but it will NEVER look clean, if that is what you are looking for, it will always have a blackend slightly crusty look to them, that is when they are what everyone calls, seasoned...which is what you want,they cook the,"BEST" ever! So, enjoy your cast iron ; )
May 2, 2011 9:00 am
As has been said over & over, NEVER use any kind of soap... however, if you feel you just HAVE to, re-season with lard or bacon grease in the oven at 400 degrees for an hour. cool in oven & wipe clean with paper towel. I can fry eggs in mine with no grease and they will not stick! THAT'S a well seasoned pan. Cornbread isn't cornbread unless cooked in cast iron. I have burnt food in my pans... not fun, but cleaned up very nice with salt. One can also add hot water, let soak and cleaned with water & srubber, seasoned with lard. I use Crisco. I don't use oil (personal choice). My Mother & Grandma used lard. BEST pans in the world!!!!
Jun. 1, 2011 3:21 pm
crisco is not lard, dish soap won"t hurt a seasoned pan but you don't need it, you can use metal tools, not going to hurt it. Myths abound TONIGHT....
Jul. 6, 2011 7:55 am
To person who was asking about what if the pan has rust, My granmother and my mother always told me to put a large amont of table salt in the skillet and rub it with a rag or paper towel until the rust is gone, then rinse with hot water and dry on the stove "not towel dry"; once it cools down rub it with bacon grease and put it into an 250 degree oven for 10-15 min. Let cool and then store. Some of the other suggestions of seasoning a pan are good ones too.
Jul. 8, 2011 7:24 am
I love cast iron, as reading the comments on cleaning...which I was always told to season, season, season. I would love to have a cornbread receipe that so many people spoke about!! Old is good!
Jul. 31, 2011 10:16 am
i have been using castiron for years and i use dishwashing det to wash them then i dry with a paper towell the i put veg shorting in pan then wipe out they still look new one is 123 years old
Aug. 18, 2011 6:33 pm
Instead of using salt as an abrasive to clean a cast iron pan that had food stuck on it, my grandfather would use some fime sand. Never tried it myself but he swore by it!
Sep. 5, 2011 3:59 pm
I've been cooking in my cast iron for years. It's taken me 25 years to get it all just right. Meaning, I finally figured out that I have to bring the pan up to temperature first before cooking in them. I tried something new and I just made my first lasagna and it turned out perfect. It's just the two of us now and I had my 8 inch deep pan with the lid and I decided to use it and see how it came out. Perfect! I also use my pans to re-heat food. I threw out my microwave. I can't believe just how good foods are re -heated this way, rather than with the microwave. It takes a bit longer, but really worth it.
Oct. 23, 2011 12:33 pm
I don't use soap either unless I reseason after. I don't cook anything with tomatoes either, it tasted real bad, like metal. Does anyone else have that problem or am I the only one. Is there something special to do prior to cooking any tomatoe sauce dishes? Have been cooking for over 30 years in the iron and LOVE it! I would like to try a lasagna like Blondie but experience won't let me.
Oct. 30, 2011 8:51 pm
You're right about no dishwashers, but always used vegetable shortening, lard, or Flaxseed oil to season the pan. Never use liquid oil to season. OK to cook with, but not season. The pan will get very gummy.
Dec. 1, 2011 3:11 pm
My cast iron frying pan is from my grandmother who was born in 1886 and this belonged to HER mother so there is no telling how old it really is. This skillet is of course well seasoned and there is no need for any soap being used...just hot water used and a quick whisk with a dry towel. A light coating of lard keeps it in tip top shape. I could NOT be more proud of this Tennessee treasure !!!
Dec. 5, 2011 12:47 pm
Cast iron is all I use, skillets, dutch ovens, hot plates, waffle irons. Best foods come from these. I don't use soap, but have soaked the pan in old well diluted dish water when I have used it for any tomato based cooking. If you leave tomato acid on too long it will taste metallic. Remove tomato based food as soon as possible when finished cooking and rinse the pan. I have had many years of good service from my cast irons.
Dec. 18, 2011 11:33 am
For a long time I couldn't figure out why some of my cast iron wouldn't stay seasoned. Then I caught the wife washing it like dishes, with soap. We put a stop to that and now even she likes it best. One quick way to reseason the bottom of cast iron is to heat it on the stove top and apply thin coats of oil to it with a paper towel. Let each coat burn onto the surface. It is smoky and you have to be careful not to burn yourself, but is very fast. In my house it also checks my smoke detector. Speaking of smoke,you can avoid it indoors by seasoning cast iron on an outdoor grill. I use metal utensils with care. When food is cooked without oil, or things like tuna helper, tomato sauces non-stick cookware is sometimes used.
Jan. 31, 2012 10:18 am
When I die, I want to be reincarnated as a cast iron skillet, so that way I will live forever and everything will taste great.
Feb. 26, 2012 1:57 pm
Ok - I have read on here that some people use bacon grease to "oil" their pans. I strongly recommend NOT using bacon grease or olive oil. Both oils will rot/spoil if you store them too long. Why risk it. Also - NEVER use soap when cleaning your pan. There is a great recommendation in some replies about using salt to scrub your pan with. This works well. Another trick is to get the pan smoking hot on your stove top and then pour in some water. After pouring in the water, scrape all the bits off with a wooden spoon. You are technically "de-glazing" your pan.
Mar. 7, 2012 5:43 am
We use the cast iron wsebsite recommendation: boil water in the pan, scrape off any burned on foods with a spatula, rinse with hot water, wipe with a paper towel and re-season if needed before storing. Never soap!
Mar. 14, 2012 4:47 pm
A cast iron frying pan is one of the best things to use, I have my Grandmothers and it's still going strong I love it.
Mar. 19, 2012 5:39 pm
I just saw an interview with the Grandson of the Lodge family. There is nothing wrong with using dish soap to clean cast iron, the key is to get rid of all of the moisture by thoroughly rinsing it and dry it with heat, either on the stove or in the oven.
Mar. 24, 2012 7:45 pm
I agree with using dish soap with cast a restaurant owner, we woulda been skinned if the city found out we were cleaning pans without using dish soap. Just make sure its all off. And I always heat on a fire after drying it off to be sure alll the moisture is gone.
Mar. 31, 2012 10:47 am
I love my cast iron pans! No need to ever use soap! Make sure you dry completely on the stove! Wish I had a good way to store them In the cabinet b/c they are so heavy! I have them stacked but find I have to move so many to get to the one I need! Any ideas?
May 4, 2012 11:44 am
Love, Love, Love my cast iron pans. I keep adding to my collection! If my pan doesn't glisten after I clean it I apply a little oil on it with a paper towel before storing it.
May 5, 2012 7:26 pm
I only have one cast iron skillet, but I love it. Sometimes its a pain to clean if something sticks, but I deal with it. It's the best way to make fritatas!
May 13, 2012 5:49 am soap in your iron pots,just very hot water and a brush. Dry good and store oiled, mine is from my great grandma.
Grampa Mom 
May 27, 2012 8:56 am
Bottom line, it's just a piece of iron shaped like a pan. Cook, eat, wash it anyway you want. Enjoy it.
Jul. 2, 2012 8:19 am
i like to season cast iorn with oil with no salt
Jul. 2, 2012 8:21 am
i agree with gatorlady on her way of cleaning the cast iorn
Jul. 4, 2012 5:19 pm
you don't need to use soap when you clean cast iron, if you have any build up, i just put in the sink, fill it up with the hottest tap water, let it soak for a little while then just use a plastic scouring pad, under the water, dry off with towel, heat up on stove till handel starts getting hot,then put a little corn oil on a wadded up paper towel and go over the inside surface of the pan,....and if you have to cook tomatoe based foods, use your stainless steel pans....the acid takes the seasoning off
Apr. 24, 2013 12:24 pm
whats the difference between WAGNER CAST IRON and NO NAME CAST IRON
May 25, 2013 10:45 am
A lot of people say their pans are shiny. I just bought my first cast iron pan and it is black. Why are some shiny and some black?
Oct. 12, 2014 10:24 am
Wagner versus no-name cast iron: - one thing Wagner did that isn't done as often anymore is the machine polishing of the inside bottom of the pan. A shiny, polished bottom of the pan is the result either of machining and/or use over time. When cast iron is used, "seasoning" or the polymerizing of greases into its pores make it like teflon and add to the flavor. The best pans are the oldest ones (the more you use it, the better it gets!) because of this seasoning and because of the machined surface. Wagner closed its doors in 1957, so any Wagner cast iron pans are going to have been used and are going to have that shiny, slick bottom with a machined surface that makes the cast iron skillet perform like a champ - both in terms of non-stick and flavoring and doing what cast iron does best: cook and distribute heat!
Jan. 31, 2015 10:03 am
Without question, the best oil for seasoning cast-iron is flaxseed oil. It produces the hardest surface, which over time will become virtually non-stick. Before using, make sure the pan is gently heated to "open" the pores. Wash pans only in very hot water - never soap - and hand-dry immediately. Kosher salt is a good abrasive for removing crusty food. Heat pan on stove for a minute, then add a few drops of flaxseed oil and spread it all over the inside surface with a paper towel. Let pan heat up for a couple of minutes, then turn off heat. When cool, store pan with a sheet of paper towel on surface.
Feb. 27, 2015 11:02 am
Thank you for mentioning vegetable oil as a sort of sealant for dry skillet. I like making meals on the dry skillet, but I have had to replace mine a few times. I will have to try this method and see if I get more life out of it.
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