How To Use Cast Iron Pan – Megan was the food editor for Kitchn’s Skills content. He is a master of daily baking, family cooking and good lighting. Megan approaches food with a budget (both time and money) and enjoyment in mind. Megan has a degree in Baking and Pastry and spent the first 10 years of her career in Alton Brown’s culinary team. He is the host of a weekly food and family podcast called Didn’t I Just Feed You.
So you’re the new owner of a cast iron skillet. Whether you bought it new, put it up for sale, or finally acquired your family heirloom, there are a few things you should know before you start cooking. Cast iron pans require a little different care than other pans, and because cast iron is so beloved (and has a long history), there are some myths about cast iron care that you should dispel.
How To Use Cast Iron Pan
Here’s a complete beginner’s guide to caring for your cast iron, including cleaning and storage, troubleshooting, and what to prepare for first.
Best Cast Iron Skillets Of 2021
Whether you are removing the sticker from a new Lodge pan or one you found at another store, the first thing you need to do is clean the pan. This cleaning will be a little different from your daily care, because we will be offering hot and soapy water!
I have heard that cast iron should not be soaped, but this is not entirely true. For new and used pans, a little soap and water is fine. This first cleaning removes factory debris or rust particles. Be sure to rinse and dry the pan thoroughly after this first wash. You will probably need to wash the pan with soap once or twice a year if you take good care of it.
“Seasoning” your cast iron pan is what makes your cast iron pan non-stick. Here’s a quick and easy one: “Seasoning” cast iron is a process that occurs when multiple layers of oil are baked into a pan, creating a non-stick, non-stick surface. Most new pans come with factory seasoning, but if you bought yours used, you may want to create a longer-lasting seasoning by cleaning and re-seasoning the pan. For a more detailed explanation of this, we like this piece by Cheryl Kanter.
Where you store your cast iron is much more important than how you store your cast iron. First, cast iron should always be dry before stacking or hanging. Rust is your seasoning’s well-earned enemy! Second, we love a paper towel in a storage pan, especially if you’re stacking it with other pots and pans. Removes moisture and protects the surface of the pan.
How To Clean A Cast Iron Pan (without All The Mystery!)
Once you’ve properly cleaned, seasoned, and stored your cast iron, you’ll probably want to cook with it. May I suggest eggs? More on this below, but as a beginner it would be helpful to know how to clean and maintain your pan on a daily basis. To begin with, it is easiest to clean the pan while it is still hot. Read on for basic cast iron skillet cleaning.
You also need to know how to care for your cast iron pan. Most importantly, you’ll need a good brush. I love my cast iron skillet – super cheap, durable and invincible and incredibly versatile. It can handle everything from steak and fried rice to fluffy crepes and delicate crepes. Don’t be put off by claims that cast iron pans are difficult to clean and maintain: a little TLC goes a long way for these kitchen workhorses.
Long version: cast iron pans are porous, which means they can rust easily without a protective barrier. Most commercial cast iron pans come pre-seasoned, but it’s a good idea to reinforce this layer with your seasoning. Curing occurs when a layer of oil in a pan is heated to the point of burning and carbonizing. This process, called polymerization, turns the oil into a plastic that sticks to the pan. The plastic coating seals the porous surface of the cast iron, preventing excessive sticking and rust protection during cooking.
This method works for all types of cast iron parts, including carbon steel pans. So if your pan is a little rusty, dull, or worse, worn out, grab a napkin, some soap, oil, and paper towels and follow these simple steps to give it a new lease of life for a flawless kitchen.
How To Deep Clean & Season Cast Iron
If your pan is particularly rusty or crusty, give it a quick wash in warm, mild soapy water, and use an abrasive sponge or brush to remove any unwanted particles until the surface is smooth and free of tacks or sticky dirt. . (Steel wool should only be used if you are willing to clean the pan completely.) Rinse thoroughly.
Follow a quick drying process in 2 steps: Wipe the pan with a paper towel or dish towel, and place it on the stove on medium heat until all the moisture evaporates. It should get hot enough until you can feel the heat coming from the pan. This step is very important! Cast iron is porous, which means it traps moisture on the surface: the only way to completely remove any remaining moisture is to heat the pan and evaporate all the water. Proceed to the next step carefully so you don’t burn yourself!
Pour a teaspoon of oil into the pan and use a paper towel to rub it evenly all over the pan. Turn the pan, add a teaspoon more oil if needed, and repeat the scraping process until the entire pan (including the handle!) is coated with an even layer of oil. Continue to rub the oil into the pan until it is no longer greasy. Avoid using too much oil to the point where the pan becomes slippery and wet: too much oil results in a sticky, messy coating. If you run your finger across the pan and it looks like you’ve just eaten delicious chicken and fries, that’s too much oil! Keep polishing!
Which oil you use is up to you, as long as it is 100% oil. Avoid using creamy or unrefined coconut oil, as traces of milk solids and curds burn and burn; traditional fat will wear out faster if not used frequently. We recommend unsaturated oils with a neutral flavor with a smoke point around 400°: canola, grass, grape seed, sunflower and safflower are great. Some chefs swear by linseed oil and it gives good results, but since it has a very low smoke point of 225°, be aware that the baking process will turn your kitchen into a cloudy and smoky environment a lot.
How To Clean A Cast Iron Pan With Baking Soda And Elbow Grease
Preheat the oven to at least 450°, then place the pan in it. The goal here is to reach the smoke point of your chosen oil to trigger a chemical reaction called polymerization that bonds the oil to the pan to create a seasoning layer. If you chose a different oil, check the burning point of that oil and make sure your oven is preheated.
Many tutorials call for placing the pan upside down in the oven and lining the bottom of the oven with aluminum foil to catch the drips, but if you’ve oiled it minimally and polished it properly, this precaution is not necessary. Place the pan in the oven, bake for 45 minutes to an hour, then turn off the oven and leave the pan in the oven for another 15 minutes without opening the door. Remove carefully with thick gloves, admire your hands and let it cool completely.
To protect the herbs, you can repeat steps 3 and 4 again to create a stronger protective layer. (Some cooks like to repeat this process 6 times after completely removing the cast iron pans!) However, keep in mind that every time you use a cast iron pan, you’re probably cooking with oil or -fat, which becomes one at a time. . mini seasoning process. Over time, with proper use and maintenance, the spices in your pan will strengthen organically with repeated cooking sessions.
Use only enough oil or other fat when cooking to ensure proper browning and clean release. Most cast iron pans, even well-seasoned ones, won’t perform as well as a real Teflon non-stick pan, but they can come close if you’re using a lot of fat.
How To Cook With A Cast Iron Skillet: A Beginner’s Guide
After cooking, avoid using soap or abrasives in your routine cleaning to preserve the seasoning coating. Instead, opt for a soft sponge, some kosher salt if you need to remove the residue, and warm water. Dry a