How I Keep Carbon Steel and Cast Iron Skillets Non-Stick

Stanford Guitar

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Friends frequently ask how I keep carbon steel and cast iron completely non-stick. The key is seasoning and cleaning the right way.

Seasoning:
When you buy a new pan, first use a brillo pad on it and thoroughly take off any protective stuff from the factory. Then use a napkin to wipe on Canola Oil and the bake pan in the oven for 2 hours at 500F. Cool completely and repeat a few times. Then start using to build the seasoning over time.

Cleaning:
Use only a Lodge scrapper (or similar) and wipe clean with a napkin after every use. I almost never use soap and water on my pans, and when I do it is very, very, lightly.

Delicate egg white omelette, and my completely non-stick Made In 8" pan. This pan is relatively new and the seasoning is still building on it, hence the blotchy color. It is still incredibly non-stick. In a few months it will be completely black and better than any 'non-stick' pan.

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Milspec

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I inherited my Grandmother iron skillets....with probably a 100 years worth of seasoning.

They are wonderful, but hers were HUGE skillets so unless I was frying whole chikens or making half a dozen pancakes at a time, they don't get used.
 

Stanford Guitar

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I inherited my Grandmother iron skillets....with probably a 100 years worth of seasoning.

They are wonderful, but hers were HUGE skillets so unless I was frying whole chikens or making half a dozen pancakes at a time, they don't get used.

You can strip off 100 years of seasoning by cleaning the wrong way!
 

Milspec

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You can strip off 100 years of seasoning by cleaning the wrong way!
You sure can. It is pretty funny, my Grandmother was from the farmers side of the family and she left every extended family member something in her will. For some reason she gave the lifelong bachelor all her skillets and china...along with a note on how to care for the skillets.

She was less than a week from dying when she wrote that note, she was more worried about me screwing up her iron skillets than just about anything else.
 

Stanford Guitar

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You sure can. It is pretty funny, my Grandmother was from the farmers side of the family and she left every extended family member something in her will. For some reason she gave the lifelong bachelor all her skillets and china...along with a note on how to care for the skillets.

She was less than a week from dying when she wrote that note, she was more worried about me screwing up her iron skillets than just about anything else.

A lifetime of work, love and memories in that seasoning.
 

Sconnie

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Your oven needs to be over the smoke point of your oil (canola or veggie is all you need, I crank it to 500F), leave the pan in for at least an hour upside down, turn it off and let everything cool slowly. Less oil per coat is better, 3 coats is probably sufficient. Whatever you do, do not buy the Lodge "seasoning oil" crap. It smells terrible, doesn't work worth a damn, and will overspray all over your kitchen.

You can wash your cast iron or carbon steel with mild soapy water and a normal sponge (not the scotch brite side), 100% a non-issue. What you shouldn't do is soak or submerge them in water. Dry immediately. If you're really picky you can warm the pan on the stove for 5min on the lowest setting to finish drying. Then wipe with an even thinner coating of veggie oil, remove all excess, and store. The pan will be clean, seasoned, slick, and ready for the next job!

We hang ours on pegboard in the kitchen, they get used several times a week, and there's not a single teflon pan on the entire property!
 

billy logan

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I didn't know what was a Lodge Scraper. I learn just now that the jigsaw puzzle-looking things are for the ridges and grooves some pans have built-in:
1643063778129.png

Could you use a credit card for regular flat-bottomed pans?
 

0SubSeanik0

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When I season new pans (cast iron), I use Flaxseed oil for 6-8 heat/cool cycles before using. After each use, I rub it with Avocado oil then wipe with a paper towel. Both of those oils have very high smoke points and create a nice hard surface. I used to use Canola, but found it to be too soft once I had a few layers built up and I was getting blotches. I am also located 1 mile from the ocean and live in the fog for several months each year, so YMMV. Any exposed (unseasoned) iron on my pans gets a layer of rust almost immediately here. I probably need the harder baked on oils.
 

Stanford Guitar

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I didn't know what was a Lodge Scraper. I learn just now that the jigsaw puzzle-looking things are for the ridges and grooves some pans have built-in:
View attachment 944004
Could you use a credit card for regular flat-bottomed pans?

I credit card is too flimsy. These scrappers are thick in the center with sharp edges. Best $3 I ever spent!
 

eclipse

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When I season new pans (cast iron), I use Flaxseed oil

I second Flaxseed oil. I have quite a few iron utensils, cast, spun and high carbon. Flax oil produces a hard non stick surface, best I have ever used. I live seaside also. Reseason with it also. When I need to clean a pan I use boiling water and a brush, does not seem to affect the seasoning.
When I season or reseason I give a very light coating of oil, put the pan in a cold oven, turn it up to max 230c/450f, let in come to full temp and leave at for 1 hour, I then turn the oven off and leave the pan in until it cools.
 

Telekarster

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My Mom always just put em in the sink with full of water with a little soap, used a dish rag to sort of wipe over em a bit, and hung em to dry. Never had an issue with em.
 

Jim_in_PA

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Friends frequently ask how I keep carbon steel and cast iron completely non-stick. The key is seasoning and cleaning the right way.

Seasoning:
When you buy a new pan, first use a brillo pad on it and thoroughly take off any protective stuff from the factory. Then use a napkin to wipe on Canola Oil and the bake pan in the oven for 2 hours at 500F. Cool completely and repeat a few times. Then start using to build the seasoning over time.

Cleaning:
Use only a Lodge scrapper (or similar) and wipe clean with a napkin after every use. I almost never use soap and water on my pans, and when I do it is very, very, lightly.

Delicate egg white omelette, and my completely non-stick Made In 8" pan. This pan is relatively new and the seasoning is still building on it, hence the blotchy color. It is still incredibly non-stick. In a few months it will be completely black and better than any 'non-stick' pan.

View attachment 943954 View attachment 943955 View attachment 943962
I own the same MadeIn skillet and like it ... for proteins, etc. One of the most important things to keep the seasoning is to not use these pans for anything acidic. It will strip the seasoning layer right off. And as you note, clean immediately...I do that with hot water and a brush the moment the food is out of it. My cast iron is a little more forgiving for some reason. And the enameled cast iron...it doesn't care what I cook in it. :)

Oh, I'm also a grapeseed oil user for seasoning.
 

Preacher

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My kids got me this metal coaster looking thingy with a brush that looks like one of those you apply shaving cream with but the bristles are much heavier.



I used to just wipe the pan with a paper towel and used a green scrubby without any soap. This thing does the job and cleans up the pan with a little hot water. For really dirty pans I add a little salt to the mixture.
 

Guitarzan

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I noticed that being a bit lazy with a natural fat is a better way to season a pan that using store bought shortening or oil.

Obtain unsalted fat, pork belly, bacon, etc. and fry it. Remove any chunks of meat and items that may become rancid, and you might even consider pouring the grease through a strainer and cheese cloth. Allow the grease to congeal in the pan and sit overnight. Rub the grease in the next day on the interior and exterior. Repeat the process.

I did it accidentally after falling asleep one night without cleaning the skillet and leaving the grease from natural fat in there. The light went off and I rubbed it in the next day.
 




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