Help With Cast Iron Pleasssse What Do I Do Now?

nanwJune 14, 2005

Can anyone tell me what to do with my cast iron frypan, I bought it last year and have been using it quite frequently. I seasoned it with oil when I first got it but only that once. I didn't know and have just been washing it with soap and water and putting it in the cupboard. Sometimes if it soaks it will rust and it's been hard to get rid of the rust. I always try to wash it back to the original silver but now realize that it's not suppose to be like that. I want to use cast iron as I've become afraid of the teflons. Have I been poisoning my family & should I throw out this one and buy a new one? I paid alot for it and hate to but will if it can't be remedied.

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No, you're not poisoning anyone! Just season it. Rub it all over with a thin layer of Crisco and put it in your oven at 200 degrees for an hour. When you go to use it, preheat it on top of the stove until it's hot before putting in the oil. After you're done cooking, just wipe it out with a paper towel. While you're building the seasoning, if you have to wash it, only use water (NO SOAP) and dry it by hand, or by heating the pan on top of the stove. When it's dry, a little oil in the pan, then wipe it dry with a paper towel. Pretty soon you'll have a well seasoned, almost non-stick pan.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2005 at 7:32PM
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I am sooo glad to hear that, it sounds easily remedied and also that I'm NOT poisoning anyone. What do you mean though to wipe it after using it, shouldn't you wash everything with soap and water after being in contact with food, won't that cause food poisoning? (I sound obsessed with poisoning ha)

    Bookmark   June 14, 2005 at 9:15PM
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No Soap on cast iron, Ever. What you're trying to do is season the pan, and everytime you use soap on it you're scrubbing that away. After you use it and heat it dry, pour a little oil on a paper towel and wipe it down lightly to bring back the seasoning. If you do that every time you use it, the cast iron will turn black and become non-stick after a while, which is exactly what you want. Any time the pan looks dry, season it again in your oven.

You're not poisoning anyone. We all need iron in our bodies, and using a cast iron pan is one of the most natural ways to get it.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2005 at 10:01PM
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You shouldn't really need to scrub much at all if your pan is well seasoned. If you do need to scrub, I recommend heating some water in the pan, and using a wire brush, if a natural bristle doesn't work. Don't soak a cast iron pan either; just wash, dry and reseason.

It may take you a few turns in the oven before you have a good coat on your pan. Be patient, keep seasoning, and you'll get there.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2005 at 2:40AM
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You have been very helpful, I will start seasoning my pan today. The main reason I bought it was because my iron was very low and was told to buy a cast iron pan as I couldn't do the liver thing (my husband said I looked like I was on Fear Factor when I tried to eat it). Now that there's so much more to a 'seasoned' pan it has opened a whole new dimension of cooking for me, very interesting! I've also heard you can cook a really good cornbread in it once it's 'seasoned' correctly and now I know how to do that thanks to you!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2005 at 8:44AM
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Also I want to add that since I bought the pan my iron is at a normal level (not because of the pan), but wanted to continue using the cast iron pan because of all the bad things I have been hearing about teflon, it's really scary! I heard that the fumes from cooking on teflon has killed pet birds and can make small children sick. Have you heard of this?

    Bookmark   June 15, 2005 at 8:55AM
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Yes. You really have to overheat a non-stick pan though to have respiratory problems become an issue. I'm more like you and would rather not have potential problems with my cookware! I do have a non-stick skillet which I use for eggs only, on the lowest setting of my stove and always hand-wash. Normally, I like cast iron, or copper with tin/stainless to cook in. I think you're on a good track for yourself. Once your cast iron is seasoned, I suspect you'll really love it. One thing I forgot to mention is that I don't cook anything acidic in my cast iron (tomatoes, lemons, etc.), as that will also remove the seasoning. Happy cooking!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2005 at 2:20PM
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It is perfectly acceptable to use soap and water to wash cast iron pans. I am a chef, and believe me, if a health inspector ever found a pan that had not been washed with soap and water, but just wiped out and/or rinsed, you would be in trouble. Plus, the grease that is left behind will eventually become rancid.

To reclaim you pan, scrub it well in soapy water. Rinse thoroughly, then dry, preferably on the stove, Let is cool. Wipe with neutral oil (not olive, or butter or margarine), and put in oven at 200 F or so for an hour or two. You can wipe it again during this time, if you wish. Turn the oven off and let it cool slowly and completly in the oven, like overnight.

Repeat seasoning as desierd, anytime you feel like it needs it.

Wipe out remaining oil and use. To help the non-stick form (which is really carbon, not oil or grease), cook up some sausage, or bacon. The more dishes like this you cook, especially at first, the better. I would avoid eggs at first, as well as acidic dishes.

After each use, let pan cool, wipe out bits, then wash quickly in soapy water. Winse well and dry by putting it on the range for a minute or so.

NEVER soak cast iron in water.

To use, ALWAYS heat the pan first, then add oil. Let the oil heat up, then add product to cook.

You can cook almost anything in cast iron. Acidic items like tomato sauces will be darker from iron leached out, but them many people need extra iron! Never store acidic products in cast iron. White sauces may be too dark if cooked in cast iron. And I never boil water in cast iron, for like poached eggs, because the hot water will remove small bits of oil from the surface which will then be found floating around on the surface.

As a Southerner, I can assure you that the ONLY way to cook corn bread is in cast iron. I even have cast iron muffin tins.


Yes, the fumes from overheated Teflon can kill birds. But, birds lungs are very different from our lungs, and the problem does not apply to humans.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 12:19PM
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One other tip for cleaning cast iron: if you have something stuck to it, try using a little coarse salt (kosher salt) and rubbing it with a paper towel. Then wipe out the salt with a paper towel moistened with oil.

Another oil that works well for seasoning is coconut oil.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2005 at 9:36AM
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i always wash my cast iron pans with soap and hot water. then i towel dry them with paper towels, and put them on the burner for about a minute or two to make sure they're bone dry. while they're on the burner, i spray them with Pam or some other type of neutral cooking oil. avoid olive oil, hazeulnut oil, butter, etc. a quick spray, a quick wipe with a paper towel to ensure even oil application, and it's done. total time to clean the pan from start to finish is about 5 mintues.

as i'm sure you noticed, when you first bought the pan it was silver and very rough on the inside. this is tpyical of all cast iron pans. you need to season it in the method suggested by others in this thread. the best way to keep it seasoned is to use it, especially for things like bacon or fried chicken. then clean as above.

there are new pans on the market that are "preseasoned." just run a google search for "Lodge Logic" and you'll see that almost every cast iron pan now comes preseasoned. i like these, but you must realize that even though they're preseasoned, they're not yet at that stage where they're practically nonstick like a well-worn cast iron pan would be. these preseasond pans are very rough on the inside, and as you can imagine, things will stick to them at first, just as they would with an unseasoned pan. however, from frequent use, these rough pans will become smooth and virtually nonstick from the carbon buildup that accumulates with use. i recently purchased a reversible griddle/grill combo that spans two burners, which was preseasoned. i highly recommend this, as it would be very laborious indeed to season this item if it were purchased in the raw, since it's so large.

i love my cast iron pans, and you will too.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2005 at 11:28AM
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I used to use a few cast iron pans and did what cpovey suggests. I couldn't make myself not use hot water and soap. But his directions worked for me.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2005 at 12:55PM
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I wash my cast iron pans with dishwashing soap and then dry them immediately. You can not soak the pans in water or leave them sitting out to drip dry.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2005 at 8:17PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

And get some stainless steel pans. While I appreciate cast iron, most of the time all I want to do is throw the pan in the dishwasher.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2005 at 8:25PM
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I too wash my cast iron pans with soap and water. I would never just wipe them. YUK!!! I too agree, get yourself a good thick-bottomed stainless steel pan. I would never cook eggs in cast iron. Cast iron is great for searing, but for a more gentle cooking, I go for stainless. I think you're crazy not to use a non-stick surface. If you do not use metal utensils with teflon and buy a good quality pan, it should last for a few years. You can pick up a great little omelet size pan for $20. The testing has shown that if you use a medium or lower setting on non-stick, there are no fumes released. You really shouldn't be cooking on a higher setting with this type of pan anyway. That's what stainless and cast iron are for. Good luck and good cooking.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2005 at 8:12PM
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I,too, LOVE my cast iron pans - all 6 of them! I did have the Lodge pans but found them to be too heavy so over the years I've collected the old Griswold and Wagner pans. They are much lighter and I find easier to keep seasoned. I wash mine with soap too.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2005 at 10:43PM
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I was always taught soap was a no-no. Once properly seasoned, they clean completely under hot water. No grease remains behind to go rancid. They are virtually non-stick at this point.

We cook eggs in stainless. Heat the pan first, then a minimal amount of butter (half a teaspoon or less), let that heat up, then add the egg, and nothing sticks, period. I like being able to put the SS in the DW. The cast-iron, of course, does not go in the DW, but we use it only for baking cornbread, frying chicken, and makin' bacon.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2005 at 1:58PM
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No soap on cast iron or carbon steel here either. Carbon steel is another nice surface to cook on. It's similar to cast iron except that it heats fast and doesn't retain the heat when it's taken off the burner. It's very inexpensive in restaurant supply houses. We have a carbon steel wok, frying pan, omelet pan and crepe pan.

Spewey, are those eggs up, or maybe over easy? I can get away with either on stainless, but for scrambled or over with broken yokes I have to use a well seasoned carbon steel pan.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2005 at 3:55PM
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I cook my eggs over medium. If I preheat the pan, then the butter, the eggs don't stick. I cook over fairly low heat though.

And I always use an egg ring. I am always furious that the only eggs we get here are ovoid, not round, and only with an egg ring can I get a round egg to fit on my crumpet. I break the egg into the ring, let it set, remove the ring and then flip. The egg white sections are also thicker, too.

Please note you must use a skillet with the egg ring.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2005 at 5:25PM
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Any methods for removing rust on a Cast Iron dutch oven? I would be sooooooooooo happy to bring mine back...

    Bookmark   September 16, 2005 at 5:46PM
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Muddy_Water see link for Lodge instructions. At very bottom they state if you see rust simply scour off and start seasoning process over, its hard to ruin cast iron :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Cast Iron Care Instructions

    Bookmark   September 19, 2005 at 9:24AM
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