Chatelaine Kitchen

How to break in a cast iron pan

Oil it, bake it, and use regularly. Got rust? Scrub, rinse, repeat.

Cast iron frying pan with a fried egg

Cast iron frying pan. (iStock Photo.)

So, you’ve bought a new cast iron pan, or discovered one second-hand that’s in good condition (lucky!). Either way, it’s a good idea to season it (or re-season, as the case may be), so it’s ready to use. Here’s what you need to know, broken down in 5 simple steps.

1. Bake empty.
A brand new pan needs to be seasoned. Wipe all over (including the handle and bottom) using a very small amount of vegetable oil and a paper towel. Bake the empty pan at 350F for an hour.

2. Make bacon.
Use the pan regularly to allow its coating to build and strengthen — frying bacon is particularly good for cast iron.

3. No soap.
For the first year, wash well with very hot water and a scrubbing brush (no soap). Each time, dry well, then wipe the inside with oil and paper towel again and heat on the stove for three minutes.

4. Yes soap.
Once the pan has developed a black, shiny, smooth surface, you can wash it with soap and water.

5. Got rust?
Use stiff steel wool to scrub it away, then start again from the beginning.

Now that you know how to care for your pan, here are 10 things you can make with it:

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