How to Season a Cast-Iron Pan

I’d be hard pressed to pick a favourite item from my ever-growing collection of kitchen gadgetry. But, my cast-iron grill pan is absolutely indispensable. A steak isn’t the same unless it’s cooked on a proper grill pan.  My beloved pan has recently been growing a healthy layer of rust while I wasn’t looking. I bought some delicious looking rib-eye steaks today which I plan on cooking tomorrow, so it’s time for action.

Unsurprisingly, there’s a lot of information on the web concerning pan seasoning; a lot of it conflicting, a lot of it surplus to requirements.  Here then, is my simple guide to seasoning your cast-iron pan. You’ll need some vegetable oil and plenty of kitchen paper. I’d also recommend using some disposable gloves for this, it’s a messy job.

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 140°C/280°F.
  2. Remove any rust or encrusted food particles by scrubbing well with a “Brillo” pad or some steel wool and detergent.
  3. Coat the pan liberally with oil using a cloth or some kitchen roll. You need to be generous with the oil and rub it in with your kitchen roll. When the pan is fully coated, use some more kitchen roll to remove an excess oil.
  4. Leave the pan in the oven for 1 hour. The idea here is to bake the oil into the pores of the cast-iron, thereby preventing corrosion.
  5. Let the pan cool fully and remove any excess oil with some kitchen roll.

How do I prevent my pan from rusting again?

Unless you’re extremely careful, every cast-iron pan will need to be re-seasoned occasionally.

To maintain the pan, never ever use washing-up liquid to clean it. In future, when you’ve finished cooking and the pan is still hot, add some water and allow it to sizzle. Use a spatula to loosen any bits of food clinging to the pan. Transfer the pan to the sink and clean lightly with hot water. Just never use detergent as it removes the film of oil, which allows it to rust.

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1 Response to “How to Season a Cast-Iron Pan”


  1. 1 Will June 11, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Once your pan has been properly seasoned and cooked on a couple of times you shouldn’t have to season it any more. The key is to NEVER use detergent when cleaning, just give it a quick wipe under warm water to clean, and then dry thoroughly.


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