Caring for Cast Iron

Minimalist Kitchen Essentials is one of our most popular posts, however some people have expressed struggles maintaining cast iron.  Since a cast iron skillet is the most-used item in my kitchen over the years I figured I could share some tips on its care and use.

  • Oil the pan liberally before use to make it non-stick; a quick spray of cooking oil is easiest, or you can swirl around a bit of olive oil or butter until it covers the cooking surface.  If the pan dries out while in use, re-oil it. 
  • After you’re done cooking, if you applied enough oil beforehand you usually don’t need to do any scrubbing to clean, just wipe away the excess food bits with a cloth.
  • If there food is stuck to the surface, immediately after cooking (while still warm), hand wash with a small amount of water. If you do need to scrub, I recommend using a scouring pad.  If there is something really stuck then steel wool will work.  Don’t use soap, ever, and don’t soak the pan!
  • Dry the pan completely with a rag, then let it air dry a few minutes to ensure the water is completely gone. Re-oil the pan and you’re ready to cook again, or store it.  Oil the bottom of the pan occasionally too.
  • If you haven’t used your pan in a few months re-oil it again. Do a quick inspection to ensure there isn’t any rust, especially if your pan has ridges on the bottom.
  • The biggest enemy of cast iron is rust. If you see some dry scrub it off with steel wool, then scrub the bare area with an olive-oil soaked paper towel.  Wipe away any remaining rust residue, then heat the pan and re-oil the entire thing again while it’s warm.  To prevent further rusting, store the pan in a dry area with some air flow.

When you take care of cast iron it will last forever.  Additionally the flavor enriches and the pan will become more non-stick over time. 

Did you find this post interesting?  If so, check out our website at  If the subject material of this blog post caught your attention, I recommend reading our post on 11 Tips At the Grocery Store.

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