Caring For A Cast Iron Skillet: Tips And Tricks For Longevity

How to Season a Cast Iron Skillet On Moxie and Motherhood
How to Season a Cast Iron Skillet On Moxie and Motherhood from


A cast iron skillet is a versatile and durable kitchen tool that can last for generations if properly cared for. Whether you inherited a cherished family heirloom or recently purchased your first skillet, it’s important to know how to maintain and care for it. In this article, we will provide you with tips and tricks to ensure your cast iron skillet remains in excellent condition for years to come.

Seasoning Your Skillet

One of the most important steps in caring for a cast iron skillet is seasoning. Seasoning creates a natural non-stick surface and protects the skillet from rust. To season your skillet, start by washing it with warm water and mild soap. Dry it thoroughly, then apply a thin layer of vegetable oil or flaxseed oil to the entire surface, including the handle. Place the skillet upside down in a preheated oven at 375°F (190°C) for an hour. This process will polymerize the oil, forming a protective coating.

Proper Cleaning Techniques

When it comes to cleaning your cast iron skillet, avoid using soap or harsh detergents, as they can strip away the seasoning. Instead, gently scrub the skillet with a stiff brush or sponge and hot water. For stubborn food particles, you can use a paste of kosher salt and water as a natural abrasive. Once cleaned, dry the skillet thoroughly to prevent any moisture from causing rust.

Removing Rust

If your cast iron skillet develops rust, don’t panic. It can be easily removed. Start by scrubbing the affected area with steel wool or a stiff brush. Rinse the skillet thoroughly and dry it completely. Next, apply a thin layer of vegetable oil or flaxseed oil to the rusty spot and heat the skillet on the stovetop on low heat for about 10 minutes. This will help re-season the area and prevent further rusting.

Storing Your Skillet

When it comes to storing your cast iron skillet, avoid stacking it with other heavy cookware, as this can cause damage. Instead, place a paper towel or cloth between each skillet to prevent scratches. It’s also important to store your skillet in a dry place to prevent moisture from causing rust. If you have limited storage space, consider hanging your skillet on a wall or using a dedicated cast iron skillet rack.

Avoiding Common Mistakes

There are a few common mistakes to avoid when caring for your cast iron skillet. Firstly, never soak it in water for an extended period or put it in the dishwasher. This can cause rust or damage the seasoning. Additionally, avoid using metal utensils, as they can scratch the surface. Instead, opt for wooden or silicone utensils that won’t damage the skillet.

Reviving an Old Skillet

If you come across an old cast iron skillet that has lost its seasoning or developed rust, don’t despair. With some time and effort, you can revive it. Start by scrubbing off any rust or old seasoning using steel wool or a stiff brush. Then, follow the seasoning process mentioned earlier to create a new non-stick surface. With a little patience, your old skillet can be as good as new.

Using Your Skillet

To maintain the seasoning of your cast iron skillet, it’s important to use it regularly. The more you cook with it, the better the seasoning becomes. Whether you’re frying, sautéing, baking, or searing, your cast iron skillet can handle it all. Just remember to use oven mitts or pot holders when handling the skillet, as the handle can become extremely hot during cooking.

Additional Tips

Here are a few additional tips to keep in mind when caring for your cast iron skillet:

  • Never pour cold water into a hot skillet, as it can cause the skillet to crack.
  • Avoid cooking acidic foods, such as tomatoes or citrus, in your skillet for extended periods, as this can strip away the seasoning.
  • If your skillet starts to develop a sticky or gummy residue, simply heat it on the stovetop until the residue turns into ash. Wipe it out, then re-season the skillet.
  • Consider investing in a cast iron skillet lid or a splatter screen to prevent oil splatters and keep your stovetop clean.


Caring for a cast iron skillet is a simple yet essential task that will ensure its longevity and performance in the kitchen. By following the tips and tricks mentioned in this article, you can enjoy the benefits of cooking with a well-maintained cast iron skillet for years to come. Remember to season, clean, and store your skillet properly, and it will reward you with delicious meals and a non-stick surface that only improves with time.