How to Clean Cast Iron Properly?

How to Clean Cast Iron

The best burgers are made in a cast-iron skillet. In reality, a cast iron pot is probably the MVP of the kitchen. There is so much that you can make with cast iron cookware – the possibilities are endless. If you want to make the best bacon that you ever had – cast-iron skillet. Want to make a fantastic cornbread? Cast iron skillet. What about a delicious pork chop? Cast iron skillet! As you can tell, the cast iron skillet is a must-have in the kitchen and if you are moving out on your own, a cast-iron item should be on your registry.

The only problem? Unlike most of your kitchenware, you cannot and absolutely should not put the cast-iron item in a dishwashing machine. This is the sure-fire way to absolutely ruin your cast-iron skillet. But, you still have to clean it because you don’t want gunk building up after each time. Sure, there’s something called “seasoning” the pan, but you still need to clean your skillet or pot. How do to this? Luckily, we’re here to teach you how to clean cast iron.

How to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet

Let’s go through how you should exactly clean your iron skillet. This way you can make the most delicious steaks that you have ever had in your life. Before you get too hungry, let’s go through the steps necessary to ensure that you are cleaning your cast-iron pot/skillet properly.

  • Wash your cast-iron skillet: Instead of putting your cast-iron skillet in a dishwasher (which you already should not do), wash your cast iron cookware by hand. You can use a tiny amount of soap, but not a lot. If you need to get rid of some of that hard to get rid of gunk, you can use a pan scraper to unstuck this food. If this doesn’t work, simmer a little bit of water in the pan for about three to five minutes. Once the pan has cooled, then use the scraper. The water loosens all of that stubborn food particles to make cleaning easier.
  • Dry Your Cast-Iron Skillet: After you have done this, dry the cast iron promptly and thoroughly with a lint-free cloth. Or a paper towel. In case you notice some black residue on your towel, no worries! It’s that seasoning we spoke about before. It’s perfectly normal. In fact, many people believe their food tastes better after using the skillet for a while because it’s build up the seasoning throughout time.
  • Apply Oil to the Pan: After you’ve dried your iron skillet, rub a very light amount of cooking oil or Seasoning spray onto the surface of your cast-iron skillet. Then use a paper towel to wipe the surface so no oil residue remains. This will really help keep your cast-iron skillet non-stick and also create a great seasoning layer for all the meals you’re going to make in the future.

How to Clean Cast Iron Pan Without Soap

You’ve probably heard your grandma tell you that you shouldn’t use soap to clean your cast-iron pan. Even though we’ve just listed a method that uses soap, we’re going to list another method that does not use soap for those who want to. Check out the steps that have been proven by America’s Test Kitchen:

  • Remove any of the loose food that you have just cooked. Make sure you get all of those little particles out before you move on to the next step.
  • Make sure you turn your water on super-hot. Very hot. This is to help reduce the thermal shock to the pan. Then run your warm cast iron pan under the water ad start scrubbing it with a brush – again, no soap. Scrub all of the areas with food stuck on it and scrub all around the pan.
  • After you’ve scrubbed your pan, now comes the drying step. Wipe the pan lightly to dry. Then you are going to want to return the cast iron to the burner that you just cooked your food on. Turn the burner on low until the pan is completely dry. This should only take a few minutes. What this does is keep the droplets of water from building up and creating rust in between uses. Shut off the heat then and let it cool down.

These are two proven ways that work when it comes to cleaning your cast iron pan. Whether you intend to use soap or not use soap, there’s two great ways to clean your cast iron pan so you can have it for many years. Most people keep their cast iron pans and skillets for years, so you want to make sure you take care of it for all of those years to come.

You can also check this useful video on how to properly clean cast iron with coarse kosher salt after cooking:

Cast-iron products are not just pans or skillets – you can also use a cast-iron bacon press, which pair that with a cast-iron skillet – you will never have had better bacon. If you are wondering how to clean your bacon press, just follow the same rules that were listed above. You can buy cast-iron pans in all different sizes – from very big to very small. Make great eggs in smaller pans and more. The point is, there’s a cast-iron pan out there for you – don’t be intimidated by the cleaning process.

Cast Iron Skillets Can Be Kept For Years

We probably all have a grandparent that has had a cast-iron skillet for years. The stories they can tell with that skillet. Maybe one day it will even be passed on to you. Imagine the history of what was made in that pan? Now it’s yours – you don’t want to scuff it up. Make sure you follow either of the steps up above, as they are both great ways to clean your cast-iron cookware. You’ll be able to keep them for years and make delicious food – I know I mentioned quite a bit of meat before, but if you are a vegetarian – you can make a great portobello mushroom burger on this pan! Get creative and really enjoy the art of cooking with a cast-iron skillet.