Introduction: How to Season Cast Iron Cookware on Stove Top
A seasoned cast iron cookware can be of immense help in a kitchen. It is highly versatile and can be used to fry, seer, bake, roast and so on.
Once you get used to it, its maintenance routine is very easy. That being said, it is not maintenance free like stainless steel or non-stick cookware, at least in the initial few years.
So, in this instructable, we show you how to season a cast iron cookware.
The pan I have used here was neglected for a long. So, it has developed a bit of rust and mould. Even so, the procedure that needs to be followed for seasoning remains the same.
I have read in many articles that cast iron cookware shouldn't be cleaned with dish wash liquid. However, I beg to differ. Having used cast iron cookware for over half a decade, I always scrub and wash them well using dish wash liquid. But after that, I dry it and apply a coat of oil. This is mainly because I use a pan just for frying fish. You can imagine the stench if I clean with potato, salt and just wipe it with a kitchen towel.
An important point to note while cooking with cast iron cookware is that though it heats up very gradually, it retains the temperature for long. So, if you keep the food for long on the pan, it could get overcooked or at the worst get burnt. Also, a cast iron cookware is prone to developing hot spots. So, if it is a pan, do a flour test and identify the hot spot so that you can adjust accordingly while cooking.
What is a flour test?
As mentioned, the flour test is the method of identifying hot spots in a pan. For this, cover the cooking surface of the pan with a thin uniform layer of flour. I usually pour the flour through a fine strainer so that the flour is evenly distributed. Then, heat the pan. If the flour gets uniformly browned, Congrats! there are no hot spots on your pan. But if some of the flour is more brown or charred, while the rest is not, then, there is a hot spot at that area.
So, now let us get to the step by step instructions for seasoning your cast iron cookware.
For an in-depth reading, check out our article on How To Season Cast Iron Cookware
- Cast iron cookware
- Vegetable oil ( Canola oil is considered best. Sesame oil is also good)
- Oil basting tool. Alternatively use a tiny cotton cloth which you can dip into the oil and apply on the pan.
- Pot cleaning brush
- Dish wash liquid
- A stovetop
- Kitchen towel
Step 1: Scrub and Clean
Scrour the cast iron cookware using a dish wash liquid and steel wool or an abrasive scrubber. Ensure that you are thorough and cover each and every nook and corner of the pan. Wash thoroughly in running water.
Step 2: Dry the Pan
After washing, dry the pan on a low flame on a stove top.
Step 3: Apply Oil
Next, apply a layer of oil uniformly on all sides of the pan. You can apply a bit in excess because the pores of the pan will absorb the oil. Ideally, leave it with oil for about 10-15 minutes. After that, wipe off the excess oil with a kitchen towel.
Step 4: Heat the Pan on Stove Top or Oven
On a low flame, heat the pan for 15-20 minutes. If you find the oil has been completely absorbed by the pan, then, apply another layer of oil and heat the pan.
Step 5: Maintenance
After each time you use the pan, wash it, dry the pan and apply a thin coat of oil and keep it away in the drawer. This will maintain the seasoning and prevent the pan from rusting.
It is best to season the pan every month so that it eventually develops a thick layer of seasoning. I actually have a 20-year-old cast-iron Kadai which was passed on by my MIL. I don't season it or apply oil after use and it never rusts because, over time, it has developed an impenetrable layer of seasoning, making it a maintenance-free cookware.