Congratulations on your new cast iron cookware! Maintaining it can sound intimidating, but we've created this guide to help you build and keep the perfect layer of seasoning!
Let's start by busting some myths of cast iron cookware– These tips come straight from the Lodge website, so we promise you can trust them!
"You can't use soap on cast iron!!"
Well, yes and no. You can't use lye soap on cast iron. Modern dish soaps don't contain lye and are perfectly safe to use on your cast iron cookware. In fact, Lodge encourages customers to use mild dish soap to clean cast iron. The seasoning on Lodge cast iron is fairly resilient and can withstand a little bit of soap, water, and a good scrub with a brush.
"Rusted Cast Iron Can't Be Saved."
While rust can happen, it can be easily removed; simply scrub the area with steel wool until the rust is removed, then reseason your cast iron pan using your preferred oil. To prevent rust from returning, dry promptly after each use, and finish with a light layer of cooking oil.
"You Can't Use Cast Iron On Glass Top Stoves."
Now this one is trickier, because you can use it on glass tops, but that doesn't always mean that you should. If you plan to use your cast iron cookware on your stove top you'll want to be very gentle when placing or moving the pan. Cast iron can easily scratch or crack a glass top if you're not cautious while using it. That being said, it is perfectly fine to use cast iron on a glass top or even induction cook top!
Now that we've established the do's and don'ts of cast iron, let's talk about seasoning– what is it, why do we do it, and, most importantly, how do we do it?
Seasoning is just oil baked onto cast iron through a process called polymerization. It gives your cookware that classic black patina. Seasoning forms a natural, easy-release cooking surface and helps prevent your pan from rusting. It may take a little extra care, but a well-seasoned cast iron pan will last for generations. Your Lodge cookware will come pre-seasoned and ready to use.
There are two ways to maintain the seasoning on your cast iron skillet. The easiest way is to cook with it. Every time you cook with oil, you're potentially adding another layer to the seasoning. Some activities may remove a bit of seasoning, such as cooking acidic foods, using excessive heat, or scrubbing with abrasive utensils or scouring pads. That is why we recommend adding a layer of oil to your pan after each cleaning.
Lodge has a wonderful guide that shows you the benefits of each type of oil. We prefer to season our cast iron pans with canola oil because it is one of the most versatile and affordable options. One important note is that olive oil should never be used to season your cast iron. While it is great for cooking, it is not a suitable option for seasoning cookware.