Cast iron skillet

When I first bought a cast iron skillet, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be successful in taking care of it. Everything I read said that it was a very delicate piece of cookware that needed to be handled in a specific way or it would stop working. However, once I bought and started using my 12” cast iron, I learned the do’s and don’t’s that are actually important.


If your cast iron is hot, well seasoned, and well oiled, you will typically have a good cooking experience. However, it does depend on what you cook. Things that shouldn’t stick would be eggs, pancakes, or foods that wouldn’t stick on a regular non-stick skillet. Once you start cooking stickier foods or foods with more liquid in them, the cast iron should be easy to clean afterwards, even if there is some stuck on residue. Acidic foods like tomatoes and wine are best to be avoided and cooked in another pot or cooked infrequently.


Seasoning is one of those things that the purists will harp on but it’s really only clear through trial and error. I’ve found that the upfront work of putting oil on it and putting it in the oven has been helpful and necessary, but years of use is really the best way to get a good non-stick coating. If it stops being nonstick, another round in the oven should improve the condition.

Keeping it clean

Many cast iron purists will insist that soap will ruin your cast iron, but I haven’t found that to be true. I don’t use soap on it after every use, but I haven’t noticed a difference when I do. For foods that come right off, there is no reason to clean it in between uses. Simply wipe off any crumbs left over and leave it for next time. For the tougher stuff, like burned on pieces, I like to get the skillet nice and hot. Then, I will pour ~1/4 cup of water on it, which usually does a good job of lifting whatever is on there. Next, I take it to the sink and scrub it with hot water until the debris is fully gone and the skillet looks clean. Finally, I will put it back on the stove over heat to evaporate any leftover water, cover in a light layer of oil, then leave it there for the next use.

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