Take the 2-minute tour ×
Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I recently got a Lodge cast iron pan. I've never worked with cast iron before, and I've read that it needs seasoning before use. However, the Lodge one says it's already seasoned and ready for use. Does that mean I can skip the seasoning part?

Which brings me to my main question. Most seasoning methods require the use of an oven, which unfortunately is not an option right now for me. So how can I season this without using an oven?

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2

Lodge claims their pans are pre-seasoned. It's a great company, but don't believe that pre-seasoned malarcky. Yes, they do treat the surface with oil, but not nearly enough. No worries though, you really only need a good seasoning layer on the bottom, cooking surface.

Scour the cooking surface of the pan thoroughly, then add a film of oil to the bottom of the pan and heat it on a burner. Move it around frequently to minimize hot spots. Let it get to smoking, allow to cool enough to touch, wipe it out, and then a add a bit more oil and smear it with a paper towel. Repeat 3 or 4 more times. Ignore the walls and handle of the pan for now, just thoroughly re-season the whole thing when you have access to an oven.

Opinions vary as to the best oil to use. My personal favorite is lard, flax seed is often highly recommended.

Read this question and answers for more info: What's the best way to season a cast iron skillet?

Congrats on your new pan. Cast iron is lovely, I have a set of skillets that belonged to my grandmother, my mother and now me. Cast iron takes some "getting to know" but once you know your pan you'll love it. BTW, except for the first time scouring, ideally your pan should never see soap or detergent. There is a lot of good info here about cast iron, just use the search engine to learn more.

EDIT: One more thing. All new cast iron pans are treated in some way before they are sold to prevent rust. In the case of Lodge, that treatment is a light seasoning with food grade oil. There is nothing that needs to be removed before first use. In fact the seasoning step I recommend here in not technically necessary, it just gets you to that black, old, almost-as-slick-as-teflon surface faster than repeated use alone. I only recommend scouring the cooking surface before you season the first time to give the factory surface a tiny bit of "roughening up", giving your first seasoning layer a bit of something to grip on to. So don't scour the whole pan, just the cooking surface. By the time you have access to an oven, the factory surface on the rest of the pan will already have developed some patina just from use, so you don't need to scour to season the rest of the pan, just oil the whole pan.

Some cast iron pans from other companies are not preseasoned, they're coated with wax or some other thing you don't want in your food See: Do all new cast iron pans and skillets have a protective coating on them, which must be removed? Those pans have to be scoured all over before first use. Ideally, then they would be seasoned in an oven before first use. If you had a pan like that, but no access to an oven, my advice to you would be the same accept that you would need to scour the whole pan, season the cooking surface and lightly oil the whole pan every time you heat it for the first several times, periodically thereafter.

share|improve this answer
    
Thanks! Do I also coat underneath the pan? Or just inside it? –  lakers4sho Aug 6 at 2:19
    
Sure, you probably should, but very lightly. You can also very, very lightly coat the whole pan for the first heating, by the time you've heated the pan on the burner 3 or 4 times, the very light coating of the whole pan will probably be of some small benefit. –  Jolenealaska Aug 6 at 2:22

First, let me echo Jolenealaska's comment that cast iron is lovely. I know my answer will probably upset some but please bear in mind that it is based on many, many years of experience, not on anything I have seen or read.

I have two sets of cast iron skillets / pots that belonged to my mother. One set is 80+ years old and the other is 50+ years old. I grew up watching her cook, using these pans every day. I learned to cook using them.

A truly seasoned cast iron pan has nothing to do with oil. While oil will prevent rust, if the pans are dried thoroughly and kept dry when not in use, they will not rust. True "seasoning" comes from use over time. The pans I have are as smooth as you could possibly imagine. This comes with regular use and thorough cleaning. I have actually heard celebrities on tv say that "seasoning (with oil) only works on old pans". There's a reason for this!

If you look at and feel the surface of any new cast iron pan, you will notice that it has a rough texture, pre-seasoned or not. In the true sense of a seasoned pan, a claim that a pan is pre-seasoned is really not relevant.

I always recommend that anyone looking to buy cast iron look for used rather than new. Any wear on the pan will get you to the point you want to be at quicker. Also it's much cheaper and it doesn't really matter if the pan has a grease build up or rust. That can be cleaned off.

I use my cast iron daily. With a well seasoned pan you can cook or bake most anything. I use mine for searing meat, braising meat, roasting, frying chicken, soups, stews, baking (cakes, cobblers, cornbread), sautéing, and anything else you can think of.

After use, I wash with dish detergent, scouring with steel wool or cleanser if needed. E.g. after searing meat. (I know scouring sounds harsh, but that too will help to smooth a rough surface or keep a smooth surface pristine.) I always rinse thoroughly with hot water and thoroughly dry before storing.

One other thing I wanted to point out about using oil on cast iron. If the pan is not used very regularly and allowed to sit (even for a week) the oil can become gummy or gunky and can also become rancid. In the case of either, the pan will need to have all of the oil removed.

share|improve this answer
    
I agree completely that nothing seasons a cast iron pan as well as use. The repeated cooking on of oil just gets a new pan to that stage faster. But steel wool and detergent?? Don't get anywhere near my heirloom pans with that stuff! As far as rancidity, I've never had a problem with it, but I always thoroughly wipe down the pan with a paper towel before putting it away. –  Jolenealaska Aug 6 at 11:28
    
@Jolenealaska I know that everyone will not agree with my answer, especially long time fans of using oil and i respect that. However, it needs to be said that build up of oil is just that -- a build up of oil. Also, re scouring, that doesn't happen often but is an option if needed. It will not hurt the pan. Remember - cast iron is probably the most resilient and durable cookware there is. –  Cindy Askew Aug 6 at 11:59
    
I disagree with some of your points (and you disagree with some of mine). That's OK. Your response is well thought out and based on experience. I have no doubt that your pans are in as good of shape and are as non-stick as mine. –  Jolenealaska Aug 6 at 12:07
    
@Jolenealaska Thank you for your most kind response. It's very nice that we can agree to disagree. My goal was to share a different way and give others an alternative. Either way you do it I think the key is time and patience. –  Cindy Askew Aug 6 at 12:25

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.