I have a forged iron pan, and I used linseed oil to season it in the oven. The resulting seasoning peels in places. Also, it is not really non-stick, once food burns even a little, it is stuck to the seasoning irreversibly. I removed and renewed the seasoning 2-3 times, but it didn't get better.

Is forged iron harder to season than cast iron, or is it just bad seasoning technique? Also, is it easier or harder to season carbon steel when compared to cast iron or forged iron?

  • 1
    Describe your seasoning technique :-) Commented Jun 17, 2012 at 19:38
  • I kept it short on purpose, because I don't think the difference in seasoning the three materials using a proper technique (if this difference exists) shouldn't depend on whatever I did to my pan.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Jun 17, 2012 at 19:49
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    From what I understand of metallurgy, cast iron is far more porous than forged. Those pores are supposed to help with seasoning by absorbing the oils that later get rendered into a polymer. Maybe those pores also help the pan to "grip" the seasoning layer that gets stripped off your forged iron pans more easily.
    – Eric Hu
    Commented Aug 11, 2012 at 2:51
  • "Forged iron" is steel ;any difference between it and steel is caused by surface condition resulting from different mill processing ( forged vs cold rolled and stamped). Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 19:58
  • @blacksmith37 interesting, I always thought that the difference between steel and iron is that you mix other stuff into iron to make steel, and that the difference between cast, and forged iron are the methods used to shape the material? I actually think that the pan from my question has been stamped in a factory, not that somebody hit it with a hammer a lot, but the German name for it is "schmiedeeiserne Pfanne". graewe-shop.de/bratpfanne-mit-hakenstiel
    – rumtscho
    Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 10:17

4 Answers 4


I can't speak authoritatively, but I do have all three types and have had good luck with my seasonings, so I'll share what I do.

For cast iron, I use solid vegetable fat exclusively (Crisco). I did the original seasoning by coating it in fat and baking in the oven. To clean it, I use salt, Crisco and a paper towel to get any food bits off. I then get the pan hot and wipe it down with a little more Crisco. It's not PTFE nonstick, but pretty good.

For my forged iron DeBuyer fry pan, I followed the manufacturer's recommendation for initial seasoning: put enough oil in the pan (I use canola) to coat the bottom. Heat to smoking. I swirled the hot oil around to coat the sides a bit. Let it cool, pour and wipe out the oil.

The thing I've found is it takes quite a bit of use to develop the seasoning. Here's a picture after about a month's use - note how dark the sides are getting (the bottom is less dark because I learned a green scrubby pad (Scotch-Brite) will remove the seasoning entirely. Oops!).


I did some scrambled eggs for the sake of science, without adding any extra oil to the pan. They behaved as nicely as any PTFE coated pan I've ever used.

enter image description here

Today the entire bottom of the pan is that rich mahogany color, and a fried egg slides around in it like one of those goofy AS SEEN ON TV ads.

EDIT: Used the pan for over easy eggs this morning and snapped a new picture. This is about 3 months after the last photo.

enter image description here

Normally I can just wipe it out with a paper towel. If I've been cooking bacon or something that left residue, I'll run water into the pan while it's still ripping hot, then wipe it out gently with a sponge.

After that I heat the pan up and add just a tiny bit of canola oil. I wipe the oil around with a paper towel and put the pan away.

For carbon steel--like my wok--I treat it exactly the same as the DeBuyer pan. Clean gently, after each use get the pan ripping hot and wipe it down with some oil.

  • I found canola oil makes for a sticky coating. I have had better luck using peanut oil for seasoning the pan and to apply after each use. Commented Nov 28, 2012 at 14:22

The first answer works, but I see some hate for linseed oil. Here is my response to that.

There are two types of linseed oil, you want the food grade (unless you like eating food that tastes like great works of art!). Here is an article that explains the science behind seasoning. Nutshell: You want an oil that will polymerize well without burning too much.

There are a lot of source links in there as well, so you can read as much or little as you want. I haven't had a lot of time to try it yet, but I have some free time next week and may give it a try and post my results here.

If that is a bit too involved, crisco works well for cast iron, and my carbon steel wok is just seasoned from years of use, mostly peanut and/or canola oil with some spicy and sesame oil mixed in. I give them a quick scrub with a plastic brush after each use, rinse, wipe down, and store.


It's sticky because you've gone past the minute amount needed to season. The oil molecules not contacting the steel are polymerizing, but sticking to each other. As the aromatics evaporate, you are literally creating linoleum in your pan ( look up the history of linoleum if you don't believe me). The result is similar to what you find on the inside of a deep fryer door that hasn't been cleaned in a few years. Clean it like a flat top grill. Take to a mirror finish, add a few drops (1/4 tsp at most) of the preferred lipid, wipe it DRY, excess unsaturated fats will become sticky with time. P.S. don't use unsaturated vegetable oils to lubricate kitchen equipment- it will stick increasingly over time and very difficult to remove.


My understanding is that you should always use an animal fat to cure iron pans. I don't entirely understand the chemistry behind it, but using veggie oil will lead to a sticky cure that doesn't hold well. Also, make sure you're heating up your pan a smidge before you add the lard/chicken fat/tallow/whatever.

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    I have read on the chemistry of it since I posted the question and have found that indeed a PUFA-oil layer directly at the metal and a saturated fat layer above it works great. (PUFAs are sticky). But still, this doesn't answer my question, as I asked about the difference between pan materials, not between seasoning oil types.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Oct 4, 2012 at 10:59
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    I always use vegetable based oils to season my cast iron and have had no problems.
    – lemontwist
    Commented Oct 5, 2012 at 16:33
  • 1
    I have had good luck using peanut oil - will make a nice non-stick finish. Canola oil seems to make the pan sticky. Commented Nov 7, 2012 at 14:55

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