After looking them up for a long time, I finally decided to take the plunge and buy a cast iron skillet. After it arrived, I cleaned it in hot soapy water and scoured it, to remove the wax coating, as per the instructions. I wiped it dry, then popped it in the oven quickly to fully dry it. After this, I took sunflower oil, and coated the entire skillet. I then let it sit in the oven for an hour, at 200ºC. When I took it out, the coating was uneven (I now know I put too much oil), and was reddish-brown!

I think I managed to get it rusty within the first day of owning it (pictures below)!

How do I resolve this, and ensure it does not happen again? Looks disastrous to me

  • 5
    It's probably not rust but burnt oil; and 200 deg. C reported by your oven's thermometer might be too low.
    – mustaccio
    Nov 9, 2017 at 23:27
  • Is it possible you used unrefined sunflower oil that has a smoke point of 160c or that your oven is not properly calibrated and it got above 232c
    – mroll
    Nov 9, 2017 at 23:43
  • 1
    It's possible that the oven was badly calibrated- I have not tried cooking anything in it yet. I don't think the oil would be unrefined, it's standard off the shelf supermarket olive oil. So is my best option to add an extra coat of seasoning all around, and bake at a lower temperature? Do I need to remove the burnt oil?
    – David
    Nov 10, 2017 at 8:29

4 Answers 4


That looks a lot more like cooked oil than rust on the inside. Either way, probably not rust, and definitely not enough rust to cause concern. Scrub it off.

When I season my cast iron, I just do it on the stove. I heat the pan until it's smoking, and carefully add a little oil and swirl it around. Let it cool, wipe it out. Then, use it. When you do use it, clean it gently. Avoid using soap, just use water and a spatula or something. It's a good idea to heat it on the stove top to dry it well after cleaning. Over time you get a good thing going.

But either way, rust with cast iron is no cause for concern. Even if it was completely covered in rust, you can brush it out and re-season.


Nice pan! Remember that these things can easily last over 100 years, so they're really hard to ruin. It doesn't look like you've rusted your pan; it does look like you had too much oil in it, and it partially polymerized.

Polymerization is what makes seasoning durable, so you're on the right track, but the trick is to get it to form thin, even layers. On the next go around (after scouring it down to bare iron again), heat the pan to 150-200 Fahrenheit. Then rub oil over the entire pan, and with a fresh cloth or paper towel, wipe all the oil off. I wipe mine twice to make sure it's all gone. There will actually be a very thin layer remaining, and this won't form any undesirable drips. Put it in the over upside-down, and bake for an hour at 450-500 Fahrenheit.

If you really want to ultimate in cast iron seasoning, use flaxseed oil. Cooks Illustrated tested it, and it survived a run through the dishwasher! They give their complete directions here.


Temp is too low and the oil you used has too low of a smoke point for seasoning, that is soft half dried gummy oil. Scrub off all oil with steel scrubber, if you need to strip it, use a lye bath or oven cleaner then scrub with soap and water and let dry in a warm oven. To re season: Instead, use either pure lard like a block of crisco or a very high smoke veg oil like sunflower or safflower oil (I prefer lard for the result) Rub lard over whole pan and set upside down in oven, then heat the pan just to 200 to open pores, dry, and melt oil best. Take out and rub off all excess oil with paper towel to prevent blobs and runs and put back in the oven face down. Turn the temp up to AT LEAST 400, preferably 450-470 leave for AT LEAST an hour, let cool. Repeat several times.


Here is a el-cheap-o Cast Iron 10" pan I got at the PX, way back when I was active duty. I recently polished inside the pan with power tools, until I got a mirror finish, ( bare cast iron) . I then seasoned it 5 times using "Flax Seed Oil" in the Oven @ 430 degrees for 1 hour for each seasoning. That shiny coat you is isn't oil, but a finish that rivals that of teflon ! This pan is "Bullet Proof" ! Mine has the pinta of old world copper !

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