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I bought a cast iron pan, and did not realize it had been preseasoned (this is my first one!).

I washed with soap and hot water and thoroughly dried it, then coated with thin layer of vegetable oil and baked it (upside down, over foil) at 350 for one hour.

It came out SO sticky, and the reside was thick. When I touch it, the oil rolls into little flakes (although the cast iron is NOT flaking).

So, I scrubbed that out as best I could,did less oil this time, and tried again. It still came out sticky and thick.

I cooked in it, chicken, to try to use it, and it all stuck and burned in the bottom.

Do I need to just season it a few times? I think the seasoning isn't taking. I am so bummed I didn't realize it was pre-seasoned, or else I wouldn't have had all these issues!

HELP PLEASE!

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    You probably have to remove all the existing seasoning as well as the new layer and start again. I think we have another question on this somewhere. – James McLeod Mar 28 at 21:58
  • Do you have a self-cleaning oven? – Jolenealaska Mar 28 at 22:20
  • Sorry, James, I am new here! Didn't mean to re-post an old issue. I did scrub pretty hard to get all the stick off- I will keep trying, and see if LESS oil fixes the issue. And I believe I do have a self-cleaning oven! – Emily Mar 28 at 23:03
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    Possible duplicate of Black flakes from new cast iron pan – Debbie M. Mar 30 at 21:36
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It sounds to me like you put too much oil on when you tried to season it, and that's why it was thick and sticky. You will probably have to start all over, but the pan is not ruined forever! It's best to wipe the thinnest layer of oil you can on it, essentially putting some oil on and then wiping as much off with a paper towel as you can, and then putting it in the oven like you did and baking it at as high of a temperature as you can. There should be no fear of drips. Bake it for an hour or two, then let it cool inside the oven back to room temperature, and then wipe it with oil and do it all over again, as many as 6 or 7 times to build up a good seasoning. It's a long process, but it's worth it. Good luck!

  • Wow! ok - I will strip it and try again, several times, with very thin oil! Thanks for the head's up! – Emily Mar 28 at 23:04
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I agree that the layer of oil you initially used might have been too thick, but since you had it resting upside down in the oven, I think it's possible you just didn't bake it long enough, or hot enough. At high heats, the oils polymerize and create a hard, dry, plasticy surface, kind of like when oil paints dry at room temperature. Your gummy texture indicates to me that the polymerization process wasn't completed. More time or heat might be all you really needed there.

One thing you could try doing differently is starting on the stovetop. My mom is particularly careless and abuses her cast iron pans horribly. (She cooks tomato sauce in them, and likes to boil water in them for a few minutes to clean them quickly, and she won't be argued with.) She accidentally discovered that if she set her pan to heat with a little oil, and then became distracted and left the pan alone to just... be hot... on the stovetop with said oil, after a couple of hours, it's amazingly seasoned! And by then the kitchen has probably cleared of smoke! It's a win-win!

Obviously I don't actually recommend THAT, but I do actually like heating my pan on the stovetop, wiping down the inside with oil once it's hot, then letting it start to smoke before transferring to a 400F preheated oven, and then bake it for an hour or so, and let it stay there until cool.

...I won't lie though, the "I forgot!" method my mom tends to employ does work really, really well though.

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