How to Maintain Black Iron Skillets


Black iron skillets are ideal for frying up delicious meals. Although at first glance an iron skillet seems to have a smooth surface, it actually contains pores that can lock in food particles. This can cause foods to stick to the pan and make for a difficult cleanup. Seasoning a black iron skillet and cleaning it properly are the basic steps in maintaining the skillet. By properly maintaining a black iron skillet, you will produce delicious food for years to come.

Things You'll Need

  • Cooking oil or shortening
  • Paper towels
  • Cookie sheet or roasting pan
  • Rubber spatula
  • Coarse salt
  • Rag or soft sponge


  • Turn your oven to 350 degrees. Place the oven rack in one of the top three positions in the oven.

  • Coat the skillet lightly with cooking oil or shortening. Put the oil or shortening on a paper towel and rub it all over the bottom and sides of the inside of the pan.

  • Open up some windows or turn on an exhaust fan. Once the skillet starts baking in the oven, it will likely produce smoke.

  • Place a high-rimmed cooking sheet or roasting pan on the bottom of the oven. This will serve as a catcher for any oil drippings.

  • Turn the iron skillet upside down and place it on the top oven rack. Bake the skillet for one hour in a 350 degree oven.

  • Turn the oven off after one hour and let the black iron skillet cool completely inside of the oven. Once it is cool and you take it out of the oven, the cooking surface should be smooth.

  • Re-season your black iron skillet as needed. This will depend on how often you use it, but you will know it's time to re-season the skillet when foods start sticking to the cooking surface.

Cleaning and Maintenance

  • Rinse the black iron skillet under hot water as soon as you are done cooking. Use a rubber spatula to scrape off any food that the water did not remove.

  • Sprinkle some coarse salt in the skillet and use a damp rag or sponge to wipe away any excess food. Soak the skillet in hot water with no soap if the food is really caked on and hard to remove.

  • Place the skillet upside down in an oven set at 150 degrees until it is completely dry. Be sure the skillet is completely dry before storing it so that it does not rust.

  • Store your black iron skillet in a cool, dry place. Do not place any other pans inside of the skillet.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never use dish soap on a black iron skillet. This can interfere with the seasoning.

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