Before using a new cast iron skillet for the first time, you should season it or coat it with a layer of vegetable or animal shortening in order to provide a non-stick coating on the pan and prevent rust from forming on its surface after and in between uses. Crisco vegetable shortening is effective in creating a coating that will protect your skillet and result in a non-stick cooking surface.
Things You'll Need
- Non-abrasive sponge
- Liquid dish soap
- Warm, running water
- 2 dish towels or cloths
- Pre-heated oven
- Oven mitt
Pre-heat the oven to 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Wet a non-abrasive sponge under warm running water. Add two to three drops of liquid dish soap to the sponge and rub it into the sponge's surface with your fingers to distribute it.
Hold the soap-covered side of the sponge under the running water briefly and clean the cast iron skillet thoroughly with the soapy sponge. Rinse the pan completely under running water until the water runs clear. Dry the skillet with a dish towel.
Place the skillet in the pre-heated oven and leave it for 15 minutes. Remove the skillet with an oven mitt and place it on a heat-resistant surface such as a hot pad.
Dip a clean cloth into a can of Crisco shortening and gather some of the shortening on the cloth. With your fingers underneath the cloth, scoop up approximately 1 tbsp. of shortening.
Coat the inside of the skillet with Crisco. Ensure that you have an even coating of shortening and no thick globs. Place the skillet back in the oven and raise the oven's temperature from 125 degrees to 225 degrees. Leave the skillet in the oven for 30 minutes.
Remove the skillet from the oven with an oven mitt and wipe away any shortening that has pooled. The inside of the skillet should still be wet. Place the skillet back in the oven for 30 minutes.
Remove the skillet with an oven mitt, allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes and then wipe the inside surface of the pan with a dish cloth to remove the excess shortening and bring the pan to a dull shine.
Tips & Warnings
- If your skillet ever shows signs of rust, or the food starts to stick, you will need to re-season it following the same steps.
- Never wash a cast iron skillet in the dishwasher. This can damage the protective coating you have made.
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