How to Coat a Cast-Iron Skillet


Cast-iron skillets are a durable staple in the kitchen, but they require a little extra care. They cannot be washed in the dishwasher, and you cannot use regular dish soap when you're washing them by hand. Cast-iron skillets also need a coating, called seasoning, to keep your food from sticking to the surface and prevent rusting. Some skillets come pre-seasoned from the factory; if not, or you need to re-season a skillet, adding a protective layer of grease seals the interior surface of the pan.

Things You'll Need

  • Dish soap
  • Stiff brush
  • Vegetable shortening
  • Paper towel
  • Scrub your skillet thoroughly with dish soap and a stiff brush. Generally you do not clean cast iron with soap because it removes the protective coating, but since you are going to season it, you want to start with a clean surface. Also, cast iron will often come from the factory with a waxy coating that must be removed prior to use because it is not safe to eat.

  • Melt the vegetable shortening and apply a thin layer on the bottom and sides of the skillet with a paper towel.

  • Bake the skillet in your oven at 350 degrees for about one hour.

  • Remove the skillet from the oven and let it cool off on your kitchen counter.

  • Repeat steps 1 through 4 if desired -- an additional layer will help maintain the coating for a longer period of time.

Tips & Warnings

  • Clean your cast-iron skillet after each use by immediately rinsing it with hot water and wiping it clean.
  • Cooking greasy food, such as bacon, will provide even more seasoning.
  • Avoid using soap and abrasive cleaners during everyday cleaning.
  • Use pot holders or other hand protection when removing your skillet from the oven as it will be extremely hot.


  • Photo Credit Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
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