How to Clean an Iron Skillet With Salt

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Cast iron cookware is a wonderful addition to most kitchens. Cast iron heats evenly and retains heat longer than most other types of cookware, making it better for frying, in addition to several other uses. Cast iron cookware must be “seasoned” thoroughly before use to prevent rusting. After proper seasoning, cast iron has a nonstick surface. To maintain the nonstick surface and to keep the cast iron from picking up unwanted flavors from food, proper cleaning is essential. One popular and effective means of cleaning cast iron cookware is to use salt.

Things You'll Need

  • Metal or hard plastic scraper
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • Paper towels
  • Water
  • Oil or shortening

Let the skillet completely cool. Use the scraper to remove any obvious bits of food that remain and then rinse. Leave about 2 tsp. water in the pan, as a little moisture is necessary to clean it.

Pour kosher salt in the cast iron skillet. The amount you use depends on the size of the pan. For a small skillet, use about ¼ cup salt.

Use the paper towels to scrub the inside of the skillet with the salt. Continue to scrub until all the stuck-on bits of food are removed.

Pour out the salt and rinse the skillet. Pour more salt in the pan and scrub again. Repeat this process until the salt is no longer discolored by scrubbing and the skillet is smooth when brushed with your hand.

Rinse your cast iron skillet thoroughly and dry with paper towels. Unless you are going to use the skillet immediately, coat it with a thin layer of oil or shortening to keep it rust free.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be sure the pan is completely cool before you begin cleaning. Cast iron holds heat much longer than other types of cookware and can burn skin if handled while hot.
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