Technique: How to Season a Cast Iron Skillet

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How to Season a Cast Iron Skillet:

1.  Turn on oven and begin preheating to 350˚.

3.  Add 1 tbsp ghee, lard or tallow to the cast iron pan.

4.  Place pan in the preheating oven for 5 minutes; allowing the fat to melt fully.

5.  Using a potholder, remove pan with melted fat from the oven and tilt to allow fat to fully coat the bottom of the pan and up the sides.  A pastry brush may also be used.

6.  Return the pan to the oven for 1 hour.

7.  After one hour, remove pan from the oven and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

8.  After 10 minutes, use a folded paper-towel to remove the excess fat, allowing a light coating to remain.

9.  Repeat often!


  • Danielle

    Molly – What are your thoughts and methods for “cleaning” your cast iron? I usually take a minimalist approach, but am inclined to do something more when I cook fish in it. Do you just hand wash and then re-season?

    May 2, 2011
    • Molly Chester

      Hi Danielle, I have an upcoming blog that is going to explain the techniques I use. Stay tuned! Molly

      May 3, 2011
  • Have you read much about the high temperature, flax seed oil method for cast iron seasoning? I found the chemistry fascinating, and it was tested by the lovely folks at Cooks Illustrated, recently, who had fabulous results. Here’s the details:

    I haven’t tried to re-do my cast iron, yet, but I look forward to trying this method when I do.

    May 5, 2011
    • Molly Chester

      Wow… very interesting. I have never tried, but I would be wary of flaxseed oil b/c of the rancidity. I notice she is not worried about it, but I might choose otherwise for myself. However, it looks like it creates a great coating!! Something to mull over for sure…

      May 8, 2011
  • Judy L

    Thank you for the information. I have my Mother’s old dutch oven and it is in desperate need of a good seasoning. I never have lard in the house, would olive oil work? It’s over 40 years old and should be just about broke in by now and would love to get it back in shape.

    August 28, 2012
  • Kirsten

    How do I clean it PRIOR to your steps. Mine have become impossible to keep clean. Everything sticks to them. I usually just scrape them clean with a brillo pad and water and dry immediately.

    January 19, 2013
    • Maria

      It sounds like you’re stripping your pans bare and removing any seasoning every time you clean it with brillo! Normally, they recommend you only clean it with a salt rub: add some salt in the slightly wet pan, the rub clean with paper towel; rinse with water, pat dry, then heat over stove burner a few seconds to make sure its completely dry. You can also clean it with baking soda instead of salt; works wonders even with rust! You’re suppossed to avoid soap or automatic dishwasher. After you clean it, proceed to season (ASAP, before rust tries to set in!) by adding some saturated fat (ghee, lard, coconut oil, shortening) with a paper towel (so that’s evenly coated but not dripping) and heating in oven over low heat for 1 hour. Wipe off any excess; store in oven. Use the appropriate temperature when cooking (no need for ultra high as cast iron retains heat very well); generally medium to medium high at most. Good luck!

      February 25, 2013
    • Molly Chester

      If it is really bad, you could scrub with a brillo, then immediately season. But, I would season after each use until you build up your coating, and avoid things like eggs, which stick a lot, until you’ve got your seasoning going strong.

      July 4, 2013
  • Jan

    I have just purchased my first cast iron pan and have discovered your website for seasoning it.
    Could you tell me how often this should be done if I use the pan every day.

    July 31, 2014
    • Molly Chester

      Once you get it well-seasoned, you will never have to do it! Unless someone accidentally washes it, or you cook something like scrambled eggs that get really stuck. I virtually never have to season my pan, and it stays non-stick.

      December 11, 2014
  • Kathleen

    Can I use coconut oil, organic butter, or bacon drippings to season instead of lard? (I always have those around as opposed to keeping lard).

    October 7, 2014
    • Molly Chester

      Bacon drippings and coconut oil would be great.

      December 11, 2014
  • harry orchard

    Will beef dripping alright for seasoning cast iron

    November 8, 2014
    • Molly Chester


      December 11, 2014

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