Cast Iron Seasoning
Discover what it is, why it's important, and how to maintain a well-seasoned cast iron pan for decades of cooking.
Cast iron seasoning is a layer of carbonized oil.
Seasoning is just oil baked onto cast iron through a process called polymerization. It gives your cookware that classic black patina. Seasoning forms a natural, easy-release cooking surface and helps prevent your pan from rusting. It may take a little extra care, but a well-seasoned cast iron pan will last for generations.Read more about the science of seasoning
Lodge cast iron is seasoned and ready to use.
Every piece of Lodge cast iron cookware comes seasoned and ready to use right out of the box. The easiest way to maintain this layer of seasoning is to use your cast iron pan. Whenever you cook an egg, grill a steak, or bake a pie, you're adding layers of baked-on fat and oil that enhance your seasoning for a natural, easy-release finish that gets better over time.
How to Season Cast Iron Cookware
There are two ways to maintain the seasoning on your cast iron skillet. The easiest way is to cook with it. Every time you cook with oil, you’re potentially adding another layer to the seasoning.
Some activities may remove a bit of seasoning, such as cooking acidic foods, using excessive heat, or scrubbing with abrasive utensils or scouring pads. That’s why our simple cleaning steps have you rub oil into your pan after each use to ensure the seasoning remains for quality cooking.
You can also season your cast iron cookware in the oven. This method adds a more thorough layer of seasoning onto the entire pan, strengthening the bond to the iron. It can be beneficial to season your cast iron in the oven a few times a year. We recommend oven-seasoning when restoring a rusty cast iron pan.
Scrub your pan
Scrub the pan with warm, soapy water. It's okay to use soap since you're preparing to re-season the cookware. Rinse and hand dry thoroughly.
Apply a very thin, even layer of cooking oil to the cookware (inside and out). If you use too much oil, your cookware may become sticky.
Bake for 1 hour
Place the cookware in the oven upside down. Place a large baking sheet or aluminum foil on the bottom rack. Bake at 450-500 degrees F for one hour. Allow to cool.
What oils can I use to season cast iron?
All cooking oils and fats can be used for seasoning cast iron, but based on availability, affordability, effectiveness, and having a high smoke point, Lodge recommends vegetable oil, melted shortening, or canola oil, like our Seasoning Spray.Read more about oils
What oil does Lodge use to season its cookware?
Lodge began seasoning cast iron cookware in our foundries in 2002. In the final step before packaging, we spray a thin layer of soy-based vegetable oil onto our traditional cast iron and carbon steel cookware, then bake it in a large oven. There are no synthetic chemicals added. The oil is highly refined, and all proteins that cause soy-related allergies are eliminated. The oil is kosher and contains no animal fat, peanut oil, or paints. Some cookware may have slight variations in the seasoning finish. These variations do not affect cooking performance and typically even out with use.Read more about oils
Additional Seasoning FAQs
The oil that we use to season our cookware is a Kosher-certified, soy-based vegetable oil. Although the oil is Kosher, Lodge's manufacturing process is not certified Kosher.
Since 90% of soybeans in the U.S. are genetically modified, traces of proteinaceous material can be carried from soybean farm to soybean farm in the extraction process. The oil is, however, highly refined, effectively removing the proteinaceous matter along with the fatty acids, chlorophyll, off-odor and off-flavor components that are found in soybean oil. If any trace amount remains after that process, it would be so infinitesimal that it would require several gallons of oil to be submitted even to extract any DNA fragments. There is no DNA remaining at this point in processed oils, and when sent off for testing, the analytical report that is received from the GM testing/certification facilities will state that there is no modified or conventional DNA present. That being said, our supplier cannot state that the oil is GMO-free since the testing results show that there was no modified or non-modified DNA present.
Unfortunately, it can. Highly acidic foods, like tomatoes, can break down the seasoning on cast iron. We recommend avoiding acidic foods or recipes with higher liquid contents for longer periods of time until the seasoning is well established.
Yes, this is perfectly normal and safe. Occasionally, when your seasoning works a little too hard with acidic foods or really high heat, dark residue can come off on your towel when cleaning. This can also be present with brand new cookware.
Some new Lodge cookware can have a small bubble on the tip of the handle or on the assist handle that can chip away and reveal a brownish color underneath. This is not rust. It is a result of our cookware being seasoned on a hanging conveyor, causing a small drip to form at the bottom. If the bubble makes it through our ovens, it is baked on, and the brown color is simply oil that has not fully carbonized. It is perfectly safe and will disappear with regular use and care.
Some cookware may have slight variations in the seasoning finish. These variations do not affect cooking performance and typically even out with use.
The texture is a result of the sand casting process that is used, creating a surface finish that has a texture that will allow the seasoning to adhere to it. As you use your cookware over time and continue to season it, the pan will become smoother. Unlike other types of cookware, Lodge Cast Iron only gets better with use.
Some customers prefer to smooth out the roughness, and it is okay to do so using fine grade sandpaper. Be sure to season the item promptly after doing so.
Sometimes layers of seasoning may flake off your cast iron pan. This can happen if layers of seasoning have not fully bonded to the metal. If your pan is flaking, don't panic. Simply scrub the pan with a nylon brush or salt, then rinse, hand dry, and rub with oil. You may want to try seasoning in the oven to help build up a strong layer of seasoning.