Iron skillets have been used for years, and they’ve made a comeback in modern kitchens for a variety of
reasons. This means many people are not familiar with how to use them correctly. Here are 5 huge mistakes
you’re making with your cast iron skillet.
You’re Seasoning the Cast Iron Skillet at the Wrong Time
Don’t season the cast iron skillet while it is on your stove. Add a thin layer of oil before you put it on the
stove. It could sit there for an hour or two before you start heating it up. The opposite mistake is not
seasoning the cast iron skillet at all. They may not realize that layer of oil is a de facto nonstick coating,
something most cast iron skillets lack. Adding oil as you’re adding food, though, prevents all of that oil from
reaching the bottom surface of the pan and evening out the surface that otherwise causes burn spots.
You’re Cooking Everything in the Cast Iron Skillet
There are foods that do better than others in cast iron skillets. Steak and pancakes are among them. Other
foods shouldn’t be cooked in a cast iron skillet. Fish is delicate, and when it sticks to the pan, you’ll rip the
fish filet apart. Acidic foods like tomatoes and liquids like wine and vinegar leach some of the iron out of the
skillet and into your food. Don’t try to cook very different courses in the same pan right after one another,
too, because of how much flavor of one flows to the next one.
You’re Washing It In the Dishwasher
Between the cooking oil, food residue and high heat, cast iron skillets need to be cleaned after every single
meal. They may even need to be washed between courses, such as when you baked steak and now want to
make a Dutch apple pie. However, you shouldn’t wash the cast iron skillet in the dishwasher. This will
damage the frying pan surface, and it will contribute to rust. Scrub it in the sink with warm water and
compatible dish soap. You can reduce how much work it requires by wiping out food debris and rinsing it
with water. Then you can come back tomorrow morning and scrub it down properly.
Let It Dry Properly
If you’ve washed the cast iron skillet, you need to dry it properly to minimize the odds of it rusting. If you
hand wash it in the sink, thoroughly dry it so that no moisture remains. You can even put it on the cook top
and let it sit over a flame for five minutes to evaporate all the moisture. Just make sure it has cooled before
you put it in storage. This generally isn’t an issue if the skillet hangs from a hook above the oven. Otherwise,
store it in a dry place, and you can put layers of paper towels between the pans to wick away condensation.
You’re Storing Food in the Skillet
It is fine to take the skillet off the burner and use it to serve the food you just cooked. It could even sit there
for half an hour as people work their way through a dessert. However, your skillet isn’t a food storage
container. Don’t leave leftovers in the skillet, whether or not it is covered in foil or plastic wrap. The
moisture in the food will leach iron out of the skillet, and the moisture will accelerate oxidation of the iron
skillet. In a worst case scenario, you’re suffering iron toxicity and the skillet is rusted.