Mistakes You're Making When Storing Your Cast Iron Skillet

Pots and pans are a fundamental part of any kitchen, even if you're more used to ordering delivery than dicing onions. Though they've been used since the 18th century, cast iron skillets continue to confound home cooks today (via Southern Kitchen). There's seemingly endless debate on how to best utilize, store, and clean a cast iron skillet. It's enough to make the mere thought of one feel intimidating! While Cook's Illustrated describes cast irons as "virtually indestructible," there are still some factors to keep in mind when using one.

Yes, it is important to clean and handle your cast iron skillet correctly, but Meghan Splawn at The Kitchn points out something even more important: using it. Splawn explains that the pan's seasoning, or nonstick coating created by a layer of oil, is strengthened by repeated usage over time. So, no matter where you're storing your cast iron skillet, leaving it sitting alone and neglected for a long period of time is going to make it more difficult to cook with when you do finally pull it out.

Cast irons are more resilient than you think

Even if you're regularly cooking with your cast iron skillet, you're not going to be frying eggs in it literally 24/7. Resilient as it is, there are still some storage tips to keep in mind. Firstly, don't leave it soaking in the sink, which The Kitchn deems "worse for it than any tomato sauce or soap will ever be."

Taste of Home suggests storing your cast iron skillet on the stovetop or in a dry cabinet — anywhere away from a source of moisture is ideal. Storing cast irons in the oven is up to personal preference; Taste of Home recommends it but The Kitchn warns it can be too easy to accidentally preheat the oven with the skillet still in it, which can affect the seasoning.

Regardless of its location, Eat This, Not That acknowledges that your cast iron should be oiled between uses, ideally with a thin layer of vegetable oil. Just make sure it's dry first!

Think of cast iron skillets as the trusty steed of the stovetop. Let your skillet know it's a valued member of the kitchen, and it will rarely let you down.