Why You Need To Re-Season Your Cast Iron Pans

When it comes to cooking, there's one thing that still intimidates even the most seasoned at-home chefs — cast iron pans. According to Today, this amazing kitchen staple has been used for ages, back to the time of the first pioneers. It has since withstood a number of culinary advancements, showing time and again just how incredibly useful it can be. 

From frying an egg to cooking pork chops (and even baking brownies), there is little that a cast iron pan can't do, giving it a reputation as the jack of all trades to keep on hand in your kitchen. Even with all that glory, this mighty tool has still unnerved many when it comes to attempting to keep it clean and seasoned. 

No, we don't mean seasoned with spices. Instead, seasoning a pan refers to an important step that should be taken before starting to use your cast iron (and followed up with every year), whereby oil is baked on the surface and bonds to it in a process called polymerization. This is what gives it a shiny sheen and prevents rusting so it can last for generations, according to premier brand Lodge Cast Iron. Once you have a seasoned pan, you'll be able to cook without the worry of sticky messes or rust appearing. Just follow this simple and effective method that'll leave your pan looking new and ready in no time.

This is a simple way to season and re-season your cast iron pans

The truth is that your trusty cast iron will inevitably lose some of its sheen due to a number of unavoidable factors, such as using a lot of heat, the acidity in foods you cook, or just by scrubbing with harsh cleaning tools, according to Lodge Cast Iron. Luckily, keeping it from rusting and bringing back that shiny coat is pretty simple. In fact, ensuring your cast iron pan is properly re-seasoned can be done in just a few steps that take little to no time — and should be done a few times a year.

According to Lodge Cast Iron, first you'll want to give the pan a good cleaning with sudsy, warm water using a sponge or stiff brush. (Though in the past it had been said that soap and cast irons don't mix because it could take off the seasoning, that myth has been recently busted by Alex Guarnaschelli.) Next, thoroughly rinse and hand-dry the pan making sure no lingering water is left. Next, apply a thin even layer of cooking oil to the inside and outside of the pan. Finally, place the skillet upside down in the oven and bake at 450-500 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour. Allow to fully cool once baked, and voila, good as new!