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Cleaning and Care

All About Seasoning

Lodge Cast Iron and Carbon Steel come seasoned and ready to use!

Seasoning

The Basics

Seasoning

What is Seasoning?

Seasoning is a layer of carbonized oil.

Seasoning is just oil baked onto cast iron and carbon steel. 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.

Closeup of a cast iron skillet edge

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. Every time you cook an egg, grill a steak, or bake a pie, you're adding layers of baked-on fat and oil that build up over time for a natural, easy-release finish that gets better over time.

Human wiping a cast iron skillet with a white cloth

Clean and oil your pan after every use.

Some activities may remove a bit of your 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.

Download our Seasoning Guide

How to Clean Cast Iron

Step 1

Wash

Wash your cast iron cookware by hand. You can use a small amount of soap. If needed, use a pan scraper for stuck on food. For extra sticky situations, simmer a little water for 1 minute, then use the scraper after the pan has cooled. Our Seasoning Kit has everything you need to wash and care for cast iron the right way.


Step 2

Dry

Dry promptly and thoroughly with a lint-free cloth or paper towel. If you notice a little black residue on your towel, it's just seasoning and is perfectly normal.


Step 3

Oil

Rub a very light layer of cooking oil or Seasoning Spray onto the surface of your cookware. Use a paper towel to wipe the surface until no oil residue remains.


 

What about seasoning Carbon Steel?

Looking for how to season Carbon Steel pans? Well, good news! It's the exact same process as seasoning cast iron. Simply follow the steps above to wash, dry, and oil your carbon steel cookware after each use.

Learn how to clean Carbon Steel

Seasoning

The Details

A single pan yearning to be seasoned

What's the science behind seasoning?

When oil is heated in cast iron, it bonds with the metal through a process called polymerization, creating a layer of seasoning. With regular use, your cast iron cookware will develop a strong, durable layer of seasoning that becomes more resistant to rust and more non-stick — it only gets better over time.

What oil does Lodge use to season its cookware?

Lodge uses soy-based vegetable oil to season our traditional cast iron and carbon steel cookware in our foundries. There are no synthetic chemicals added at all. 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.

Allergan Free

Are there other oils I can use to season?

 

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.

Traditionally, lard was used to season cast iron, and while that is still okay, we do not recommend it unless you frequently use your cookware. If the cookware is stored for too long, lard and other animal-based fats can go rancid.

Whichever oil you choose, the important thing is to make sure you heat up your pan to that oil's smoke point. When the oil hits that smoke point, a chemical reaction occurs, bonding the oil to your pan to create a layer of natural seasoning.

FAQs

Additional Seasoning FAQs

Unfortunately, it can. High 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.

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.

View the Kosher certification on our supplier's website, here.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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