How to Restore Cast Iron Pans
Typical Cast Iron Pan that is Starting to Rust
Don't Give Up On Those Old Pans
Most people have at least one cast iron pan in their kitchen. Maybe you've got an old one that was handed down from grandma and it's starting to rust. Many people find old cast iron pans at garage sales or estate sales, yet they let these treasures slip by because the pan looks old, rusted and beyond repair. Fortunately, a quality cast iron pan is something that will last for generations. If you've got a pan that's in need of some TLC, you're about to learn just how easy it is to restore your rusted and dirty pan into the perfect cooking vessel.
Restoring a Cast Iron Pan is Easy
If you have a cast iron pan that is looking a little shabby, it's easy to remove the rust and restore the pan to its former glory. Start by cleaning off the rust. Use a metal scouring pad or fine steel wool to remove rust and clean the pan. Then wash with warm water and soap; rinse well and wipe dry. Make sure the pan is completely dry before going to the next step.
Clean the Pan Before Seasoning
Season Your Cast Iron Cookware
Once the pan is clean and all rust has been removed, it's time to season the pan. This seasoning is what will make your pan non-stick. A perfectly seasoned pan is a joy to cook with and even eggs won't stick. Take your time and do this step right.
Pour a little vegetable or other cooking oil into the pan. Take a soft cloth of paper towel and gently rub the entire pan with the oil. Coat the inside, outside, bottom and handle. Every surface should have a very thin coat of oil on it.
Place an oven rack in the center of oven. Place a second rack below the first rack and lay a sheet of aluminum foil on the bottom rack. Preheat oven to 350˚ F. Place oiled pan upside down on the top rack. The aluminum foil on the bottom rack should catch any drips and keep the oven clean. Bake the pan for 1 hour. Turn off the heat and leave the oven closed. Leave the cast iron pan in the oven until it has cooled completely.
Your cast iron pan is seasoned and ready to use!
Quick Video from Lodge
Keep Your Cast Iron in Good Condition
Cast iron pans will last forever if they are properly cared for. After using your pan, wash it in hot water using a stiff bristled brush to remove any stuck on bits; use a plastic scraper, if necessary. Dry thoroughly. Add a little cooking oil and rub a thin film of oil over the inside of the pan. That's all there is to it!
If your cast iron pan ever starts to rust or loses its non-stick properties, just give it a good cleaning and re-season. In no time, you'll have your treasured cast iron pan back to great condition.