Cast Iron 101 :: How to Clean Cast Iron


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Learn how to clean your cast iron quickly and easily so that it lasts generations.

Cast Iron 101 :: How to Clean Cast Iron | Add a Pinch


I frequently receive emails asking about cast iron – how to care for it, how to select the best size, the sizes of skillets that I use, etc. I love answering each one of these emails and thought that it might be helpful for even more people for me to write a series on the topic!

Properly cared for, cast iron cookware can last for generations and will become on of those prizes heirlooms handed down through your family. Cast iron cookware has long been a treasured tool for cooking for their weight, conductivity of heat, as well as the ability to cook just about anything in it! While there are definitely more expensive pieces of cookware available, there are few pieces that are as versatile as cast iron.

Since I use my cast iron cookware so frequently, I definitely want to make sure I am taking proper care of it – especially the skillets given to me from my Grandmothers as well as my husband’s family.


Cast Iron 101 :: How to Clean Cast Iron-2

How to Clean Cast Iron

1. Once your cast iron has cooled to a slightly warm temperature after use, pour about 1/4 cup of Kosher salt onto the cooking surface

2. Use a paper towel and scrub the salt in a circular motion to remove the cooked on residue.

3. If the residue still does not release, pour about 1 tablespoon of oil onto the cookware, grab an old store rewards card or similar hard plastic card and scrap away the problem area.

4. Wipe clean with paper towel to remove all of the salt and residue you’ve removed from the cookware.

5. Rub a light coat of oil over the surface and place on the stove top over low heat for a few minutes to completely dry.


 Do you use cast iron cookware? What’s your favorite thing to cook in it?




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About Robyn

Robyn Stone is a cookbook author, wife, mom, and passionate home cook. Her tested and trusted recipes give readers the confidence to cook recipes the whole family will love. Robyn has been featured on Food Network, People, Southern Living, and more.

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  1. Bob from Long Island says:

    I love my cast iron. I use them for steaks and burgers and fried chicken! Thank you for the tips. I guess I have been doing it wrong. I would heat my pan and then put the oil on it. I will try your method.

    1. Robyn Stone says:

      I hope these tips help, Bob! Isn’t cast iron just the best?! Thanks!

  2. Myra says:

    I received a small cast iron skillet with a candle in it, can this be cleaned and used to cook with?

  3. Mary B says:

    If desperate – really, really desperate, to remove old crud from a cast iron skillet, and start fresh with bare iron, use the pan for making soap. I discovered this when I wanted to try making homemade soap from grease and lye. Instructions said not to use aluminum, nor an enameled pan. What I had was a couple of cast iron skillets, so I pressed one into use. Thankfully, I had enough sense to do it outside. It doesn’t need to be heated, the chemical reaction between the grease and the lye get it plenty hot enough. The fumes it created were awful!
    The lye not only turned all the extra grease I gave it into soap, it grabbed every bit of “seasoning” it could reach and turned it to soap. It looked like I had a shiny new skillet, and I had to start the seasoning ritual all over again.
    And there there is the time my (now ex) husband decided to “clean” both skillets with a welding torch. Torch burnt off the seasoning alright, but he also melted a hole in one of the skillets. He fixed that little “oops” by filling the hole with melted brazing rod. I was not happy.