Cast-Iron Pans Are The Best Damn Pans… If You Treat ‘EM Right

Cast-iron cookware — great for stovetops and campfires, yet so easy to turn into rust-covered garbage if you’re lazy — can be a mystery to those who live in a nonstick world: there is whispered talk of some seasoning process that sounds, frankly, like it might burn the house down and a lot of rules about how — and how not — to wash it.

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Countless online forum threads have been devoted to the best oil to use for seasoning, the ideal temperature at which cast iron should be heated to in order to develop a perfect nonstick patina, and the correct methods to use to wash the pan after use. It can all be a little overwhelming, especially because cast-iron devotees make the fervor of political conventions seem tepid.

It’s not that tough… if it was, these relatively cheap, non-toxic, durable, and essential pieces of kitchenware wouldn’t be passed down, intact, from generation to generation. But if you do it wrong, your trustiest cast-iron pot becomes a literal rust bucket. Here’s how you can clean your cast iron without destroying it.

The real enemy is water

Conventional wisdom — at least according to die-hards — dictates that the use of soap to clean a cast-iron pan will ruin it. That’s where a lot of those “grandma always said…” rules come in, as in, “grandma always said to clean a cast-iron pan with salt and water.” “Grandma always said to clean a cast-iron pan with water and a hard-bristled brush.” “Grandma always said to clean a cast-iron pan with artisanal grasses from the Tennessee hill country.”

The Kitchn

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