Does The Seasoning On Cast Iron Affect The Flavor Of Your Food?

Cast iron pans have quite a devoted group of fans, and for good reason: They're endlessly versatile. Cast iron pans can be used to grill dessert, fry latkes, make deep-dish pizza, and much more. Along with their popularity, however, cast iron pans have become the subject of numerous debates and controversial opinions. Although many people are die-hard cast iron devotees, others find the pans too high-maintenance and heavy, reports the Washington Post.

One of the most common areas of confusion surrounding cast iron pans, though, is how to wash them — or actually, whether you should wash them at all. Men's Health recommends simply wiping down your skillet with a paper towel before re-sealing, or if that doesn't do the trick, boiling some water in your pan, cleaning it with a sponge, and re-sealing it afterward. Re-sealing the cast iron refreshes any seasoning that may have faded away during the cleaning process, according to Men's Health. It's widely recommended to season your cast iron skillet to prevent it from rusting, notes Southern Living, and to preserve its non-stick qualities. This can be another point of contention, however, and leaves many people wondering, does seasoning a cast-iron pan affect the flavor of your food?

Seasoning cast iron creates a layer of protection

The short answer is no, seasoning your cast iron skillet won't make all your food taste like chili powder and dill weed, or any other seasonings you might use (via Food and Wine Magazine). In fact, there aren't any spices involved in this process at all. To season a cast iron skillet, you only need vegetable oil or shortening and aluminum foil, according to Southern Living. The pan should be covered in a thin layer of oil and baked in the oven, with the foil used to catch any drips (via Southern Living). These steps shouldn't add any flavor to your pan, and Food and Wine Magazine notes that it's actually a misconception that seasoning a cast iron skillet will make your food taste any different. The only purpose of seasoning, according to Lodge Cast Iron, is to create a layer of carbonized oil on top of your pan through a process called polymerization, which binds the fats to the iron.

So there you have it. Not only does seasoning a cast iron skillet leave the flavor of your food untouched, but it actually preserves the quality of your pan for years to come. That sounds like a win-win!