How To Season A Cast-Iron Pan

Show the original heavy metal some much-needed love

It's no secret we have a borderline obsession with cast-iron cookware—those trusty pans would be the first thing we'd try to save in a house fire. (Although, to be honest, if there's one thing that could survive a raging inferno, it'd be one of these skillets.)  

Cast-iron pans excel at transferring and retaining heat, and if treated properly, even your sunny eggs will slide onto your plate with ease. Seasoning, a process in which layers of fat bond to the pan's surface and form a slick coating, is a crucial step for any new cast-iron aficionado. And even if the packaging claims it comes pre-seasoned, we strongly encourage you to season your prized skillet yourself at least once before cooking up a few burgers. Here's how to go about it.

① Using a paper towel, rub a thin layer of a neutral cooking oil like canola or vegetable into the pan's surface until it's fully coated and slick to the touch. Wipe off any excess.

 Open your preheated oven and lay the pan facedown on the rack (slide a baking sheet underneath if you're worried about oil runoff). Bake at 450 degrees for 1 hour.

 After it's done cooling, the skillet should be glossy, smooth and ready to go. If you find the surface is still rough and a dull, matte black color, repeat the process a few more times.

The best part? As long as you cook with them frequently, you rarely have to repeat this process—these handy cooking tools will maintain their seasoning all on their own.