The Best Way To Prevent Steak From Sticking To A Cast Iron Skillet

A cast iron skillet is an absolute must-have in the kitchen. It's perfect for baking small pizzas, creating shrimp scampi dips, and searing many cuts of meat. And when it comes to steak, it's difficult to find a better match for it than a sizzling, well-seasoned cast iron skillet. This type of skillet helps to create that golden brown crust evenly over each side of the steak, and you can even finish it in the oven since cast iron skillets are oven-proof, according to Bon App├ętit.

But one of the biggest problems with using a cast iron skillet is the possibility of a steak sticking to its surface. The cause for this can vary, but one of the more common ones is not seasoning your skillet enough. As stated by Lodge Cast Iron, "Seasoning forms a natural, easy-release cooking surface and helps prevent your pan from rusting." This method is known as polymerization, which is when heated oils create a "slick, hardened surface that is molecularly bonded to the iron."

But even if you're seasoning your cast iron skillet regularly, what should you do if the steak is still sticking to the surface?

Check your oil

For starters, it's important to choose a cooking oil that is known for its high smoke point, such as peanut oil or grapeseed oil, as stated by Webstaurant Store. You'll also want to use plenty of oil in your skillet since "a lack of fat" is a big cause for steak sticking to a skillet's surface, Food & Wine states.

Kansas City Steak Company suggests adding one or two tablespoons of oil to the skillet. This amount may increase or decrease depending on the size of your steak, so it's best to use your judgment. As a rule of thumb though, it should "be enough to coat the bottom," KCSC continues to write.

As Try Cooking With Cast Iron puts it, "the molecules in the food will bond with the metal unless there is a barrier." Heated oil acts as that middle-ground barrier between the steak and the skillet, so it's important to be generous with the amount you use, but not overly so where you'll have an oily piece of steak for dinner.