Learn how to season this Southern kitchen staple in five easy steps.

By Marian Cooper Cairns
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Your trusty cast-iron skillet will eventually lose its sheen and, as a result, its super non-stick powers. Bringing back its luster and protecting it from rusting is as easy as a scrub, oil, and bake. Here's how to season your cast-iron skillet.

How To Season Your Cast-Iron Skillet:

  1. Scrub skillet well in hot soapy water.
  2. Dry thoroughly.
  3. Spread a thin layer of melted shortening or vegetable oil over the skillet.
  4. Place it upside down on a middle oven rack at 375°. (Place foil on a lower rack to catch drips.)
  5. Bake 1 hour; let cool in the oven.

WATCH: Seasoning Cast-Iron

How to Care for Cast Iron

  • To rid of rust stains, rub this handy rust eraser on the stain, and then reseason pan. Find it at hardware stores, bike shops, or wood-working shops.
  • To clean, use a stiff brush or plastic scrubber under running water while the cast iron is still warm but cool enough to handle with ease. Kosher salt is also a good scrubbing agent for baked-on stains. The most important tip is to never use soap!
  • Before cooking, apply vegetable oil to the cooking surface, and preheat the pan on low heat, increasing the temperature slowly.
  • Never marinate in cast iron. Acidic mixtures will damage the seasoning. Reseason if food particles start to stick, rust appears, or you experience a metallic taste.
Cast Iron Cleaner Kit
Credit: amazon.com

Buy It: Cast Iron Cookware Care Kit, $15; amazon.com

Best Cast Iron Cleaning Tools