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Cleaning and Care

Cast Iron Seasoning

Discover what it is, why it's important, and how to maintain a well-seasoned cast iron pan for decades of cooking.


Cast iron seasoning is a layer of carbonized oil.

Seasoning is just oil baked onto cast iron through a process called polymerization. It gives your cookware that classic black patina. Seasoning forms a natural, easy-release cooking surface and helps prevent your pan from rusting. It may take a little extra care, but a well-seasoned cast iron pan will last for generations.

Read more about the science of seasoning

Closeup of a cast iron skillet edge

Lodge cast iron is seasoned and ready to use.

Every piece of Lodge cast iron cookware comes seasoned and ready to use right out of the box. The easiest way to maintain this layer of seasoning is to use your cast iron pan. Whenever you cook an egg, grill a steak, or bake a pie, you're adding layers of baked-on fat and oil that enhance your seasoning for a natural, easy-release finish that gets better over time. To get you started, we've created a roundup of our favorite recipes for new pieces of cast iron


The Drip

My new Lodge seasoned cast iron cookware has a spot or mark that looks unfinished. What is this?

When you get a new piece of Lodge cookware, you might notice a small spot or mark that looks unfinished or rusty. This is all a part of the process that makes cast iron special! We season our cookware with oil on a hanging conveyor, which sometimes causes a small spot or bubble to form around the edge of the skillet or on the support handle where the skillet was hung. The seasoning process is all-natural and makes your cookware ready to use as soon as you get it home. This variation might chip away, revealing a brown color. Don’t worry! This isn’t rust and it’s perfectly safe—it’s simply oil that has not fully carbonized. With regular care and use, this spot will disappear. It’s a testament to cast iron’s ability to roll with the punches and get better with age.  


How to Season Cast Iron Cookware

There are two ways to maintain the seasoning on your cast iron skillet. The easiest way is to cook with it. Every time you cook with oil, you're potentially adding another layer to the seasoning.

Some activities may remove a bit of seasoning, such as cooking acidic foods, using excessive heat, or scrubbing with abrasive utensils or scouring pads. That's why our simple cleaning steps have you rub oil into your pan after each use to ensure the seasoning remains for quality cooking.

You can also season your cast iron cookware in the oven. This method adds a more thorough layer of seasoning onto the entire pan, strengthening the bond to the iron. It can be beneficial to season your cast iron in the oven a few times a year. We recommend oven-seasoning when restoring a rusty cast iron pan.

Follow our easy steps to season cast iron in the oven and download our Seasoning Guide to add a quick go-to reference to your cookbook.

Step 1:

Scrub your pan

Scrub the pan with warm, soapy water. It's okay to use soap since you're preparing to re-season the cookware. Rinse and hand dry thoroughly.

A person uses the scrub brush to wash a soapy Lodge Cast Iron Grill Pan in the sink.

Step 2:

Apply oil

Apply a very thin, even layer of cooking oil to the cookware (inside and out). If you use too much oil, your cookware may become sticky.

A person sprays the seasoning spray onto a Lodge Cast Iron Skillet.

Step 3:

Bake for 1 hour

Place the cookware in the oven upside down. Place a large baking sheet or aluminum foil on the bottom rack. Bake at 450-500 degrees F for one hour. Allow to cool.

A Lodge cast iron pan is placed upside down in the oven to bake.
Human wiping a cast iron skillet with a white cloth

What oils can I use to season cast iron?

All cooking oils and fats can be used for seasoning cast iron, but based on availability, affordability, effectiveness, and having a high smoke point, Lodge recommends vegetable oil, melted shortening, or canola oil, like our Seasoning Spray.

Read more about oils

Lodge Cast Iron seasons its cast iron cookware with oil that is allergen free, and Kosher. It uses no synthetic chemicals.

What oil does Lodge use to season its cookware?

Lodge began seasoning cast iron cookware in our foundries in 2002. In the final step before packaging, we spray a thin layer of soy-based vegetable oil onto our traditional cast iron and carbon steel cookware, then bake it in a large oven. There are no synthetic chemicals added. The oil is highly refined, and all proteins that cause soy-related allergies are eliminated. The oil is kosher and contains no animal fat, peanut oil, or paints.

Some cookware may have slight variations in the seasoning finish. These variations do not affect cooking performance and typically even out with use.


Additional Seasoning FAQs

The oil that we use to season our cookware is a Kosher-certified, soy-based vegetable oil. Although the oil is Kosher, Lodge's manufacturing process is not certified Kosher.

View the Kosher certification here (listed under Vegetable Oils on page 3 of the pdf). 

Since 90% of soybeans in the U.S. are genetically modified, "traces" of proteinaceous material can be carried from soybean farm to soybean farm in the extraction process. The oil is, however, highly refined, effectively removing the proteinaceous matter along with the fatty acids, chlorophyll, off-odor and off-flavor components that are found in soybean oil. If any trace amount remains after that process, it would be so infinitesimal that it would require several gallons of oil to be submitted even to extract any DNA fragments. There is no DNA remaining at this point in processed oils, and when sent off for testing, the analytical report that is received from the GM testing/certification facilities will state that there is "no modified or conventional DNA present." That being said, our supplier cannot state that the oil is GMO-free since the testing results show that there was no modified or non-modified DNA present.

Unfortunately, it can. Highly acidic foods, like tomatoes, can break down the seasoning on cast iron. We recommend avoiding acidic foods or recipes with higher liquid contents for longer periods of time until the seasoning is well established.

Yes, this is perfectly normal and safe. Occasionally, when your seasoning works a little too hard with acidic foods or really high heat, dark residue can come off on your towel when cleaning. This can also be present with brand new cookware.

Some new Lodge cookware can have a small "bubble" on the tip of the handle or on the assist handle that can chip away and reveal a brownish color underneath. This is not rust. It is a result of our cookware being seasoned on a hanging conveyor, causing a small drip to form at the bottom. If the bubble makes it through our ovens, it is baked on, and the brown color is simply oil that has not fully carbonized. It is perfectly safe and will disappear with regular use and care.

Some cookware may have slight variations in the seasoning finish. These variations do not affect cooking performance and typically even out with use.

Sometimes layers of seasoning may flake off your cast iron pan. This can happen if layers of seasoning have not fully bonded to the metal. If your pan is flaking, don't panic. Simply scrub the pan with a nylon brush or salt, then rinse, hand dry, and rub with oil. You may want to try seasoning in the oven to help build up a strong layer of seasoning.

The texture is a result of the sand casting process that is used, creating a surface finish that has a texture that will allow the seasoning to adhere to it. As you use your cookware over time and continue to season it, the pan will become smoother. Unlike other types of cookware, Lodge Cast Iron only gets better with use.

Some customers prefer to smooth out the roughness, and it is okay to do so using fine grade sandpaper. Be sure to season the item promptly after doing so.

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