How To Clean Cast Iron After Cooking?
First, wash your cast iron pan, pot or casserole with or without soap while it’s still hot. Next, dry your cast iron cookware with a towel and put it on the burner to remove any leftover moisture. Finally oil your cast iron in and outside to prevent rust. Details below.
Preparing wagyu steaks is my speciality. For perfect results I need tools that perform in a consistent manner. One of these tools is my trusty cast iron skillet that I have been using for some time now.
I clean my cast iron skillet immediately after every use. Takes only a couple of minutes. But the internet is full of questions and weird preconceptions about cleaning cast iron after cooking. You’d think that you need to be some sort of cleaning genie to care for it.
The reality? It is the most forgiving piece of cookware you could own.
Here is the simplest method I use to clean cast iron cookware after cooking.
How To Clean Cast Iron in 3 simple steps
Step 1: Wash your cast iron pan / skillet or casserole
- Pour out the remaining fat or other liquids immediately after use, then pick up a towel and wipe the inside.
- While the pan is still hot, rinse it with hot water. The pan should be hot enough so the water immediately turns into steam when it touches the iron. This should get rid of the majority of the dirt.
If nothing remains and the pan looks clean: skip to step 2
If caked on food still remains then you can do the following:
- Repeat the steam method as described above, or
- Add some kosher salt into the pan, mix it with a little bit of hot water until paste-like consistency, and use a wooden spatula to scrape off the remaining bits of food, or
- You can use a scraper or the soft side of a sponge with some mild detergent until the pan is clean.
Step 2: Dry your cast iron pan / skillet or casserole
- Dry with a towel. Preferably cloth, but a lint free paper towel will work as well.
- Heat the pan on the stovetop until all the remaining moisture has evaporated.
- Do not drip dry under any circumstance, as this will lead to rust
Step 3: Oil
- Once the pan is dry, coat the inside and the outside lightly with some vegetable oil that does not go rancid.
- Coat the inside to get a head start on the next layer of seasoning before the next use
- Coat the outside for rust prevention, especially if you live in a humid environment
Once the pan has cooled down, store it somewhere dry. Thats it.
Can You Ruin a Cast Iron Pan With Soap?
No. Soap or no soap, it is nigh on impossible to ruin a cast iron pan with anything that you’d normally do or have in your kitchen.
Soap is gentle on anything except grease. Since the coating of cast iron cookware is polymerized fat it is way tougher than what a little bit of soap might be able to get off.
The average household dish soap no longer contains lye like it did 100 years ago when the general consensus was to not soap cast iron pans. You’d need to scrape and soap vigorously for quite a while to remove any seasoning.
How To Clean Cast Iron With Salt
Use Kosher salt, or any other salt that has large grains. You want to make a paste like substance by adding water to it and use the rough salt crystals like a very gentle scrubbing agent
Table salt will not work for cleaning purposes as it dissolves too quickly. If you want, you can read our article here: What is Kosher Salt?
Using salt is an environmentally friendly method to clean caked on bits of food, without the need to add soap.
What To Do Next?
Now that your cast iron pan is clean you can start planning your next meal. Alternatively, have you ever wondered How Much Does a Wagyu Ribeye Cost?