How to Coat a Cast-Iron Skillet

Cast-iron skillets are a durable staple in the kitchen, but they require a little extra care. They cannot be washed in the dishwasher, and you cannot use regular dish soap when you're washing them by hand. Cast-iron skillets also need a coating, called seasoning, to keep your food from sticking to the surface and prevent rusting. Some skillets come pre-seasoned from the factory; if not, or you need to re-season a skillet, adding a protective layer of grease seals the interior surface of the pan.

Food doesn't stick to a properly seasoned cast-iron skillet.
  1. Scrub your skillet thoroughly with dish soap and a stiff brush. Generally you do not clean cast iron with soap because it removes the protective coating, but since you are going to season it, you want to start with a clean surface. Also, cast iron will often come from the factory with a waxy coating that must be removed prior to use because it is not safe to eat.

  2. Melt the vegetable shortening and apply a thin layer on the bottom and sides of the skillet with a paper towel.

  3. Bake the skillet in your oven at 350 degrees for about one hour.

  4. Remove the skillet from the oven and let it cool off on your kitchen counter.

  5. Repeat steps 1 through 4 if desired -- an additional layer will help maintain the coating for a longer period of time.


  • Use pot holders or other hand protection when removing your skillet from the oven as it will be extremely hot.

About the Author

Monica Beyer has been writing professionally since 2000. She is the author of two books on baby sign language, "Baby Talk" and "Teaching Your Baby to Sign." Beyer's writing also appears in various online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Missouri Western State University.