Made in France using enameled cast iron, Le Creuset is excellent for grilling. It produces the high heat needed for superb searing and requires little oil. High ridges prevent foods from dripping. It’s as useful for grilling cold-cut sandwiches as for meat, seafood, and vegetables.
Here’s the best part:
The cast-iron pan needs no seasoning and won’t absorb flavors or become rusty.
According to le Creuset, cast iron has always been the preferred material for pans and grills, but the arduous and high-maintenance seasoning process discouraged their customers. Therefore, they’ve introduced porcelain enameled cast iron that gives you the benefits of cast iron pan the first time out of the box.
Cast iron has to be seasoned. However, if the surface is enameled or treated, it isn’t necessary. Here’s the link to Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron Skillet if you’re in a hurry to buy!
This guide reveals why cast iron seasoning is essential and how you can maintain a cast-iron pan for decades of use.
If you enjoy cooking at home, the quality of your cookware matters a lot. Everything needs to be high-quality, from the smallest kitchen items to the basic utensils you use for cooking.
Table of Contents
- Why Invest in a Quality Skillet?
- The Le Creuset Skillet Review
- The Science of Seasoning
- How to Season Cast Iron Cookware
- Frequently Asked Questions
- What happens if I don’t season my cast iron cookware?
- How does washing the pan affect the seasoning? Can I use soap?
- I tried to season my skillet, and now it’s sticky. How do I fix this?
- Why is my new cast iron pan not smooth like vintage iron?
- Are there any foods I shouldn’t cook in cast iron?
- Black flakes are coming off my cast iron pan. What’s happening?
Why Invest in a Quality Skillet?
Fretting about cookware may seem trivial to some, but to home-chefs, it’s a legitimate concern. Picking the best cooking pot is crucial as it affects the quality of dishes and your family’s health. If you’re going to choose a pan with a protective coating, it shouldn’t melt or peel easily, contaminating your food with debris and black flakes.
Quality pots are a great investment for your kitchen. Although these items are not cheap, even the ones that disintegrate and warp over time. Having to buy a new skillet every year can be costly. If you go for high–quality, it’ll last you generations.
Why do top chefs prefer cast-iron skillets over modern, non-stick options?
Here are some reasons:
- Skillets are as slippery as other non-stick options
- They heat up properly and don’t transfer chemicals into your food
- They’re a versatile option – use them on your stove and transfer it to the oven for baking
- They last a long time if maintained
- Reasonably priced skillets given the usage over decades
The Le Creuset Skillet Review
Is a Le Creuset skillet worth the money? Best of Culinary certainly thinks so. Here’s the Le Creuset skillet review you need to read!
- Unlike other cast-iron skillets, Le Creuset requires little or no maintenance
- Requires less oil and no seasoning, making it a cost-efficient kitchen utensil
- Fuss-free maintenance as you don’t have to fret about rust, thanks to the enamel coating
- As a cast-iron skillet can effectively maintain temperature, this Le Creuset skillet will allow you to keep your food hot and cold for extended periods
- Very energy efficient and evenly distributes heat, ensuring nicely cooked food every time
- Cast-iron cooking pots are multi-purpose in either stovetop cooking or oven baking
- Modern looking and appealing so you can also easily use it to serve food.
- Unlike other cast-iron pots, you don’t have to fret about scratching and damaging your glass stovetops with the Le Creuset skillet.
- It comes with a guarantee so you can sure it’s worth every last penny you pay for it
- It is the perfect gift to close friends and relatives for Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, and housewarming parties.
- Like other cast-iron cooking pots, it’s quite heavy. Keep this in mind if you’re uncomfortable with lifting heavier cookware.
- Pricier than other cast-iron skillets.
The Science of Seasoning
Seasoning is a thick layer of carbonized oil that’s baked onto a cast iron pan, forming a smooth, protective layer on top of the cookware. It’s what gives iron skillets a velvety, easy-release finish and makes cleaning a breeze. The more you cook with your cast iron, the thicker the oil layer becomes, transforming your saucepan into an heirloom with a darker cooking surface.
When oils or fats are heated at a high temperature in a cast-iron skillet, they transform from a wet liquid into a sleek, hardened surface through a scientific process called polymerization. This reaction creates a smooth layer of seasoning that becomes molecularly bonded to the iron. Without this thick layer of carbonized oil, cast iron cookware would corrode and rust due to the air’s moisture and oxygen.
On a microscopic level, iron has an uneven, jagged surface. This texture presents more surface area for seasoning to bond and sticks to the iron. As layers upon layers build up, the oils and fats fill in the texture, creating a naturally non-stick cooking surface that lasts for generations.
How to Season Cast Iron Cookware
There are two main ways to maintain the seasoning layer on your cast iron skillet. The simplest way is to cook with it. Every time you cook using oil, you’re adding another layer to the seasoning.
Some activities can remove the seasoning, such as using excessive heat, cooking acidic foods, or scrubbing with scouring pads or abrasive utensils. That’s why we’ve shared simple cleaning steps that involve rubbing oil into your skillet after each use to ensure the seasoning lasts for quality cooking.
You can also season your iron cookware in the oven. This method adds a thorough layer of seasoning onto the pan, strengthening its bond to the iron. It can be helpful to season your cast iron skillet in the oven a few times every year. We recommend oven-seasoning if you’re restoring a rusty-old cast iron pan.
Many cast iron enthusiasts prefer the oven-seasoning process to ensure their skillet remains protected. We’ve listed below the process to help you get started. This process allows you to add a thorough coat of seasoning all over the iron skillet. This simple method can help jumpstart the layer of seasoning on a newly restored iron pan. Oven-seasoning alleviates other problems as well; if the pan becomes dull or grayish, if your food sticks to it, or if the pan becomes sticky, try seasoning the pan in the oven.
Follow these easy steps to season cast iron skillets in the oven:
Wash/Scrub your pan
Scrub your cast iron skillet with warm, soapy water. A little soap is ideal to use as you’re preparing to season your skillet in the oven.
Completely dry your cast iron pan using a lint-free cloth or paper towel. You can also try placing it on the stove on low heat for a few minutes to ensure it’s completely dry.
Add a thin layer of cooking oil—like this Seasoning Spray—to the surface of your cast iron skillet (inside and out) with a lint-free paper towel or a cloth. Go easy on the oil you use—you need just a thin layer, not much to drip or run as you tilt it. Thin layers are crucial for baking seasoning into the skillet.
Bake for 1 hour
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and place aluminum foil on the bottom rack of your oven to catch any excess oil. Put the cookware upside down on the middle shelf to prevent oil from pooling near the cooking surface. Bake the cookware for 1 hour.
Cool in the oven
Turn off the heat and let the cast iron pan cool in the oven to help the seasoning cure and stick to the iron.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if I don’t season my cast iron cookware?
The best way to protect your cast iron skillet is to use it. Regular cooking is an ideal way to keep your pan looking perfect. If the iron skillet becomes dull, gray, or rusty, it can benefit from being seasoned.
How does washing the pan affect the seasoning? Can I use soap?
Seasoning is quite resilient, but it may not be bulletproof. It can withstand a little dish soap and water or a good scrub with a brush, but experts don’t recommend using abrasive cleaning materials on your cast iron, such as harsh detergents.
I tried to season my skillet, and now it’s sticky. How do I fix this?
A sticky skillet can happen if you use excess oil to season your cast iron skillet or if you don’t heat it properly for a long time. However, it’s quite easy to fix! Just pop your pan back in the oven for an hour, or until the stickiness is gone.
Why is my new cast iron pan not smooth like vintage iron?
The more you use cast iron pans, the smoother they become. Each time you cook using oil, the seasoning on your cast iron gets better, making your pan darker and smoother. After a few months of regular use, the finish on your cast iron skillet will become very smooth, similar to the cast iron you find at the flea market.
Are there any foods I shouldn’t cook in cast iron?
A squeeze of lemon, a dash of soy sauce, a few tablespoons of tomato sauce,—these foods in small quantities are fine. But large amounts of acidic foods like vinegar, citrus, and tomato sauce can spoil the seasoning when cooked for extended periods. The same applies to foods that are extremely alkaline, such as beans.
Experts don’t recommend cooking these foods for a long time in new cast iron cookware because they damage the thin layer of seasoning on your pan. Avoid acidic foods or recipes that call for higher liquid contents until the seasoning sets in.
Black flakes are coming off my cast iron pan. What’s happening?
Sometimes thin layers of seasoning may flake off your cast iron skillet. Flakinghappens if layers of seasoning haven’t bonded to the metal. If your cast iron pan is flaking, don’t panic. Scrub your pan using a nylon brush or salt, rinse, hand dry, and rub with oil. You may want to season in the oven to help build a strong layer of seasoning.