A cast iron grill pan is an excellent tool to have in your kitchen. It’s a pan that provides superior heat retention and, when well taken care of, it can last a long time.
It’s essential to clean a cast iron pan the correct way to increase its durability. If you have bought a cast iron pan for the first time, you might be a bit worried about how to clean it and season it.
Cleaning a cast iron pan isn’t difficult and only takes a couple of minutes. However, it’s essential to follow a few basic steps that ensure your pan stays in good shape for the long run.
Is a Cast Iron Grill Pan Difficult to Clean?
Many people use cast iron pans for their versatility and durability. A high-end cast iron pan can last for decades, and some people even pass their cast iron cookware on to the next generation in the family.
When buying a cast iron pan for the first time, it’s not unusual to worry about maintenance and cleaning. Cast iron pans usually need to be seasoned, which most people aren’t used to doing. The pan’s material and heaviness can feel quite different from other common types of cookware, such as stainless steel or aluminum.
However, although cast iron is a highly rugged material, it is not water-resistant, which means that without proper cleaning and maintenance, your pan can develop rust and corrosion.
How to Clean a Cast Iron Pan in Three Simple Steps
A common issue myth with cast iron pans is that you can’t wash them with soap. Some people believe that if they repeatedly wash the pan with a lot of soap, they will wear out the seasoning layer. The pan’s surface does not have a coating like non-stick cookware. You need to regularly season your cast iron pan with a thin layer of oil to create a non-stick surface.
However, a cast iron pan doesn’t really have a layer of oil or grease on it. If you drag your fingers across the clean pan, they should come out without any oil or grease. A cast iron pan is seasoned by rubbing a minimal amount of oil on the pan. Over time, the oil breaks down and turns into a substance that bonds with the iron surface. This layer gives the pan its non-stick surface, but it doesn’t mean the pan is oily or greasy. So, you can wash the pan with soapy water just like your other cookware without worrying that you’ll damage the non-stick surface.
Step 1: Wiping Off Grease and Food
When learning how to clean a cast iron grill pan, it’s essential to avoid some common mistakes. One of them is to leave the pan on the cooktop and clean it later. The key to cleaning a cast iron grill pan is to do it right away. Cast iron has excellent heat retention, so cast iron pans tend to get very hot. If you wait for 15-20 minutes to clean the pan, all the grease will stick, making it difficult to clean.
Therefore, after cooking, remove the oil and wipe it down with a paper towel. If you cooked something sticky such as eggs or fish, there might be a few small pieces of food stuck on the pan. You can pour a bit of hot water over the pan and scrape the food off with a wooden spatula. You can also scrape off the bits of food while rinsing the pan under hot water.
Step 2: Cleaning the Pan
Wash the pan by hand using a bit of mild dishwashing soap and water. The most important thing to remember is never to put a cast iron pan in the dishwasher or leave it in the sink to soak off the debris. Soaking cast iron in water will rust your pan.
A bit of water and soap won’t hurt the pan, but you shouldn’t soak it in water for an extended period. Enameled cast iron pans are slightly different and can be put in the dishwasher since the layer of glazed enamel makes the pans a bit more resistant.
Many experts say it’s perfectly fine to use a bit of soap and water, but some believe it slowly erodes the seasoning. If you prefer not to use soap, there are other methods you can use to clean a cast iron grill.
Try using salt and water. This helps to keep the layer of seasoning completely intact. For this method, wipe off grease and food first and then pour a bit of hot water and salt on the pan. With a nylon brush, scrub all the pan’s corners and sides. Make sure to clean between all the ridges as well. Then rinse with hot clean water.
Step 3: Drying the Pan
Once you have cleaned the pan, make sure it’s completely dry. You can use a small piece of lint-free cloth or a kitchen towel. There must be no water left on the pan before seasoning it and storing it.
Step 4: Seasoning The Pan
One of the most important parts of learning how to clean a cast iron grill pan is to season the pan.
Now that your pan is completely clean and dry, you can season it to make its surface non-stick. You can also heat the pan up on the stove again to get rid of any excess moisture. Wait until the pan is hot again, and then apply a thin layer of oil on the pan. Use canola oil or flaxseed oil, which have a high smoke point and a mild flavor. Avoid other stronger oils such as olive oil. With a paper towel, rub the oil on the pan for a few minutes in small circular motions. Ensure you season the outside of the pan and the handle as well; season isn’t just for creating a cooking surface; it also protects the pan from corrosion.
Finally, heat the oven to 500°F and leave the pan inside for about an hour. Place the pan upside down and put a small sheet of foil underneath it to catch any excess oil. The pan is cooked at high temperatures to get past the oil’s smoking point so that it’s not sticky at the end.
How to Get Rid of Rust
A simple way of getting rid of rust on your pan is using a mixture of baking soda and lemon juice. Mix some baking soda and lemon juice in a cup and make a paste. Then, apply it to the pan’s surface and let it sit for about 24 hours. After this time, scrub off the paste, clean, and re-season the pan.
Enjoy Your Clean Cast Iron Grill Pan
Once your pan is clean, it’s ready to be stored until the next meal. Investing in a cast iron pan is an excellent idea for people who want a durable and high-quality pan. Cleaning and maintaining your cast iron grill the right way will help you keep the pan in perfect condition for a long time.