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Cast Iron Troubleshooting

Cast Iron Troubleshooting

Cast iron cookware is a kitchen staple, but even the most seasoned cast iron enthusiast can encounter a few hiccups along the way. Never fear! We're here to help you troubleshoot common problems and get your pan back in tip-top shape.

Problem 1: Food is Sticking

This is the most frequent complaint, but thankfully, it's usually the easiest to fix. Sticking can happen for several reasons:

  1. Not Enough Fat: Cast iron loves a little grease! Make sure you're using enough oil or butter when cooking.
  2. Pan Isn't Hot Enough: Cast iron needs to be properly preheated. A good rule of thumb is to wait until a drop of water sizzles and evaporates on contact.
  3. Seasoning Needs a Boost: If your pan is well-used or hasn't been seasoned enough, it might need a refresh. (We'll cover seasoning in more detail below!)

Problem 2: Rust is Forming

Rust is a cast iron's arch-nemesis, but luckily it's very fixable. Here's how to tackle it:

  1. Scrub: Use a stiff brush or steel wool to remove as much rust as possible.
  2. Wash and Dry: Thoroughly clean your pan with hot water and dry it completely.
  3. Re-Season: Rust usually means the seasoning layer has been compromised. Time to re-season!

Problem 3: Food Tastes Metallic

If your food has a metallic taste after cooking, it could be due to a few factors:

  1. Over-Seasoning: Too much seasoning can create a build-up that imparts a metallic flavor. Try scrubbing the pan with coarse salt and hot water, then re-seasoning lightly.
  2. Acidic Foods: Highly acidic foods like tomatoes can react with the iron in the pan. Avoid cooking these types of foods in a cast iron pan that's not well-seasoned.

How to Season (and Re-Season) Your Cast Iron

A good seasoning layer is key to a happy cast iron pan. Here's the basic process:

  1. Clean: Wash your pan with hot water.
  2. Dry: Thoroughly dry it with a towel or on the stovetop over low heat.
  3. Oil: Lightly coat the entire pan, inside and out, with a high-smoke point oil (like flaxseed, grapeseed, or canola).
  4. Bake: Place the pan upside down in a preheated 350°F oven for one hour. Let it cool completely in the oven.
  5. Repeat: For a durable seasoning layer, repeat this process several times.


  • Don't be afraid to use it! The more you cook with your cast iron, the better the seasoning will become.
  • Avoid harsh detergents and abrasive scrubbers. They can strip away the seasoning.
  • Dry your pan immediately after washing.

With a little TLC, your cast iron pan will be a trusty companion in the kitchen for years to come!


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