How to Season Cast Iron Cookware – 18th Century Cooking Series S2E5

If you seek the advice of 50 different people
about seasoning cast ironware, you’ll likely get 52 answers. Today we’re going to look
at how to season your cast ironware. Before you can cook with ironware, it has
to be seasoned, and the seasoning does several different things. First of all, it keeps your
ironware from rusting. It also creates a nonstick surface so it makes it much easier to clean
after you’re done cooking, and it also separates your food from the metal so you don’t get
a metallic taste in your food when it’s done. So the idea of seasoning is to get multiple
layers of carbonized oil on the metal. The real questions are what oil do we use and
how do we get it carbonized? So, the first question, what oil? You’re going
to get a whole lot of different answers about what kind of oil to use and most oils are
going to work just fine, some better than others. In the time period, most people probably
used animal fats like lard or beef tallow. Most people today, they use vegetable oil.
Today we’re going to be using flax seed oil. Flax seed oil seems to give the hardest nonstick
surface of any of the vegetable oils, it does go rancid rather rapidly so you want to make
sure to use fresh flax seed oil. Once it’s been carbonized on the surface we don’t have
to worry about it going rancid. As for the how, we’re going to do two different
methods of seasoning today and which one you choose really depends on the tools you have
available to you and how big the piece is that you need to do. Today we’re going to
season a small cast iron pot. Now this guy’s small enough that he’ll fit in our oven so
we can simply bake the finish on. The pot we’re using today is a brand new one so it
doesn’t have any coatings on it at all. If you have a pot that has any kind of wax coating
or old seasoning on it you want to make sure to wash these off, even new ones like this,
wash it off to get any coatings at all. Make sure you get any soap residues washed
off completely and then as soon as it’s out of the water you want to warm it up and dry
off the pot to make sure it doesn’t rust. Our pot is now dry and it’s warm. It being
warmed up’s really going to help the oil soak into the pores. Let’s get some oil onto this. We’re going to put oil on the inside and the
outside of the pot. You want to get a nice thin coating all over the inside and all over
the outside. You want to make sure to have your work surface protected because this is
a messy job. Once we’ve got the oil completely covering this pot on every surface, then we
can take a rag and we can wipe it off, making sure that we don’t have any excess oil. We
don’t want it to pool up and get thick any place. We want to have just one thin layer. Okay, so I’ve got the oven fired up. It’s
500 or 600 degrees in there. You may not have an oven like this, you can do this in a regular
home oven, just set it for 450 or 500, whatever the maximum temperature is for your home oven,
but be aware that this is a smoky and smelly operation. If you do it in your home, you’re
going to need the windows open, the doors open. While that’s baking, we’re going to season
another method. If you’re object is too large to bake or if you want to do it outside on
an open fire where the smoke wont harm your house, you can do the seasoning on an open
fire. What we’re going to do is we’re going to take one of these little folding frying
pans and we’re going to season this on an open flame. Our folding frying pans come preseasoned
but if you want them to work better, it’s best to get another couple coatings of seasoning
on the pan. I’ve got this pan heated up just like I heated
up the other piece, and we’re going to put oil on it. We want to get a coating on this pan exactly
like the other pot. We want to get a nice thin layer on all the surfaces on the outside
and the inside. Let’s put it on the fire. Now let’s heat the pan up until we start to
see some smoke. So as this heats up it’s going to start smoking and it’s going to start turning
black and what we want to do is make sure that we don’t get it too hot. It’s a bit of
a fine line. If you get it too hot, you’ll actually burn the seasoning off. You don’t
want to do that, but as soon as that turns black and starts smoking up, we’re going to
put another thin layer on it. You also want to hit the bottom so that it gets a good layer
on it and then we just put it back on again for a minute or so. We want to have a lot
of layers on this. At least a half a dozen. As you can see, for a job like this a good
pair of leather gloves, it’s a must. Looks like the pan is done. I’ve got a good
half a dozen coats of seasoning on this. It’s a nice even black color on the inside. It
hasn’t gotten too hot, hasn’t burned the seasoning off, so this pan is done. Now it’s time to
look to see how our pot is doing in the oven. This pot as just a single layer of seasoning
on it, so we’re going to need to do the same thing. We’re going to need to use our cloth
and put on more oil, nice thin coat, put it back in the oven. Seasoning, it’s a simple but necessary task
for your cookware. When you”re taking care of this seasoning you want to make sure that
when you wash out these pots, you don’t leave them soaking a long time, don’t use harsh
detergents or those will go into the coating and make your food taste like soap the next
time you use it and you want to make sure to store them so that they stay nice and dry. All the items you’ve seen in this episode
today, they’re in our print catalog, they’re on our website and don’t forget to follow
us on Facebook.

100 comments on “How to Season Cast Iron Cookware – 18th Century Cooking Series S2E5”

  1. SS S says:

    May I make soup and stew in a cast iron pan? I've heard that it's gonna break the coating.

  2. bob souza says:

    It helps to season a pot up side down to keep oil from pooling on the bottom. Pooled oil can be gummy and get rancid. Great video, thanks.

  3. Zaur Ike says:

    …While greasy Jon doth keel the pot… 😉

  4. Jane Collette says:

    well, I love iron skillet, they are amazingly resilient. I've had some handed down to me all rusted and dirty. I simply scrubbed it out good, and reapplied oil and baked it in the oven for an hour or so, then wipped it out and did it once more. it worked nicely, and I used it for years and years. thank you for showing us all these helpful hints.

  5. joe rice says:

    If the pan has some slight rust should you remove the rust or just season over the rust..?

  6. John D says:

    What about used motor oil. That rally has lots of carbon in it.

  7. Tony Weaver says:

    To fully strip off old seasoning, use a lye bath. Carefully mix lye and water and immerse the item let it stand a few hours or overnight then check it. The modern easier version is to take a box large enough to accommodate the pan. Place a large garbage bag in the box like a liner. Spray YELLOW CAP Easyoff all over the pan. Close the bag and walk away.
    And remember, any time you work with lye ware gloves and eye protection.

  8. Civera says:

    I did not know you had to do this, I'm not in any scenario where I had to learn or use this. When I read the title I thought it was a process like pre-seasoning then adding your food. You learn new things every day.

  9. ManapuaMan says:

    I only need your answer Sir!

  10. Texas Style BBQ and Cuisine says:

    Excellent demo

  11. Timothy Creighton says:

    Does he sound sick to anyone else?

  12. OmegaWolf747 says:

    Would it be best to wash seasoned ironware with castille soap?

  13. Mama Dragon says:

    I love this channel–so much fun and so much information. Cast iron is fantastic for cooking and will last nearly forever with care. Some of the pieces I've inherited must be pushing the century mark by now and they're still as good as new. Thanks for all the great videos, Jon!

  14. Wayabear says:

    This reminds me of my grandmother seasoning her pans. Her house was heated with a wood stove and she would rub either bacon grease or lard on her pans and put them into the wood stove to season them.

  15. Taylor P. says:

    i am a cast iron collector, i use crisco to season and after each use i use beeswax cause it dont go rancid

  16. Matthew Knobel says:

    Keep in mind that you can use a gas grill

  17. bashpr0mpt says:

    When the question is 'what oil' the answer is 'whatever oil you've got'. You'll always have puritans complaining no matter what. Check your car or truck, it might be time for an oil change, and hey presto, you've got free oil, with an extra side order of iron filings and engine juice! Adds to the flavor, I swear!

  18. Macnutz420 says:

    Properly seasoned cast iron cook ware is wonderful stuff. I have some of my grand mother's cast iron, which she inherited from her mother. I'm almost 70. Two of the frying pans and one dutch oven are over 150 yrs old and look the same as the day I got them.
    They will last as long as they are taken care of.

  19. PickelJars ForHillary says:

    Rem oil.

  20. jds955 says:

    what do you do if its a little rusty

  21. Klater Bug says:

    I've always used lard to season mine would flaxseed oil be better

  22. C. McClanahan says:

    I own my grandmother's set of cast iron skillets and pots which she got from her mother..

  23. monkeyboy4746 says:

    Is any of this covered in the literature, or did back in the day the people just picked up a new iron pan, knocked most of the rust off and then started cooking with it? Over time the cooking fats became baked on and thus seasoned the pan.

  24. Nomad LIFE says:

    I’m sure you’ve heard it many time but nevertheless thanks for what you do. Great content, well produced and the love of the craft is evident. Fantastic channel, thanks again!!!

  25. Roger Plessen says:

    Cast iron is wonderfully non stick

  26. Emily Marriott says:

    This is a pretty good video! I just have a couple things to comment on.

    1. Flaxseed oil does work, and plenty of people swear by it, however, I've heard enough tales of it flaking to stick with shortening and vegetable oil.
    2. Cast iron is uneven, not porous 🙂

    Finally, you don't really need a ton of layers before use. 3-4 is fine. Just start out cooking bacon. Bacon is wonderful for cast iron and delicious!

  27. Coach Men says:

    thank you for your wonderful videos wonderful on many different levels technically and historically and for providing us with a greater appreciation of what those who came before us went through . viewed through that lens when would or should find it very difficult to complain of many of our daily circumstances today.

  28. Kain Yusanagi says:

    For those curious why you want to avoid harsh detergents on a chemical level, when he explains that it's due to the soap geting into the coating and your food tasting of it he's exactly right! Soaps are made from fatty acids combining with salts, and exposing it to more fatty acids that aren't already bonded with salts will encourage some salts to associate with the fats in your cookware, leaving a thin coating of soap in your cookware. The harsher the detergent used, the more reactive it is, which means the more likely it's going to affect the coating in your cookware, and the stronger the effect is going to be. It's like the difference between using dilute and concentrated acetone as paint stripper (I've deliberately kept this simple, but all the information is, to my knowledge, up to date with what we know of the chemistry of the process).

  29. Nal Thyr says:

    can you recommend other oils which are suitable for seasoning a cast iron skillet?

  30. Wind Chapman says:

    I would like to add that this goes for seasoning any iron if you wish. I make wrought iron spiders, pots, trivets, and whatever people want and give this as a "finish" option.

  31. TheLadySamantha says:

    Is it actually carbonized oil? I thought it was polymerized oil/fat. Fat is chemically quite similar to plastic and this is why you should never try to whip egg whites in a plastic bowl because any oil/fat that comes into contact with plastic, some of it never really washes off. It's molecularly so similar it bonds to the plastic. Oil/fat can interfere with egg whites forming a proper foam. Heated oil/fat, polymerizes and almost makes a sort of organic teflon sort of non-stick, quite slick coating. Of course I may be wrong, but this is my understanding of it. Great series and lover your videos and channel! Keep up the good work!

  32. JoJo Mama says:

    Not carbonized,it's actually polymerized…and flaxseed oil is good but just about any oil should be fine

  33. JoJo Mama says:

    And you should ALWAYS invert your cook ware when seasoning…

  34. Mirozen says:

    Just curious, you make a point of ensuring that the oil you use is fresh and not rancid, but since all you are planning on using it for is creation of a carbonized surface on the pan does this really make a difference? Thanks in advance, and thanks for the video!

  35. Harold McBroom says:

    Question:  My cast iron was also a hand-down, and I don't want to mess with temperatures around 500 especially living in an apartment complex where there's never enough ventilation.   So what I do, and I don't even know if it's protecting anything… After cooking food, I wash it, dry it well, then rub a small coating of olive oil, get rid of the excess, and let it sit, when it's time to cook, I wash the skillet, cook, and repeat the process, so that way the iron never gets a chance to absorb water since the oily surface helps out with the thirsty iron.

    What are your thoughts on this method just mentioned?

    The one that came from the oven looks better than the one that came out of the fireplace, because the coating seems darker on the oven variant.

  36. AndrewWasHere 82 says:

    Why do you need to season cast iron cookware? If it's to make it non stick, that's understandable, but then why the outside as well?

  37. WcHoward2 says:

    You can do it in a gas grill as well. You will not smoke out the house.

  38. Plain & Simple says:

    I only use seasoning oils that I cook with, not flaxseed oil that is not used for cooking.

  39. Arizona Bladesman says:

    Thank you for this information.

  40. Tinkering4Time says:

    Hey Jon!
    1. Sorry for the times I've called you James. Force of suggestion from the name of the company.
    2. I'm am always surprised and pleased at the little snippets and treasures I find on your channel. I was thinking to myself about how I could re-season or otherwise care for cast iron on the road, i.e camping or something, and I see this video as I am reviewing another video on the same subject of seasoning cast iron cookware. Color me delighted!
    3. Coming back to the channel after awhile is like meeting a distant uncle or cousin who is a bit odd but utterly delightful.

    Thanks for all you share.

  41. Jamez0117 says:

    Your videos are to short and you dont give enough info. 4th video I've watched today.

  42. John Doolittle says:

    Why is the outside of the pan or pot seasoned as well? I don't understand the reason for that.

  43. Tushar Khanna says:

    how warm does one want the cast iron object to be before we apply oil on it? just a rough estimate. I've heard various temperatures from warm, to hot bathwater temperature, to hot enough to barely be able to touch it. Could you please help

  44. Missi Lotze says:

    My skillet collection is the result of being the only child, and only grandchild, who married an only child and grandchild. Never had to buy one; we inherited about a dozen from my grandmother and his. My grandmother always seasoned her pans with lard, so that's what I've always done. When the finish stops looking shiny, it's time to reapply. Wash the skillet, dry it over the flame on the stove, rub it inside and out with a paper towel liberally greased in lard, then pop it in the oven on high setting and leave it until it starts smoking. Repeat as necessary.

  45. kshiftkometh says:

    Frying things in clarified butter from time to time really helps. Vegetable oil is terribly processed and causes you to store more fat cells. Truffle or garlic infused olive oil (double concentrate) is good for the final coat or two, I use up the last of bottles to avoid waste. Flaxseed (aka linseed) is also traditionally used on cricket bats, amazing oil.

  46. S M says:

    i thought this was 18th century cooking shouldnt you of used the animal fats or lards like you said

  47. Rick Halverson says:

    Who seasons at 500-600 degrees? Awful hot; the oil is completely destroyed long before that temperature is reached.

  48. Universe LAW OF ATTRACTION says:

    can you season cast iron under the sun for long period of time?

  49. Steve Stephens says:

    You mention that the seasoning oils "soak into the pores of the cast iron" but cast iron and all other metals do not have pores and nothing can soak into the iron.

  50. debbie boring says:

    Thank you I had heard of seasoning the pans. And was somewhat familiar with what to do but it is nice to see someone really go thru the process. I didn't what kind of oil to use for seasoning so that will help. My Grandmother used hers when they would go up into Canada when my mom was a teen. They built a cabin back up on a lake. So some of the things you talk about they would do. Very helpful video.

  51. Blixem says:

    use meat grease…

  52. Señor Austin says:

    Did they have to season there pots and pans like that every time they had to cook

  53. Ute J.k. Bemsel says:

    i've seasoned my shovel just one time! and it worked well….

  54. John Harvey says:

    I was just wondering about seasoning cast iron today… And boom Townsend and sons comes through again

  55. aztec999999 says:

    Thank you. My skillet got rusted. Thank you. I trust you

  56. mark rush says:

    very good video….that folding skillet looks like an accident waiting to happen tho.

  57. David LaBuda says:

    These videos make me want go out into the wilderness and leave the craziness behind.

  58. Quetzel Coatl says:

    iron pillar of Delhi

  59. SkywalkerAni says:

    I love both my cast iron skillet and dutch oven. Soaps, stews, sauces, pan roasting… they're so versatile.

  60. yardsausage says:

    he is so right,..i have watched many videos on youtube on seasoning cast iron pans, and there are so many variations on it, that i decided screw it..i will stick with what they had a century or more ago..i use bacon fat, and or for me..

  61. norm lor says:

    I'm so glad I happened on your Site by accident watching hundreds of cooking videos and I love this Era in American History as one of my favorite films is "The Crossing" starring Jeff Daniels as Washington. as well as further back when the Pilgrims found Plymouth and the history of Thanksgiving.

  62. Stephanie MB says:

    Do you season the handle too? Obviously otfor cooking but as

  63. john balogna says:

    can you use the flax seed oil that are in the capsules you take as a supplement ??

  64. Astrin Ymris says:

    Question regarding 6:28 — Is Dawn too harsh to use to wash cast iron? We have some old cast iron cookware I want to try seasoning.

  65. Sasha Minsk says:

    Spot on. Ive had a cast iron skillet for 15 years and its as good as the day it was cast. In that time the latest "wonder" cookware has come and gone. Our ancestors weren't stupid people and used cast iron for a reason😁

  66. Ideffix_Cat22 says:

    WOW thank you 🤩🤴☺☯️💗😌

  67. EC Kuhl says:

    My uncle learned to cook from his mother who was a chef, and he usually cooks from the game he kills himself. He uses walnut oil. Another option if you want one.

  68. Mark Lesniak says:

    Considering what an amazing presenter this guy has become, it should give everyone hope given that his early stuff is just a touch awkward. 😂

  69. Murhaain says:

    One thing to keep in mind is that flaxseed oil rags can spontaniously catch fire.

  70. tradersato says:

    53.. lol

  71. TheStaniG says:

    Just got a cast iron skillet for grilling steaks, remembered your video and came back to touch up my memory.

    Love the content.

  72. Ritalie says:

    Unfortunately it appears that flaxseed oil is not actually a valid option for cast iron it flakes off immediately the first time you cook with it. Pans that have existing seasoning may benefit from flaxseed but it does not appear to work on bare metal for 80% of people. I've read hundreds of reports of people following the instructions and using pure organic flaxseed but it simply flakes off.

  73. Ben Papale says:

    Might have missed in the other comments…but what do you do w/Lodge cookware? Btw, LOVE your channel!

  74. Bell Matthew says:

    Whoo! Another Jas. and Townsend video! (Love how he cares about the smell and our homes.)

  75. Blind Mike's Culinary Adventures says:

    I am legally blind and have been watching your channel for a little while now. I love how you describe everything. Keep up the good work. It definitely makes me want to get into doing some of these projects here in my town to get people interested in history. This is one of my favourite time period in history.

  76. Carol Templet says:

    So right my old cast iron was well worn but not seasoned very well (yard sale stuff) can you start over on the seasoning again reseason them do you have to remove the old stuff first show a how to on old misused pots etc and how to get them back into a great seasoned state again, IT'S ONLY WAY I MAKE MY CORNBREAD ONE SKILLET IS FOR THAT ONLY I WON'T DO IT ANY OTHER WAY IT'S NOT THE SAME. THANKS A HUGE FAN

  77. Running Waters says:

    THANK YOU. AT LAST the way to do it without an oven. THANK YOU !!!

  78. MTSL says:

    Really enjoy your videos mate 👍👍 Thanks. Could totally see you with your own tv show here in Australia on the ABC television network. Keep up the great work 👍👍

  79. fish mann says:

    Video is old there’s another 52 ways to season a cast iron.

  80. Jo Luffman says:

    I don't suggest fire unless you have a huge cauldron. There's a reason cast iron gets hard to find the older it is.

    I have a cheap set of heavy China made CI that will see fire, but my Griswold haven't seen the outside since they left my car to come in my house.

  81. JP Stone says:

    First rate brother. Class act.

  82. คlקђค ๓คlє says:

    I came to learn from the best. I left satisfied

  83. Scoop Yall says:

    Flax seed oil probably the worst oil to use, Mayo Clink has a lot to say about flax seed oil. Then the fact that you could even buy the wrong one. It has the loosest smoke point. There a reason the old people used lard, but what do I know. I got the most beautiful shine and not a drop of flax seed which can have Carcinogen!

  84. Eli Johnson says:

    how do I clean burnt on stuff? boil water in it?

  85. He Ka says:

    My mistake has always been putting too much oil at once. It build up weird looking pools and it's impossible to even out…

  86. Kevin Hosford says:

    This is the best seasoning video on you YouTube. .

  87. Charles Mitchell says:

    Useful. Thanks

  88. rkmugen says:

    My trusty cast-iron frying pan is one of the few things I actually want to be buried with when I die…. the thing has never failed me……. NEVER!

  89. victorediaz1 says:


  90. shaybob1711 says:

    I know this is a really old video but it got me thinking about the different oils that would have been used in the 18th century. Any chance you could make a video going over the different types of oil they had available at the time?

  91. Jeremy Kui says:

    Which flagseed oil is the best to use for seasoning? The ''raw'' cold pressed or the cooked one?

  92. Stephen says:


  93. MrSIXGUNZ says:

    That was amazing and I need a folding pan now!!! Blessings 🙏

  94. Aadil Shah says:

    Food grade linseed oil has become really hard to find. I use Canola oil now.

  95. Will M says:

    Grape seed oil has worked well for me.

  96. J Bello says:

    i gotta do this with my cast iron… love cast iron apple pie 🙂

  97. Play Me says:

    I usually follow the instructions that come with my cast iron implement. Of course, I only need to buy one of each in a life time. However, I have never seen flax seed oil recommended. But if you say it works, it must do. Great video.
    What is the burning, flash, point of flax seed oil?
    Virginia in Ohio

  98. AnotherOne says:

    There's something about colonial cookware that roars, "if it ain't broke, done fix it" and still holds true today.

  99. Bob Stewart says:

    today I'm buying a frying pan and try to season it using your method. thank you very much

  100. Kevin Rowe says:

    Lovely pot both before and after.😀
    I go to look it up at the Townsends store. 😉

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