How to fix a rusty cast iron pan

How to fix cast iron picA cast iron pan can last a lifetime.  But sometimes, when I see them in the store, they look like garbage.  What’s so great about them is that they’re very low maintenance.   They don’t want to go in the dishwasher, they don’t even really want to be washed with soap.  When properly seasoned (the process that creates the pan’s surface), all you usually have to do is wipe clean with a paper towel.  If a cast iron pan gets too much love, they get rusty.  Don’t give up if your cast iron pan looks bad.  It’s really a very simple process to season it, and bring it back to life.

We bought this cast iron pan at a swap meet.  It’s Lodge brand (made in the USA) and we got it for $5.  In it’s original state, it looks like the most it could be used for is a door stop.  By following these simple steps, I had this cast iron skillet looking new in no time.

How to fix a rusty cast iron pan
Print Recipe
How to fix a rusty cast iron pan in as little as an hour.
Prep Time
5 minutes
Passive Time
1-2 hours
Prep Time
5 minutes
Passive Time
1-2 hours
How to fix a rusty cast iron pan
Print Recipe
How to fix a rusty cast iron pan in as little as an hour.
Prep Time
5 minutes
Passive Time
1-2 hours
Prep Time
5 minutes
Passive Time
1-2 hours
Instructions
  1. Turn on the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Set your cast iron pan in the sink, fill with warm water and a few squirts of dish soap. (Once your pan is properly seasoned, you REALLY should avoid doing this!)
  3. Scrub with the sponge for a minute until the rusty flakes are removed. If your pan is really damaged, you may need to use steel wool.
  4. Remove cast iron pan from sink, dry with paper towels. Continue to rub pan until rust marks no longer appear.
  5. Add about a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil to pan. Wipe with a paper towel to coat the pan with oil.
  6. Place pan in oven upside down (so excess oil doesn't pool in pan.) Bake cast iron pan in the oven for 1 hour. At the end of the hour, carefully remove pan from oven. If coating looks even, you're good to go! If you still see some rusty spots, repeat the process of wiping with oil, and bake for another hour. Repeat until pan looks smooth again.
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