A nice, seasoned cast iron pan was once the thing your grandmother cooked in. You may even have a sweet childhood memory of bacon sizzling and eggs frying in cast iron on a warm summer morning. Are you starting to smell those mouth-watering scents?
Today, cast iron pans are making a comeback. All types of people are falling in love with this heavy-duty cookware.
You can find them everywhere: professional kitchens, home kitchens, and even outdoor kitchens. In fact, cast iron is often used outside due to the widespread resurgence of outdoor, open-fire cooking.
Scroll through social media and check out the hashtags #outdoorcooking and #openfirecooking to see this cast iron aesthetic in action.
There’s a reason people love using cast iron pans for cooking. They have incredible heat retention and maintain that heat for an extended period of time. They’re also highly durable for cooking and can easily be transferred from the stove to the oven’s top or bottom rack.
You can use them for cooking vegetables, steaks, cornbread, and almost any other recipe. Yes, you can even cook bacon. Use a wooden spoon, plastic spatula, or any other type of utensil when cooking in cast iron.
Unfortunately, improperly cleaned cast iron pans can easily lose their seasoning layer. If that happens, you’ll likely notice that your food begins sticking, and the pan becomes harder to cook.
That’s why you’ll want to know how to take care of this cookware if you’re considering switching to cast iron. From cleaning to seasoning to storing, understanding how to care for your cast iron pans is essential to keep them in tip-top shape.
One of the main questions new cast iron users have is, can you put a cast iron pan in the dishwasher? Are they dishwasher safe?
Quick Answer: Can You Put a Cast Iron Pan in the Dishwasher?
No, you should not put a cast iron pan in the dishwasher. Dishwasher soap can strip the pan’s seasoning and cause rusting. Instead, hand-wash the pan with warm water, dry it thoroughly, and oil it after each wash to maintain its non-stick surface and prevent oxidation.
The Dishwasher and Cast Iron
Cast iron pans are literally made of iron. You must properly care for your pans and give them a nice season to keep them in excellent condition and prevent food from sticking.
If a cast iron pan is put into the dishwasher, the soap or detergents will remove the seasoning, and the pan will begin to rust. When it has prolonged exposure to oxygen and water, it begins to oxidize, which hastens rusting.
The best way to ensure your cast iron pan has a long, non-stick life is by keeping it out of the dishwasher and cleaning it correctly.
4 Steps: How To Clean Cast Iron Pans
Cast iron pans are much different to cook with and clean than other types of pots and pans.
You’ll want to make sure and hand-wash your cast iron skillet. Instead of putting them in the dishwasher, follow a handful of steps that keep your pans in top condition and ensure they retain their seasoning.
Step 1: Let the Pan Cool
When it comes to cast iron, it’s important not to clean the pan until it has cooled down. Waiting until the pain has cooled down helps to avoid warping or cracking from internal shock due to the rapid temperature change.
After the pan has cooled, you can move on to the next step.
Step 2: Wash the Pan
Use hot or warm water to rinse and wash your cast iron pan. Avoid using soap, even mild dish soap, as it can easily leave a residue within the pores of the pan.
You also want to avoid all types of harsh detergents.
Sometimes, a simple dish brush is sufficient for washing. For more challenging messes, you’ll want to use an abrasive scrubber such as steel wool or a pan scraper and scrub the pan.
You can also use kosher salt and a stiff brush to clean the pan.
If you’re having trouble getting food residue off, boil water in the pan for a few minutes and then let it cool. After cooling, the steel wool or chainmail scrubber should be able to remove the mess easily.
Step 3: Dry the Pan
It’s important to dry your cast iron pans right after washing them. Any moisture that remains on the pan could cause rusting, so make sure to wipe it all off.
Dry your pan using a paper towel or a cloth free from lint. Make sure your pan is completely dry before moving on to step four.
Step 4: Oil Your Cast Iron
A huge part of keeping your cast iron skillet well-seasoned is oil. You will need to oil your pan every time you wash it.
Pour a light layer of cooking oil onto your cast iron pan. Use a paper towel to rub the oil around the entire interior surface of the pan. Wipe away any excess oil.
To help maintain the pan’s seasoning, put the cast iron pan over a burner on medium heat and warm it up with a thin layer of oil inside. Warm for a minute or two, then remove it from the heat.
Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.