You should season a cast iron skillet is 6 times, seasoning increases and decreases through cooking and cleaning, 6 layers of seasoning is enough to keep it going throughout years of cooking and cleaning. We recommend 6 times in our how to season a cast iron skillet guide, as this is the perfect number that I have tested on my own cast iron skillets.
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How to tell if you have the right amount of seasoning
Having the right amount of seasoning is crucial for performance in a cast iron pan.
Too much seasoning and you may end up with flaking, sticky seasoning, or patches. Too little seasoning and you could end up with rust.
So as you can see, this is crucial for determining whether you need to season your cast iron pan more times.
Identify too much seasoning
To tell whether your cast iron pan has too much seasoning, rub your hands all over it while it’s dry. Does it feel sticky? If so then you have too much and you’ll need to strip the seasoning down and re-season your cast iron.
Identify too little seasoning
If you don’t have enough seasoning, then you should be able to tell with a visual inspection. Hold your cast iron pan up to some light, and you should see light bouncing off it, the parts that it’s bouncing off is the seasoning. It should almost look like a plastic layer on top of the iron.
If you can see patches which are not reflecting light then this is a good indication you need to season more.
One other tip for determining whether you have too little seasoning is to cook in it. If you have meats sticking to the cast iron whilst searing, then you need more seasoning. The seasoning is non-stick.
How many more times should I season my cast iron?
If you’ve discovered that you have too little seasoning, then you are probably asking “How many more times should I season my cast iron?”
It depends, and the number is not definite.
You should continue to season it until all of it looks reflective, and it looks like the layer of seasoning is covering all of the iron. Seasoning is a protective barrier, and if it’s not covering all of the cast iron pan, then it will be unprotected against moisture and acidic food.
Season your cast iron pan once, check it, and if it looks like it’s not enough, then season it again until you are satisfied.
I have a pre-seasoned skillet
Pre-seasoned skillets still require seasoning, but once you’ve seasoned it, you will not have to season it after every use like the manufacturers recommend.
The manufacturers assume that you are still using their pre-seasoning, and if that’s the case, then you should be seasoning after every use.
But if you follow our guides on seasoning, you will not need to season it again for years to come.