Uneven Seasoning On Cast Iron: 5 Ways To Prevent It

I get it, you’ve seasoned your pan over and over again, yet food is still sticking to your pan? You’ve tried cooking in it to build up the seasoning, you’ve tried everything. Yet nothing seems to work? Many people struggle with this as cast iron seasoning isn’t simple from the get go.

However, preventing uneven seasoning is pretty simple when you know the science, for instance did you know that flax seed oil is the best oil for seasoning cast iron? Flax oil contains omega-3 which produces the hardest of polymers, it’s highly unsaturated which helps create a stronger seasoning, and it has a very low smoking point to make it both time and energy efficient. All of these factors combined make flaxseed oil a perfect solution for preventing uneven seasoning on your cast iron pans.

If you know the tips and tricks like this, then seasoning your cast iron skillet becomes easy.

In this article we will be going over the 5 best practices of seasoning which will quickly stamp out your uneven seasoning problem.

How to prevent uneven seasoning on cast iron

Uneven seasoning on cast iron is frustrating; chances are, you have given it your best, but it still has an uneven finish. As a result, it may look dull, splotchy, spotty, or even brown.

The truth is, you may be missing some crucial steps when seasoning your cast iron cookware.

Use flax seed oil

One of the biggest mistakes is using vegetable oil or olive oil. Although this isn’t a bad option, it’s not the best.

Flaxseed oil is the preferable oil for seasoning; it contains high amounts of omega-3, it has high amounts of unsaturated fats, and it’s got a low smoking point, these traits of flaxseed oil help with the polymerization process of seasoning.

It doesn’t just help with the seasoning process though, Flaxseed oil creates a very stable surface, so it will not flake off into your food after a few uses. Perfect for preventing uneven seasoning on cast iron.

Preheat your cast iron pan

Often people forget to preheat the pan, which is a mistake; I must admit it’s not a big mistake. But it does affect the outcome of the seasoning and can cause uneven seasoning on cast iron.

Cast iron is slow to heat compared to other materials used for pans, and it distributes unevenly. So heat all your cast iron pan first, which will allow the oil to heat up evenly, creating an even seasoning.

Use a thin layer of oil

I know it seems tempting to splash tons of olive oil all over the pan, ensuring you cover every single spot.

However, this doesn’t work. If you use too much oil, you will end up with uneven seasoning on cast iron.

Essentially, what happens is too much oil prevents the polymerization process from working as intended, leaving an uneven coating of seasoning.

Make sure that you are using a skinny layer of olive oil or flaxseed oil. I recommend flaxseed oil, but I will cover that later on. To apply flaxseed oil, use paper towels to wipe it on and spread it evenly around the pan

Turning your cast iron pan upside down in the oven

A common mistake I always see is people do not turn their pans upside down in the oven, probably because it’s not an obvious thing to do.

When you don’t turn it upside down, the excess coating of oil gathers unevenly and then coats the pan unevenly. This leads to extra food sticking to your pan and uneven seasoning on cast iron, which you do not want. The aim here is to create a perfect nonstick surface.

By turning the pan upside down in the oven, you allow any excess oil that you used to drip off, leaving a perfectly even coating spread throughout the pan.

I recommend that you place some foil underneath the pan. This will prevent excess oil from dripping onto the shelves below, which becomes incredibly hard to clean.

Season your cast iron pan six times

Many people often season once. However, some like to strengthen every couple of days and keep building it up until they are satisfied. I understand why, as depending on the size, it can be heavy, so I recommend that everyone knows what size cast iron skillet they need.

Personally, the correct way is to season it three times to add layers of seasoning; this creates a smooth final layer of oil.

I tend to season it back to back, wipe flax seed oil on which paper towels, bake it for an hour, and repeat three times. I also think this helps spread the evenness of the seasoning.

Yes, it may be a bit tedious to do this, but it’s a couple of hours out of your day for long-lasting results, which gives the best durable frying pan. So don’t skimp out on this bit. Instead, save it for a day when you are not busy. After doing this, I guarantee you will not have uneven seasoning on your cast iron.

What does a correctly seasoned cast iron look like?

It can be challenging for those who have never seasoned before to imagine what a good seasoning looks like on cast iron.

So I’ll try my best to explain as pictures won’t do it justice.

Correctly seasoned cast iron will have a silky, glossy look to them; they will be smooth with no rough spots and have a hard black coating.

If you have uneven seasoning on your cast iron pan, this will look rough, dull, and spotty. That’s how you know you have done it incorrectly.

If that’s the case, and it has not come out as described above, please refer to the top of this article to see how you prevent uneven seasoning.

Why is my cast iron pan sticky after seasoning?

Any correctly seasoned cast iron cookware like a cast iron griddle or cast iron pan should be a dark, almost black color with a thin sheen of oil on the surface as opposed to a thick layer of oil. If you have an excessively sticky layer of seasoning that won’t come off with soap and water, it’s probably because you didn’t bake the pan upside down in the oven long enough and some of the oil hasn’t polymerized.

The key to avoiding sticky cast iron is always placing your pan upside down in the oven combined with patience. You need to allow time for all of the seasoning to cook off, and excess oil to drip off.

How often should I season cast iron?

If you’re using your cast iron pan on a daily basis, it’s probably best to re-season a few times a month. If you only use the pan once in awhile, seasoning once a year is probably sufficient.

Cast iron skillets are one of the most versatile tools you can have in your kitchen. They’re great for searing meats, sautéing vegetables, baking cornbread, and more. However, you’ll need to maintain your cast irons seasoning every now and again if you want it to last and prevent rusting.

How do I stop cast iron seasoning getting ruined?

There are a few ways you can prevent your cast iron seasoning from getting ruined:

1. Cleaning cast iron correctly

If you’ve got some food stuck on your cast iron, you’ll need to clean it off as some foods are acidic food and will eat away at the seasoning, when cleaning the cast iron don’t use anything too abrasive to clean it off such as steel wool, as this will scrape the seasoning off quickly. Dish soap and a sponge will suffice.

2. Don’t put your cast iron in the dishwasher.

You should never put your cast iron in the dishwasher. Dishwashers are very harsh on a cast iron skillet due to the soapy water being used for a prolonged period of time, and you don’t want to expose your cast iron to that kind of stress.

3. Don’t soak the cooking surface for too long.

When food is stuck to the cooking surface, I always soak it with dish soap for around 5 minutes, anything longer and the dish soap will begin to strip away the seasoning, and rust will begin to form. 5 minutes is enough time to loosen the food and allow you to clean it off with a sponge without damaging your skillet.

4. Don’t use a self cleaning oven

A self cleaning oven is powerful enough to strip the seasoning away in one go, always avoid using this unless you intentionally want to strip the seasoning to reseason cast iron.

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