How to Clean Cast Iron Grill Pans Easily

If you’re a new owner of a cast iron grill pan, and you are searching for cleaning advice – how to clean cast iron grill pans. Here is the right place to ease your concerns.

Let’s jump in!

Concern #1: For Light Cleaning

If you cook a saucy dish and the pan doesn’t have much food residues, simply rinse with hot water and dry it. This works quite well.

Here is how to clean cast iron grill pans:

  1. Let the cast iron pan cool down until you can touch it
  2. Wipe away any food residues and grease
  3. Rinse with hot water
  4. Dry the pan with a dry towel. Set the pan on low heat on a stove until all water evaporate
  5. Apply a thin layer of cooking oil to the surface of the pan
  6. Wipe away any excess oil residues 
  7. Store in dry and cool place

If you encounter different conditions of your pan such as food sticking, rust or stink, follow below instructions to clean and restore it.

Concern #2: Stuck On Food / Burned Food (3 Easy Methods)

Method 1: cleaning with water

  1. Simmer the pan with a little water
  2. Set the pan on the stove and boil until some food particles float
  3. Use a nylon bush or wooden spatula to remove the burned food
  4. Cool down the pan and pour down the dirty water
  5. Rinse with pan with hot water
  6. Dry the pan with a dry towel. Set the pan on low heat on the stove until all water evaporate
  7. Apply a thin layer of cooking oil to the surface of the pan
  8. Wipe away any excess oil residues 
  9. Store in dry and cool place

Method 2: scrubbing with salt

  1. Cover the pan with coarse salt
  2. Scrub the pan with paper towels
  3. Dump the dirty salts out until the pan is clean
  4. Heat the pan on low heat as any moisture will evaporate
  5. Store in dry and cool place

Method 3: scrubbing with salt and water

  1. Sprinkle coarse salt over the pan
  2. Add a little bit of water
  3. Scour the pan with spongy
  4. Rinse the pan with water
  5. Heat it over a low heat to remove water and moisture
  6. Store in dry and cool place

Concern #3: Rust (2 Effective Methods)

Method 1: salt and lemon juice

  1. Scour the rust
  2. Sprinkle salt over the rusted area
  3. Add lemon juice (or any acidic food) to the area
  4. Cover the rust with a plastic wrap for 2 hours. If the rust is too severe, let it sit longer
  5. Remove the wrap and scrub the rust off.  Metal scrubber is all right to use in this case as re-reason will follow
  6. Rinse the pan thoroughly as the acidic mixture left will damage the bare metal pan
  7. Dry and heat the pan with low heat
  8. Re-season the pan 

Method 2: vinegar and water

  1. Mix vinegar with water in 1:1 ratio
  2. Submerge your pan in the vinegar mixture overnight
  3. Scour the pan with metal scrubber
  4. Rinse the pan thoroughly with water
  5. Dry and re-season

Concern #4: Flakes

  1. Strip the flakes with a putty knife to remove the seasoned layer
  2. Wash the pan with water
  3. Dry and re-season

Concern #5: Black Residues

  1. Pour coarse salt into the pan
  2. Rub the pan with paper towels until you can’t see any residues
  3. Remove the salt
  4. Wash with some soap
  5. Dry and place the pan on a stove to remove moisture
  6. Apply a thin layer of oil

Concern #6: Sticky Surface

  1. Wipe the pan to remove excess oil
  2. Bake the pan at 400°F  for 1hr

Concern #7: Stink

Method 1: oven

  1. Bake the pan at 400°F for 15 min

Method 2: stovetop

  1. Heat the pan on the stove with medium flame

Method 3: natural 

  1. Sprinkle the salt over the pan and sit overnight
  2. Rinse the pan
  3. Dry by the low heat
  4. Apply oil to the pan

What’s seasoning?

When the fat or cooking oil is heated to its’ smoke point in cast iron or carbon steel cookware, their fatty acids are converted to plastic-like non-stick coating known as seasoning. This seasoning provides a natural, non-stick cooking surface and prevents your cookware from rusting. With proper cleaning and maintenance, the cast iron cookware can last for generations

Final Thoughts

Now, you know how to clean cast iron grill pans under different conditions. Keep in mind that cleaning and maintenance after cooking will reward you with a long-lasting pan.  

FAQ

FAQs

Can I leave food in my cast iron pan overnight?

No, it is not a good idea to keep your food in the pan overnight. Food, especially acidic food and water will lead to rust. Take out the food and clean it as soon as you finish cooking.

Can I soak my cast iron in water?

No, soaking your pan in water causes rusting. When iron is exposed to water at room temperature, rusting occurs. But don’t worry. You can remove the rust and restore your cookware.

Can I wash my cast iron with soap?

Yes, most soaps today are mild. They are strong enough to remove the oils left on the surface of the pan, but are not able to remove the seasoning.

Can I use metal scrapers to scour?

No, metal scrapers remove seasoning. Nylon brush, plastic scraper and spongy are better choices to remove burnt food. We only recommend metal scrapers before re-seasoning.

Can I wash my cast iron in the dishwasher?

No, you should never put your cast iron into the dishwasher. The typical temperature of the dishwashing cycle is around 140°F. Prolonged exposure – it normally takes 2 hours – to heat and detergent can strip the seasoning and cause rust.

Do I need to clean cast iron after every use?

We recommend cleaning the pan after cooking in order to keep it in good shape. It is not difficult to do so. Most of the time, wiping it with a paper towel is ok. If your pan is too dirty, heating the pan over low heat and then brushing it under hot running water will totally solve your headache.

When should I re-season cast iron?

A well-seasoned cast iron is dark, semi-glossy and non-stick. With proper usage, the seasoning builds up naturally when you cook. If your pan looks dull, greasy, rusted, flaked or sticky, it is time to re-season the pan.

What is the best oil to season cast iron?

We take two factors into consideration- the level of polyunsaturated fat and its smoke point – when choosing oil for seasoning. The more polyunsaturated fat the oil contains, the better it is. The higher the smoke point of the oil is, the better it is. Grapeseed oil and flaxseed oil are the best oil for seasoning. But cheaper oils like corn, sunseed and soybean work too.

Can I cook acidic food in my cast iron?

It is ok to cook acidic food in a well-seasoned pan. But you should be careful of how long and how often you cook acidic food. According to America’s Test Kitchen, the metallic flavours can be detected in the tomato sauce only after it has simmered for a full 30 minutes. This is a sign of stripping off the seasoning. We also recommend not cooking acidic food in a new pan as the layer of the seasoning is so thin that will be stripped off. Prevent cooking acidic food in your new seasoned pan until a well-seasoned coating builds up over time.

How to store my cast iron?

Keep in a cool and dry area. If you stack your pans, place paper towels between them.

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