The Better Way To Season A Cast Iron Skillet

If you cook with a cast iron skillet, chances are you already have an idea of how to season one. But what if we told you there was a better way? One that guaranteed a slick, shiny surface that never has to be touched-up? America's Test Kitchen found one and tested it, and the difference between their traditional vegetable oil method and this new and improved method is easy to see.

This is the cast iron that's been seasoned with the new method, after going through the dishwasher (which we know is usually considered a major no-no, but is used solely for the purpose of this test). Seriously.

America's Test Kitchen

This is a cast iron after having gone through the dishwasher seasoned with vegetable oil.

America's Test Kitchen

Not so pretty. Sure, most people don't put their cast iron through the dishwasher, but it's impressive to see how well the first cast iron held up. What's the secret? The oil. The first cast iron skillet was seasoned with flaxseed oil, which is the food grade equivalent of linseed oil. (Linseed oil is used by painters to give their paintings a hard, polished finish.) When exposed to heat, the "fatty acids combine to form a strong, solid matrix that polymerizes to the pan’s surface," explains America's Test Kitchen.

This is a game changer. Head on over to America's Test Kitchen to read the full explanation and for instructions on how to season with flaxseed oil.

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