Cast iron seasoning is a kitchen hack that saves you from burning food and ending up with sticky pots & rusty pans. But you still need to get the ingredient mix right, otherwise, you might get saddled with uneven seasoning in cast iron.
If you’re unsure how to fix uneven seasoning in cast iron, this article will give you detailed instructions. It also goes over some of the factors that contribute to the uneven seasoning of your casting iron.
Moreover, you’ll get to know the various types of lubricants that make using cast iron easy. If you also don’t know what a seasoned iron should look like and how to keep it seasoned and even, you should read this article.
What is cast iron seasoning?
Cast iron seasoning is an oily coating that is then baked onto the iron pan’s surface. The oil endures a polymerization reaction at high temperatures which turns it into a solid and indefinitely bonds it to the iron.
Cookware that has been seasoned will have a timeless black patina. In addition to preventing rust and food from sticking to the pan while cooking, it creates a natural, simple cooking surface.
How to fix uneven seasoning cast iron
You should fix your cast iron seasoning if it appears uneven. To fix this, you have to re-season cast iron if the rough surface is not smooth to the touch and appears uneven.
Cleaning the pan with coarse-grade steel wool is the simplest way to get rid of uneven seasoning. You can make the pan’s surface more receptive to a fresh seasoning by roughening it up.
Wash the pan with soap and water to remove any small metal shavings or debris. This will also help to remove the old seasoning. Afterward, towel-dry the pan thoroughly and start seasoning the pan again.
What does uneven seasoning cast iron look like?
Uneven seasoning in cast iron gives the pan a patchy appearance. While some areas might look gray and dull, other parts might look shiny and black.
Instead of even smoothness and uniformity, you will also notice that some areas feel rough, sticky, or raised.
How to season a cast iron
Follow these steps to evenly season a cast iron:
Pan washing and drying
The pan should be thoroughly cleaned in warm, soapy water followed by thorough drying. After towel drying, there may be some surface moisture, so it is best to place the pan over a stovetop flame for a few mins to dry up any remaining water.
Apply oil all over it and buff it well
After cleaning and drying your pan, rub cooking oil all over the pan or skillet, paying careful attention to the handle.
The secret is to scrub the pan well with a soft cloth after you’ve applied the oil so that it doesn’t appear greasy.
A small quantity of extra oil on the pan can slip through the seasoning, forming sticky drops on your cooking surface if left unattended for a few days.
Heat the pan in the oven
The oiled pan should be put in a 450°F oven and baked for 30 minutes. Keep your kitchen well-ventilated because it will get smokey.
After 15 minutes, the oil starts to polymerize, forming the first of several hard, silicone-like coatings.
Repeat process again
When the half-hour is up, take the pan outside to cool. Once it has cooled, buff it before rubbing oil on it. Then, re-bake in the oven for 30 more minutes.
You should repeat this heating and frying process three to four times to get a firm base for your seasoning.
What should a seasoned cast iron look like?
A properly seasoned cast iron pan has a standard deep shiny black color without blotches or gray spots.
Additionally, it must be smooth to the touch and not gritty, greasy, or sticky. If the water quickly beads up and runs off the surface, your skillet is well-seasoned and good to use.
Bare cast iron that has not been seasoned has a silver color. Seasoning turns it into a black hue.
How many times should you season cast iron?
A cast iron pan needs to be seasoned about three times consecutively before use, whether after the seasoning layer has been removed or when starting with bare iron.
Based on usage patterns and frequency, a well-seasoned pan should be seasoned twice to three times annually.
The best oils for seasoning cast iron
Use an oil high in unsaturated fat and low in saturated fat when seasoning cast iron. You should also know the oil’s smoke point and confirm that your oven can maintain a temp up to 25 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit higher than its smoke point for 60 minutes.
These oils are best suitable for cast iron seasoning:
1. Flaxseed oil
Flaxseed oil is a superb option for constructing a very robust and long-lasting seasoning layer because it has a low percentage of trans fat, a very low smoke point, and a low required oven temperature.
2. Grapeseed oil
Because grapeseed oil’s fat profile is quite comparable to that of flaxseed oil. It is also a great option for creating a thick, even seasoning layer. It is simpler to find and less expensive than flaxseed oil.
3. Canola oil
Based on its fat profile, canola oil might seem like a wise choice, but it’s important to note that most low-quality canola contains contaminants that can make cast iron sticky or streak.
Therefore, you should use high-quality oil made entirely of canola oil and contains no additives or propellants.
How to prevent uneven seasoning on cast iron
If your cast iron is uneven after seasoning, you might have skipped some steps. You should, therefore, learn how to stop iron from becoming uneven.
Use flaxseed oil
Using vegetable or olive oil is one of the biggest errors in uneven cast iron seasoning. This isn’t the worst choice, but it’s not the best either.
The best oil for seasoning is flaxseed oil because it has a low smoking point, high levels of unsaturated fats, and high levels of omega-3 fatty acids- all of which aid in the polymerization of seasoning.
Warm up your cast-iron pan
One of the mistakes many people make when seasoning cast iron is that they forget to preheat the pan.
Although it does have an impact on the seasoning process, it can result in an uneven seasoning of cast iron. Especially in comparison to other materials used to make pans, cast iron heats slowly and evenly.
Therefore, warm up each cast iron pan separately so the oil can heat up evenly and season evenly.
Apply a thin coating of oil
It may be tempting to coat the entire pan with copious amounts of olive oil, but it doesn’t work like that.
Too much oil prevents polymerization which consequently results in uneven seasoning.
Putting your cast-iron pan in the oven upside down
People often forget to keep their pans upturned in the oven, possibly because it does not immediately click.
If you don’t flip the pan over, the extra coating of oil builds up unevenly and haphazardly coats the pan. You don’t want extra food to stick to your pan or your cast iron to become unevenly seasoned.
The excess oil you used can drip off when you turn the pan upside down in the oven, leaving a perfectly even coating all over the pan.
You should coat the bottom of the pan with some foil too. This stops extra oil from dripping and makes it easier to clean the shelves below.
Season your cast-iron frying pan multiple times
You must season your large iron more than once and frequently to prevent uneven wear.
Why does your cast iron look bronze after seasoning?
Recently seasoned cast iron may have a brownish bronze hue. It’s just the initial patina baking in; it’s not rust.
To achieve a black finish, it may require several uses and seasoning coats. Use the pan anyway, do not be concerned about the brownish hue.
What happens if you over-season cast iron?
It may seem strange, but you can season a cast iron pan excessively. Too much oil will polymerize patchily and eventually begin to peel off the surface of the cast iron.
However, there are claims that seasoning with excessive amounts of oil will also make a pan sticky.
Why is your cast iron sticky after seasoning?
If your seasoning is overly sticky and won’t wash off with water and soap, you didn’t bake the pan upturned in the oven long enough and this prevented a small amount of oil from polymerizing.
The secret to keeping cast iron from becoming sticky in the oven is to always bake your pan inverted and to be patient too. You must give the seasoning enough time to bake and extra time for the oil to seep off.
Cast iron with uneven seasoning is annoying, and despite your best efforts, the finish is still uneven.
Even though re-seasoning your cast iron can be tiresome, it is not a difficult task, as you have noticed after reading this article. Nonetheless, be sure to follow the seasoning instructions precisely to prevent an uneven iron.
Thanks for reading.
You can also get other helpful cast iron seasoning guides here on Cheffist.