Best Way to Season Cast Iron Dutch Ovens: The Steps and Tips
If you’re new to the world of Dutch ovens, you might assume that seasoning your oven means giving it a way to provide more flavor while cooking. However, you’d be quite wrong since there are plenty of phenomenal benefits to knowing the best way to season cast iron Dutch ovens.
The most important one is that you’ll be protecting your investment in the long run. Not only should you season your Dutch oven as soon as you receive it, but you should also make sure that you season it regularly as you own it.
In this guide, we’ll discuss all of the top-rated ways to season your Dutch oven easily so that you have the perfect, shiny, nonstick surface to cook on for years to come without the worry of rust and irreversible damage.
The Steps on How to Season a Cast-Iron Dutch Oven
1. Clean the Dutch Oven
The first thing that you need to do when finding the best way to season cast iron Dutch ovens is to clean it properly, even if it’s a brand-new one. You’re going to want to make sure that all of the manufacturing chemicals have been removed so that you don’t impact any future meals. For cleaning, make sure that you use a mild soap and water, scrubbing the interior to get rid of any food or factory remnants.
Once you’ve finished scrubbing the inside of the oven, it’s time to rinse all the soap out. It’s also recommended that you pre-heat your stove to at least 300 degrees Fahrenheit, as this will be useful for getting rid of any extra traces of residue. You can use warm to hot water to remove all the soap, and then place the Dutch oven in your stove for approximately 10 minutes so that it dries thoroughly.
3. Begin to Season the Dutch Oven
At this point, your Dutch oven should be sparkling clean and it’s time to start the actual seasoning. You’re going to want to remove the oven from the stove and then adjust the temperature to at least 450 degrees Fahrenheit. After which, pour one-quarter of a cup of liquid oil (Canola oil works well, but peanut or vegetable oil works as well) into the pot and then add a cup of kosher salt.
With the help of a cotton cloth, rub the oil and salt into the pan, adding more if necessary. Ensure that you focus on both the inside and outside of the pan, paying special attention to the parts of the pan that are likely to get rusted over time, as your seasoning also helps to prevent rust from building up.
4. Rinse and Repeat
As soon as you are comfortable with the amount of seasoning on the interior and exterior of your Dutch oven, you’re going to want to rinse the pot off and give it another scrub using simple household ingredients. With the combination of a cup of vinegar (preferably white vinegar) and one quart of water, use another cloth to scrub away any extra pieces of rust and any loose seasoning. Once this is complete, you can put your oven into the 450-degree stove for approximately 10 minutes to allow time for it to dry for a second time.
5. Add Another Layer of Protection
One of the main reasons as to why you should find the best way to season cast iron Dutch ovens is to make sure that you have a fully non-stick surface and at this part of the process, you’ll be adding to the slippery surface on the inside of your pan.
With the help of Crisco, you’re going to want to spread a thin layer all around the inside and outside of the pan, and make sure that you get into all of the nooks and crannies, such as around the handles. Once you’ve sufficiently coated your oven, you’re going to want to put it back in the stove for a full hour. Be prepared for an overwhelming smell of burning inside of your home, as this is the deepest part of the seasoning process that is going to make the most difference for your pot.
6. Allow Time for Cooling and Re-season IF Necessary
After the hour has been concluded, you can remove the Dutch oven from the stove and allow for it to cool. It’s recommended that you repeat the Crisco basting step a second time with another hour in the stove to make sure you’ve adequately covered every inch of your Dutch pot.
Tips for Seasoning Your Cast-Iron Dutch Oven
Even though it might seem to be intimidating at first, seasoning your Dutch oven is less complicated than it is time-consuming. Below are some valuable tips to use to make sure that your seasoning efforts are put to good use over the years.
1. Use a Lint-Free Cloth
Reaching for a lint-free cotton cloth is your best bet when it comes to seasoning your oven as it helps to make sure that there aren’t any traces of material left behind while you work with the vinegar, Crisco, and even soapy water. The last thing you’d want is a lint-filled bowl of stew.
2. Choose Any Oil
There isn’t a specific type of oil that you have to use when it comes to seasoning your cast-iron pot, and it’s one of the most debatable parts of seasoning. Some home cooks prefer to use vegetable oil whereas others prefer to use flaxseed oil, but the type that you use is all based on your personal preference.
3. There will be Plenty of Smoking Involved
If you’ve never seasoned a piece of cast-iron cookware before, it’s important that you prepare yourself for a lot of smoke, which is why plenty of people prefer to season their cookware outdoors. Remember, you’re putting a pot lined in oil and salt in the stove for an hour or longer, and it surely won’t smell as delicious as a pot roast.
4. Make Sure You Test Your Dutch Oven
At the end of the seasoning process, you’re going to want to make sure that you test the strength of your seasoning before you start using the pot regularly. The best way to tell is to try to cook something in the pot, and if the food sticks to the inside surface, it hasn’t been seasoned enough. You’ll also be able to see if there are any dull spots inside or outside of the pot, as a fully seasoned cast-iron Dutch oven will look shiny.
Taking the time to regularly season your cast iron Dutch oven is what will help to make sure that it lasts throughout the years. With protection from rust, damage, and a far easier cooking surface to work with, the time that goes into the task is well worth it, especially if you use it regularly.