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Jan 15, 2007 11:03 AM

Storing cast iron skillets

I got rid of my cast iron skillets becauce I couldn't figure out how to store them when they are seasoned. I don't want to keep them on my stove top. I tired putting storing them in the oven, but I hated having to take them out of the oven to bake. I don't want to put them in the cupboard because they are messy. Where do you store yours? I miss my skillets....

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  1. I put paper towels in between my various skillets (cast iron or not) and store them in my horrible cupboard next to my stove and curse everytime I have to get one out of the stack.

    3 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      MMRuth, I rub them with a bit of cooking oil after cleaning and then dry it on the stove over very low heat for a few minutes and then store them in a cupboard , separated with a few sheets of aper towel.

      1. re: Kelli2006

        I do the same, but I confess that I don't bother w/ the paper towels. I just nest all my cast-iron pans in one stack, my Calphalon pots in another, my non-cast-iron saute pans in another, etc. I have one of those Rubbermaid (Rubbermade??) racks to store the lids vertically.

      2. re: MMRuth

        Ha ha MMRuth, I do exactly the same thing, including the cursing!

      3. Mark Bittman has a great bit on the ease of seasoning, so if you were concerned about seasoned pans getting mucked up (me, I get cat hair everywhere, so I'm sympathetic), you might want to reseason it the way he offers here:

        (S)easoning is simple, and maintaining it is even simpler. To season a new pan wash it well and dry it. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees while you warm the pan gently over low heat on top of the stove. Using a brush or a paper towel, spread a tablespoon or so of a fresh neutral oil like corn or grape seed in the pan; the surface should be evenly covered, with no excess. Put the pan in the oven, bake it for about an hour and let it cool in the oven.


        Once the pan is seasoned, routine washing can almost always be done with a scouring pad, not steel wool or anything else that will damage the seasoning (although the worst that can happen is that the pan will have to be reseasoned).

        Despite many recommendations to the contrary, a little mild soap won't tear off the seasoning.

        Cast iron can rust of course, but never if you dry it after washing and keep it out of rain and floods. If rust does appear, scour it off with steel wool or sandpaper, and reseason.

        1 Reply
        1. re: NYChristopher

          Thanks for this, Christopher! I overoiled mine last weekend when I seasoned it, so have been working away this week at scouring off the goopy oil residue. Will follow this advice tonight when I attempt the task again...

        2. I keep mine in the drawer under the stove. My mother used to put nails up on the wall and hang her skillets near the stove - they stayed flat to the wall,and nothing could get on the cooking surface.

          Seasoning really isn't as fragile as it seems, especially if you use your skillet regularly -- I wash mine with a plastic scrubby and a little dish soap, then dry it on a burner and rub it with a little oil before putting it away. If it's really cruddy, I scrub it out with salt -- it cleans away the crud without messing up the seasoning.

          2 Replies
          1. re: AnnaEA

            Yeah - I agree. While the surface of cast iron is virtually non-stick, you don't have to treat the pans like they are teflon non-stick. Stack 'em up, abuse the heck out of them and they will be no worse for the wear.

            What were you doing to them that kept them so messy (I assume you mean oily)? After a good seasoning, it's not like they have to be dripping with oil for storage.

            1. re: HaagenDazs

              *lol* just using them.

              By cruddy I mean when the black sorta pebbly feeling that accumulates on interior sides starts moving down onto the bottom of the pan. My mother used to go after hers with steel wool when that happened, but I find that the salt works just as well, and it doesn't need to be re-seasoned. I save steel wool for the rare occasions (once every coupla years) when I am cleaning up a yard sale find for a wedding present or such.

          2. I wash my seasoned cast iron using dish detergent and a plastic scrubbie so that it's clean before storing. Then I spray with a light coating of Pam (or use veg oil if preferred) and wipe out any excess with a paper towel. Stays nicely seasoned, doesn't rust. Store with all my other pots and pans.

            1. My seasoned cast iron skillets get washed and dried. They are clean and go into the pot cupboard with no problem and don't dirty anything close to them. Once well seasoned they can handle gentle washing.