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Help..About to toss cast iron skillet!

I have a new pre-seasoned Lodge cast iron skillet that is frustrating the heck out of me. No matter what I do, everything sticks. Tonight's disaster was fried potatoes. I have followed all of the manafacturers instructions as far as cleaning etc. If you guys don't have any brainstorms, it's going out with tomorrow's trash. Help!

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  1. Cure it: throw in a neutral oil, heat like crazy without the oil going up in flames, letting it smoke and burn the oil into the pan. The resulting glaze should be OK for use.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

      I add salt as well and I repeat the process several times

    2. -----

      Are you rushing your potatoes? (Turning them too often, rather than let them brown, in other words?)

      If that is the case you, may not be letting the residual starch to brown enough for the surface to permit a good release.

      Another problem- If the potatoes have a high moisture content, they may need to blanched prior to frying. (Blanching, in this case, would require the sliced (or cut) potatoes to be boiled for about 5 minutes and allowed to drain well). I generally blanch (and salt) all my raw - fried potatoes even though I could be useing a non-stick surface.


      1. I got a new pre-seasoned Lodge pan also awhile ago. I had to season it multiple times by heating oil and letting it sit for hours. I even coated it generously with Crisco and then put it upside down on a very hot gas grill. Lastly, when cleaning, just use hot water and a brush...I try not to use soap unless I've cooked fish in it. Hang in there and good luck.

        1. I got really frustrated with a cast iron skillet myself and was going to throw it away. But then I talked to a woman at my local cookware store and she said you can never damage such a pan past repair so you may as well keep trying. She suggested seasoning it several times - like 4 or 5. I posted her tips here if you are interested:


          2 Replies
          1. re: daily_unadventures


            daily_unadventures wrote: "...she said you can never damage such a pan past repair so you may as well keep trying."

            Geez, it is rather easy to ruin a cast iron pan, just ask my one sister...

            One day my sister decided to pull her clean cast iron skillet out of the oven and set it on the burner on a medium heat and noticed she was out of shortening. Having a blond moment, she went grocery shopping...

            She now has a work of art with a cast iron skillet with the bottom inverted up higher than the sides are.


            1. re: RShea78

              Alright, I will give you that! That sounds pretty extreme :)

          2. Do you use a lot of oil when you're cooking in it? Especially with a new cast iron pan, use more oil than you might normally. Even the pre-seasoned pans are still not as "seasoned" as an old well used pan. Heat the pan without oil for a minute or two, add oil, and let it heat again.

            Deep frying stuff in the pan is great for it, as is frying onions and stuff. Fried potatoes can be a little tricky. I woul

            And you probably know this, but don't cook acidic foods like tomatoes or beans in there for a while.

            The Lodge pre-seasoning is pretty good - so I'd try to avoid burning it off and re-seasoning unless you're really sure that's necessary.

            1. Thanks for all of the tips. I am going to give it another go. Wish me luck!

              1. If you need someone to adopt your skillet, I'll take it!

                2 Replies
                1. re: kayonyc

                  Judging by thw state of it now you wouldn't say that but I will keep you posted.

                  1. re: baseballfan

                    Unless it's broken in half, there's nothing that you can do to a cast iron skillet that will render it useless. *NOTHING*

                2. Is this your first experience with cast iron, or just with this particular pan? With a new pan, I'd fry a lot of bacon and sausage in it, pre-seasoned or not. Also, cast iron behaves differently from teflon and other non-stick finishes in that food WILL stick to it when you first put it in the pan. You have to let the sugars in your food caramelize a bit ("Maillard Reaction"), then it'll release. Also, since the pan is so freaking massive to begin with, you really have to give it some time to get up to temperature.

                  If you're STILL not happy with it, don't toss it...there's always eBay, Craig's list or tons of freecycling options out there. Somebody will be happy to give your pan a home.

                  1. Just posting for emphasis here. Others have answered the question. Yes Yes fry bacon and fatty sausages to season the pan! Now you have an excuse to eat more of it than you should for a little while, in case you need an excuse. For the first several uses do not clean it- just pour off the fat and wipe it with a paper towel. Later on, all you should ever clean it with are hot water and a plastic scrubby or brush, not a scouring pad. You do not want to remove or harm the smooth black surface. Never soak it or leave it wet.

                    Here is a kid-pleasing way to use up leftover mashed potatoes when your pan is properly seasoned. Melt a tablespoon or two of bacon grease and heat till it is almost smoking hot. Slice cold mashed potatoes into spatula sized chunks about 3/4 inch thick. Sprinkle with salt if you are feeling health-heedless. Fry them. Lower heat so it does not smoke.

                    This is when ye of of little cast iron skillet faith lose your way. In a few minutes they will be stuck like glue. It will seem permanent. Be patient. As long as you do not have the heat so high that they burn first, they will eventually build up a nice brown crust and lift off perfectly easily. Dab a little more fat onto the spot where you flip them and be patient again. Leftover fat from frying burgers is delicious too.

                    I do not advise eating like this all the time, but now and then... Go all the way.

                    My cast iron skillets and griddle are my favorite things in the kitchen couldn't you guess.

                    1. I would not use oil in cast iron unless it was already well seasoned. Oil forms a sticky residue. I would fry bacon in it regularly or wipe it with lard and heat slowly or shortening and then wipe with a paper towel and repeat.

                      1. Cast iron takes both time and love to season properly. It will reward you for more years than you can imagine. I find myself using teflon coated aluminum for most of my day to day cooking, but when I need to brown a steak, or do anything serious, out comes my Wagner cast iron. Just remember to never use soap on it. If things stick or cake up, just give it a soak iin plain water.

                        If you can find one, Wagner also makes a grill pan with ridges; well worth buying when you are unable to use an outdoor grill. Each time I use mine, I just soak it for a while, and wipe it dry. Be patient, but if you decide to toss it, be sure to give it to a good friend.