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Feb 1, 2012 08:30 PM

Cast iron not too non-stick

I purchased a lodge cast iron skillet 4 years ago. It came seasoned but I scratched everything off and seasoned it every now and then (probably 10 times over a year) in the oven. I also used it mostly to cook greasy things like bacon. After every use, I would also do a "light" seasoning by warming the skillet on the stove, put some vegetable oil on it and rub it away with a paper towel to make a very thin coat.

The past two years or so I stopped seasoning it because it started to have some non-stick qualities, but it still left some residue after each cooking that I had to clean up either by pouring hot water on it while it was hot and then rubbing it off with my wooden spatula, or just wiping it with paper towel and sometimes with a bit of salt.

But I was under the impression that after all this use, it'll turn better than the nonstick pans out there, that I can fry eggs on it. I don't dare do such a thing right now because the cleanup will be a mess.

What can I do to improve its nonstick quality?

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  1. The non-stick qualities of cast iron are exaggerated.
    For eggs and crepes you're better off with an
    economical aluminum non-stick pan.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mpalmer6c

      I cook eggs in mine everyday without any sticking issues at all, including omelets. I completely disagree that aluminum non stick is better.

      1. re: rasputina

        >I cook eggs in mine everyday without any sticking issues at all, including omelets. I completely disagree that aluminum non stick is better.<

        I do too and my cast iron is NOT vintage. Just run of the mill Lodge from walmart and kroger.
        I will say that to experiance the non stick qualities of cast iron, that is has to be used and maintained like cast iron. It is NOT non stick aluminum and should not be treated as such.

        Much of the success of cooking with cast iron is the method of cooking and care. The proper seasoning is just the beginning.........

    2. A while ago, I posted a thread trying to figure out how best to season cast iron. Like you, I had been let down by the mediocre sticking-resistance of a newly seasoned CI pan, and I didn't have the patience to wait years to slowly build up a non-stick surface. After some fiddling around, I found that using flax seed oil (which has a very low smoke point), you can apply many layers of seasoning very quickly on the stove top. Here is a link to the thread:

      The upside of this method is you can build a seasoning resembling a pan that's been in use for years in a very short period of time without too much effort. There are some downsides, and I list those in the thread. I'm not positive, but it also seems that a CI pan seasoned this way is even less well suited to high temp cooking than most seasoned CI pans - the seasoning can burn off, perhaps a little more easily than seasonings created with other oils. I have since also used the same method to touch up my pan after apparently burning off a portion of the seasoning.

      It's an option.

      BTW, I still don't fry eggs in no oil whatsoever, but a teaspoon of butter makes them glide around the surface no sweat.

      1. What can I do to improve its nonstick quality?
        Use it!!!

        1. Google basted eggs. They changed my life. :)

          1. I was in the same boat as you one year ago. I tried the flaxseed oil method and it was discussed extensively here:

            My chief complaint at that time was that I don't use sold shortening or pork fat to fry in, and my skillets didn't have that wonderful seasoning people talk about. I had mixed results using the flaxseed oil, but in the meantime I started using my skillets more, and LO! they really do have nice seasoning one year later.

            One thing I would mention is this: someone posted about using kosher salt to scrub out the pans, and that is what I do. I use a little salt in a still warm pan, a damp paper towel (esp. if the pan is dry) and a pair of tongs. I've read that others use cornmeal. I seldom rinse out my CI, except for my stovetop grill pan.

            I don't think the pans will ever be non-stick the way a coated pan is. But they do become black and glossy, and food doesn't tend to stick the way it would in an untreated pan. I do use the hot pan, cold oil method in my CI.

            Hope some of this helps.