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Jul 28, 2012 12:37 PM

Cast iron worse than high maintenance girlfriend!

So I have recently started trying to eat healthy which involves cooking properly. I have a stainless steel skillet that my father gave me and that was it. I read that stainless steal is to sticky to use as a real pan other than for sauces? so I went out and under recommendation by everyone bought a 30$ cast iron pan.

Brought it home, scrubbed it with warm water seasoned it up (oil oven etc) and immediately noticed as I tried to put another coat of oil on it two things were happening.

1) The paper towel was leaving behind small chunks of itself that I could only reliable remove with water.

2) The towel I was drying it with was leaving behind lint.

Now neither of these things are all that alarming unless you enjoy eating lint and paper towel remnants but as a normal human being to me they were extremely frustrating. I finally was able to just wash and dry using the burner but I can't put another coat of oil on after using without getting all kinds of paper towel junk all over it.

So whatever, maybe I don't need oil. Ill let it sit for an hour to cool down and throw it in the cupboard. Nope. 2 hours later it's still just as hot as when It came off the burner but now the heat is all over the pan.

Seriously, I have stuff to do during the day, I can dedicate MAYBE 30 minutes at a time to cook unless I have time to make a huge meal, Is this pan really that much better than say a stainless steel pan? Is it really worth all this hassle if I don't have all day to care for this thing?

I am using bounty paper towel to spread the oil, any suggestions on how to not get chunks everywhere?

PS: Not to mention it stinks up the house when I dry it off on the burner.

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  1. Sounds weird. I have old pans with a smooth finish, so I don't experience any of those problems. I also use a stainless steel skillet (with a heavy aluminum bottom), and it works fine.
    Is your CI pan rough, so is tearing the paper towel? Some of the newer ones seem to have that type of finish.
    The pan will stay hot for awhile. I just rub mine out with the paper towel. and if I actually scrub it (yes, I do that in a sink of water, with some soap), I still wipe it out with a towel. make sure it's really dry, then add some oil, rub it in while the pan is still warm and leave it on a cold burner and let it cool down on its own.

    2 Replies
    1. re: wyogal

      My biggest problem is when I rub it with a paper towel chunks of the paper towel break off in the pan because the surface is rough still since it's new.

      1. re: esoterikk

        If you bought a pan with a rough cooking surface, that's your first mistake. The second is using oil instead of shortening for the initial seasoning. Then there's the procedure. You should follow the instructions on and ignore everything else.

        In the long run, a cast iron pan will give you far less trouble than any GF.

    2. "I read that stainless steal is to sticky to use as a real pan other than for sauces?"

      I would definitely have to disagree with this. Cast iron is nice for lots of applications, but so is stainless. It's not sticky at all assuming you follow proper cooking techniques, I use stainless for almost everything but braises and eggs.

      2 Replies
      1. re: twyst

        What type of oil did you use to season it?

        1. re: mike9

          not sure if thats a misplaced question or not, but you dont season a stainless pot/pan

      2. I have reported your topic to switch it to cookware, where these questions are discussed at length. Your first mistake was not buying a used one at a flea market or tag sale. It's typical for a new pan to be rough. If you want to speed the breaking-in, you can scour the interior with salt, a splash of water, and steel wool, wadded aluminum foil, or a scrubby. It's important to season the exterior with oil - the oven method. But for the interior, you can just start cooking, using generous oiling for the first few months. Wipe the interior clean - don't even rinse if you can help it. Put it in the oven or on a warm burner - anything to dry it quickly and thoroughly. Your object here is to prevent the start of rust. Over time, the oil will polymerize and the interior cooking surface will become glossy and smooth.

        1. That's why my cast iron pan has sat unused for 25 years, I only buy the Teflon coated ones now.

          1. A few comments...

            I suspect the problem with your cast iron pan is that you have used too much oil. You really need the layer of oil to be very, very thin. Almost non-existent. If you use too much oil, you get a sticky layer.

            As far as stainless steel goes, if it is a good quality pan, such as a stainless-lined aluminum pan (like All-Clad), you can use it for pretty much everything. I regularly cook scrambled eggs and omelets in an All-Clad skillet. No problem, if your technique is good. Most cooking problems (OK, all cooking problems) are the fault of the cook, not the pan. For a stainless pan, you want to keep it perfectly clean, not "seasoned". If your technique is good, you do not need to scrub to do this. I use only a soft washcloth on my pans. On stainless (and only stainless), you can use some Barkeepers Friend if you get a stained spot.

            Also, you might consider a carbon steel pan, like de Buyer makes. Search the cookware forum for more information. They are inexpensive, slick, season easily (if you follow directions, which are different from cast iron), and perform very well.

            Finally, your high-maintenance girlfriend analogy is offensive. I am still waiting to hear the term "high maintenance" used to describe a male. Because I assure you, men are high maintenance.

            6 Replies
              1. re: MelMM

                Being a married middle aged guy with kids your last paragraph made me chuckle. Have some younger single friends (men) that spend more every month on the latest "IN" clothes and shoes that any of the girls I ever dated. We won't even get into the tanning salons & hair stylist. And to hear them get so excited talking about the latest shoe style ????? Heck only a year ago did I find out what a "man blouse" was. Ha Ha.

                On the pans, I have both the De Buyers and old passed down SMOOTH black cast from the 30's or 40's. Have found the De Buyers more user friendly: Handles, Weight & sloped sides but easier to "De Season. With a little experience with what to do and what not to do they became my go to pans. The old smooth cast are heavy, poor handles and steep sides but very hard to screw up the seasoning and boy do they hold the heat for maintaining frying temps.

                Its like you and others have pointed out, each type of pan has a learning curve and technique is everything.

                1. re: MelMM

                  MelMM is right about using only a small amount of oil. You don't need an oil slick to get started. Try cooking something like bacon in it, let the pan cool down completely, then wipe it out.
                  A blog I found extremely helpful is .
                  Holey moley have I ever had some high maintenance boyfriends. Not anymore, thank god.

                    1. re: MelMM

                      +3 about the high-maintenance analogy.

                      As for cast iron, it just takes a little time to build up a good season.

                      1. re: MelMM

                        -1 lighten up, y'all...its humorous