seasoning cast iron

April 2013 / cooking

Update (2021-07): I have some more recent thoughts on cast iron care.

I wanted waffles, but I'm opposed to additional points of failure in the kitchen (which is perhaps a fancy way to say that I didn't want to buy an electric waffle iron). Enter Rome's Old Fashioned Waffle Iron. Rome's iron is actually iron, comes coated in wax and unseasoned, so you need to start from scratch.

Sheryl Canter has a few great articles ( 1, 2, 3 ) on seasoning pans. I followed the techniques she outlined on her blog.

First, remove the wax. Wash the waffle pan in soap, then boil it for 10 minutes, and then wash with some more soap (to make sure all the wax is off). It'll start rusting immediately so be ready to start oiling the pans soon after the wax is off.

Six times through:

  • Cover everything in flax oil
  • Wipe all the oil off that you can (hard with the waffling!)
  • Put then pans a cool oven, set the oven to 500
  • Once it reaches 500 let it bake for an hour
  • Turn off the oven, let everything sit for 2 hours, and then repeat (or take a break and then repeat later).

A bunch of work and it took a while. The system makes pretty good waffles (and comes with a book with a recipe that's good, and full of butter), but there's a lot of micromanaging the iron on the stove (with oven mitts) to get the waffles to come out cooked and not burned.

Would I recommend this? If you're really opposed to a plug and prepping cast iron sounds like fun, absolutely. Otherwise it's the hard way to make waffles. I've also tried to the same technique to buff up the seasoning on my cast iron pan. It helps but only a little bit.