Seasoning is simply oil baked into the pores of the iron that prevents rust and provides a natural, easy-release finish that continues to improve with use. Seasoning can refer to both the initial finish of the cookware, as well as the ongoing process of maintaining that finish.
About the Oil
- Lodge uses a soy-based vegetable oil to season its traditional cast iron and carbon steel cookware. There are no synthetic chemicals added at all.
- The oil is highly refined, and all proteins that cause soy-related allergies are eliminated. The oil contains no animal fat, peanut oil, or paints.
- Some cookware may have slight variations in the seasoning finish. These variations do not affect cooking performance, and typically even out with use.
- All cooking oils and fats can be used for seasoning cast iron, but based on availability, affordability, effectiveness and having a high smoke point, Lodge recommends vegetable and canola oil or vegetable shortening.
- Traditionally lard was used to season cast iron and, while that is still okay, we do not recommend it unless you frequently use your cookware. If the cookware is stored for too long, lard and other animal based fats can go rancid.
- It is very important to maintain the seasoning of your cast iron and seasoned steel cookware by applying a very thin layer of oil after each cleaning. This will help keep you cooking for decades.
Tips and Tricks
- If the seasoning on your pan is sticky, this is a sign of excess oil building up and not fully converting to seasoning. To remedy this, place the cookware in the oven, upside down on the top rack and bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour. Allow to cool and repeat if necessary.
- Occasionally, when your seasoning works a little too hard with acidic foods or really high heat, you may notice some dark residue on your towel when cleaning. This is perfectly safe and normal and will go away with regular use and care.
- Some new Lodge cookware can have a small ‘bubble’ on the tip of the handle or on the assist handle, that can chip away and reveal a brownish colour underneath. This is not rust. It is a result of our cookware being seasoned on a hanging conveyor, causing a small drop to form at the bottom. If the bubble makes it through our ovens, it is baked on, and the brown underneath is simply oil that has not fully carbonized. It is perfectly safe and will disappear with regular use and care.
- Your cookware is right at home on, or in, any heat source, indoors or out, except the microwave.
- All new cookware should be rinsed and dried promptly before your first use.
- Lodge cookware is already seasoned, so you are ready to start cooking.
- Use any utensils you like, even metal. There is no chemical coating to damage.
- Always lift cookware on smooth-top stoves. Sliding anything can scratch the surface.
- Our handles can get hot, so protect your hands by using a handle holder.
- Cast iron performs best when heated and cooled gradually, so give it a few minutes to pre-heat.
- Cast iron has superior heat retention, so use a lower heat setting to prevent food from sticking.
Clean Up Time
- Wash cast iron by hand with a nylon bristle scrub brush. If needed, use a pan scraper for stuck on bits.
- For extra sticky situations, simmer a little water for 1 minute, then use the scraper after cooled.
- Dry promptly and thoroughly with a lint-free cloth or paper towel.
- Rub with a very light layer of cooking oil or our Seasoning Spray, preferably while the cookware is still warm.
- Hang or store cookware in a dry place.
Occasionally, you may notice some dark residue on your towel when cleaning. This is perfectly safe it is just the seasoning
reacting to foods that may be slightly acidic or alkaline. It will disappear with regular use and care.
Soap is not necessary but, if you like, a little mild detergent is fine. Promise.
- Seasoning is simply oil baked onto the iron, giving it a natural, easy-release finish.
- Lodge pre-seasons all of its cookware with soy vegetable oil and nothing else.
- Any food-safe cooking oil/shortening will work for maintaining your cookware. We recommend vegetable oil or canola oil, like our Seasoning Spray.
- Seasoning is an ongoing process that improves the more you cook.
- With some foods, new cookware might require a little extra oil or butter the first few uses.
- Acidic or alkaline foods like tomatoes and some beans should only be cooked once seasoning is well-established.
- Dishwashers, metal scouring pads, and harsh detergents will harm the seasoning.
While maintaining the seasoning should keep your Cast Iron and Carbon Steel in good condition, at some point you may need to re-season your cookware. If food sticks to the surface, or you notice a dull, grey colour, or if rust appears, follow the seasoning process below.
- Wash the cookware with hot, soapy water and a stiff brush. (It is okay to use soap this time because you are preparing to re-season the cookware).
- Rinse and dry completely.
- Apply a very thin, even coating of MELTED solid vegetable shortening (or cooking oil of your choice) to the cookware inside and out. Too much oil will result in a sticky finish.
- Place aluminum foil on the bottom rack of the oven (not directly on bottom) to catch any drips.
- Set oven temperature to 350 – 400 degrees F.
- Place cookware upside down on the top rack of the oven to prevent pooling.
- Bake the cookware for at least one hour. After the hour, turn the oven off and let the cookware cool in the oven.
- Store the cookware uncovered, in a dry place when cooled.
- Repeat as necessary.
My new pan feels rough in some areas. Is this normal?
Yes. This is a result of the sand casting process. With use and replenishment of the seasoning, the pan will become smoother. Unlike other types of cookware, Lodge Cast Iron only gets better with use. For concerns about roughness, it is OK to use a fine grade of sandpaper to smooth out the rough areas. Make sure to re-season the item before using.
Are there foods that I shouldn’t cook in Cast Iron?
Foods which are very acidic (i.e. beans, tomatoes, citrus juices, etc.) should not be cooked in Seasoned Cast Iron until the cookware is highly seasoned. The high acidity of these foods will strip the seasoning and result in discolouration and metallic tasting food. Wait until cast iron is better seasoned to cook these types of foods. Lodge Enameled Cast Iron is not affected by acidity and can be used with all foods.
Is Lodge cookware guaranteed?
There is not a written warranty for Lodge Cast Iron cookware; however, we do stand behind every product manufactured. For product problems, please contact Lodge Customer Service and we will solve the problem to your satisfaction.
Are Lodge Enamel products tested for lead safety?
Lodge utilizes the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Test Procedure 188.8.131.52a Leachability of Lead and Cadmium for Glazed Ceramic Surfaces. The FDA Division of Compliance Programs uses ASTM-C738 as the Standard Method of Test for glazed ceramic. In addition to the information provided by vendors, Lodge Manufacturing Company uses third-party testing to ensure that products with the Lodge name comply with standards set forth by the United States Food & Drug Administration. All our domestic, as well as imported cookware, complies with the FDA Standards. We are also in compliance with California Proposal 65, the world’s most rigid standard for lead and cadmium content.
Are Lodge products made in the USA?
All of our foundry Seasoned Cast Iron and our Seasoned Carbon Steel products are manufactured in the USA and always will be. All Enameled Cast Iron products are made in China to our strict quality standards and overseen by an American owned 3rd party inspection company. Our accessories come from multiple sources, some of which are American, and some overseas. Our in-house Quality Assurance Department constantly inspects all items we produce and sell.
What is the difference between Seasoned Steel and Seasoned Cast Iron?
Lodge Seasoned Steel products are made out of 100% carbon steel. While the iron pans are cast in moulds, the steel pans are formed by spinning and stamping, allowing them to be lighter and thinner than cast iron. Seasoned Steel will heat up and cool down faster than cast iron. The Iron products typically have integrated handles, while the Steel pans have riveted handles. Both Seasoned Steel and Cast Iron products are pre-seasoned at our foundry with the same soybean oil, and as always, they are both made in the USA.
Are Lodge silicone products BPA free?
Yes. All Lodge silicone products are certified by suppliers to be both BPA(Bisphenol A) and Phthalate free.
If you do Nothing Else…
- Hand wash. Dry immediately—even before first use.
- Rub with a light coat of vegetable oil after every wash.
- How much oil? Just enough to restore the sheen, without being sticky.
- Why? To keep the steel “seasoned” and protected from moisture.
Lodge Seasoned Carbon Steel
Lodge Seasoned Carbon Steel is right at home on induction, ceramic, electric and gas cooktops, in your oven, on the grill, or even over the campfire. Do not use in the microwave.
- Always heat and cool your pan gradually.
- On glass or ceramic cooktops, lift cookware; never slide it.
- Use metal, wood, or hi-temp silicone utensils.
- Some foods may stick to new cookware (especially eggs). Use a little extra oil or butter until you’ve built up the “seasoning”.
- Seasoning creates the natural, easy-release properties. The more you cook the better it gets.
- When cooking at medium-high to high temperatures with small amount of oil, add oil to cookware and brush on food just before adding food.
- Match pan size to burner size.
- Do not use in the microwave.
- Our handles get hot; use mitts. Use trivets to protect countertops from hot cookware.
- Rust!? Don’t Panic – It’s really easy to fix. Scour the rust, rinse, dry, and rub with a little vegetable oil.
Sportsman’s Grill Use & Care
- Before first use, rinse and hand-dry all pieces
- Assemble per directions on box
- Remove cooking grate and place charcoal on fire grate and light, or use a chimney starter
- Grill grate can be set at 2 positions by using it as pictured or by flipping upside down
- Adjust draft door to increase or restrict airflow for temperature control
- Add or remove coals as needed through the fire door
- Oil cooking grate just before adding food to avoid sticking
- Let all parts cool before handling
- After each use, wash cooking grate with hot water and a nylon brush or scrubber (not metal)
- Mild soap can be used occasionally if desired
- Dry promptly, and rub or spray with a thin layer of cooking oil.
- For especially sticky messes, a plastic scraper can be used
- For the remaining parts, always dump out any residual coals and ashes
- These parts should be rinsed, dried and oiled every 3-4 uses at minimum
- Rust? Don’t panic. Clean and re-season following the instructions on this site.
- Always store in a dry place, preferably indoors
- If kept outdoors, cover with Lodge A1-410 grill cover or other suitable cover