How To Fix A Pitted Cast Iron Skillet?

When you use a cast iron skillet for cooking, it is important to know how to take care of your pan. Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to do this!

Cast iron pans can become very expensive if you are not careful with them. Luckily, there are some easy things that you can do to fix or remodel your pan so it will last longer.

This article will go into more detail about different ways to restore the look of your cookware and what products are needed to do so.

Use a non-acidic cleaner

A less frequent cause of a pitted cast iron pan is using an acidic cleaning product. Grains can react with the acid and form oxide layers that protect the surface, but later these layers come off when heated, leaving holes in the skillet’s protective coating.

Some types of cleaners contain acids such as vinegar or alcohol which are very effective at removing baked-on food residues, but they also contribute to oxidation! Make sure to wash and dry your pan properly before storing it away or heating it up again.

Non-acids like baking soda and water are much better than acids for keeping your cookware in good condition. Both of these products do not create any reactions with other minerals in the pan so will not remove the layer of protection.

Rinse the skillet with hot water

A very common way to get a puckered, pitted cast iron pan is using too much oil when cooking in it. When baking or frying something in a cast iron pan, there are always bits of food sticking to the pan as well as burnt remnants left over from before. These pieces can stick to the new layer that has formed due to repeated use.

As the cook cooks again with another ingredient, this newly added element sticks to the old burned on residue and causes the pan to become stuck or wrinkled. This is called oxidation! Oxidation happens when atoms lose electrons and then combine with other molecules to form an ionic bond.

This process usually occurs because there’s not enough carbon in the cooked ingredients leaving holes in the surface of the pan. If you like crispy foods, then your oven or fryer needs a good cleanout.

To avoid getting a rusty pan, wash down any dried up pans with some heavy duty soap and hot water. Make sure to scrape off all the leftover baked on material and rinse thoroughly.

Use a natural cast iron oil

An easy way to fix a pitted pan is to use an oven or grill-safe oil that you prepare like normal vegetable oil, but with one important difference: You can not contain these oils in a vacuum bag when storing it!

Oven and grill safe oils will typically have very long names that begin with “sulfite” (such as olive oil) or “hydrogenated” (like coconut oil). These are usually adequate for most people, but if you feel more creative then we recommend giving another type of oil a try!

We suggest using sweet potato oil because it does not require significant heat processing which could cause oxidation.

Let it dry completely

After you wash your skillet, let it sit and air-dry for at least an hour or up until it can be used. This will help remove any leftover food bits that may have dried in the pan.

After washing the pan, it is important to let it dry thoroughly! Your pan should be able to hold its shape and not crumble or stick when pressed down. If after an hour it still looks wet, then use a paper towel to wipe off the excess water. Do not scrape the moisture out of the pan as this could damage the material.

If the pan has small bubbles throughout the surface, they can easily disappear during the drying process. Simply push them away as best you are able. When the pan is totally dry, run your hand across the top to make sure there are no stuck onto drops of water.

Heat up the skillet slightly before use

In addition to washing your pan, making sure it is completely dry is important! If you notice that your pan has little or no level of smoothness, then try heating it up first before using it.

Heat up your pan like you would any other cookware piece – just make sure it does not burn otherwise it will be wasted.

By having this step, the iron in the pan can melt and become smoother as it oxidizes and re-melts with heat.

Don’t use any butter or oil

If you find that your skillet is developing some sort of skin, do not use either butter or vegetable oil in the process of re-frying it!

Instead, wash off the dried up bits with water and then dry the pan using a paper towel. Once it is completely dry, add a thin layer of olive oil and let warm up for one minute before adding new ingredients into the pan.

This will ensure that the oils in the pan are fully melted and can be mixed into the food more smoothly. You may also have to turn the stove down slightly as the extra heat from the oil could cause the pan to burn even further.

Sprinkle with flour to help prevent sticking

One of your most used cookware is likely suffering from some kind of damage. You probably know what it looks like already – those weird, raised bumps on the pan called pitting.

This can be very frustrating as using the cookware would normally result in beautiful, soft cooked foods. Luckily there are things you can do to fix a pitted cast iron skillet!

Sprinkling the affected area with a little bit of extra-fine white powder will let the surface of the metal stick to the food slightly, preventing burning or sticking. This trick works well for helping restore the smoothness of the pan too!

You can also use baking soda instead of the fine white powder if needed.

Add liquid slowly

When your pan becomes very hot, it can begin to melt down which is why most recipes call for adding dry ingredients first and then incorporating a fluid ingredient into the mix. This is not the case with baking powder and cookware!

That’s because when the bake mixture is mixed in, there are reactions that happen between the moisture and the chemical compound. The two react and cause foam or bubbles that expand as they combine.

This doesn’t hurt anything but it is something to be aware of while using the pan. You don’t want too much foam so you should mix in your liquids slowly until the foam subsides.

Removing leftover water also helps keep the oven clean since it will evaporate over time.

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