One of the most beloved cookware types is cast iron, due to its durability and versatility. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to a nice skillet that they can fix themselves because it warps or gets very hot. If you find your pan slightly curved up in some areas and thinner in others, there are ways to correct this!
It’s important to remember that although these tips may seem simple, people who make their livings creating culinary art using cookware have dedicated years of learning how to handle and maintain all different shapes and sizes of pans.
So if you’re confident doing basic home improvement projects, then no, these tricks probably aren’t for you. But if you’d like to try curling up your pan just a little bit, or trying to bend it back into shape, let us give you some easy recipes! These tips will help prevent any catastrophes.
Use baking soda to clean the skillet
If you are trying to use your cast iron pan for something that it is not designed for, then try cleaning it using baking soda. Baking soda will take away some of the minerals in the surface of the pan, but this can be fixed by proceeding to wash the pan with acid or oil.
To do so, start off washing the pan with hot water. Once the water has cooled down, mix in a teaspoon of baking soda to the water and scrub the pan as normal. This will remove most of the burnt onto grime and grease.
After doing this, dry the pan out thoroughly and heat up the pan to see if it works properly. If it does, great! You have saved yourself a good pan!
If the pan still seems warped even after drying, then try heating up the metal slightly more until it softens before re-grinding and re-finishing.
Use a vegetable brush to clean the skillet
A warped cast iron pan is a pain to use, and trying to get it back into its original shape can be very frustrating. However, there are some easy ways to fix this problem!
First, you should wash your pan with soap or dish washing liquid to remove any burnt-on food. Then, cut off any dried out pieces of handle by rubbing around the edge of the pan with a plastic knife. Once all the dry metal has been scraped away, soak the handle in warm water for several hours until it softens up.
Once that happens, take a thin piece of cardboard and place it on the stove surface next to the melted handle. Press the flattened end of the handle onto the bottom of the pan, and let cool overnight. In the morning, repeat these steps with the other half of the handle to restore the pan’s functionality.
Run some oil in the skillet
One of your most used cookware is probably your pan or fryer. Most people use it for cooking whatever ingredient you can think of!
One of the worst things that can happen to your cookware is warping. This happens when the iron gets hot enough to melt down, but then cools down slowly, which creates an uncomfortable handle.
It also may distort the shape of the pan, making it not work as well for certain types of food. Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules about how to fix this, so here are some tips from us to help.
You should try our trick before giving up!
We recommend rubbing half olive oil and half coconut milk into your pan’s surface until it seems like it has covered all areas. Let each side soak in for at least ten minutes, and if needed repeat the process.
Now, turn off the heat and let sit overnight. In the morning, run a few drops of water into the pan and see what kind of reaction you get. If bubbles come out and the pan looks smooth and shiny, the cure was successful!
After this article, Mary would love to hear stories of success using her recipe! Leave a comment below or connect with her on Instagram @thefreshnerdblog.
Let it sit for a few minutes before cooking
When your pan gets really hot, the iron will expand and contract as it heats up. This is what creates the lovely color of some cast iron cookware!
As pans get older this expansion and contraction becomes less frequent. Because the metal has lost its elasticity, it takes longer for the pan to heat up and cool down.
This can result in slightly burnt or browned edges or even thin spots where there isn’t enough surface area to hold onto the temperature properly.
Fortunately you don’t need to throw out your old skillet! By leaving the pan alone for a couple of minutes after washing it, the warping will relax and you can then begin to use it again.
General tips: only dry wash your pan (no water) and never pull off any protective lids until it has cooled completely because that would break the seal between the lid and the pan.
Try wiping it down again with a clean cloth
Warming up your skillet is an important step in using it properly. Most people start by heating up their pan from cold, but some go a little bit more in depth into how to use their cookware.
Heating up a pan means bringing it out of the refrigerator or leaving it warm from before! This helps it work better and gives you greater control over what kind of cooking you can do with it.
One thing that could cause issues is if the handle of the pan gets hot enough that you touch it when holding the pan. This could hurt slightly, or even burn you slightly if you hit bone or flesh with it.
If it still warps, you may need to get a new skillet
With cast iron skillets, even if they are old and no longer in good condition, you can often repair them and use them for cooking.
If however, the pan becomes warped or does not work properly, it is better to buy a new one. A small amount of warp will not affect how well the pan works, but as the pan gets bigger, this matter becomes more important.
A slight warp cannot be fixed, so if your pan is showing any signs of bending, consider buying a new one.
Store your skillet properly
When you get your pan back, make sure to put it in a place that is safe for it!
Does your house have a laundry room or mudroom? If so, then this article doesn’t apply to you but keep reading anyway!
If you read our tips above carefully, you will notice that we mentioned putting aside a time limit to ensure that your pan is stored safely. Unfortunately, most people do not live by their word and there can be times when they don’t have easy access to their pans.
Don’t leave your warping cookware sitting around exposed! Take it out only at night or when no one else is home. This could be a safety risk if someone decides to break into your home while you are away.
Avoid leaving your pan up with the oven door closed as this may cause heat damage.
Also, remember that cast iron takes longer to cool down than other materials, so make sure to let it sit somewhere warm-dry until it is cooled completely.
Wash your skillet carefully
When washing your pan, make sure you do so in very hot water and using a soft brush or cloth. Never use steel wool or wire brushes as these will scratch the surface of the pan and possibly break it down even more.
Your pan’s coating may also contain bits of burnt food or grease, which can stick to the new material if you try to wash it off. This could cause the new handle to peel away later!
To take care of the warped look, only wipe it with dry paper towels or lint-free cotton swabs. Make sure to work quickly so that it does not set too long before being dried.
Removing the old finish and starting over is always an option if this happens. However, speaking from experience, be aware that there are many different types of cookware coatings and chemicals used to produce the same looking finished product. Some brands cannot be reversed easily.