Cast-iron skillets are incredibly versatile and a must-have in the kitchen. According to Cook's Illustrated, cast-iron skillets can be used for frying, searing or baking, and they retain heat better than other types of cookware. Curing, or seasoning, your skillet is the key to preventing rust and creating a natural nonstick finish. With proper use and regular seasoning, a cast-iron skillet can last for decades. Many cast-iron skillets are now sold pre-seasoned, but you should still know how to cure your skillet to keep it looking and cooking like new.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Wash your cast-iron skillet with warm water and liquid dishwashing soap. You should normally never use dishwashing soap on your skillet; the only time it is appropriate is right before you cure it.
Dry the skillet well with a clean dish towel.
Put 1 to 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil or shortening into the skillet and rub it evenly around the surface, using a dry paper towel. Only a thin layer of oil is needed.
Place the skillet upside-down in the oven and place a layer of aluminium foil underneath to catch any oil. Set your timer for 1 hour.
Turn off the oven and let your skillet cool in the oven for about 30 minutes. Remove the skillet and lightly wipe the surface with a clean paper towel to remove any excess oil.
Use your skillet for all types of cooking now that is properly cured. After each use, rinse the skillet with warm water and remove any food particles with a sponge or scrub brush. Do not use soap. Dry the skillet and then coat it lightly with cooking spray.
Repeat the curing process anytime your skillet starts looking dull or dry.