How To Easily Clean Stuck-On Food On Cast Iron Skillet

by Texas Homesteader ~ 

Is stuck-on food frustrating you while cleaning your skillets? I’ve found an EASY way to get it clean. Check out my lazy-cook’s method!

Stuck-on food frustrating you while cleaning your cast-iron skillet? I've found an EASY way to get it clean. Check out my lazy-cook's method! #TexasHomesteader

Stainless Steel vs. Cast Iron Cooking

The skillets in my kitchen are comprised of a single stainless steel skillet for making sweeter foods like my Homemade Chocolate Pudding and such.

Then I have several sizes of cast-iron skillets for cooking virtually everything else, like this Old Fashioned Cornbread Dressing.

Old fashioned southern cornbread dressing recipe. #TexasHomesteader

Now I love my stainless steel skillet. But let’s be honest, I love cast iron the best.

Antique Cast Iron Cookware Lasts Decades

Cast iron is easy to maintain and it lasts for decades. It rocks my world whether I’m using it stove top or in the oven. It does it all.

I have several cast-iron skillets of various sizes, but my favorite is my grandmother’s skillet.

Antique cast-iron skillet. Stuck-on food frustrating you while cleaning your cast-iron skillet? I've found an EASY way to get it clean. Check out my lazy-cook's method! #TexasHomesteader

Isn’t she a beauty? This square cast-iron skillet was presented as a wedding gift to my grandmother back in 1934 when she and my grandfather were married.

Then she gifted it to me back in the 1990’s and I’ve been using it heavily ever since. Of course I’ll be passing it on to my children as well.

I daresay that modern cookware doesn’t have THAT kind of longevity!

My cast iron skillets get the most action in my kitchen. I make spicy Cornbread and Bake Bread in cast iron. 

Rosemary bread baked in a cast iron skillet & topped with fresh minced rosemary. #TexasHomesteader

And I use those skillets on the stove top too for cooking Potato Cakes, frying potatoes or cooking eggs. (or anything savory really!)

Can You Use Soap On Cast Iron Cookware?

It’s true that Caring For Cast Iron is a little different than typical cookware.

Cast Iron In A Dishwasher? You can’t just  plunk a cast iron skillet in the dishwasher like you do other cookware materials. Residual moisture is the enemy for Cast Iron and will make it rust.

Can You Use Soap To Clean Cast Iron? Some people use soap on their cast iron when cleaning and swear by it. I never have. If you decide to use soap to clean your cast iron just make sure you remove all moisture afterward.

Coat Cast Iron With Oil. Regardless of whether or not you use soap for cleaning your cast iron, it’s important to preserve the finish by applying a light coating of oil after it’s clean and completely dry.

What Kind Of Oil To Coat Cast Iron? Some swear by lard, others by oil. I typically use leftover Bacon Grease that I keep in a jar in my refrigerator. But whatever oil you choose, make sure to apply a thin layer over the inside surface each time it’s cleaned.

Sometimes Food Gets Stuck In Cast Iron Cookware

Properly seasoned cast iron is virtually non-stick. And although mine’s beautifully seasoned after decades of use, there still comes the time after frying starchy potatoes or cooking scrambled eggs that results in a layer of cooked-on food remaining on the bottom of the skillet.

Cast iron cleaning is a little different than other surfaces, but it's not hard. Come see my kitchen hack to clean off any stuck-on food easily. #TexasHomesteader

Now back in ‘the day‘ I’d scrub-scrub-scrub to get it clean again. That was then, this is now…

Different Ways To Clean Cast Iron

Some people swear they make cleaning stuck-on food on cast iron easier by sprinkling coarse salt over the surface & scrubbing.

Others use a metal cast-iron cleaning pad and scrub-scrub-SCRUB!

I don’t have to go that far. My way of cleaning stuck-on food from cast iron is by far easiest for me.

Easier Cleaning Cooked-On Food In Cast Iron Cookware

I’ve discovered an easy way to clean stuck-on food such as scrambled eggs or fried potatoes from my skillets, whether stainless steel or cast iron.

Place a tiny amount of water in the skillet. I don’t need much, just barely enough to cover the bottom surface of the skillet.

Place skillet on the burner and turn on the heat. Since there’s so little water in the skillet it takes less than a minute to get things simmering.

Turn off the heat & place a lid on the skillet. I’ll let it cool down on it’s own as I go about my other kitchen-cleaning tasks.

This basically steams loose the stuck-on food. By the time I finish cleaning the kitchen, the water in the skillet has cooled.

So I remove the lid and use my spatula to effortlessly scrape away the softened food.

Stuck-on food frustrating you while cleaning your cast-iron skillet? I've found an EASY way to get it clean. Check out my lazy-cook's method! #TexasHomesteader

I’m not kidding – it’s THAT easy! It all scrapes away easily without sticking to the bottom or sides of the skillet.

So I scoop out the food & throw it in my compost bucket.

Then I take my cast-iron skillet to my sink where I use my dish scrubber and hot water to finish cleaning it and BOOM! Cast-Iron Perfection.

Beautifully seasoned cast-iron skillet. Stuck-on food frustrating you while cleaning your cast-iron skillet? I've found an EASY way to get it clean. Check out my lazy-cook's method! #TexasHomesteader

I return it to a hot stove burner until all the water evaporates and then run a thin layer of grease along the inside surface to keep it seasoned beautifully.

Back into the kitchen cabinet drawer it goes where it’s ready and waiting for next time.


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5 thoughts on “How To Easily Clean Stuck-On Food On Cast Iron Skillet

  1. Nancy

    I call that, “the ghost of the house” when no one wants to own up to something.

  2. candace ford

    Too bad about your Dutch oven. Years ago my kids made a pan of mac and cheese, took the pan outside to eat it. I couldn’t find it and they, of course had no idea what I was talking about. A year or so later it was winter time and the leaves were all off the shrubs. I looked outside and thought “What the heck is that shining out there in the back of beyond?” Upon investigating it was my pan. The handles were in bad shape but I was able to replace them by contacting the company. The boys didn’t know what the heck I was talking about and had no idea how a sauce pan would have made it’s way to the back yard.

  3. candace ford

    I love my old cast iron skillets. I’ve never put a lid on them at cleaning time but I do put them on the stove with water to loosen some stuck on stuff. My 3 are all Griswold brand, made in the USA, I can’t remember now where I came by them. I have a “modern” set of cookware that I bought when I graduated from high school (1965). They are stainless steel layered with cast iron. They are one of the early “waterless” sets. The birdman didn’t believe me when I said that I could steam vegetables with about an 8th of an inch of water in the pans. Over the years I have had to replace some of the knobs, but I can still get them. While I love them to pieces I almost never use the fry pans, just the dutch oven and the sauce pans. The cast iron is for frying!

  4. Nancy

    I have stainless steel revereware pots (old not the lighter new ones), and a cast iron skillet as well as an enamel covered cast iron skillet and matching Dutch oven. I had a smaller enamel covered Dutch oven but I think my daughter took it someplace for a pot luck and it never made it home. I use me enamel covered for probably much the same as you use your stainless. I started out with those and have since moved on the one regular cast iron. I actually have four different sizes of the enamel covered skillet, then I asked Miss S to look for cast iron for me. She didn’t find one but I found one at a second hand store in Washington for half price and it was a good well known brand so I snatched it up. Can’t beat it for $7.50.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Great find Nancy! That cast-iron skillet will probably outlast us and our children (and grandchildren too!) ~TxH~


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