How to Clean Cast Iron Grill Pan

No matter how more or less of a food lover you are, you must be having a cast iron grill pan in your kitchen! It is widely used to prepare lips smacking delicacies around the world. While most of them know how to cook tasty food with it, many of them also face trouble cleaning it. To be honest, it’s as easy as ABC (metaphorically of course).

It’s one of those possessions that can last for many generations to come if properly taken care of. You can easily clean off your cast iron skillet following some easy steps. 

Ways to Clean Cast Iron Grill Pan:

If you’re planning on putting it inside the dishwasher to clean it, abort this plan right now! You must handle the cleaning of your cast iron grill pan with your own hands. 

To clean the grill pan, don’t wait for it to cool down and then take action. Rather leave everything else and clean it while it’s still hot. If you’re going to keep it aside to let it cool, the food debris might get glued on its surface. 

Let’s look at the things you will need to carry out with the cleaning process. 

  • Coarse kosher salt
  • Nylon brush / scrub pad / sponge
  • Paper towel
  • Vegetable oil
  • Mild soap
  • Oven mitts
  • Wooden spatula / scraper

There are various methods you can follow up with, to clean your cast iron grill pan. Look at them one by one and choose the perfect fit for yourself. Put on your oven mitts as the whole process is dealing with a hot pan. 

1. Using Only Salt 

If you’re against using water on your grill pan, that’s completely fine. You can still clean it using only coarse kosher salt. First of all, remove the solid residue of the food you just cooked. Wipe it off using a paper towel, be diligent while performing this as the pan is still hot. 

Now, take some kosher salt, it’s used in its coarse form as it acts as an effective abrasive to remove the stuck-ons. Use a paper towel to spread the salt all over its surface. Simultaneously, rub the stuck-on food and other leftovers. 

Repeat the process till you’re satisfied with the results. Lastly, dump all the garbage you extracted into the trash bin and a final stroke of paper towel to ensure the final clean-up. 

2. Using Only Water

In case you don’t have kosher salt at your home don’t worry you are still good to go with only water. Two things to note in this method are – you must strictly adhere to using only hot water and this method will work only for the pan with tall walls or edges so that the water retains perfectly on the surface. 

Fill around two to three inches of cold water in the pan and keep it on the stove (obviously lit up) till it starts to boil or use boiled water already to get rid of this step. The particles stuck on the pan will float on the water surface. 

Scrape between the ridges to remove any particle stuck on its surface using a spatula. Throw away this water and finally rinse it with hot water. Now, wipe it away using a paper towel. 

3. Using Salt and Water

Another method of thorough cleaning includes usage of kosher salt and water. Eventually, salt has strong abrasive properties and therefore is popularly acclaimed to be used as a cleaner. 

This method is almost identical to the one where we used only salt. Spread coarse kosher salt on the surface and add a small amount of water to it in order to make a paste-like consistency mixture. 

Use a scrubber or a sponge to cover the whole of the pan including the bottom and the handle too. Using a spatula, scrape off any residual particle and finally rinse it off. 

Repeat the process until it’s cleaned and don’t wait till it cools down, clean it while it’s cool to the touch yet hot enough to accelerate the cleansing action.

4. Using Soap and Water

Kick out those beliefs of not using soap on your cast iron grill pan! The only thing you have to take care of is not to use hard soap or detergent on its surface as you already know it may tear off the seasoning.

However, you can definitely use some amount of mild soap for effective cleaning. 

Rub a small amount of mild soap on the surface of the pan using a sponge or a scrub pad. Now, drain it off using hot water and repeat the process once again. Finally, rinse off the soap and food debris and wipe it off with the paper towel or napkin. 

Seasoning a Cast Iron Grill Pan

Seasoning is nothing but a layer of baked oil at the surface of cast iron grill pan. It’s necessary because it ensures the longevity and non-sticky trait of the pan. Also, the oil keeps the shine of the pan intact. Some of the pans are already seasoned from the box whereas in some of them we have to season them. 

However, re-seasoning is highly recommended after every use and clean-up because sometimes the seasoning wears out during the whole process. 

Set the pan on a stove or inside your oven at 450 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit temperature. Once the pan has completely dried, wipe it off using a paper towel and then apply vegetable oil on it including the handle and the bottom side. 

If you’re using an oven, keep the pan upside down on an aluminum foil in order to maintain the tidiness of your oven. 

Wipe off the surplus oil from its surface and after an hour, take it off the stove or switch off the oven and finally allow it to cool down. Now it’s ready to be stored and used the next time you’re up to cook something tasty. 

Tips for Taking Care of Cast Iron Grill Pan

Here are some pro-tips to take care of your cast iron grill pan.

1. Never use cold water to clean up your cast iron grill pan as cold water and hot iron doesn’t go well simultaneously. It may lead to deformation. 

2. Don’t put your cast iron grill pan into the dishwasher. This is clearly the worst you can do to them (and to your dishwasher). 

3. Avoid using detergents or hard soaps to clean them. 

4. Don’t forget to re-season them after every use and clean-up.

5. Remember not to use steel wool, metal spatulas, and other harsh equipment as it may wear off the seasoning layer on the surface of the grill pan. 

6. If your grill pan consists of a lid, store it separately to avoid covering the surface of the pan while storing it. It might lead to moisture retention on the surface of the pan and make it rusty. 

7. Avoid using acidic food materials like tomatoes, beans, etc. in the beginning period of use of the cast iron grill pan as the seasoning might not be settled properly by then.

8. Wipe off the excess oil after seasoning because it develops a sticky layer on the pan and makes it vulnerable to more grime.

9. If your pan catches rust, use a paste of a tablespoon of lemon juice and a cup of baking soda. Apply it over the rusty area and let it rest for almost a day. Finally, scrub it using a nylon brush and rinse well. 

Taking diligent care of your cast iron grill pan can make it last longer than you ever expected. So follow these steps without any failure and you’ll see the results. 

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