A cast-iron skillet can be a durable and versatile addition to your kitchen if you know how to care for it. Prepare it for use by wiping a thin layer of vegetable oil around the inside of the pan. Then cook the empty pan upside down in the oven over an aluminum foil-lined rack for half an hour. This process, known as curing, allows the oil to settle into the pores of the iron. A well-cured pan will prevent food from sticking and rust from forming. Cast iron conducts heat evenly, which makes it ideal for frying bacon and other foods; just be sure to clean it after you’re done.

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Scrape the cooled bacon grease into the trash can.

Put the pan into the sink and add a dime-sized drop of dish soap to the pan. Some people prefer to use coarse salt and paper towels instead of soap to scrub their cast iron pans; it is a matter of preference. If you use salt and paper towels to clean your pan, rinse it with cold water and dry it with a paper towel to complete the process.

Fill the pan half-way with hot water and scrub it with your rag. If the bacon fat residue on the bottom of the pan does not come out with the rag, use fine steel wool to scrub the pan. Rinse the pan.

Put the pan on the stove and turn the burner on medium. Leave it until all of the water has evaporated.

Put a small amount of vegetable oil onto a paper towel and wipe the interior of the pan. The entire pan needs to be swabbed with the oiled towel.

Wipe the pan with a clean paper towel to remove any excess oil.