Found a deal on a rusty cast iron pan? Make your old rusty cast iron skillet look great again with this cleaning and seasoning process.

Here’s how I cleaned old cast iron pans that now look like new.


Cast iron
Cast Iron Pan from Old to Like New

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This cast iron skillet was awfully rusted, and I honestly doubted that it could look shiny and black once more. 

cast iron
How I Cleaned a Rusty Cast Iron Pan

How I did it…

  1. First, I placed the rusty skillet on plastic. Although I thought about cleaning the pan outside, I decided to do it in the kitchen. I covered an area with newspaper and plastic. 
  2. Next I used sandpaper that I had on hand in the kitchen. I’ve heard of 60-grit and 80-grit sandpaper being used. I’m not sure which grit mine was, but it got the job done.
  3. My cast iron skillet still looked rusty, so I scrubbed it with a steel wool soap pad. 
  4. By this time, the rust had disappeared. Howeer, I cleaned the pan will a little Meyer’s dish soap (honeysuckle is my favorite) and hot water.
  5. I keep a few cloths in my kitchen just for cleaning and oiling the cast iron pans. Using one of them, I quickly dried the pan.
  6. Because the pan needed to be seasoned before cooking in it, I lightly seasoned it with vegetable oil. There are actually seasoning oils you can buy on Amazon specifically for cast iron…
  7. The cast iron pan was placed in my oven for an hour at 400 degrees F, upside down on top of a layer of foil on the middle rack.

As you can see, the pan looked completely different, like new, after this cleaning and seasoning oven process.

Cast iron
Cast Iron Pan from Old to Like New

Hobby Farms shows the overall process of refurbishing cast iron should you like to learn more.

Reseasoning a cast iron pan

After “baking” the cast iron skillet for an hour, it looked like new. I had researched the way others clean and re-season their restored cast iron pans. Frying bacon was one way, so that’s what I did.

cast iron
Seasoning a Cast Iron Skillet with Bacon

Sometimes, though, frying bacon makes my cast iron skillets sticky. But after I cleaned the pan with kosher salt and a scrubber this time, the pan looked great.

cast iron
Cast Iron Rusted Pan Restored

What I like to cook in my cast iron pans

Here are a few of the foods I enjoy cooking in my cast iron pans:

  • cornbread – I store a small cast iron pan in the oven for baking cornbread.
  • hamburger – patties and ground beef for stirfry recipes
  • vegetables – squash, green beans, fried sweet potatoes, and several others
  • biscuits – I love them baked in the cast iron skillets.
  • bacon – You can cook it in a cast iron skillet on the stove or in the oven.
Cast Iron Cornbread

Hamburgers and ground beef recipes are great cooked in cast iron skillet. Check out’s Cheeseburger Pie.

Sweet Potatoes – Good baked or fried in a cast iron skillet, the Fried Sweet Potato Patties are delicious.

Fried Sweet Potato Patties
Fried Sweet Potatoes
Cast Iron Baked Biscuits

BiscuitsI love breakfast and especially biscuits dipped in ribbon cane syrup with butter (there’s a Southern way to do this.that I explain in Ribbon Cane Syrup – a Breakfast Food).

Ribbon Cane Syrup
Southern Style Syrup

Serve that with Egg and Veggie Skillet Breakfast or simply fried eggs and bacon.

cast iron cooking
Eggs and Veggies in a Cast Iron Pan

And there’s the Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Casserole,…

Bacon and egg casserole
Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Casserole

the recipe with baked bacon.

Oven-Baked Bacon

Food for thought: Does cast iron cooking enhance the flavor of foods? I think so. Your thoughts?


  1. I think that cast iron is the best cookware for many different things. My grandma said cooking in cast iron added iron to your food and helped keep you from becoming anemic. That doesn’t even look like the same pan. Amazing.

    1. Author

      Thank you, Patti Cakes! I heard the same thing about cast iron adding iron to your food. I didn’t know about the anemic part, though. Thank you for sharing this. I know, right? I couldn’t believe the difference.

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