Enamel cast iron cookware has been a favorite of cooks for generations. This type of cookware is known for its durability, even heating, and versatility. Nevertheless, there is some discussion on whether or not enamel cast iron requires seasoning before its usage.
Some sources claim that seasoning is necessary to create a non-stick surface and protect the enamel coating from damage. Others argue that the porcelain coating creates a barrier between the food and the pan, making seasoning unnecessary. So, does enamel cast iron need seasoning?
No enameled cast iron does not need to be seasoned before use, manufacturers advise. Although seasoning an unseasoned rim on a cast iron pot, pan or lid will prevent rust from forming. The porcelain coating covering the bare cast iron cookware creates a naturally non-stick surface when oil is applied before cooking.
Some cooks choose to season their enamel cast iron to improve the non-stick properties and seal the rim of the pots, pans, and lids to avoid rust forming.
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What is Enamel Cast Iron?
This kind of cookware is recognized for its robustness and adaptability, along with its capability to retain and distribute heat evenly.
Enamel cast iron cookware is often used for slow cooking, braising, and roasting.
There is a wide range of colors, that complement existing decore which is a refreshing change from the plainness of traditional seasoned cast iron.
Many shapes and sizes for stovetops and conventional ovens are available to extend the practicality of this cookware.
Cleaning and maintaining enamel cast iron cookware is a breeze, thanks to its non-reactive surface coating that doesn’t absorb any flavors or odors from food.
A major benefit of enamel cast iron pots, pans and skillets is that they do not require seasoning like traditional cast iron cookware.
The enamel does a couple of things well! It protects the raw cast iron core from corrosion and rusting and gives “the chef” a smooth surface to cook on.
Make no mistake enamel cast iron is “NOT” non-stick oil or liquid is required every time you cook. WHY? Because cast iron cookware gets hot, even at low temperatures.
The oil, lard, broth, or water will stop food from sticking to the surface of the cookware while cooking.
Learn in this article how to stop your food from sticking to your cast iron cookware.
The caveat, some people still choose to season their enamel cast iron cookware, particularly around the rim of the cookware, to protect the exposed cast iron surface and improve its nonstick ability.
Seasoning and Enamel Cast Iron
What is Seasoning?
When cooking with cast iron skillets or pans, seasoning involves applying a coating of oil or fat to the surface.
When you season a cast iron skillet or pan, you’re essentially adding a layer of oil or fat to the surface. This helps to create a non-stick coating that makes cooking and cleaning a lot easier.
This layer of oil or fat helps to protect the surface of the cast iron, prevent rusting, and create a natural non-stick surface.
When seasoning and over time, as the skillet is used and heated, the oil or fat becomes polymerized and forms a hard, protective layer on the surface of the skillet.
Why Season Cast Iron?
Seasoning cast iron helps to create a non-stick surface that makes cooking and cleaning easier.
Rust and corrosion can form on bare cast iron when the iron is exposed to moisture.
Regular seasoning and the use of your favorite oil on the cooking surface can help to enhance the flavor of your food.
Does Enamel Cast Iron Need Seasoning?
Technically no, enamel cast iron does not need its surface seasoned.
This enamel coating acts as a naturally non-stick surface, so seasoning enamel cast iron is not necessary.
However, some people choose to season the rim of their enamel cast iron skillet to protect the exposed cast iron surface, improve its non-stick ability, and prevent burning and crusting on the enamel surface.
Benefits of Seasoning Enamel Cast Iron
While seasoning enamel cast iron is not necessary, it can have some benefits. Seasoning the rim of an enamel cast iron skillet can help to protect the exposed cast iron surface, improve its non-stick ability, and prevent burning and crusting on the enameled surface.
Seasoning can also help to prevent staining on the interior of the cookware by adding a subtle layer of seasoning to the surface of the skillet.
It is important to note that seasoning enamel cast iron is not the same as seasoning traditional cast iron.
Enamel cast iron should not be seasoned in the same way as traditional cast iron, as the enamel coating can be damaged by high heat and abrasive materials.
When seasoning your enamel cast iron skillet, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use a gentle, non-abrasive seasoning method.
My article deep dives into the best oils for seasoning cast iron cookware: check it out!
How to Season Enamel Cast Iron
Step 1: Clean the Enamel Cast Iron
Before seasoning the enamel cast iron, it is important to clean it thoroughly. Use soap, hot water, and a non-abrasive pad to scrub off any food residue or dirt. Rinse it well and dry it with a clean towel.
Step 2: Apply Oil to the Enamel Cast Iron
Apply a thin layer of oil to the enamel cast iron. You need to use oil with a high smoke point, my favorite is grapeseed oil but you can use vegetable oil, canola oil, or flaxseed oil. Make sure to cover the entire surface of the enamel cast iron, including the rim. Use a paper towel to remove any excess oil.
Step 3: Bake the Enamel Cast Iron
Preheat your oven to 375°F. Place the enamel cast iron upside down on the middle rack of the oven. Place a sheet of aluminum foil on the bottom rack to catch any drips. Bake the enamel cast iron for one hour.
Step 4: Repeat the Process
After the enamel cast iron has cooled down, repeat the process of applying oil and baking it for one hour. You can repeat this process as many times as you like until the enamel cast iron has a smooth, non-stick surface.
It is important to note that seasoning enamel cast iron is not necessary, as the porcelain coating acts as a barrier between the food and the pan. However, seasoning the enamel cast iron can improve its non-stick ability and prevent burning and crusting on the enamel surface.
How to Store Enamel Cast Iron Cookware
Proper storage of enamel cast iron cookware is essential to ensure its longevity and prevent damage. Here are some tips to help you store your cookware correctly:
Keep it dry: Before storing your enamel cast iron cookware, make sure it is completely dry. Any moisture left in the cookware can cause rust or damage to the enamel.
Avoid stacking: Stacking your enamel cast iron cookware can cause scratches or chips in the enamel. Instead, place a soft cloth or paper towel between each piece to protect it from damage.
Store in a dry place: Store your enamel cast iron cookware in a dry place, away from any moisture or humidity. A dry cupboard or pantry is an ideal location.
Avoid direct sunlight: Direct sunlight can cause fading or discoloration of the enamel on your cookware. Store it in a shaded area or cover it with a cloth to protect it from sunlight.
Store lids separately: If your enamel cast iron cookware comes with a lid, store it separately from the pot or pan. This will prevent it from scratching or damaging the enamel on the cookware.
By following these simple storage tips, you can ensure that your enamel cast iron cookware stays in excellent condition for years to come.
Learn the tips and tricks to storing your precious enamel cast iron cookware in the correct way to prevent chipping and cracking.
Is Enamel Cast Iron Really Non-Stick?
Enamel cast iron is often marketed as a non-stick alternative to traditional cast iron cookware. While it is true that enamel cast iron does not require seasoning like traditional cast iron, it is not inherently non-stick.
Enamel cast iron is coated with a layer of enamel, which provides a smooth surface and protects the iron from rusting. However, the enamel coating is not a non-stick surface like Teflon or other non-stick coatings.
While cooking with enamel cast iron, it is still important to use oil or butter to prevent food from sticking to the surface. Additionally, acidic foods, such as tomatoes or citrus, can damage the enamel coating over time, making it less effective as a non-stick surface.
Find out how to cook eggs on enamel cast iron cookware!
Overall, while enamel cast iron does not require seasoning, it is not a true non-stick alternative to traditional cast iron or Teflon-coated cookware. It is important to use proper cooking techniques and be aware of the limitations of enamel cast iron when using it in the kitchen.
Cast iron vs enamel cast iron cookware which is better and which cookware suits you best?
Can I use metal utensils on enamel cast iron cookware?
Avoiding metal utensils on enamel cast iron cookware is the best thing you can do to protect its cooking surface, as they can scratch the enamel surface. Instead, use wooden, silicone, or nylon utensils. My article lists the best utensils for cast iron cookware.
Is enamel cast iron cookware dishwasher safe?
It is best to hand wash enamel cast iron cookware to preserve the enamel coating. Dishwashing detergent can be harsh and can damage the enamel over time. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions before putting it in the dishwasher.
How long will enamel cast iron cookware last?
With proper care, enamel cast iron cookware can last for many years. Although enamel is durable and resistant to chipping, cracking store it correctly for a longer life.
Can I use enamel cast iron cookware on an induction cooktop?
There you have it enamel cast iron does not need to be seasoned before use. Unlike raw cast iron, enamel cast iron has a glass-based coating that protects the surface from rusting and improves its nonstick ability.
However, seasoning the rim of the enamel cast iron can help protect the exposed cast iron surface and prevent burning and crusting on the enamel surface.
It is important to note that while enamel cast iron does not require seasoning, it still requires proper care and maintenance.
This includes hand washing with mild soap and water, avoiding abrasive cleaners, and drying thoroughly before storing.
Storing enamel cast iron with the lid off can also prevent moisture buildup and potential damage to the enamel coating.
When it comes to cooking with enamel cast iron, it offers many advantages such as even heat distribution, durability, and versatility.
It can be used on all stovetops, including induction. Perfect for stovetop to oven recipes and don’t forget in the oven for baking and roasting.
Enamel cast iron is also available in a variety of colors and styles, there is one out there to suit any kitchen.
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