How to Season a New Cast Iron Dutch Oven for the First Time


season new cast iron

Today cast iron generally arrives “pre-seasoned”.

Standards of “pre-seasoning” will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and brand to brand.

This is the really quick answer to carry out the first seasoning process.

Seasoning a new cast iron Dutch oven for the first time takes one to two hours. You preheat your oven or grill to around 425 degrees Fahrenheit or 220 degrees Celcius, clean the Dutch oven and dry it thoroughly. Rub oil over the oven bake it in an oven or grill for 45 minutes then let it cool for 30 minutes. Repeat.

Most of us clean a new place setting right out of the box before use. We even launder our clothing or bedding before use so it makes sense to reseason our brand new little cast iron workhorse.

Even though it does arrive “pre-seasoned” if you carry out this initial seasoning you know your Dutch oven will be protected before its first use.

You will be using your cast iron Dutch oven for a lifetime and beyond so the couple of hours you put in at the beginning is well worth it.

To make sure you complete the task in a thorough manner please read the entire article.

You will not be sorry when you have completed the pre-seasoning correctly, it will save you time in the long run.

Especially if you do not have to remove rust from your oven then you need to complete another first seasoning process.

Why Season New Cast Iron?

It is a very common and reasonable question “why do you need to season a new Dutch oven?” The simple answer is because the factory seasoning is just not enough to protect your cast-iron long term.

When cast iron is manufactured it will leave the manufacturing plant in one of two ways:-

  1. Unseasoned with a protective coating covering on the cast iron which is in place to prevent any corrosion or rust building up on the cast iron before you open the box.
  2. Some manufacturers are seasoning the cast iron in the factory before shipment to protect the cast iron much the same way as the previous method of a protective coating.

Without a good coat of seasoning to cover the cast iron your food will stick to the iron in the food preparation process as well as not having a very appealing taste.

Anyone remember that Amalgam filling taste before you got to wash your mouth out after your new filling at the Dentist taste? Well, your food will probably be served with a similar taste.

Seasoning the cast iron protects the iron from rusting which in turn keeps future cleaning of the Dutch oven easier.

How Do You Season a Brand New Cast Iron Dutch Oven?

When Seasoning cast iron you need a well-ventilated area or room as the iron will smoke at the high temperature it needs to reach to season correctly. The very best place to season cast iron is in a hooded barbecue outside, if possible.

If outside is not possible then choose a fine day when you can open windows and doors in and around your kitchen for the smoke to escape.

Reading manufacturers instructions before using any appliances is also advisable.

* The surface you require is one that looks shiny and looks as though it will stop food from sticking to it as well as repeal any corrosion or rust.

How long does it take to season a Dutch oven? I would set aside at least 4-5 hours but depending upon the condition and quality of the cast-iron you may need a little longer.

Follow these steps to season your cast iron:

1. Remove any manufacturing residue, protective coatings, and any other particles adhered to the oven.

2. Wash your Dutch oven with hot soapy water. Give it a good scrub inside and out with a scourer or scrubbing brush. Don’t forget the lid! Dry the oven thoroughly.
{The first time is the only time you should use soap on cast iron unless you like the taste of clean soap in the meals you prepare.}

3. Line the barbeque or oven shelf with aluminum foil because you will be inverting your Dutch oven and its lid.  Heat your barbeque or conventional oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit or 220 degrees Celcius.

4. Place the Dutch oven including the lid inside for 30 minutes.

5. Remove the Dutch oven and allow it to cool down to the touch.

6. Time to oil – use oil of your choice. Using an old rag or cloth rub the oil all over the oven inside and out. Remember crevices and ridges.

7. Invert the Dutch oven and its lid on the foil lining. {Inverting the cookware allows any excess oil to run down and out and not get stuck in any crevices.} Bake time is 45 minutes then allow to cool for 30 minutes before removing.

8. If you are carrying out the seasoning process inside as many open windows and doors as you can for ventilation.

9. When cooled use mitts to remove the oven and wipe off any excess oil. Remember you are after a shiny repellent looking surface.

10. I would repeat the process at least one more time immediately especially if the oven did not arrive “pre-seasoned” from the manufacturer.

How Do I Season a Brand New Cast Iron Skillet?

Season a new cast-iron skillet by following the same steps outlined above needed to season a new Dutch oven.

How to Season a New Cast Iron Dutch Oven for the First Time

Choosing an Oil to Season Cast Iron With

The best oil to season cast iron? This can be another dilemma for some with so many opinions out there.

I myself have followed advice from others and changed oils throughout the years. I was seasoning my Dutch oven with coconut oil and previous to that flax oil. Both with no adverse effects on the Dutch oven or to the taste of meals.

I have also used avocado oil for seasoning and continue to cook with it due to its extremely high smoking point. Also, it is my cooking oil of choice in the kitchen due to its health benefits and its awesome taste.

I am currently using 100% pure refined grapeseed oil to season my cast-iron.

Remember that seasoning happens naturally as the cast iron is used. So the more you cook with your cast iron the more the grease and oils in your dishes adhere to the iron creating the protective layer on the Dutch oven.

This is the protective layer that protects the iron from rust as well as that shiny surface to stop the food from sticking to the oven.

After spending days researching oils I came up with this resource you may be interested in reading which goes into detail about oils and their seasoning pros and cons. Read it here.

General Care and Maintenance of Your Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Spending a little time after each use of your Dutch oven will see it ready for its next meal.

  • Remember no soap only water and elbow grease to clean your Dutch oven.
  • Also, remember not to pour cold water into a hot piece of cast iron. This could cause cracking and other surface damage.

If food is stuck to the surface of your oven cover the food with water and boil. Empty the oven and use a scraper or wooden spoon to remove any large particles then use a scourer to remove the small ones.

Repeat the boiling process if required.

When the oven is clean rinse with clean water then dry it thoroughly. If at home you can place the Dutch oven in your conventional heated oven which will dry it completely.

If the removal of stuck food has taken some of the shiny lusters off your Dutch oven’s surface carry out the seasoning process again.

Storing Your Cast Iron

Before storing your Dutch oven it should be clean and dry.

The lid should be inverted for storage and you will need to leave a gap for air to circulate in and around the Dutch oven. This prevents the oil on the surface of the oven from turning rancid.

If this happens do not cook with it. Before the next use carry out the seasoning process from the beginning again. {No Soap}

Most Dutch ovens today arrive with small rubber, silicone, or plastic clips that are attached to the rim of the Dutch oven. The lid is then inverted and you will see a gap this is where the air will enter.

If you do not have these clips simply use pieces of thick cardboard and fold them over the edge of the Dutch oven then invert the lid.

See some great tips by going here this article is all about storing your cast iron.

How Often Should I Season Cast Iron?

If you use your Dutch oven regularly and maintain it after each of its uses the oils emitted from the food you prepare should keep it seasoned naturally.

If you prepare a lot of dishes which contain acidic foods like tomatoes the seasoning on the surface of the oven will break down a lot quicker than if you are preparing a lot of oily dishes.

You will need to reseason when the following happens:

  1. Your food is sticking to the surface of the oven.
  2. The surface of the oven has become dull and is no longer shiny and smooth.

What Other Cast Iron Can I Season?

Seasoning all cast iron is advisable some examples of this would include:

  • Stew Pots
  • Skillets
  • Cast iron griddles
  • Wedge skillets
  • Roasting Pans
  • French frying pans
  • Fajita pans
  • Deep fryer pans and saucepans
  • Woks
  • Cast iron on pig cookers
  • Cast iron pot stands
  • Lids
  • Bacon presses
  • Hamburger patty presses
  • Cast iron burners and grates on stovetops or barbeques

Think out of the box there are cast iron everywhere and it should be protected from oxidization and corrosion.

Do You Need to Season an Enamel Dutch Oven?

No, you do not need to season an enamel Dutch oven. The caveat is that an enamel Dutch oven has exposed cast-iron around the top rim of the oven and around the rim of the lid.

To season the cast-iron rim simply applies seasoning oil of your choice around the rim and cook as normal. When you have cleaned the cast iron dry completely – preferably in a warm conventional oven. Then apply another coating of oil let dry and store.

When you notice the rim of your enamel Dutch oven being dull carry out the same process.

Frequently Asked Questions

The two questions below are covered in this article. Just click here.

How to Clean a Dutch Oven After Cooking

I get asked this question all the time. Usually from those who are about to take the new cast iron Dutch oven camping for the first time.

So I put a lot of time in preparing an article for them and others new to cast iron cooking. And as a refresher for those of us who use ours all the time.

Click the link above for all you need to learn.

How to Clean a Rusty Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Rusty cast iron is everywhere but it can be restored.

The article above is so in-depth that it totally covers removing and cleaning a rusty cast-iron Dutch oven. Choose the link above to see the article.

To Finish – How to Season a New Cast Iron Dutch Oven for the First Time

I hope you have all the information you need about how to prepare a new Dutch oven before your first use.

After you have preseasoned your Dutch oven it will be ready to go to work for you. If you take care of it as you use it and store it correctly you will not have to endure the longer initial seasoning process regularly.

Enjoy your Dutch oven!

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