Cast iron griddles, like all cast iron, require seasoning. Seasoning is simply oil or fats applied to the cast iron and baked into the cast iron. Cast iron is porous; once heated, the pores open, allowing the oil to soak in. Eventually, this will make cast iron non-stick and adds additional flavor to whatever is cooked in the cast iron.
So, what is a cast iron griddle? Though the word is sometimes used interchangeably with “skillet,” there are technical differences. A cast iron skillet is round, while a cast iron griddle is rectangular or square. Some cast iron griddles have raised lines on the bottom to replicate grill lines. These raised lines also help to drain the fat from proteins like ground beef.
Should You Season a Cast Iron Griddle?
Cast iron griddles should be seasoned. Like all cast iron, foods will stick to the surface if they are not seasoned. Seasoning is a simple process; the more seasoning a cast iron receives, the more non-stick it will become. A properly seasoned cast iron skillet will quickly become your favorite pan.
The best way to season a cast iron griddle is by using the oven method. The oven method was discussed in a previous article, How To Season a Cast Iron Wok?
Pour a dash of oil or fat onto the griddle and rub it into the entire griddle with a paper towel. Place the griddle into the oven upside down, and bake at 400℉. Baking cast iron upside down ensures that excess oil does not build up on the surface. In seasoning cast iron, less is more so long as the entire surface is coated. This prevents rusting and adds additional flavor to the foods that are cooked in cast iron.
What Is The Best Oil To Season A Cast Iron Griddle With?
The best oils to use in seasoning a cast iron griddle is a vegetable and canola oil. Melted shortening can also be used. Any oil or fat can be used for seasoning a cast iron. Based on availability and affordability, vegetable oil, canola oil, and shortening are generally used. What is important is the smoke point of the oil. Cooking oils break down and start to smoke at certain temperatures. These oils have a particularly high smoke point, making them ideal for seasoning cast iron at high temperatures.
How Long Does It Take To Season A Cast Iron Griddle?
There are various ways to season a cast iron griddle. There is the stovetop, oven, or even an open fire. The preferred method, especially for new or unseasoned cast iron, is the oven method. The seasoning serves several purposes. Seasoning flavors the cast iron, makes the cast iron non-stick and preserves the cast iron from rusting.
The oven method is the best way to ensure all three things happen. Simply wipe the entire griddle with oil (including the handle), and bake it upside down on the center rack at 400℉ for one hour. After one hour, remove the griddle and place it on the stovetop and allow it to cool. Once the griddle is cooled, it can be seasoned again. This is a personal choice, but you don’t want to overseason the griddle.
How Often Do You Season A Cast Iron Griddle?
Typically, seasoning a cast iron griddle two or three times a year will suffice. But again, it’s a personal choice. A good way to test whether the griddle is non-stick is to cook an egg. If the eggs stick to the surface, the griddle must be seasoned. Also, if food has been burned onto the griddle, the griddle must be cleaned and reseasoned. There is more on this subject in the article, How To Clean Cast Iron With Vinegar And Baking Soda.
After cooking with the griddle, it should be properly cleaned and dried. A thin layer of oil must be applied to preserve the cast iron once it is cleaned and dried. If foods aren’t burned onto the pan, they don’t need to be seasoned every time they are used. The griddle should be stripped of the seasoning and seasoned again if it has dull spots.
Dull spots in cast iron are caused by a lack of oil. If the cast iron was not seasoned properly, or if food was cooked without enough oil, the oil burns off and leaves dull spots. The remedy is to strip the seasoning and re-season the cast iron. Scrub the griddle with an SOS pad until the entire surface is dull, re-season the griddle, and bake it, upside down, at 400℉ for one hour.
My name is Jason Phillips and I cooked for many years, primarily aboard Merchant Marine vessels and in fast-paced commercial kitchens. My passion for culinary arts led me to attend a culinary arts academy in 2019 where the instructor piqued my interest in food and beverage writing.