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How to Get Rid of Odors from Your Cast Iron Pan

You’ve probably heard the advice to avoid cooking aromatic ingredients in your cast iron pan. The reason is that this type of pan can easily absorb strong odors through its seasoned layer. But let’s face it, you’ll probably break this rule at some point if you haven’t yet already. So, what do you do when the smell of fish from last night’s dinner or a lingering garlic scent left behind after preparing your favorite garlic-based sauce just won’t go away?

Since you shouldn’t use harsh chemicals or abrasives that could damage the pan’s precious seasoning, the easy solution is¬†baking your cast iron pan in the oven. This method will not only evaporate and remove the irritating odors, it’ll also reinforce the pan’s seasoning. Here’s how to do it: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. While it’s heating up, gently wash your pan with warm, soapy water and rinse it thoroughly. Next, dry it with paper towels or a lint-free cloth towel. Then, place your pan in the oven and let it bake for 10 to 15 minutes. And, voila! Your pan should be odor-free and ready to use again.

An alternative way to remove smelly odors from cast iron cookware

A cast iron pan on a stove-top burner

If you’re looking for an alternative cast iron cleaning solution that doesn’t involve switching on your oven, there’s another method you can try. Simply heat your cast iron pan on the stovetop. This will take about 15 minutes. Some people like to apply a thin layer of oil to the pan before heating it, but it’s not necessary. In fact, it’s not preferred because then you have to deal with the extra task of wiping off the excess oil afterward. So, feel free to skip the oiling step if you’re short on time or just don’t feel like dealing with the added hassle.

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But what if the odor persists after all your efforts to heat the pan either on the stove or in the oven? In that case, you have no choice but to scrub your pan with a scouring pad, strip off the seasoned layer, and re-season the cast iron pan afterward. Whichever method you choose, just know that there’s no need to panic when faced with a smelly pan. With a little time and patience, you can easily eliminate those odors and get back to enjoying the benefits of cooking with cast iron.

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