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3 Pie Iron Cleaning Tips

 While many chefs (professional and at home) swear by cast iron cookware, there are so many myths that make maintaining this highly durable and virtually indestructible material sound like a nightmare! From “well-known” facts like never use soap with cast iron and you can’t cook tomatoes in a cast iron pan, everyone seems to have an opinion on everyday cleaning that can apparently ruin your cookware.

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We’re here to tell you that cleaning cast iron cookware from pie irons to skillets to Dutch ovens doesn’t have to be a chore! In fact, cast iron is one of the simplest materials to clean and maintain, as long as you know what you’re doing.

That said, when it comes to cleaning your pie iron, the long handles do make things a bit more complicated... Great for keeping your fingers clear of campfire heat, not so great for seasoning in the oven!

When it comes to pie iron cleaning, the easiest option is to preheat your BBQ instead of the oven to ensure the seasoning sets nicely without ruining the handles. Alternatively, a pie iron with removable handles (like this one: https://unocasa.com/products/pie-iron) means you can simply take the handles off and clean them as usual. The cast-iron sections can then be seasoned and cleaned separately. 

1. Seasoning is king

Although many pie irons and other cast iron cookware these days come pre-seasoned, it’s still good practice to thoroughly season your pans immediately when you buy them. After this, you’ll just need to top up the seasoning from time to time, usually if signs of wear start to show or if you haven’t used the pan in a while.

Seasoning is what gives cast iron its non-stick properties and durable status, so it’s an essential part of your pie iron maintenance.

To season your new pie iron, follow these steps:

  1. If you can start by removing the handles. These can be washed with soapy water and don’t need any extra maintenance. Preheat your oven to 500’F (or as high as it will go).

  2. If your pie iron doesn’t have removable handles, preheat your BBQ grill instead.

  3. Wash the pie iron with hot water and dish soap (this is one of the only times you’ll ever use dish soap on cast iron), then thoroughly dry it (do not leave it to air dry).

  4. Use a paper towel to rub the pie iron with oil or shortening (not butter or margarine). Be sure to cover every part of the pan, inside and out.

  5. Take a clean paper towel and wipe again until the pan seems dry – some oil will be left to season.

  6. Place the pie iron in the preheated oven or BBQ and “bake” for one hour.

  7. After the hour is up, turn off the heat and leave the pie iron in the oven until it’s cool enough to handle.

  8. If the pan feels oily or sticky, this means there was too much oil used, and you’ll need to start again.

  9. Repeat this process six times, then allow the pan to cool completely and store in a dry area.

2. General cleaning

While some people claim simply wiping out your pie iron after use is sufficient, it’s always best to give any cast iron a proper clean and small top-up of seasoning after every use. This will ensure your pan lasts as long as possible.

Contrary to popular opinion, it’s absolutely fine to use a little dish soap when cleaning your pie iron. However, this is generally unnecessary as well seasoned cast iron should be fine to clean with warm water.

You should never leave cast iron to soak in water and always ensure the pan is completely dry (do not air dry) before storing.

  1. When you’re finished with your pie iron, give the pan a quick wipe with a paper towel to remove excess oil or debris.

  2. Wash with a sponge, hot water, and a little dish soap if needed. If your pan has caked-on food waste (like cheese drippings or melted marshmallows), add some coarse salt for extra abrasion power.

  3. After washing and rinsing, immediately dry the pie iron with a towel, then place it on the stove or campfire on high heat.

  4. Add a little oil (canola or flaxseed oil is great) and rub it all over the cookware with a paper towel.

  5. Leave the pie iron on the heat until it starts to smoke, then allow it to cool completely before storing.

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3. Extra cleaning tips

When cleaning your pie iron, it’s a good idea to have a specially dedicated towel for drying. Cast iron can stain towels, so you don’t want to be using your finest linens for this task! Always ensure your pan is completely dry before storing it to avoid rust.

That said, even if your pie iron does get a little rusty, this is not a death sentence! Simply scrub away the rust with a mixture of salt and oil, then clean and reseason the pan as if it were new.

It’s a good idea to cook greasy foods with your pie iron when it’s new, as this will add to the seasoning and help it last longer. Bacon and eggs are not just a delicious camping breakfast but can actually prolong the life of your pie iron by infusing it with extra fats.

Final thoughts

With these top pie iron cleaning tips, you’re sure to enjoy a lifetime of pudgy pies, s’mores, and campfire grilled cheeses… No matter how rarely or frequently you camp!


Would you like to comment?

  1. I will keep these tips in mind. I have been wanting to get one of these iron pans.

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  2. I think I am missing out by not having a cast iron pie pan or iron. I think it has so many great uses and the care you outlined is so smart.

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  3. I’ve never heard of a cast iron skillet called this before. I’m from the south and you gotta have a skillet

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  4. These are good cleaning tips. I will have to try them on my pans.

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  5. These are wonderful tips. I'm planning to buy cast iron for our kitchen and I'll remember to do all of these.

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  6. Richelle Escat12:24 AM

    I'll share this to my friend who loves her cookwares so much.

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  7. These great tips! I’ve always struggled getting my pans cleaned but with tips it sounds so easy!

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  8. I like to keep my things clean and these tips will definitely help me.

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  9. Thanks for these tips! I never get them clean enough. Will try your tips and hope for the best!

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  10. Great tips. Cleaning these can be a pain sometimes. It's nice to see some of the tips you have provided. I'll have to use them the next time I need to clean mine.

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  11. I need this tips, I have few cast iron pans and skillets needs proper care. Thanks for sharing this.

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