How to Clean Cast Iron Grill Pan

A cast iron grill pan (or a cast iron griddle) is an essential tool for any kitchen. It’s not an overstatement to say that most families couldn’t imagine their lives without it. Even so, a cast iron can be tricky when it comes to cleaning. In this article you will find easy steps on how to clean a cast iron grill pan.


The reason why cast iron grill pan needs a special treatment lies in the structure of cast iron. A big amount of pores in the material makes it vulnerable to excess moisture which can lead to an early rusting if not maintained properly.

Even though the other materials, like copper, stainless steel, and aluminum, are less susceptible to moisture, they still won’t serve you as long as the cast iron, which can be used for many decades with a few tricks we will now describe.

Seasoning the cast iron pan to protect it

Before the first cooking, it’s advised that you create an additional layer of defense on your pan. Start by washing thoroughly in a hot water with non-abrasive soap, then dry it with paper towels afterward.


After the pan is clean, apply the oil until it forms a thin coat on the surface of the pan. Use the right amount of cooking oil so it spreads evenly.

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Put your cast iron cookware in the oven in medium-high heat for one hour. The temperature should be around 205 C (400 F).

Leave your cast iron grill until it cools down. This will make the oil harden on a pan, forming a sticky coating that repels water. It doesn’t allow the food to stick to the cast iron surface and can prevent scratching.

After seasoning the cast iron griddle try to prevent it from contacting metal utensils – otherwise, the thin coating will be scraped away.

The seasoning process is not too complicated and only needs to be done once – as long as you don’t scratch off the cooking oil. And even if you did so – you can re-season it again so your cookware doesn’t get damaged.

How to clean cast iron grill pan

If the seasoning was done well, it shouldn’t be too hard to clean a cast iron grill pan. All the after-cooking care reduces to just wiping it down after usage. But be sure to do so while it’s still warm! You can remove the stuck-on foods from the cold surface as well, but it will require much more effort so don’t leave the cleaning for later.

Sometimes steel wool is used to free the surface from the stuck food. While it seems like an effective method, we do not recommend doing so. Metal utensils will ruin the seasoning quickly – moreover, the metal scraps from the surface of a pan can ruin the taste of food.

To avoid this scenario, you should wash the griddle before and after preparing a meal. Washing is best done by hand since the cast iron cookware is not to be put in a dishwasher.

There are several methods of washing the cast iron griddles efficiently and here are some of them.

Water And Salt

The flavor-enhancing seasoning doesn’t only protect the griddle from external damage, but can also provide your dishes with a rich flavor. That’s why you would generally want to keep it intact for as long as possible. Unfortunately, it can be removed by detergent just like other organic parts.

To prevent this from happening, coarse kosher salt can be used in a place of detergent. The kosher salt works the best because of how coarse it is. It serves as an excellent abrasive and will remove all the food scraps without corroding the seasoning.

After you used the pan – pour off the grease as mentioned before and allow the pan to become cool enough so you can touch it. Add a generous amount of salt to the surface and make a paste from it by adding a bit of boiled, but not soapy water. Use a nylon brush and scrub between the ridges or other places where the food stuck.

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If this didn’t work – don’t be afraid to add more salt. Rinse and repeat until the pan is clean again. Lastly, dry it off with a paper towel before putting it away. You might also want to check and re-apply the seasoning if it did go off after all.

Oil And Salt

Pour in a little bit of oil and use the paper towel to spread it evenly across the pan. The next step is to add a lot of coarse kosher salt and use a stiff bristle brush to get rid of the food leftovers. If you have access to an absorbent cloth – it is also a good choice to remove all the residue afterward.

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Boiling water

If the griddle has high sides, you can use boiling water to remove the grease from it. Pour 2-3 spoons of water and then boil it on the stove. You’ll know it was boiled enough when the food particles start flowing on the surface. After this, the leftover food can be removed with a spatula.


The waste must be thrown in the trash afterward. Do not let it go down the drain – this will most likely cause it to clog. It is also harmful to the environment since grease contaminates running water and is hard to cleanse.

Don’t throw the dirt away immediately – let the pan cool for a while so it doesn’t leave a burn anywhere. Rinse it with warm water before wiping it down as usual.

Dry Salt

The best way to prevent the griddle from rusting is to not use water at all. Or any other liquid to that matter. This might sound silly at first but it’s a common practice to clean cast iron griddle pans by only using salt and nothing else.

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Cover the bottom with salt and rub it in thoroughly, especially at the places where the food scraps are located. Use a clean paper towel to rub the salt and add more of it when necessary.

After you’re done, use another paper towel to wipe down the remains.

Hot Water And Soap

This method is best to be left unused when the chef can afford to do so. It completely removes all the seasoning from the grill pans. On the other hand, when done right, it helps you remove the food scraps, stuck between the grids, more easily.

Simply put, you apply the soap in-between the ridges, then heat some water and clean the iron grill with a scrubber (ideally, a plastic one) or just a sponge. Repeat this a couple of times while rinsing off the soap with hot water.


Alternatively, you can add the dishwashing liquid to the bucket of water. The desired proportion is one teaspoon per one water gallon. Now just dip a brush or a sponge into the solution and use the soapy water from it to clean the pan. After the cleaning is done – once again, wipe it with a paper towel to dry the moisture.

Dry Salt And Potato

Take an old potato and slice it in half or into a couple of thick pieces. Spread the salt around the pan. Rub the salt in as was described before, but this time do it with the cut side of a potato piece instead of paper towels. After the cleaning is done, use a clean paper towel to dry it again.

Cast iron brush

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As was mentioned above, it’s better not to clean a cast-iron grill pan with metal tools. Even so, you can still use a stiff-bristled brush specifically made for a cast iron grill pan – not only does it help you prevent rust and save the cookware, but also doesn’t alter the food taste.

After a cooking session, leave the pan for about ten minutes so you can let it cool completely. Use other methods available to remove as many leftovers as you can. After everything is done – pour hot water on the spots which couldn’t be cleaned before.

This way, the leftovers will loosen and can be easily scraped away by a brush. Wipe the surface with a paper towel until it’s fully dry and then lightly oil it so the layer of seasoning can be restored.

Read also our articles:

How To Deal With Rust On An Iron Grill Pan

Even though a cast iron grill pan is expected to live longer than other cookware, it can still get rusty really fast if not cared for properly. When that happens, there are several methods you can use to get rid of the rust and extend the lifetime of your cast iron griddle.

Learn more about how to clean cast iron grill pans from rust.


There are two main ways how to clean cast iron grill pan from rust.

Baking Soda And Lemon Juice

First of all, try to remove rust with a plastic scraper and see how it goes. Mix a tablespoon of lemon juice with a cup of baking soda. You will get the paste which must be applied to the affected parts and covered by plastic wrap.

Leave the cast iron grill pan like this for approximately 24 hours before you remove rust with the steel wool.

Rust Remover Q12

Another way to clean a cast-iron grill pan is by using the Q12 chemical and a regular paintbrush. Coat the agent between all the grids and let it stay there for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse the grill pan under the running water and you’re done.

Always use a cleaner not based on solvents and don’t forget to cover the surface with some more oil before wiping it with a towel.

How to clean cast iron grill pan that is charred, you can watch in this video.


To prevent your cast iron cookware from spoiling, there are general tips that will be helpful for you.

Don’t clean cast iron griddle with a dishwasher

Do not wash cast iron griddles in a dishwasher. It is true that if your cast iron grill pan has a non-stick surface, then in the worst case it will just lose a layer of seasoning. The same doesn’t go for other cookware as it will get rusty more quickly.

Let your griddle cool down before cleaning

It was said above that the cleaning duty becomes less hard when the pan is still warm. Even so, don’t try to wash it right after taking off from the fire. Cold water from the sink might be the cause of cracks or deformations due to a thermal shock.

Check your cookware periodically

High heat, acidic food, and humidity aren’t the best conditions for any utensils, so be sure to check their condition from time to time.

To see if your cast iron grill pan is seasoned well enough, you can perform a simple test. Take one egg and fry it in the pan together with one tablespoon of oil. If the egg sticks to the pan surface – maybe it’s a good time to re-season your griddle using the oil residue.

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You can also tell when the seasoning is wearing off from the way it looks. Normally, when the griddle is well seasoned, it will have a dark and glossy color. If it doesn’t – periodically check if the pan surface is dry, has some dull spots, or is even a little rusty. A light layer of cooking oil will wear off over time, so refresh it regularly!

Keep in mind that it doesn’t matter that much how exactly you clean your cast iron grill. What’s more important is for you to make the after-cooking care more consistent so the surface of your grill pan will serve for many more years to come.

You may also be interested in reading our articles: How long to grill frozen burgers and How to grill asparagus in foil.

3 thoughts on “How to Clean Cast Iron Grill Pan”

  1. Been struggling with cleaning my casts iron for some time now. This is great thank you for teaching me again how to restore my cast iron griddle. Great tips!!!


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