Many people are curious and asking, “Do I need to oil my cast iron pan before storing it?”
Oil is necessary for seasoning cast iron, but what about adding more when it’s in storage?
Whether it’s being put away long-term or just until the next time you use it, you might not know the best way.
And what about collectors? Do they keep all their pans oiled?
Let’s find out.
Do I Need to Oil My Cast Iron Pan Before Storing?
Every piece of cast iron cookware should be seasoned and have a polymerized layer of oil baked onto the surface before it is stored. Whether you will use your pan the next day or pack it away for an extended period, all cast iron needs to be seasoned. However, you do not need to oil it again if it is well-seasoned, clean, and dry. You can do it, but it’s not essential. There are various ways to store cast iron, but the best place is somewhere that will stay dry.
1. In a Dry Cabinet or Pantry
If you are going to store your cast iron cookware in a cabinet, make sure it’s not near moisture.
For example, under the sink or above the dishwasher would not be the best choice.
Storing on a shelf that is eye level or below may be more practical, as well. Cast iron is on the heavy side.
In addition to being heavy, it’s brittle and can break if you drop it.
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2. On the Stovetop
Many people store at least one cast iron skillet on their stovetop.
Of course, this is probably not going to work for multiple pieces.
I suppose you could stack them; however, it might look a bit cluttered.
Whereas having a single skillet sitting on the stovetop is attractive, multiple stacked ones probably aren’t.
3. In a Cast Iron Storage Rack
Many manufacturers sell shelving for storing multiple pieces of cast iron (or other cookware, for that matter).
This is what I have.
I can sit on my counter, and everything fits.
In the first image above, the square skillet usually sits on the stovetop. But I added it for the picture, so it looked complete.
The bottom space will fit a dutch oven should I ever get one.
You can find other storage racks if you would like something bigger or a different style.
Cast Iron Cookware Organizers
4. In the Oven
Another way to store cast iron is in your oven.
As unusual as this might sound, it is not uncommon.
People with limited storage space find the oven a convenient place.
It’s generally dry, and obviously, the shelves can handle the weight.
However, if you use your oven often, I think you might get tired of taking the pans out so you can heat the oven.
Or you might accidentally heat up your pans when you aren’t using them.
On the other hand, heating them up isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
In that sense, cast iron is pretty much indestructible.
5. Hang Your Cast Iron On the Wall
Hanging your cast iron skillets on the wall will take a bit more planning.
Still, many cast iron lovers proudly display their skillets this way.
Your cast iron becomes both decorative and functional, and it frees up your cabinet space for other things.
Just make sure your hooks are secure and able to hold the weight of your cast iron.
This way may be a good option for a small kitchen with little counter and cabinet space.
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6. In Its Own Closet or Shelf Unit
This way of storing is mainly for collectors.
Collecting cast iron is a hobby for some people, in addition to using it for cooking.
However, finding a place to put loads of cast iron pans can be a challenge.
Indeed, you can hang it like mentioned above, but I found two other suggestions:
- If your kitchen has a pantry closet as my kitchen does, you could transform it into a closet just for cast iron.
- If you outgrow your closet, as in the video below, or you don’t have a pantry, you could buy a shelving unit designed to hold heavy things. I’ve seen them anywhere from 250 lbs all the way up to 2000 lbs per shelf.
My Cast Iron Cookware Storage Solution
A Few Tips For Long-term Storage
Suppose you plan to store your cast iron pan for an extended period, and you want them out of your kitchen.
What do you need to know?
- Make sure your cast iron is clean and dry.
- Remove any lids or put a paper towel between the lid and the pan to let it “breathe” so no condensation can form.
- Store in a dry place with as little humidity as possible.
- If stacking pans, put newspaper, paper towels, or parchment paper in between.
- Be sure your entire pan is seasoned with a thin layer of oil.
- Use your storage bags for transporting if you have any.
- If you’re concerned about mice or other critters getting in it, add some rice to the pan and zip tie it in a paper bag.
- If you’re worried it will smell, you can add some charcoal or burnt pieces of wood left from a campfire.
These tips are talked about in a little more detail and demonstrated in the video below.
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Cast Iron Storage Tips Plus My 3 Essential Cast Iron PIeces
Were you asking, “Do I need to add oil to my cast iron pan before storing it?”
As you can see, as long as your pan is well-seasoned, you do not need to add any more oil to your cast iron pan. But it won’t hurt if you add a thin layer for a bit of added protection.
However, the way you store your pan is important.
In addition to being well-seasoned, make sure your pan is clean and dry. And that you store it in a dry place, free from humidity.
You can store your cast iron in a cabinet, on the stovetop, or in your oven. Other ways include hanging it on the wall or buying a storage organizer made for cast iron.
And if you have too much cast iron, you might consider getting a heavy-duty shelf unit or turning a pantry into a closet for your pans.
On the other hand, if you are storing your pan indefinitely, you might want to put it in a paper bag with some rice or charcoal.
Regardless of how you store your cast iron cookware, it will last.
Furthermore, if you store it properly, it will be ready to use the next time you get it out.
I mean, after washing and drying it, of course.
Let me know how you store your cast iron and if you add more oil before putting it away.