Are you asking, “How does a metal spatula help make my cast iron smooth?”
Let’s say you have a new Lodge cast iron skillet, and it has a bumpy texture.
Although you like the idea of having a smooth pan, you don’t want to sand it.
So, you plan to build up the seasoning over time, but now you’re hearing that using a metal spatula can speed up the process.
A metal spatula?
Won’t the metal take off the seasoning and possibly gouge the iron?
Let’s find out.
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How Does a Metal Spatula Help Make My Cast Iron Smooth?
A metal spatula can help make your cast iron pan smooth by evening out the surface. Not all cast iron surfaces are smooth. Often, new cast iron comes preseasoned and bumpy. And a metal spatula can help wear down the high spots to create a more even surface. And as you build up your seasoning over time, you may also find your pan’s cooking surface isn’t level. Again, a metal spatula can help get it back to smooth by scraping the uneven surfaces. If you consistently use metal utensils on your cast iron, it will help to maintain an even surface once it gets to that point.
Skillets That Benefit the Most By Metal Spatulas
All cast iron skillets, except enameled, will benefit from using metal spatulas.
However, the ones that get the most benefit are those pans with uneven surfaces.
New Preseasoned Textured Cast Iron
We already mentioned that new cast iron often comes preseasoned and has a bumpy texture on the surface. The texture is from the sand mold.
In the past, cast iron production included polishing to get rid of the sand-like texture, but after the 1960s, many manufacturers stopped doing it.
And now we are left with finding ways to make our cast iron surfaces smooth.
Seasoning is the number one way, but metal spatulas can help speed up the process by knocking down the high spots as you cook and clean your pan.
Just to be clear, some say that the manufacturer’s seasoning isn’t enough to hold up to metal utensils. But as you will see below, Lodge disagrees.
Skillets With Built-up Uneven Seasoning
The pan you worked so hard to build up the seasoning in may have an uneven surface if you haven’t consciously worked to keep it even.
There may be a burr or built-up oil spot, or even a bit of food that wasn’t cleaned off all the way and is now baked in.
Fortunately, a metal spatula can help get the surface back to even by smoothing out those high areas.
And continuing to use the metal spatula will help maintain that level surface you worked so hard to get.
Won’t Metal Utensils Scratch Cast Iron?
I remember early on, using a metal spatula on my new preseasoned, textured Lodge skillet. The sound alone made me think it would scratch it. Thankfully, it didn’t, but I decided I wouldn’t do that again.
But the more research I did, the more I read about the safety of using metal utensils on cast iron.
Not everyone agreed, but the overwhelming majority said they used metal spatulas.
In fact, Lodge, a leading manufacturer of cast iron, says on their website:
“Cast iron is the most durable metal you’ll ever cook with. That means any utensil is welcome — silicone, wooden, and even metal.”
When I wrote about why you would want your cast iron pan to be smooth, one man recommended using a metal spatula but warned it would sound as bad as nails on a chalkboard.
And even though it is technically possible to scratch your seasoning using a metal spatula, it’s not as much of a concern as you might think.
Because the oils and fats from the food will quickly fill in the scratch, and your surface will be smooth again after the next time you cook.
Just be sure to use a metal spatula to keep it that way.
Below is a video that points out the myth that you can’t use metal utensils on cast iron, beginning at 3:07.
Cast Iron Facts and Myths Everyone Should Know
What to Look For in a Metal Spatula
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Will any metal spatula do?
I wouldn’t go that far.
You will want a solid stainless steel spatula with a flat, beveled edge:
- Flat, not rounded, because rounded will create a touchpoint, which means the seasoning is more likely to be scratched.
- Beveled is not as important as flat, but it does make it easier to get underneath your food for turning instead of digging down to get under it.
- Solid spatulas work better than slotted, but again, this is less important than having a flat edge
Check out the Winco Stainless Steel Spatula
I hope you now better understand how a metal spatula can help make your cast iron smooth.
Surfaces of cast iron skillets are often uneven and need a little help in getting or staying smooth and even.
Particularly new preseasoned pans that have not been polished but left with the textured, bumpy surface.
But also any skillet where the built-up seasoning isn’t even.
For this reason, I recommend using a stainless steel spatula with a flat edge.
The flat edge gives an even scrape when it goes across the pan’s surface and shouldn’t damage the seasoning.
If, by chance, you do get a scratch, please remember, it will fill in quickly the next time you cook.
Do you use a metal spatula? Or a different kind? Let me know in the comments below.