How to Fix Sticky Cast-Iron


I just reseasoned my skillet, and the finish is sticky. How can I fix it?

—Janet M., Arkansas


It sounds like you used too much fat or oil when seasoning your skillet. Once you apply the oil, you want to wipe all of it off so that only the thinnest layer remains. (Note that Jeff Rogers’ technique for seasoning cast iron recommends you wipe the excess oil off twice.) The solution, Jeff says, is simple. Put the skillet in your oven and crank it up to 500°. When it reaches 500°, let it bake for one hour. The sticky residue should polymerize and become part of the finish. If it’s still sticky, stripping the skillet and starting from scratch may be the best option.



  1. For a rusty or Gunky cast iron skillet I have put it in my self cleaning over. As long as it does not have a wooden handle all the rust and gunk will fall off like magic. I put them in upside down but I don’t think it matters. Let them cool of course and then season as usual.

  2. Before you start over spray the item with a 50/50 mix of apple cider vinegar and wipe it out. It helps to refresh cast iron that has been stored too long as well

  3. My mother was born in 1915 and used her mother’s and her own skillets through the Depression, WW2, and well into the 1990s! She said to put it into a fire every few years. This more difficult these days, but the self cleaning oven is very similar.


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