Cast iron food sticking

I have a beautiful old cast iron skillet that I rejuvenated and seasoned a while ago and now...every thing I cook in it sticks no matter how much fat I add. Bacon even stuck and it was sugar free bacon!
Help!! What am I doing wrong? What should I do?

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  • 12 Comments

12 Comments

Susan W. January 8, 2015
Andryea, if you google Sheryl Canter Cast Iron Seasoning, you will pull up a great blog about seasoning and re-seasoning cast iron. It's very in-depth and she just may solve your issue. I use her method and my pan is like teflon. I don't use the oil that she does. I just never bothered to buy any. I also never used her oven cleaner method of starting from scratch. It's what you have to do after using it that was just too much for me.

Let us know how things go.
 
Andryea N. January 10, 2015
Susan, thanks for referring me to Sheryl Canter's blog. Awesome information. I believe, after reading some of it that the seasoning on my pan was too soft and is no longer there. I plan to re-season it according to her directions. I'm keeping the hope alive. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks again, Andryea
 
minibakersupreme January 8, 2015
Andryea, I'm no cast iron expert, but I find that I still have to put fat in the pan when I'm cooking. A friend of mine says that her cast iron is so well-seasoned that she doesn't have to add anything before she adds food to the pan. However, I still add fat. For example, if I'm frying eggs they stick unless I start with butter or grease. Could that be your problem?
 
Greenstuff January 8, 2015
I agree with clementinebakes, I still add fat especially for the first batch if I'm frying more than one batch of anything.

Another bit of advice is not to move pieces around or flip them too quickly. Let whatever you're making develop a bit of a surface before you move it.

And finally, the best way to develop a nice surface--use your pan a lot. Frequent use early on can lead to years, even decades, of a stick-free future.
 
Andryea N. January 8, 2015
I wonder... I always add fat. Do I add it too early? Not enough? Everything still sticks! It's curious too because soon after I had seasoned it was wonderful and it's been all downhill since then.
 
Greenstuff January 9, 2015
Sorry to read about your struggle, Andryea. Sticking problems can be hard to solve without being able to look over your shoulder. There are some people who subscribe to the notion "hot pan, cold oil," but I think that's mostly myth.

Since your pan worked at first, my best advice is to make sure you haven't built up any debris. Then use it often, even if it's just to heat it up and wipe it down again. And like I said before, don't be too quick to move things around before they're ready. Have some patience, and I bet you'll beat this.
 
Laura C. January 8, 2015
You're welcome, AntoniaJames!
 

Voted the Best Reply!

Laura C. January 8, 2015
Hi Andryea,

This is Laura, with Lodge Cast Iron in Tennessee. The most common reason that food sticks to a skillet is due to temperature. First, it's important to preheat your skillet for about 5 minutes before adding any food. Second, it's important to not heat your skillet too hot. For bacon, medium heat is fine. For eggs, potatoes, or vegetables, we recommend low heat or medium-low heat. (Cast iron is excellent at retaining heat!) And the final tip is to not put cold food into a hot skillet. When possible, remove your food from the fridge a few minutes before you cook it (while your skillet is preheating), and let it warm to room temperature. This will also help prevent sticking. For a quick video walk-through, here's how we like to fry our eggs: http://youtu.be/Cg_NYBAIvf0 . I hope this helps!
 
ktr January 8, 2015
Thanks for the tips. I've been cooking in cast iron for years but I never knew these tips!
 
Susan W. January 8, 2015
Those are really good tips. I am guilty of not preheating long enough and turning the burner too high.
 
AntoniaJames January 8, 2015
Thank you, Laura. This is so helpful! ;o)
 
Andryea N. January 8, 2015
I'm frustrated and wonder...what more could I do? I follow all those guidelines I still have sticking issues. I wonder what, if anything, I have done (or could do) to the surface of the skillet to prevent sticking?
 
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