Scaly/ashy cast iron?

I bought my first cast iron skillet a couple of months ago (a 12" Lodge one from Amazon). Though it came pre-seasoned, I was advised to scrape it down to the base layer and re-season it. I used olive oil for the original seasoning and it looked great and shiny for a couple of uses. To clean, I use salt, hot water and a soft sponge. Then I heat it up to thoroughly dry it, add a layer of olive oil and heat it again until its smoking point (sometimes I will let it continue cooking while it's smoking -- maybe up to 5 minutes). The problem is that after this step, my cast iron often comes out looking scaly, dry or ashy, almost as if the heat has burnt the oil instead of binding it to the metal as I'm sure it should. I'm not sure if I'm using a less-than-ideal oil, or if I'm not cleaning it properly and maybe that's a layer of food being burnt? Any help is appreciated. Thank you!!

Sophia Kenyon


Michael M. September 26, 2019
I would suggest peanut/sesame or Grapeseed oil as they have the highest smoke point and will resist breakdown more. You can also use canola or sunflower oil fine (shortning in solid form). Oilve oil is often cold pressed and contains more solids that can burn onto the pan and won't burn as easily
Emmie May 22, 2018
Here is a great article on cast iron maintenance ( I think one issue may be that you're using olive oil; I think you need something with a higher smoke point for it to really polymerize.
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