Cast Iron Conditioning Bar (2 of 5) next to black cast iron skillet

Using a Cast Iron Conditioning Bar to Season Your Skillet

Using a Cast Iron Conditioning Bar to Season Your Skillet

While I love my babies half to death, there are a few things that I look forward to when my children are grown. Like having chocolate chips in the house again. And not having my bathroom always look like it was toilet papered is another.  So is not washing clothes I know were never worn. And not having to always re-season cast iron.

I love my cast iron skillets! They rank right up there with my favorite farmstead kitchen tools. And it kills me when I realize that one of the kids used one and decided to soak it instead of cleaning it. Or maybe they did wash it but didn’t dry it. I want to encourage them to freely use the kitchen, but my poor skillets!

Thankfully, I’ve got a new way to keep my skillets in condition between seasoning that makes them a little more resilient to the wear and tear our family causes them to go through.

Cast Iron Conditioning Bars.

Think of the best cast iron seasoning oils, lard, sunflower, flaxseed, and coconut oils, all coming together in a lotion-bar-like-disk. It just takes a few extra seconds after cleaning to re-warm the pan a bit to open up the pores and then condition it with a thin layer of the oils. No spilling, no cleaning up the excess, no waste. And it works beautifully.

They’re also perfect if your cast iron needs a deep initial seasoning or re-seasoning. The method is probably the same one you’re used to- warm the cast, apply the oil, wipe off the excess, and bake it in the oven for a couple hours. Repeat.

When I first began making Cast Iron Conditioning Bars, I simply filled a couple 1-ounce salve tins with them. And it was kind of a pain to chip it out with my fingernail. Filling a silicone mold with the liquid, allowing it to harden first before storing it in the tin was a perfect solution. It pops right out and keeps the mess to a minimum. This recipe will only fill a couple of the cups in the mold, but the mold makes the perfect sized disk to store in the 1-ounce salve tins.

Another option would be to fill deodorant tubes so you don’t need to get your hands dirty. (I’m doing it this way now.)

Using a Cast Iron Conditioning Bar to Season Your Skillet

Cast Iron Conditioning Bars

Cast Iron Bar Ingredients

  • 3 ¾ teaspoons sunflower oil
  • 2 ½ teaspoons lard
  • 2 ½ teaspoons cold-pressed flaxseed oil (Buy it here.)
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons coconut oil (Buy it here.)
  • 4 ½ teaspoons beeswax pastilles (Buy them here.)

Cast Iron Bar Method

  1. Fill a small saucepan with water and bring it to a boil on the stove.
  2. Measure all of the ingredients into a bowl that is larger than the saucepan, creating a double boiler.
  3. Set the bowl over the saucepan and heat the ingredients until they melt.
  4. Ladle the melted oils into the mold and allow them to cool completely. (This recipe only fills about 2 of the 1-ounce cups in the mold.)
  5. Store in a salve tin.
  6. Or buy Cast Iron Seasoning HERE.

Cast Iron Bar Directions

  1. Deep Seasoning: Warm your skillet in a 175-degree oven for about 15 minutes.
  2. Lightly rub the entire surface with the conditioning bar and then wipe off all of the excess oil that didn’t soak in with a paper towel (or lint-free rag).
  3. Season the skillet in a 425-degree oven for 2 hours.
  4. Turn off the oven and allow the skillet to cool to room temperature.
  5. Repeat as many times as necessary to make it well-seasoned.
  6. Maintenance: Warm a clean, dry skillet on the stove over low heat.
  7. Lightly rub the entire surface with the conditioning bar and then wipe off all of the excess oil that didn’t soak in with a paper towel (or lint-free rag).

Some Cast Iron Recipes to Try

Sweet Cornbread

Beef Pot Pie with Herbed Biscuit Topping

Spring Roots and Garlic Scapes with Fried Eggs

Skillet Peach and Blackberry Cobbler

Blueberry Cornmeal Skillet Cake

Chile Lime Skillet Steak Fajitas

Cheddar Chile Bread

Sausage Gravy

Tomato Gravy over Buttermilk Biscuits

Skillet Pear & Blackberry Crisp

Buttermilk Pancakes

Chicken with Bok Choy and Mushrooms over Homemade Noodles

Venison Meatballs

Dutch Oven Zucchini Bread

Skillet Apple Pie

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  1. Oh, I forgot to ask; what about using my husband’s empty tobacco chew tins. The bottoms are actually plastic now, and the tops are tin. We recycle anything we can, but our dump no longer accepts black plastic for recycling. Thank you for a great blog.

  2. This sounds like a great idea. Most of my cast iron is vintage except, my square grill pan (marked Emeril) I found at the dump! My favorite store! I have found my husband putting cast iron in the dishwasher a few times. I find it better not to argue and just recondition it afterwards. You must choose your battles carefully.

    1. You could since it’s going to be melted anyway, but my lard is usually on the soft side so I don’t have a problem with it. Also you could use an online calculator to convert it to ounces and use a kitchen scale to get the right amount.

  3. I have found that the pre-seasoned skillets are harder to clean and season.
    I go to garage sales and thrift stores to find old cast iron skillets,to clean and re-season. I even found one in the garbage that had many years and layers of rust. It took a while but it is back to the way it was meant to be.

  4. how often should you season cast iron? is it after every use or just occasionally. if it is just occasionally, what is your procedure between seasonings? i usuallu wipe out with a paper towel and use salt with a tiny bit of hot water, scrub with a bamboo pad, rinse and wipe. is that ok?

    1. For me, it depended on if the kids trashed them first, but I normally do it every 2-3 months, whenever I think of it. These days, I’ve been using this conditioning bar to give them a quick touch up after every use and expect that they won’t need re-seasoned nearly as much if I can get some cooperation in keeping them clean and dry. Your cleaning procedure is just fine. I think that a lot of fuss is made over cast iron that isn’t necessary. These days, manufacturer’s are saying dish soap is even ok if you need to get something tough off to make them clean.

  5. I’ve bought used cast iron cookware. But most of it has rust and real thick deposits(lack of care I suppose). What do you recommend doing to get them clean?? I was thinking of possibly sand blasting them completely clean and then reseasoning then again.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated!!!

    1. I’ve had cast like that and we took a wire brush on a drill to them to remove the rust and season them. It’s very messy so I don’t recommend doing it in the house. (Like I did. )

  6. I usually use lard. Is this better for the pans than good ol’ lard? Love my cast irons! Now if only I can get my husband to recondition after he uses it…

    1. I’ve gone through years where I’ve used only each one of the oils in this blend and I like something different about all of them hence my inability to commit: I find that a lard finish seems more susceptible to being easily damaged with misuse. But if cared for properly holds up so beautifully- love seeing the way water beads up on it. Satisfying 🙂 Flax is good for creating a hard finish and I think that both sunflower and coconut oil make the smoothest finish.

  7. What great packaging you have! I am absolutely in love with those little tins. I will definitely be ordering these as gifts, plus an extra for me (of course)!
    What do you use to wipe out? I had been using paper towels, but noticed a gunky build up and read that they could have been the source. I have switched to muslin cloth, but I really need to strip and re-season to see if there is a difference. Your skillet is so beautifully seasoned, it’s given me cast iron envy!
    Have you experienced any of that before?

    1. I think it depends on the paper towel brand. The ones we are using now are linty. Grr… Maybe try those blue shop towels you can find at a hardware store. They should be lint-free. The muslin works well too. I don’t use it because for some reason it never makes it back to me out of the wash and at that point I might as well be using something more conveniently disposable.