How To Remove Rancid Oil-Cast Iron Care

How To Remove Rancid Oil-Cast Iron Care

In a meager attempt to explain how to remove rancid oil and take good care of our cast iron skillets and dutch ovens, we must first discuss what rancid oil is.

Bacon grease and vegetable oil will season any pot, and do it very well. But, if the pot or skillet is not used after a period of time, the grease that was used to season your cast iron could become rancid….Houston?? We have a problem!

What Is Rancid OilHow To Remove Rancid Oil

Pots and pans often go unused and are put on shelves. Many times they are simply stored away somewhere until needed.

As time goes by, our pots and pans may become rancid. What in the world is rancid you may be wondering? Well technically, it is actually called rancidification…rancid for short, which is the oxidation of fats, fatty acids, and edible oils.

Why Should We Care

If you have ever smelled a rancid pot, then you already know what I’m talking about. If not, well let me say this, it stinks and that just may be putting it mildly.

A stinky pot is not good. Why? Well, it could ruin your favorite recipe. At a bare minimum, it will affect the taste of your food. And simply put, that’s not a good thing.

What Should We Do

In conclusion, if you find your cast iron becoming rancid, there are things you can do to remedy this situation. Therefore, if you know you won’t be using your pans for a while, don’t re-oil them. Simply wash them as usual and put them back on your heat source and heat them until dry.

But, if they have become rancid already, add a cup of vinegar to the pot and fill it the rest of the way up with water. Put it back on the heat source and boil for about 30 minutes or so.

As a result, you will begin to see the oil separating from the cast iron into the boiling water. Consequently, you will need to pour the vinegar water out and dry as usual.

The pan is now ready for use. The next time you want to use that piece of cookware, apply a light coat of oil and cook away!

14 thoughts on “How To Remove Rancid Oil-Cast Iron Care”

  1. Thanks for this article, but I am still confused. Can I just use my frying pan every day or two and wipe it out only? It doesn’t smell rancid yet but is the oil too old the next day? My seasoning stays on well this way but I don’t want to consume rancid oils which are supposed to destroy fat soluble vitamins on contact in the digestive tract. I do wash it out every week or two. The other question I have is it is said you can put some oil into a just cleaned pan and then bring it to smoking point on the burner, but isn’t oil that has been
    smoking bad for health?

    1. You are welcome, and thank you for asking. Yes, you can wash your pan and dry it with a soft cloth or paper towel. I generally wipe a little oil after the pan is dry and lightly heat the pan until it is warm to the touch. Remove from the heat and wipe with a towel to remove any excess oil. It is now ready for your next use!!

  2. thank you. i haven’t used my cast iron pot since last fall…..generally heartier meals in the fall and winter. Yikes did it stink!!!
    I am boiling the water and vinegar now. hopefully that’s the cure….going to make first season chili for a hungry crew tomorrow. Leah

    1. Oh no, a stinky pot is not a good thing, is it? So I would undoubtedly heat an oven to at least 350 degrees and put the pot in for at about an hour, and then re-season it.

    2. Mike, i had watched something on YouTube about rancid cast iron. The guy said whenever he puts his pot and lid away, not knowing when he’ll be using them again, he takes a paper towel and folds it until it’s thick. Then he doubles it and put it between the lid and the pot. He said that when the lid in on the pot, there is no air circulating, and so the pot gets rancid. I tend to agree with him, because my pots or skillets w/o lids, opened to the air, don’t get rancid. So I’m trying his trick, once I get my pots back to a good stage. Thanks for your info. I nearly used my rancid pot w/o dealing that it would have ruined the chicken sauce piquant for my son. Glad I didn’t.

      1. Yes, this is true. You can use a paper towel doubled up or take the cardboard roll of a paper towel roll and fold it up under the lid too. I hope your chicken turned out ok? Thanks for your reply!

  3. Rebeca Campos

    Hi! How to I remove the rancid oil from the lid! I don’t believe there’s actual oil on the lid but it’s smells like the oil from the pot…

  4. Thank you Mike!

    Great information!!! I too was looking for information on rancid smell. I do tend to use my dutch ovens infrequently. So, this was most helpful!

  5. Thanks Mike, my problem is a rancid cast iron pot. Your idea is the first to show the cure for a very old pot.

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