How to Clean a Cast Iron Griddle

Cast iron griddle with yellow vegetables next to tan dishcloth and small stiff-bristled nylon brush

The Spruce / Cristina Tudor

Overview
  • Working Time: 5 - 30 mins
  • Total Time: 5 mins - 1 day, 30 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner

Cast iron griddle pans can be used to create spongy pancakes, crispy grilled-cheese sandwiches, and perfectly seared steaks. Available in a variety of sizes, many griddle pans are reversible with one flat, smooth side to be used as a grill for sandwiches, pancakes, or scrambling eggs and one ribbed side for grilling meats and vegetables.

As with any other cast iron pan, a cast iron griddle is durable and an excellent heat conductor that can be used on a cooktop or outdoor grill. While easy to care for, it must be cleaned correctly to prevent rust from forming and to maintain the non-stick surface. Fortunately, it takes only a few common pantry items to keep cast iron lasting for generations to come.

Warning

Cast iron griddles should never be placed in an automatic dishwasher. The harsh detergent and excessive exposure to water can lead to rusting and destroy the finish.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Sink or dishpan
  • Non-abrasive sponge
  • Plastic scraper
  • Dishcloth
  • Stiff-bristled nylon brush

Materials

  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Vegetable oil
  • Paper towels
  • Baking soda
  • Lemon juice
  • Plastic wrap or plastic bag

Instructions

Tip

Almost all cast iron griddle pans are sold with a pre-seasoned finish and are ready to use. However, if the griddle is vintage or unseasoned, follow the tips for re-seasoning cast iron before using it.

Materials and tools to clean a cast iron griddle pan

The Spruce / Cristina Tudor

How to Clean a Cast Iron Griddle After Cooking

  1. Allow the Griddle to Cool

    Always allow the cast iron griddle to cool completely before you begin cleaning. Plunging a hot griddle into a sink of water can cause it to develop small cracks and weaken the iron.

    Cast iron griddle pan set on side of hot stove top to cool before cleaning

    The Spruce / Cristina Tudor

  2. Wipe Away Food Particles

    While the griddle is still warm, use a paper towel to wipe away food particles, grease, or drippings from the surface. If there is stuck-on food, use a plastic scraper to loosen the food before wiping it away. Never use a metal scraper or steel wool that could damage the surface.

    Food particles wiped away with paper towel in cast iron griddle pan

    The Spruce / Cristina Tudor

  3. Quickly Clean with Soap and Water

    To finish cleaning, dampen a non-abrasive sponge with hot water and add a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid. Wipe the entire surface of the griddle. Never leave the griddle to soak in a sink of water!

    Non-abrasive sponge wiping surface of cast iron griddle pan with hot water and dishwashing liquid

    The Spruce / Cristina Tudor

  4. Rinse and Dry Well

    Rinse the griddle well with hot water and immediately dry the surface with an absorbent dishcloth or paper towels. Never leave the griddle to "drip-dry"; water left on cast iron causes rust to form.

    Cast iron griddle rinsed and dried off with paper towel over absorbent dishcloth

    The Spruce / Cristina Tudor

  5. Season if Needed

    If you notice that food is sticking to the griddle during cooking, it may be time to season the cast iron again. This should be done after washing the griddle but before storing it away. Add one-half to one teaspoon of any type of vegetable oil (corn, canola, olive) to the cooking surfaces of the griddle and use paper towels to distribute it evenly. Rub the oil into the surface until the cast iron is shiny. Wipe away excess oil.

    Heat the oiled cast iron on a cooktop element set to medium-low or in a warm oven set at 250 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit for five to 10 minutes. Allow the griddle to cool before storing.

    Olive oil added to cast iron griddle pan for seasoning

    The Spruce / Cristina Tudor

  6. Store the Griddle Correctly

    Never store a cast iron griddle if it is still slightly damp. To make sure that the griddle is completely dry before storing, especially if you don't use it daily, place it over a medium-low temperature cooktop heating element or in a warm oven set at 250 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit for five to 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the cast iron to cool completely before storing it.

    Cast iron griddle pan placed on medium-low stovetop to dry before storing

    The Spruce / Cristina Tudor

How to Restore and Season a Cast Iron Griddle

Mishandled or vintage cast iron griddles are frequently coated with rust, but they can often be restored. Unfortunately, if the rust has weakened the cast iron, causing holes or leaving the iron feeling thin, the damage is too severe to save the griddle.

  1. Scrape Away the Rust

    If possible, take the griddle outside and use a non-metallic scraper or stiff-bristled nylon brush to remove as much of the loose rust particles as possible. The rust can stain clothes, concrete, and other surfaces, so always protect your area and put on work clothes before beginning.

    Stiff-bristled nylon brush scraping away rust from bottom of cast iron griddle pan

    The Spruce / Cristina Tudor

  2. Mix a Rust-Removing Paste

    In a small bowl, mix one tablespoon lemon juice with one cup of baking soda. Double the batch if necessary to have enough to cover all of the rusted surfaces of the griddle.

    Lemon juice squeezed into small bowl of baking soda for rust-removing paste to remove on cast iron griddle

    The Spruce / Cristina Tudor

  3. Apply the Cleaning Paste and Use Patience

    Use your hand or a small brush to apply the baking soda paste over the rusty areas. Cover the griddle with plastic wrap or place it in a sealable plastic bag. Wait at least 24 hours for the paste to cut through the rust, then scrub the griddle with a stiff-bristled brush to remove all the residue.

    If rust remains, repeat the steps. Rinse well with hot water, dry well with a dishcloth or paper towels, and re-season the surfaces.

    Cleaning paste spread across cast iron griddle over rust areas

    The Spruce / Cristina Tudor

  4. Griddle Seasoning Steps

    • Heat an oven to 500 degrees F.
    • Use a paper towel to spread one to two tablespoons of vegetable oil to all surfaces of the griddle until it is black and shiny. There should be a thin coating of oil on every surface.
    • Place a disposable pan in the oven on a lower rack to catch any oily drips.
    • Place the oil-coated griddle in the hot oven. Bake for one hour. Turn the oven off and allow the cast iron to cool completely before using or storing it.
    Cast iron griddle covered with vegetable oil by paper towel for seasoning

    The Spruce / Cristina Tudor

    Cast iron griddle placed in oven rack to season

    The Spruce / Cristina Tudor