Cast iron is arguably the best option for long-lasting, versatile, and virtually indestructible cookware. But while it is tough to damage your cast iron skillet, Dutch oven, or other kitchen essentials, it is still possible to scratch the pan or allow the cookware to rust if you’re not cleaning and storing it properly.
If you’re concerned about storing your cast iron skillet, these are some of the best places to pop the cookware when not in use. Whether you want it as a beautiful display piece or tucked out of the way, ready for occasional use, this guide will ensure your cast iron stays in tip-top condition for years - you will not be able to tell how old a cast iron skillet truly is.
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1. In a cupboard
The classic storage location for kitchenware and cookpots, a cast-iron skillet is perfectly safe when stored in your kitchen cupboards or cabinets. The only concern here is that the cupboard must be perfectly dry; otherwise, you will be enabling rust to take hold.
While a rusted cast iron cookpot is not the end of the world, cleaning a rusted cast iron skillet is nobody’s idea of fun, and not removing every piece of rust can leave an unpleasant (albeit not harmful) taste in your food!
Allow your cast iron skillet to dry completely after use and cleaning, and wipe down your cupboard to ensure you’re not storing your cast iron in a damp or dirty environment. Cast iron should never be stored under the sink, or anywhere it can get wet/damp (although I think it’s relatively universal that the under-sink cabinet is for cleaning supplies, not cookware!).
2. On the stovetop
Cast iron skillets and cookware are fairly beautiful kitchen items, so you might not want to hide them away in a cupboard. Alternatively, you might be simply unable to fit a large cast-iron cookpot in a smaller cabinet or kitchen, or perhaps you use your skillet so often that hiding it away is a waste of time!
Whatever your reasoning for not wanting to store your skillet in the cupboard, the stovetop is a perfectly appropriate storage location for your cookware. Not only will it look stylish and elegant, but keeping your cast iron skillet on the stovetop means it’s easily accessible for your next meal!
Make sure the stovetop is clean and dry. If you have a particularly humid kitchen, this might not be an appropriate solution.
3. In the oven
Combining the convenience of easy accessibility with a clean and tidy kitchen, storing your cast iron directly in the oven is a pretty good idea... Particularly if you’re running out of space in your cupboards or frequently use your cast iron for casseroles of other oven-cooked dishes.
Because the oven is generally the driest place in your kitchen, this is an ideal location to store a clean and dry cast-iron skillet. Just remember to take the cookpot out of the oven before preheating!
4. On hooks
This space-saving solution is particularly ingenious if you have a relatively small kitchen or struggle for storage space. I absolutely love using hooks in my kitchen and hang everything from cooking utensils above the sink to inconvenient cookpots that simply don’t fit anywhere else.
Not only is this a great way to save space, but I find it gives a really attractive and lived-in feel to the kitchen, plus it means I’m never far away from the cookpot or utensil I need when cooking for the family!
That said, you do need to be a little careful when hanging cast iron, as this metal can be weighty! Ensure you have well embedded, sturdy, and hard-wearing hooks that won’t collapse under the weight of your cast iron items.
Although cooking utensils are fine to hang near the sink, you should never put your cast iron anywhere near water… Water is the nemesis of cast iron and will almost always result in rusted pans!
5. With paper towels
Although cast iron is an incredibly hard-wearing material, it’s not indestructible and can get scratched if you don’t exercise care when storing. One of the best tips I’ve found for cast iron storage is to wrap the skillets and cookpots in paper towels. Not only does this provide a nice protective layer to prevent scratches, but it’s also great for keeping your pans dry over long periods.
If I’m storing serval cast iron cookpots on top of (or inside) each other, I always make sure to lay at least one paper towel between the items so that they’re well protected.
6. Clean and dry
The best recommendation I can give you when it comes to storing your cast iron skillet is to ensure the item is 100% clean and dry before you put it away. No matter what storage solution you choose, a damp cookpot will quickly attract rust, making it a pain to use again!
Keeping your cast iron clean, dry, and well-seasoned is vital. Do this well, however, and you’ll have a piece of cookware that can last years.