An increasing number of Jews in America are keeping kosher kitchens today, as well as, millions of vegetarians and vegans, who don’t eat meat. Using cast iron cookware in the home for people who have these dietary restrictions is a problem, since many cast iron skillets, pans or pots are pre-seasoned in the factory with lard or non-Kosher certified fats.
In this article, you will learn how to purchase cast iron cookware that is either Kosher certified, seasoned with vegetable oils, or how to re-season your new cast iron cookware to meet your dietary restrictions if you are a vegetarian or vegan.
If you buy bare cast iron skillets, which is cast iron cookware that has not yet seasoned, then your cast iron cookware is kosher. You just need to wash it in warm soapy water before the first use.
To ensure your new cast iron skillet remains kosher, use kosher-certified oil when you season your cast iron skillet. Enameled cast iron already has a non-stick coating once the frit is baked onto the bare cast iron, so there is no need to season your enameled cast iron cookware. Also, heating an enameled cast iron skillet in an oven at the extreme temperatures needed to bake the fat onto a bare cast iron surface can damage the enameled coating.
Is Your Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Cookware kosher?
It can be a bit difficult to purchase Pre-seasoned cast iron skillets for a kosher home. Many of the pre-seasoned cast iron cookware has non-kosher shortening derived from pig fat as the agent for seasoning the cast iron skillet cooking surface to make it non-stick.
Some other manufacturers, such as Lodge Cast Iron, which is the leading US manufacturer of cast iron cookware, used to use Kosher-certified oil in the seasoning process. They now use non-kosher soy-based vegetable oil to season their cast iron skillets in the factory. Lodge has removed all indication on their website denoting their cast iron cookware is Kosher certified.
Are Lodge Logic Cast Iron Skillets kosher?
When you bought your Lodge Logic pre-seasoned cast iron skillet, if it stated “kosher certified oil” on the packaging, then you know kosher certified oil was used in the pre-seasoning process in the factory, and you have kosher cast iron cookware.
Lodge Mfg. no longer uses Kosher oil for seasoning, but still uses vegetable oil. While this is a problem for people who keep kosher, the oil is still generally acceptable for vegetarians and vegans.
If there is no “Kosher certified oil” notation on the packaging that kosher-certified oil was used in the seasoning process, then your cast iron skillet is not kosher.
The good news is, you don’t have to return it to the store or throw it out. You can remove the seasoning that is on the cast iron, kasher your skillet using a hot flame or by dunking in a pot of boiling water, and then re-season your cast iron again using kosher-certified oil. The challenge is removing the baked on fat. The fat will wear off on its own with use, which is why cast iron cookware needs to be seasoned 2-3 times per year, but if it is a new pre-seasoned skillet, wash it several times with hot soapy water to wash away the baked on oil.
How to Kasher a Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet?
If you bought a Lodge Logic Pre-Seasoned cast iron skillet after they stopped using kosher oil for seasoning, or it is a seasoned cast iron skillet from another manufacturer, here is the process to make your cast iron cookware kosher.
Rabbi Diana Villa at Schecter Institute, gives the following instructions for kashering a cast iron skillet I recommend you consult your rabbi on their prescribed process for kashering cookware.
You need to heat the cookware until it is red hot. This can be done by putting it in an oven that can reach approximately 800 ° F. You can also wash it several times in hot soapy water, which will eventually wear the seasoning off as well, but if you have a kosher kitchen, it is prohibited from cleaning a non-kosher pan in your sink, and burying the pan won’t work here, since the seasoning was applied with heat.
Some rabbis may allow you to use a blow torch to kasher your cast iron skillet and remove the seasoning. You should consult your rabbi to see if they follow this tradition (minhag).
Once the oil has been fully removed and your skillet has been kashered, then you can follow the simple process to season your cast iron cookware, so you can be sure you now have a kosher cast iron skillet.
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For those looking for a cast iron skillet that doesn’t come pre-seasoned (as of July 2021), Stargazer (https://stargazercastiron.com) offers both a bare (not pre-seasoned) option and a pre-seasoned option that reportedly only uses kosher certified oils (I don’t have the specific info). (The manufacturing process itself is not under any kosher supervisory authority).
They’re on the pricy side, but high quality. And the bare version is a very nice option if you don’t want to strip all the seasoning (and deal with potential re-kashering) and just want to start fully clean from the start.
Update for Marcus.
I recently contacted Lodge regarding the status of their pans. Here’s the reply, “The soy-based vegetable oil that we use to season our cast iron and carbon steel cookware is certified Kosher. Here is the certificate ID – Bulk Soybean Oil UKD-ID OUV4-662DB12
Although the oil is Kosher, Lodge’s manufacturing process is not certified Kosher. But I can say that we do not share our foundry with any other manufacturer and no animal products are used in the facilities.” The certificate number is from the OU: https://www.agp.com/Media/Default/documents/Oils/Certifications/Kosher%20Certificates/OU%20St.%20Joe.pdf.
Hey Daniel, This is amazing. Thank you for this information. Some people will accept this as acceptable. Unfortunately, Orthodox Jews who keep kosher will most likely not accept this. My hunch is Lodge doesn’t want to pay the expensive fees OU charges for certification.
Thanks For sharing this Superb tips.it is useful For me Great Work.
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There is a relatively simple solution for that, google “pottery kiln rental” and find a place near you, for a few ten dollar bills at the most, you”ll be able to heat up a good deal of cast iron utensils to a temperature well above the minimum required.
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Have just read your post about kosher cast iron skillets. I realize it’s an old post and I don’t know if you’re still following up on replies but there is something you say in the third paragraph that sounds odd: “Enameled cast iron can’t be seasoned, so you will have to buy one set for meat dishes and one set for dairy dishes.” It makes it sound as if it is only because enameled cast iron can’t be seasoned that it requires a separate one for meat and one for dairy, while a seasoned pan could be used for both. I doubt that is what you mean but that is something someone not too familiar with the laws of kashruth could surmise.
Hi Dina, thanks for your comment. On a second pass I see the error and will correct it. Where this came from, I was reading an article on a website where the user asked a rabbi if they could still use their meat cast iron skillet after a dairy dish had been cooked in it. The rabbi told them that the seasoning would have to be fully removed, fired with a hot torch, or dunked in a boiling pot of water, and then re-seasoned and used. The skillet should only be used for dairy or meat, but if used incorrectly, the skillet can be reused by following the re-kashering steps. Since Enameled cast iron can’t be seasoned, you must have a dairy and meat set of enameled cast iron.
I will fix the error in the article.
As on May 21, 2012, I found out that Lodge no longer uses kosher certified oil. I called the company twice and got the same response both times. When I mentioned the FAQ page that states they use kosher oil I was told that the page is old information and they now use a soy based oil that is not certified.
I do not know when they made the switch, but I think anyone who has bought one of their items within the last few years should call to find out. The info on the FAQ page states that it was modified last on Wednesday, May 28, 2008 11:39:05 PM.
Additionally, I have not seen a certification on the packaging of their products that I purchased. Do you have a picture you can post or send me?
Thanks for your message about Lodge no longer using Kosher certified oil, or the situation may also be that Lodge is no longer having rabbinical supervision of the oil they use or the seasoning process. When we bought our Lodge cast iron skillets 4 years ago, it stated on the packaging that they used kosher certified oil for seasoning, and several websites even now state that Lodge Cast Iron Skillets are kosher.
I noticed on the Lodge website yesterday that they only state that they use natural soy-based oil for seasoning. I even noticed that Amazon has removed the “kosher certified oil” from their Lodge cast iron page, and when I wrote the review, this information was still noted on Amazon, so the switch happened fairly recently, I believe.
The seasoning does wear off after a few months of use, and you can actually scrub the seasoning off, have your cast iron kashered, and re-season the cast iron yourself, which you need to do 3-4 times a year anyway.
I will update my Lodge Cast Iron Review and info about Lodge being kosher.
Thank you, Ken Weiss