ATK Reviews

The Best Way to Clean a Cast-Iron Grill Pan

Getting stuck food out of a grill pan can be a pain, but a few tips and an essential tool make it simple.

Published May 14, 2021.

When it comes to using a cast-iron grill pan, for some people the biggest sticking point—if you’ll pardon the awful pun—is getting the pan clean afterward. Those ridges that create gorgeous grill marks can also trap food residue and grease. 

Winning Traits of Our Favorite Scrub Brush

  • Stiff, flared plastic bristles
  • Bristles are arranged in clusters with wide spaces between them
  • Extra strip of ultrastiff bristles on back of head for scraping
  • Gently curved, angled handle
  • Comfortable, easy-to-grip silicone-coated handle
  • Dishwasher-safe

Cookware manufacturers sometimes include (or sell separately) credit card–size plastic grill-pan scrapers edged with teeth that you slide along the pan’s ridges. We tried two models from Le Creuset and Cuisinel, but we found them fussy to use and far less effective than our favorite scrub brush, the O-Cedar Rinse Fresh Pot & Pan Brush. Its long handle keeps your hands out of hot water, and its long, firm bristles effectively reach between even the narrowest, tallest ridges. A separate row of extra-stiff bristles routed the toughest stuck food without damaging the pan’s seasoning. Because its widely spaced bristles rinsed clean of both food and soap residue between uses, we could use it with soap on enameled grill pans or without soap on uncoated seasoned cast iron with equal effectiveness. 

After scrubbing and rinsing the pan clean, we recommend handling it just like any cast-iron or carbon-steel skillet: Return it to the stovetop on medium-low heat to dry it thoroughly, and then wipe it all over with a few drops of vegetable oil (using paper towels) until the pan is very lightly coated but not shiny or greasy. Heat it for a few more minutes over medium heat to help polymerize the oil and bond it to the surface, and then let the pan cool completely on the stovetop before putting it away—ready for your next grilling session.

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