How to Get Fish Smell Out of Cast Iron Pan

Porous surfaces become major challenges when smelly substances to make their way in.  Cast iron pans are perfect examples of this, as unpleasant fish related odor remain the pan long after the fish has been cooked.

Fortunately, there are a variety of household solutions to clean and deodorize a cast iron pans and ensure the stench of fish is a thing of the past.  By following the below solutions, you can be sure to that your cast iron pan will be smelling fresh and free of any fishy funk.

Fish Smell Remove Techniques from Cast Iron Pan

1 Boil Water In It

Often, simply boiling water within the cast iron pan will do much to remove the odor.  Heating the pan will help to release the fish iron for full absorption within the boiling water.  Boil the water for 15-20 minutes and toss within the sink refill and begin again until the pan is completely free of fish related odors.

2 Baking Soda Bake Out

Baking soda will work well to absorb unwanted odors within the cast iron pan.  Create a solution of one part baking soda and five parts water within the cast iron pan.  Place the solution over an open flame and cook it for 10-15 minutes until most of the moisture has evaporated from the pan.  During this process, the pan will expand and release fish oil trapped within as the baking soda absorbs it.  Finalize this solution by allowing the remaining baking soda paste to sit within the pan for 24 hours for the baking soda to absorb any remaining fish residue oils.

3 White Vinegar Fry

Similar to baking soda, white vinegar should be cooked within the cast iron pan.  Mix a solution of white vinegar and water in equal parts and cook for 20 minutes above an open flame on the stove top.  Similarly, after 20 minutes have passed place the pan aside and allow for the remaining white vinegar solution to sit for 24 hours as the household acid combats remaining fish oils.

4 Oven Heat Upside Down

This solution goes to work in extracting and drying up the existing fish oils within the cast iron pan.  Provided that the pan is entirely iron, place the pan upside down within the over and heat it at 350 for 30-45 minutes.  Heating it upside down will help to open up the iron pores and allow for fish oils to slip out and dry up within the hot environment.  If any smell remains after after 3 minutes, place the cast iron pan back within the oven for another 30 minutes at 350 degrees fahrenheit until the smell is removed.

5 Lemon Juice Frying

The citric acid within lemon juice will help to clear smelly fish residues from pores within the cast iron.  Squeeze 2-3 lemons within the pan and add equal parts of water.  Allow this solution to sit for an hour as the citric acid eats away at the fish oils.  Next, place the plan over an open flame on the burner for the solution to begin to boil and neutralize any remaining fish-related funk within the pan.

6 Onion & Garlic Re-Seasoning

As a final solution, you can try to cover the fishy smell by cooking onions or garlic within the pan.  Start by clearing as much fish charred remains and oils from the pan by scrubbing it down with dish detergent within the sink until it is clean.  Place olive oil along the top surface and add a fully chopped up onion and garlic clove within the pan. Begin frying the contents and continue to cook until the items have been lightly charred.  At this point, the smell of fish within the pan will likely be replaced with the sutile aroma of garlic and onions.


Published by

Joe Fresh

Joe is an odor combatant, chemistry extraordinaire and all around good guy. He has an over-productive olfactory system with absolutely zero tolerance for unpleasant aromas.

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