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Most kitchens have a cast-iron pan on hand. It is highly indestructible and delivers excellent warmth. Moreover, when properly seasoned, the frying surface has nonstick properties.

The main issue is that cast iron pans may produce a strong and foul odor, especially when used to cook fish.

Fortunately, there are many techniques for combating the stink and deodorizing your cast iron skillet. Typical remedies include immersing the pan in water, applying baking soda, and heating in the oven, among others.

6 Simple Ways to Remove the Fish Smell from Cast Iron Pans

Nobody wants their pots and pans to smell like fish! Yet, due to the porous surface of cast iron pans, odorous items often find their way in. It may result in smelly pans.

Also, the odor stays even after properly washing your pan with soap and water. If you’re dealing with a stinky pan, here are a couple techniques to get rid of it.

Bring the pan to a boil with water.

Boiling your cast iron skillet in water is one of the simplest methods to eliminate the stink of fish.

For a few minutes, immerse the pan in boiling water. The heat from the pan helps to release the fish odor, which is subsequently absorbed by the water. You have two options. Let’s have a look at both of them.

Bring your Cast Iron Pan to a boil in water.

Grab a larger pan or skillet large enough to contain your stinky pan. Fill it halfway with water and set it on the heat. Avoid filling it all the way to the top to prevent water from overflowing when you immerse the pan in it. As the water begins to boil, gently lower the pan into it.

Let your cast iron pan to soak in hot water for 15 to 20 minutes. Next, take out the pan and empty the water into the sink. Fill the skillet once again, return it to the burner, and repeat the procedure.

Take in mind that the fish smell is seldom completely removed the first time. As a result, repetition is often required.

Continue as needed until the pan is entirely clean of fish and other odors. It will also help you maintain the exterior of your cookware clean and shining.

Bring Water to a Boil in Your Cast Iron Pan

In comparison to the previous way, this one is more simpler and uncomplicated. It will also achieve the same outcomes in terms of reducing fish odor. It is not, however, suitable for cleaning the pan from the outside.

Instead of immersing your cast iron pan in hot water, just boil some water inside your iron frying pan to deodorize it. Half-fill the pan halfway with water. Bring the water to a boil over low heat.

Let the water to boil for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and gently replace the boiling water with new water. Continue the method as needed to fully remove the fish odor.

Make use of Baking Soda

When it comes to eradicating undesirable smells from cookware, baking soda works like a charm. It absorbs smells, leaving your pots and pans smelling fresh and clean. To clean your pan, make a baking soda solution. To complete the task, combine 5 parts water and 1 part baking soda.

You may make the solution separately and then pour it into the pan, or you can make it right in the pan. Fill your cast iron pan halfway with the baking soda solution and lay it over an open flame.

Let the solution to boil until the majority of the liquid has evaporated. It might take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the pan.

The pan will expand as the solution boils, releasing the stinking fish oil contained in the porous surface. The baking soda in the solution will immediately absorb it, preventing it from leeching back into the pan.

Remove the pan from the heat while it still has some baking soda solution at the bottom to ensure that the scent is gone.

Let it to sit on the counter at room temperature overnight. It will guarantee that any leftover residue is extracted by the baking soda. The following day, thoroughly wash your cast iron pan with water.

You may also use mild soap to ensure that all of the baking soda is eliminated. For the greatest results, dry and season the pan before using it.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

This procedure is appropriate for cast iron pans that are entirely constructed of iron and have no plastic or rubber pieces. Baking the pan at a high temperature not only helps it to expand but also dries off the existing fish oil residue.

Preheat the oven to 350°F and set your stinky cast iron pan upside down in it. Preheat the pan for 30 to 45 minutes. Be careful to turn your pan upside down to enable the fish oil residue to slide out and fast dry owing to the intense heat.

After approximately 45 minutes, carefully remove the pan from the oven. Let the pan to cool before inspecting for odors. If the fish odor remains, place your cast iron pan back in the oven. Let it to cook for another 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

White Vinegar Solution Fry

White vinegar, like baking soda, is a great odor absorbent. It absorbs fish oil residue in the same manner as baking soda does. Making a white vinegar solution is the best way to go about this procedure.

In your cast iron pan, combine one part water and one part white vinegar. You may also make the solution ahead of time and pour it into the pan.

Fill the pan about halfway with the solution and set it over an open flame. Bring the solution to a rolling boil. Let the liquid to boil for 20 to 25 minutes before removing the pan from the heat.

Do not discard the residual solution in the pan. Let it to rest in the bottom of the pan for a day instead. The home acid will combat the nasty fish odor and totally eradicate it overnight.

After around 24 hours, dump the solution and thoroughly wash the pan with cold water. If necessary, a gentle soap might be used. Before usage, dry and season the pan.

Make use of lemon juice.

Lemon juice aids in the removal of fish oil and its disagreeable odor. Depending on the size of your pan, squeeze 3 to 4 lemons into it and add an equal amount of water to make a lemon juice solution.

Put aside the pan for approximately an hour. That will enable the citric acid in lemon juice to do its job and absorb the majority of the residue.

Place the pan on a stove or over an open flame. Bring the solution to a boil and set aside for a few minutes to cool. The solution will neutralize any fish residue, allowing for thorough cleaning.

Take the pan off the heat. Before cooking, discard the leftover solution and thoroughly clean your cast iron pan with cold water.

Reseason Your Cast Iron Skillet

You may conceal the scent of the fish by re-seasoning the pan. Keep in mind, however, that this procedure does not extract or eliminate the fish oil residue from the pan. Instead, it works by masking the fish stench with other strong odors, such as onions or garlic.

As completely as possible, clean the pan. Remove any burnt or leftover oil from the pan. Scrub the pan if necessary. You may need to use soap and water to thoroughly clean it and remove any muck. Add olive oil to the pan after the cooking surface is clean and dry.

Set the pan on the stove. In the pan, add a big, freshly cut onion. Next, add some minced garlic. Cook over low heat until the contents are slightly blackened. Take the pan from the heat and put it aside to cool the contents.

Take the burnt onions and garlic from the pan and wipe it off with a stack of paper towels. The foul smell of fish is likely to be replaced by the scent of onions and garlic at this time.

If the scent lingers, consider another approach before re-seasoning your pans to permanently remove the odor.

In conclusion

Eliminating the nasty fish odor from your cast iron cookware is not as difficult as you would think.

Follow the procedures listed above to readily eliminate the odor, and always cook in clean and fresh cast iron pans and skillets.

You may also be interested in:

  • What Are the Finest Freshwater and Saltwater Fish to Pan Fry?
  • Cleaning Cast-Iron Grill Pans
  • What Is the Best Way to Clean a Cast Iron Pan with Salt?
  • How to Care for a Le Creuset Grill Pan (Easy Steps)
  • Deglazing a Cast Iron Pan
  • What Shouldn’t You Cook in a Cast Iron Pan?
  • Cooking Fish in a Glass Pan


How do you get rid of fish smell quick?

When you’ve finished frying the fish, leave a white vinegar-filled dish in your kitchen overnight to get rid of the lingering fishy odor. To remove any leftover odor, simmer lemon peels, powdered ginger, and lemon peels in water for 15 minutes on the stove. This advice applies to whichever way of cooking you used to prepare the fish.

How do you get fish smell out of cookware?

Use Vinegar

In a pot, combine three teaspoons of white vinegar and one cup of water and bring to a boil for several minutes. Since vinegar is acidic and scents are alkaline, it may neutralize odors.

What cancels out the smell of fish?

By far the worst culprit is seafood. This one-two punch is the most effective: When you’ve finished cooking, put a bowl of white vinegar on your counter overnight (to absorb stubborn odors). In the morning, stew cinnamon sticks, lemon peels, and crushed ginger in water for at least 15 minutes to remove any leftover odour.

How do you get the smell out of a skillet?

We suggest boiling a combination of three parts water and one part vinegar in your skillet on medium heat for 5-10 minutes to remove aromas when cooking with these types of foods. Let to cool before washing with warm, soapy water and a gentle nylon brush.

How do you clean fish out of a cast iron skillet?

Scrub the cast iron with a sharp brush and dish soap, then rinse and dry it. If the odor lingers, boil a 10-minute combination of water, vinegar, and baking soda in the pan, then rinse and dry.

How do you clean a pan after cooking fish?

We fried the fish in a few cast-iron skillets to intentionally scuff them up, then heated the empty pans on the stovetop for 15 minutes then in the oven for 10 minutes over a medium temperature. True enough, both approaches eliminated smells equally well—and spared us the trouble of cleaning up oil.

How to clean cast iron?

Avoid using the dishwasher, soap, or steel wool, since they may remove the seasoning from the pan. Brush off stuck-on bits: Scrub the pan with a paste of coarse kosher salt and water to remove stuck-on food. Then rinse with water or wipe with a paper towel. Boiling water in the pan may help dislodge stubborn food residue.

Does fish smell ever go away?

Long-lasting fish odors will fade after 12 hours as long as the source of the odor is removed from the residence.

Does baking soda help with fish smell?

What can be done when the refrigerator smells like fish? To begin, ensure sure the fish is covered in a sealed container – this should assist to reduce odor. You may also keep a dish of baking soda in the fridge to help absorb these odors.

Why can I smell myself through my pants?

Inadequate hygiene

Regular bathing may cause dirt, perspiration, and dead skin cell accumulation, resulting in unpleasant odors through your clothing. Showering often and bathing with mild soap and warm water might help to mitigate these effects.