Cast Iron Smooth vs Rough – What’s The Difference?

What is the difference between rough and smooth cast iron? Cookware made from smooth cast iron is polished when it’s separated from its mold. The rough cast iron pans have a rough surface because the manufacturer skips the polishing process. Both rough and smooth cast iron pans are non-stick when you can season them correctly.

If you compare your antique cast iron skillet to the cast iron pan made by a modern brand in its cookware, You may be amazed by the differences in their textures.

Why do contemporary cast iron pans come with a rough surface in contrast to their previous counterparts’ smooth, glossy surfaces?

Read on to find out which type of cast iron is preferable and how to grind the pebbly cast iron pans to smooth and polish it.

What Are The Differences In Texture?

Certain casting iron pans feature smooth surfaces, and others have pebbly and rough. What is the reason for so much distinction in texture?

Cast iron skillets produced in the 19th as well as the 20 centuries, usually feature flat cooking areas.

The old casting iron method involved melting the steel and iron into the mold and later getting rid of and grinding the pans manually.

This complex process of creating cast iron cookware took a few days. The end product was cast-iron cookware with a polished and smooth surface.

As manufacturing methods improved and companies began to produce cast iron skillets with new techniques, cast iron cookware with rough surfaces became popular.

Utilizing the most advanced techniques manufacturing cast iron cookware items in approximately two hours. The reason casting iron cookware is made by machines that produce cookware so quickly is because polishing is now removed.

Another distinction between rough and smooth casting iron is that contemporary cast iron pans are already seasoned, which was not the situation in the 1800s.

It’s not that you should purchase a pre-seasoned skillet and relax. The pans will require regular seasoning after the initial use. There’s a separate article about the best oils for seasoning cast iron in case seasoning is your most important issue.

According to manufacturers of cast iron cookware, In the latter half of the 20 century, the number of people who would prefer smooth cast iron skillets over rough ones dwindled.

Thus, many stopped production of cast iron with a smooth surface and started making cookware with rougher surfaces.

It also costs less because the manufacturer has done away with the polishing step, which was previously done manually and took more time, effort, and workers.

Therefore, the modifications in the manufacturing process are the main reason the cast iron skillet your grandmother used to cook is smooth, whereas the one you purchased online is rough.

Smooth or Rough Cast Iron?

There is a fierce debate between amateur and professional cooks on whether rough or smooth cast iron cookware is better.

Modern cast iron producers say that pebbly textures aid the oils to stick with the iron pan. This makes it easier to maintain the seasoning and care with cast iron.

Smooth cast iron cookware will require more effort because the oil cannot stick to it as easily. However, numerous cookware enthusiasts say it’s worth it.

Smooth pans that have been well-seasoned are non-stick. However, both rough and smooth casting iron skillets are designed to be non-stick.

In the end, it’s the issue of correct maintenance. No matter if your pan has a rough or smooth surface, cleaning and sprucing it up appropriately helps it keep its non-stick qualities.

How Do You Smooth Out the Roughcast Iron Pan?

It’s up to you. Whether it’s because of nostalgia or your taste, it’s possible to smooth your cast iron skillet yourself.

If you’re using a metal scraper or other cooking tools to cook food in your cast iron skillet with a rough surface, You can anticipate smoothening with time. If you’re not thrilled about cooking in a smooth cast iron pot, it is possible to sand it.

You can grind it down with a hand sander or a Sanding block. If you don’t own an electric grinding machine, you can purchase 80-grit sandpaper. Sandpaper is going to take longer and require more effort.

But, you can create a smooth, polished finish with hand-sanding.

There’s no requirement to take off the seasoning from the pan before the process of grinding. This is not necessary since you will remove the flavoring in the sanding process in any case.

Furthermore, you’ll have to clean it with chemicals and residue before sanding. This is not a good idea for the pan.

When sanding the pan to smooth it and polish it, do not take it too far. If you sand your pan so that it thins the surface for cooking, it could be cracked as a result of the pan’s weakening stiffness.

Also, ensure that you smooth the cast iron pan uniformly so that you don’t end up having a surface that is too thin or thick in some places, resulting in uneven heating distribution.

Norah Clark

Norah Clark

Norah Clark, the founder and editor of YummyTasteFood! She's a seasoned food writer and editor with over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry as a former pastry chef, sous chef, and barista. When not writing about food, she explores new recipes or travels the world for culinary inspiration.

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