What Color Is Raw Cast Iron?

Last Updated on May 24th, 2023

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Cast-iron cookery is susceptible to oxidation; when water or moisture is allowed to stay on the surface, the rusting process creates iron oxide, which has a distinct brownish-orange hue.

When the iron comes fresh from the forge, the same colors will be in different forms.

During the forging process, iron and steel mixtures are melted down to a magma-like liquid metal which comes in a burning orange color.

When sitting in the mold, this white-hot liquid is allowed to cool, in which the cast iron comes out in a dark brown, almost black-gray coloring.

Part of a cast iron skillet - What Color Is Raw Cast Iron?

Are all Raw Cast Irons the Same Color?

Traditional Cast iron cookware came in the same dark color, but today there are new products such as enameled cast iron cookery. There was a standard, four-color set of Cast iron kitchenware: Gray cast, White cast, Ductile Cast, and Malleable Cast.

The modern chef and consumer have made it clear that they wish to have more options when concerning the coloring schemes of their cast iron pots and skillets, and in effect, this has changed the market for these pieces of cookware.

So, in a simple answer, no, the new cast iron market has many different colors.


Is Raw Cast Iron Gray or Black?

For most of the public, the color associated with cast iron is dark brown, deep grey, and almost black.

However, professional chefs refer to the traditional coloring of the newly made cast iron pieces as black or matte, depending on the method of forging used and the material compositions.

If you take a moment to really look at the porous surface and you will notice that the dark color becomes gray, take the cast iron piece into the natural light.

The difference between a seasoned pan and raw new cast iron will be the shades of black becoming lighter and grayer.


Can the Color Change with Time?

This is the case for all cast iron pieces; over time, there will be an inevitable change in the coloring of the cookery. This can be due to various reasons, primarily because of storage or after-cooking habits.

If cast iron is seasoned correctly, oiled lightly after every use, and stored in a dry space, the piece of cast iron will turn a dark gray from all the flavor saved on the porous surface.

There will also be occasional times when water is left on the surface, which will add a brown-orange hue to the cast iron.


What is the Natural Color of Cast Iron?

Referring to the newly made cast iron black coloring, this will not be the natural color of cast iron or ‘gray iron.’ In natural form, cast iron will reflect the impurities found in the source metals melted down during the blast furnace step in production.

These colors will come out in a gray, white iron coloring when free of rust, and it is when the seasoning and protective coating are applied the kitchen pieces turn black in appearance. The shade of color will depend on the materials used to make the cast iron kitchenware.


How Can You Make Cast Iron Black Again?

Let us take a rusting pan; the first step is to wash the pot and remove all of the iron oxide build-ups on the cast iron’s surface. After the item has been stripped of rust and any previous oil builds up, a fresh layer of seasoning can be applied.

Cast iron can be returned to its dark, black coloring after being seasoned properly. This includes taking good oils and seasoning, applying it to the surface of the cast iron, and baking it dry, in effect locking in the flavors for subsequent use.


Final Thoughts on What Color is Raw Cast iron

Cast iron enthusiasts cringe at the thought of their cookery being anything but the black, dark gray coloring associated with a well-seasoned piece of kitchenware.

The key is to keep your cast iron pots and skillets well-oiled and seasoned to avoid any of the issues mentioned earlier, saving you time and unnecessary headaches.

If you are restoring a discarded cast iron piece, stripping the layers of old seasoning and iron oxide build-up will take time but will be worth it. As many privies to the beautiful flavors that come with a well-prepared and maintained cast iron skillet, or another piece, will agree.