How Do You Use a Cast Iron Tea Kettle?

If you’ve purchased or have been thinking of purchasing a cast iron tea kettle, you probably have a few questions on how to use it. Most likely, your tea kettle came without a guide, or the guide wasn’t in English. In this article, we’ll go over how to use a cast iron tea kettle so you can easily boil your water for tea.

How Do You Use a Cast Iron Tea Kettle?

A cast iron tea kettle, or tetsubin, can be used over a stovetop or directly heated on a burning fire. In order to properly use this type of tea kettle, there are 6 simple steps you need to follow.

  1. Fill the kettle with water. You can measure the water with the cup you’ll be drinking from.
  2. Add one cup of water for every cup of tea you plan on making. Make sure not to go higher than ¾ of the kettle. It can boil over if you do this.
  3. Place the tea kettle on the stove at medium heat. Keep the lid on until it starts to boil. 
  4. If you’ve got it filled to ¾ of its capacity, make sure to open the lid a tiny bit to allow steam to escape so the water does not boil over onto your stove.
  5. Once the water has boiled for a few minutes, turn the stove off and place the lid completely over the top. 
  6. Pour the water into your cup(s) over tea. Make sure to handle the hot kettle with a rag or oven mitt. Cast iron can get very hot!
Brown and black cast iron tea kettles

Cast iron tea kettles are not made to brew tea. You should only ever boil water in them. This will allow your kettle to last a long time. 

How to Clean A Cast Iron Tea Kettle Before the First Time Use

If you’ve bought your tea kettle new or used, you’ll want to make sure it’s clean before your first use. Chances are, there is dust or discoloration from the cast iron.

You’ll want to do these steps before using your tea kettle:

  1. Rinse the inside of your kettle to clean out any dust or dirt that may have got trapped during packaging.
  2. Fill the kettle with water to about ¾  of the capacity. 
  3. Boil the water over medium-high heat. Your water may become a little dark due to the cast iron being used for the first time.
  4. Once it’s boiled for a few minutes, drain the water and repeat these steps until the boiled water is clear.

After completing these steps, your tea kettle should be ready for a nice cup of tea.

How to Prevent Cast Iron Tea Kettles From Rusting

Because your tea kettle is made from iron, it’s prone to rusting. To prevent it from rusting, follow these tips:

  • After every use, spill the remaining water into the sink. Do not leave standing water in your kettle. This is an easy way to cause it to rust.
  • Do not rinse it with cold water while the kettle is still hot from use. This can cause it to crack. Instead, rinse with warm water if you must. 
  • After rinsing, pat the inside and outside with a dry rag. Try your best to dry off all the water in or on the kettle. 
  • Place your tea kettle upside down to let further dry. There may be water left in the spout, which is hard to dry out.

Can I Use a Cast Iron Tea Kettle That’s Rusted? 

You may be wondering if you can boil water in a rusty cast iron tea kettle, and the answer is yes. You can use a rusty tea kettle to boil water. The rust will not harm you or contaminate your tea. 

You should always boil water at least once before you use a rusted tea kettle. This will clean the rust residue before you use it to make a cup of tea. To prevent more rust from occurring, add some tea leaves to the boiling water.

A classic cast iron tea kettle with lid open

How to Season a Cast Iron Tea Kettle

If you’ve got a badly rusted tea kettle, seasoning is one way to get most of the rust off and keep it off

  1. Use the soft side of your sponge to clean your kettle with mild soap and water. Pat it dry and place upside down.
  2. Once your kettle is dry, rub coconut oil completely on the inside and outside, including the lid. You can use any oil except olive oil. Coconut oil works best because it is very thick.
  3. Place your tea kettle on a baking tray. Put the lid beside it. Do not close your kettle. 
  4. Set the tray in a cool oven and heat to 350°F. Leave it for 2 hours. 
  5. Remove the tray from the oven and allow the kettle to cool down. Pat down with a dry rag to get rid of dripping oil.
  6. Repeat these steps up to four times. This should create a barrier to protect your kettle from rusting.

Remember that once you’ve done this, do not wash or scrub your tea kettle with soap. By doing this, it will allow your tea kettle to stay in good shape for a long time.


Now that you’ve learned how to use your cast iron tea kettle, you can start boiling water for tea, soup, oatmeal or anything else you’d prefer. Don’t forget to pour out any left over water and store your kettle somewhere dry and clean.

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