While cast iron may sound intimidating, I promise you it will be your best friend in the kitchen. It’s certainly not a light-weight pan, but it is versatile, inexpensive, and a dream to clean.
Why cast iron?
- It is relatively inexpensive and will last forever if it is properly cared for.
- A well-seasoned pan has a non-stick surface, although you will still need to use a little oil with particularly sticky foods.
- Cast iron is a work horse. It has excellent heat retention and performs equally well on the stove top and in the oven (and even on the grill).
- You can cook everything from steak, to chicken, to eggs, to pizza in your cast iron pan!
- That sear! No pan browns or sears protein better!
How to season
Many cast iron pans can be purchased already seasoned, but if you have an unseasoned pan or your current pan needs to be re-seasoned, here’s how to restore the surface.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
- Wash and dry your cast iron pan very well.
- Wipe a thin layer of neutral oil over the entire surface of the pan (in and out) with a lint-free towel or paper towel.
- Place a foil-lined cookie sheet on and bottom rack of your oven to catch any drips. Invert your cast iron pan and place it on the top rack of your oven. Bake for one hour, then carefully remove the pan from the oven. IT WILL BE VERY HOT!
- This should do it, but if you have a very rusted pan, repeat 1-2 more times if necessary.
Can I wash my cast iron pan?
Although some folks advise against washing your pan with soap and water, and use only a scrub brush and water instead, I find that my pans have done very well with both. If have an especially messy meal, I scrub the pan with a little dish detergent, rinse and dry it well, then pop it on the stove over a very low heat to dry completely.
Once it’s dry, I pour a drop of a neutral cooking oil on a paper towel and wipe down the cooking surface while the pan is still a little warm. This keeps the surface seasoned and ready to go for your next use.
…Always wash and dry your pan thoroughly, then apply a very thin layer of cooking oil before storing
…Use your cast iron pan to get the perfect caramelized crust on steaks, crispiest crust on chicken, and one pan dishes that need to move from the stove-top to the oven seamlessly.
…Use your pan frequently! This is the best way to keep your pan seasoned and the surface non-stick.
…Soak your cast iron pan in the sink. This will break down the seasoning and potentially cause rusting.
…Let it air dry. Always dry your pan well after washing, ideally setting it back on the burner for a couple minutes to ensure that it is completely dry.
…EVER put your cast iron pan in the dishwasher!
Make these recipes in your cast iron skillet!
- Cast Iron Skillet Pizza
- Spanish Garlic Shrimp
- Shepherd’s Pie
- Perfect Roast Chicken
- Braised Chicken with Grapes
- Filet Mignon with Balsamic Tomatoes
- Apple Cider Pork Chops
- Chicken Breasts with Creamy Spinach Sauce
- Mushroom Goat Cheese Frittata
- The Only Macaroni and Cheese Recipe You’ll Ever Need!
- Pulled Chicken Skillet Nachos
- Skillet Brownies with Caramel Pecan Topping
- Skillet Baked Eggs
- Creamy Lemon and Herb Chicken Thighs
- Savory Dutch Baby