Why Every Kitchen Needs a Cast Iron Skillet

By , SparkPeople Blogger
If deliciousness had a sound, it would surely be the sizzling of a hot skillet. Whether you're preparing fajitas or omelets, a stir fry or a frittata, the skillet is just as essential an ingredient as the meat or veggies.

While there's no shortage of skillets to choose from, not all of them are created equal. You can opt for the traditional coated non-stick version, durable stainless steel or, of course, cast iron—otherwise known as the Cadillac of skillets.

Valued for its strong heat retention and durability, cast iron cookware was used as far back as two thousand years ago, when pots and cauldrons were often placed inside the hearth or fireplace. The cast iron skillet was introduced in the late 19th century, around the time when kitchen stoves started to become prevalent in homes. Cast iron took a backseat to coated non-stick cookware in the 1960s and 70s, but its popularity has surged again in recent years as more people discover its many benefits.

Benefits of Cast Iron Skillets


Not only are they sturdy and durable, cast iron skillets could be good for your health. They don't produce the toxic fumes that can come from coated non-stick cookware, and the extra iron intake can provide a boost of energy and immunity. You can add a light coating of vegetable oil to create a natural baked-on seasoning, which also protects the skillet and creates a non-stick surface. Clean-up is easy, too: simply hand-wash with hot water and use a stiff brush or sponge to remove food, then dry right away. Skip the dishwasher, as it can strip the skillet of its beneficial seasoning.

5 Skillets We Love


Ewei's Homeware 12-inch Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet ($23.99): This one gets rave reviews for its durability, quality and pre-seasoned, non-stick surface.

Photo courtesy of Amazon

Lodge Cast Iron Square Grill Pan (starting at $15.72): The ribbed bottom allows you to grill indoors all year round. It's perfect for preparing burgers, fish filets and chicken breasts.
 

Photo courtesy of Amazon

Lodge Cast Iron Covered Deep Skillet (starting at $37.22): The extra depth of this skillet eliminates cooking splatter, and the lid is designed to keep foods moist.
 

Photo courtesy of Amazon

Lodge Cast Iron Cornbread Wedge Pan ($17.18): The divided sections are great for cornbread, scones, frittatas and hash brown wedges.

Photo courtesy of Amazon

Cast Iron Pizza Pan ($29.95): Pizza delivery will become a thing of the past with this multi-purpose tool. It's also great for making pancakes and crepes.


Photo courtesy of Amazon

5 Scrumptious Skillet Recipes


Not sure how to get started with your new skillet? With these sizzling recipes, you can easily whip up delicious, nutritious meals without producing a slew of dirty dishes.

Chorizo Breakfast Skillet: This super simple, protein-packed breakfast is dairy- and gluten-free.
 

Photo courtesy of Avocado Pesto

Cajun Chicken Pasta: This low-carb version is made with zucchini noodles in a spicy cream sauce with fresh bell peppers.
 

Photo courtesy of Gimme Delicious

One-Skillet Mongolian Beef with Broccoli: Who needs a Chinese restaurant when you can prepare this delicious, savory dish on your stovetop in just 20 minutes?
 

Photo courtesy of The Seasoned Mom

One-Skillet Skinny Seafood Alfredo: This protein-packed dinner is ready in just five minutes, and proves that comfort food doesn't have to send your calorie count through the roof.
 

Photo courtesy of The Seasoned Mom

Skillet Veggie Lasagna: This skillet vegetable lasagna is chock-full of delicious veggies. Cook the veggies, noodles, sauce and cheese on the stovetop, then move the skillet to the oven for a quick broil.
 

Photo courtesy of Gimme Some Oven

Do you have a cast iron skillet? Share your tips and favorite recipes in the comments.

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Comments

RO2BENT 9/28/2019
Yay! Report
MILPAM3 9/28/2019
Since you are touting the benefits of cast iron, the pictures of the food dishes should all be in cast iron pans, not non-stick or aluminum. Report
ROSSYFLOSSY 9/28/2019
Cast iron is awesome! Report
JP4MYSELF 8/25/2019
With cast iron making a come back I wish I had taken my grandmothers set when it was offered to me, but I was young and foolish. Now I will have to start building my own collection. Report
DAD_AINT_HIP 7/31/2019
I have several pieces - from a 12" skillet to a 4" melting pan and a bunch in-between. The more they're used, the more non-stick they become.

My ii year-old son asked me why I buy so much cast iron cookware. I told him so that his kids wouldn't have to.

One trick I've learned recently for stove top cooking - since cast iron doesn't heat evenly, I'll throw it into the oven or onto the grill for 20-30 minutes to bring it to temp, then place it on the stove to keep hot while cooking in it Report
AWAITING1 7/30/2019
I have 2 cast iron . dutch oven that I haven't used yet because it's heavy and my husband needs to lift it. I have no handle skillet which I have used when roasting. Report
ALLTHINGSNEW81 7/26/2019
My cast iron dutch oven is one of my treasures! Report
BLHEALTH 7/20/2019
I have several and use them regularly. Love them Report
KOALA_BEAR 7/16/2019
I have 2 & use them for lots of meals. However due to the weight I still use my stainless steel copper bottom clad set too. I don't know if I could lift a pot of soup in a big iron Dutch oven. I use my cast iron for chicken or eggplant parmesan, for fried eggs & omelettes, French toast, Monte Cristo sandwiches, liver & onions. Basically breakfast, lunch & dinner altho now I split all those grilled cheese sandwiches & quesadillas w/ my spouse. Report
MOSLEYG1 7/15/2019
I have 3 love them Report
GREYTDOLPHIN 7/15/2019
Stopped at the Lodge factory and got a large Dutch oven very reasonably priced. The folks in the outlet store were very nice and accommodating. It was a hot day and they let our greyhound and rat terrier in the AC as long as they behaved (they're service dogs--they're good). I'll always be a fan of those good people with their great products. Report
ROSSYFLOSSY 7/15/2019
Love my cast iron cookware! Report
SXB990 3/25/2019
Great article Report
HDHONEY 1/27/2019
Cast Iron is the only cookware I have. I have over 25 different cast iron items. I use my cast iron on my induction cook top everyday. Report
KHALIA2 12/10/2018
I love it and use it mostly for corn bread. Report
I'd love to use one but they are too heavy for my wrists Report
ROSSYFLOSSY
We have 3 & love them! Report
Love my cast iron hand me down skillets Report
KHALIA2
I have a cast iron skillet. My mother -N law gave it to me years ago. It still cooks as well as it did then. Report
Too heavy for me to work with. Report
I've had my cast iron skillet for many many years! All I do is season it once in awhile Report
RAPUNZEL53
Thanks. Now I have incentive to start using all my cast iron cookware. Report
NASFKAB
Great post helpful & useful Report
beef and broccoli - Yum! Report
CASTIRONRONIN
I had someone send a link to your cast iron skillet post and I signed up. I enjoyed it very much. I am digging through the rest of your site now as well. I run a cast iron cooking blog myself, a Facebook page, and I admin in about 20 cast iron groups on Facebook.
Thanks for your great content and sharing the love of cooking and cast iron.
Jason J Morgan - The Cast Iron Ronin https:// www.castironronin.com / Report
MLOBORNY
Ceramic-top stoves have a recommendation not to use cast iron cookware. They are bound to scratch the top in a short time. Report
I've never seen a cornbread wedge pan. I want one! Report
Great stuff Report
I’ve got an iron deficiency so I added the recommended skillet to my Amazon basket. I think this is going to be a game changer. Report
I love my cast iron skillets!! Got a set at Costco. Report
Have a Lodge combo cooker that was super cheap at World Market. I love that thing--skillet &/or Dutch Oven. But my enameled cast iron Dutch oven I'd hate to do without. I don't use the skillet part much, but do love cast iron. Report
Hemachromatosis is an iron overload disease too much iron will eventually kill me if it goes unchecked. My DH is using his cast iron less and less. Report
Before commuting to a relationship with a cast iron pan, know your medical conditions. I have hemochromatosis Report
I fix my no-knead whole wheat bread in a cast iron dutch oven (see King Arthur Flour recipes for the best bread recipes). Whenever I visit a second hand or antique store, I buy up the cast iron and gift it to friends. It is the BEST for most cooking and never wears out or warps. Report
JOY165
I have an old cast iron deep skillet with a heavy lid. My friend gave it to me and it dates back to the mid 1800s. I rarely use the lid but love being able to cook a one dish meal on my gas flame and then put the whole thing in the oven to finish. I wipe it clean and if that isn't good enough I scrub with steel wool, rinse & dry, place on a flame to dry out completely and add a layer of oil. Quick and easy. Report
ROSSYFLOSSY
Thanks for sharing. Report
I never tire of hearing it and I'll say it again--I love my cast iron pans--all of them! Cast iron Dutch ovens rock too!

Report
Great info. Report
Can you stand to hear it again...I love my cast iron cookware! Report
I have my grandmother's cast iron pan and use it regularly. It did take a little getting used to how to care for it but it's really one of the best pans I own! Report
I love my cast iron pans.... Report
I love my Cast Iron Skillet, Report
I love using cast iron. Have all of my grandmothers that are over 100years old and they still cook great! Report
While working, I severed a hotel kitchen where the cook/chef used one of these. It was a big old thing filled with fat. I don't think it had been cleaned out since the hotel was built in the 1500. This put me off for life and I use Stainless Steal Saucepans and Frying pans. They heat evenly and are easy to clean Report
NASFKAB
thanks for listing the skillets by name good to know which ones to buy Report
SUSANBEAMON
I learned how to cook with and care for a cast iron skillet when I was a child. Report
I am a cast iron cookware junkie, I have 29 pieces of cast iron. A 4 inch cast iron skillet is ideal for a single serve pannekuchen or fritatta. Chili, gumbo, jambalaya, the list goes on and on. Haunt your thrift stores to find cast iron cookware. You want to look for Griswold, Wagner or Lodge to get the best quality. Report
Cast iron skillet are wonderful! Report