Walking Guide

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

DWROBERGE 4/10/2018
Great stuff Report
DIXIE-LUSH 4/5/2018
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
JERSEYGIRL24 3/2/2018
I love my cast iron skillets!! Got a set at Costco. Report
WALKZWDOGZ 2/25/2018
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
LRCOTE 2/25/2018
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
LRCOTE 2/25/2018
Before commuting to a relationship with a cast iron pan, know your medical conditions. I have hemochromatosis Report
DORISHEROFF 2/25/2018
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
I-AM-HIS 2/25/2018
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 2/25/2018
Thanks for sharing. Report
CTYONIT 1/20/2018
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
MBPP50 1/4/2018
Great info. Report
PLATINUM755 11/7/2017
Can you stand to hear it again...I love my cast iron cookware! Report
TARABEAR 10/26/2017
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
KITT52 10/20/2017
I love my cast iron pans.... Report
AJB121299 10/19/2017
nice Report
AHAPPYSPIRIT 9/10/2017
I love my Cast Iron Skillet, Report
MEDIC1706 9/2/2017
I love using cast iron. Have all of my grandmothers that are over 100years old and they still cook great! Report
TCANNO 6/25/2017
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 5/7/2017
thanks for listing the skillets by name good to know which ones to buy Report
SUSANBEAMON 5/4/2017
I learned how to cook with and care for a cast iron skillet when I was a child. Report
SERGEANTMAJOR 4/26/2017
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
MEXGAL1 4/26/2017
Cast iron skillet are wonderful! Report
HOLLYM48 4/26/2017
I love my cast iron skillet! I can't wait to try some of these recipes! Report
JANTHEBLONDE 4/26/2017
I can't wait to go by a cast iron skillet and try all these delicious recipes! Report
JANTHEBLONDE 4/26/2017
:-) Report
MBPP50 4/26/2017
Love mine too. Have a few. Report
RD03875 4/26/2017
Love mine, have several Report
DBEAU57 4/25/2017
I have 2 cast iron skillets and a Dutch oven. Love them! I bake cornbread in my skillet, too! Gets a really nice crust! Yes, glass stovetops don't like them and the manufacturers say not to use them, but as long as you don't slide it, it shouldn't cause a problem. Report
GARDENSFORLIFE 4/25/2017
Nice! Report
JOHNBM56 4/25/2017
So just how skinny is the alfredo, it would be a lot better to tell us the calorie count per serving. It's a pain to add up all the ingredients and decide by 4 Report
CHERYL31273 4/25/2017
I bought a cast iron skillet 3 months ago to help with iron deficiency anemia. I have not needed iron supplements since using this skillet. I love the way food tastes, easy cleanup, and I just rub with oil, on a warm burner once a month to keep it seasoned. Report
INGRIDSLIM 4/25/2017
nice Report
MARIHELEN 4/25/2017
Awesome Report
4LMHJCR 4/25/2017
Unfortunately, my mother tossed out / gave away her cast iron skillets because they started to get too heavy for her to use. I so wish that she would have asked me if I wanted them before doing that. Would have loved to have had them and all the seasoning and care that were already put into that set of 3 cast iron skillets. Looking to purchase one now, just hate the thought of all the seasoning that will need to be done. Will have to check out the one that is already pre-seasoned.

Just came across some enameled cast iron skillets so I think that I will have to look into getting one of those to try out. Thanks for this awesome article Report
TCLADY 4/25/2017
I have cast iron pots and skillets that I've had for the intire 54 years I've been married, some I bought at garage sales that were rusted and I brought back to life, and some of the newer enamel coated ones, they are used almost every day. Love them, and wouldn't have a stove I couldn't use them on, plus I prefer gas over electric for cooking. Report
1FARMER 4/25/2017
I love my grandmothers cast iron but the glass/ceramic stove tops do not.
They've done a lot of damage to my stove top.So I don't use them anymore. Anyone else have this problem?
Report
FISHGUT3 4/25/2017
good stuff Report
BRIARGAL 4/25/2017
Best kitchen "gadget" ever! Report
LADYG67 4/25/2017
I still have and use my Granny's skillet which is at least 50 years old. It works better than any of the non-stick pans that I have or are currently using Report
SB1218 4/25/2017
I can't live without my cast iron. I use it every day. Report
OVERWORKEDJANET 4/25/2017
I've been using mine for 42 years (yikes). I inherited my mother's skillet and Dutch oven, both over 80 years old. There's nothing better for an even cooking surface. Report
LEANJEAN6 4/25/2017
I too love my iron frying pan---- Report
VIBRANT4LIFE 4/25/2017
I love cooking with the Griswold skillets, Dutch oven and roaster that were originally my Grandmothers. With proper care the best non stick ever. Report
KASEYCOFF 4/25/2017
Another great article, Melissa, very useful - and now, for the first time in twenty years, I am shopping for some cast-iron cookware! :-) Report
DMEYER4 4/25/2017
I have a set from Boscovs and I love them Report
CHERYLHURT 4/25/2017
Too heavy for me to lift. Report
AMYROSEC 4/25/2017
I love my cast iron pans Report
DJ4HEALTH 4/25/2017
Love my cast iron skillets and would never give them up. Report
CHERRYZMB60 4/25/2017
I have 3 cast iron pans and use nothing else for the occasional frying I do Report
I was going to buy a couple of cast iron pans for our RV and my husband reminded me that we had three old ones that were rusty that we found in an out building at our old farm place. We both went online and did a bunch or reading and two of the pans are Griswold and one is Wagner. SCORE! So had to do a bunch of work to remove the rust and then just followed the steps to re-season them. Needless to say, we are happy campers with our barn finds. I have been cooking on cast iron for a long time and in fact it was a cast iron fry pan that we bought 45 years ago right after we were married! Love them and don't be afraid of them. Only slightly more work than non stick and are really wonderful to cook with. Heats quickly and retains an even heat. I also have Lodge cast iron dutch ovens are enameled and love them for soups, stews and hot dishes. Love Love Love my cast iron! Report
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