Ten Reasons For Cast Iron

Ten reasons to add a cast iron skillet into your kitchen arsenal.


Ten Reasons For Cast Iron

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Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about kitchen equipment. This is based on some emails I’ve been getting asking for recommendations on cookware and also on my huge influx of quality kitchen gear I’ve received via wedding presents.

Over the years I’ve amassed a pretty fair collection of pots, pans, gizmos, and gadgets and to be completely honest, I use almost all of them fairly regularly. But there’s one piece of kitchen equipment that I use more than any other.

It’s one of the very first things I recommend people spend their hard earned money on if they’re trying to get a kitchen started.

The piece of equipment, of course, is a cast iron skillet.

10 Reasons to Own a Cast Iron Skillet

1) Made of Iron. This thing is sturdy. You can drop it and it won’t be damaged. You don’t have to worry about scratching it or discoloring it (it’s black already you see). It’s possible that it can rust, but you can easily clean it. Cast iron skillets will take any and all abuse and still last forever. In fact, your skillet will probably outlast even you.

2) It Can Take The Heat. Most cookware comes with heat warnings. Even most stainless steel cookware isn’t supposed to go over 450/500 degrees in an oven. Cast iron? I mean… yea… eventually it’ll melt. But seriously you can cook on an open campfire with this thing. Try that with a nonstick pan. Oh wait. Don’t. I don’t want any lawsuits.

3) It’s Nonstick. Speaking of nonstick, cast iron skillets are nonstick if you season them correctly. Season your skillet by wiping it down with a thin layer of canola oil and then baking it in a 250 degree oven for about 90 minutes. Let it cool and wipe it down and this will be as good as any nonstick pan out there. Go ahead. Try a fried egg on it.

4) It’s a Grill. For us city folk, having a yard is not always an option. But because you can get a cast iron skillet really hot, it can effectively be used as a grill. For example, I cooked this steak in my cast iron and it was just as good as if it’d been cooked on a grill. Perfectly medium rare with a really nice crust.

5) It’s Economical. I think some people are actually turned off by cast iron because they think it’s cheap as in low quality. But the reality is that they just happen to be cheap to make which makes them economical, but not cheap. If you pay more than $40 for one, you are getting super-screwed. Not to mention that a lot of people sell perfectly good cast iron skillets at yard sales just because they don’t know how to season them.

6) It’s Versatile. You can make hundreds of completely delicious things in this one pan. For starters, you can make the best biscuits and gravy. You can make really good french toast. You can brown chicken in it for a salad. I’d guess I’ve easily used it for a few dozen recipes on Macheesmo.

7) Save on Soap. Once your skillet is seasoned, it actually hurts it to wash it with soap. The soap will break up the tiny oil molecules that are embedded on the pan and make it not-so-nonstick. It’s also possible that the next thing you cook it will have a slightly soapy taste to it! So save on the soap. If you need to scrub your cast iron pan, use salt!

8) It’s Vitamin Rich. This is a stretch, but since it’s made out of iron, a little bit of mineral iron does get transferred over during cooking.

9) Heat Distribution. This is maybe one of the most important reasons you should own one of these guys. People spends thousands on pots that evenly distribute heat. A cook’s nightmare is a pan with a really bad hot spot on it so half of your food is burned and the other half raw. Cast iron does such an amazing job of evenly distributing heat that you’ll never have this problem.

10) It’s Sexy. Call me crazy but I find these things kinda hot. There’s something rustic about them. Like a guy with a great beard. When you see someone working with a big heavy pan, it’s a turn on. Or at least… that’s what I tell myself.

Get one today! If you don’t have one of these guys yet, I recommend the 15 inch cast iron skillet available on amazon for just $35.

If you already have a cast iron skillet, leave a comment! What’s your favorite thing to cook in it? If you have a blog, leave a link to your best cast iron dish!

145 Responses to “Ten Reasons For Cast Iron” Leave a comment

  1. But if you accidently drop it on your kitchen floor it will cause serious damage. My favorite thing to cook on the stove top is my Italian chicken recipe.

      1. My grandma wouldn’t use one on hers. She was afraid it would scratch it (her stove top was black & showed everything).

      2. I have heard people say no, however, I have a smooth top and use cast iron exclusively and have never had a problem.

      3. I have used it on mine, and it scratched it I prefer using a gas stove with iron skillets.

      4. It will scratch the surface IF you move the pan around. When cooking on glass stovetop, you have to be careful with ALL pans not to move them around too much. It will cause micro abrasions in the glass. Use utensils to move the food around instead of shaking the pan.

      5. I’m 70 years old and I bought my first cast iron skillet about 6 months ago and love it! (p.s. I’m a guy.) I bought a Lodge because I looked a different brands including Walmart’s house brand and the lodge has got the best finish on the bottom of the pan. They do not recommend sliding it on the ceramic cooktop but picking it up. I’ve done this and have not put a scratch on our ceramic cooktop.

  2. I love cast iron! At work we use them to sear our meats, and every day we use coarse salt to clean them. The salt can then be reused until it is as black as the cast iron pan. Dishwashers are afraid of them, because they know the saucier cook will have their heads if they end up in the dish area.

    Finally, worse case scenario, it can also double as a great weapon – if needed. Nothing smarts more than a cast iron pan!

      1. I'm teaching English and while trying to explain a pan a student made the gesture of using a pan as a weapon. Too Funny!!

      2. My grandma used one on my grandpa . He came home drunk and it made her mad he sat down at the kitchen table . I saw her pick up the cast iron skillet and she hit him over the head with it . I heard it ring on grandpa’s head I thought she killed him . Lol it didn’t he just said aw. Ma . It was funny

    1. They have the cast iron pan as a weapon and shield in the video game PUBG (PLAYERSUNKNOWN BATTLEGROUND)

  3. I think you forgot one of the most significant and historical uses. Growing up I heard more than one story of a wife jerking the slack right out of her wayward husband with one of these things and I don't mean by cooking him an impressive supper. ;0)

    I was raised with cast iron cooking, so I use mine everyday. Other than the things you mentioned: they make THE BEST fried chicken- hands down, pizza, hashbrowns, just about any meat or vegetable that needs roasted in the oven, naan bread, pancakes, and french toast. And Nick is right, they are completely nonstick if they are seasoned correctly.

    1. I have two of them. I enjoy cooking quarter leg chicken in my larger one. I am looking at getting another cast iron pan. I am deciding on a grill because I like the look of the grill marks when cooking. And you just can’t do that during the winter.

  4. I just made a big ol' pan of blackberry cobbler in mine over the weekend. I'm also a big fan of cast iron fried chicken. I use mine several times a week. I'm still working on seasoning it properly. Its like half of it is right but the other half refuses to cooperate! I will prevail!

    1. Have you tried heating it first- wiping with oil- then heating again? I've found that I like olive oil best for seasoning a skillet because of its heavy viscosity.

      1. Remember that if you're using olive oil, it can go rancid in the pan… so if you only use your pan occasionally, you're probably better off with canola or something more neutral.

      2. Beth, I have used mineral oil to coat my wood cutting boards, to keep them sealed and from warping. Got the board from IKEA and the instructions said used M.O. NEVER a problem with food. Maybe I’m wrong??

      3. Mineral oil is not dangerous to ingest. There is food grade mineral oil. I used it on my wooden salad bowl, cutting boards and knife handles (also on guitar fretboards). In fact, my vet recommends a little in the cat’s food to help with hairballs. Be sure it is food grade, and it is fine to use in a pan.

      4. I render lard from pigs we butcher. I find that to be the best seasoning for cast iron

      5. BACON FAT rules as a coating!! I ❤❤❤ my C I pans! Plus it’s a good arm work out

    2. we are selling home seasoned cast iron cookware in India. traditionally, the “raw”ones are soaked in starch water ( even the water used to wash rice does it, or water drained from cooked rice) for 2 to 3 days. then it is scrubbed well to get rid of the muck.. use plain vegetable oil ( canola or sunflower seed) coat , heat, wipe, coat, heat, wipe…. till you get the beauty!

  5. I grew up in a household ruled by a Texan mom, and I was introduced to cast iron skillets from babyhood. I swear by them-they're cheap and they last forever. I wipe mine out with a paper towel or rinse it in hot water after each use, then put it on a hot burner and rub a small amount of cooking oil all over it. (Keep rubbing while it's hot for a smooth finish.)

    I have a 12" one that's at least 30 years old, a 9" one, and a cast-iron grill pan. I rarely use any other skillet.

  6. I love me a good cast iron. Perhaps the 2 most compelling reasons to own 1 are; You can go from the stove top to the oven, which is super important for many really important dishes. You can take it camping and throw it in the fire to cook for you

  7. A true Southerner wouldn't dare cook cornbread in anything else! In addition to a few different sizes of skillets I also have a grill pan and a Dutch oven. The smallest skilllet is perfect for roasting whole garlic. The Dutch oven is just amazing. I cook Jambalaya and cassoulet in it often.

    1. I just purchased my very first cast iron piece from a Goodwill for $3. It was in rough shape, but after scrubbing it out really good and reading your blog on how to season it, I think I’m ready to go!
      How do you cook your cornbread? Silly question, but do you just mix it up, pour it in the pan and then put it in the oven to bake??? Keep in mind I feel like an infant here with this new-found love. I just need to hear how/what they are used for! :)

      1. You can use your cast iron for anything you cook. It will fry, saute, bake, griddle… The uses are innumerable. I grew up with cast iron and cook with nothing else today. Food not cooked in cast iron just doesn’t taste the same. Cast iron must haves–13-15 inch skillet, 9 inch skillet, dutch oven. Nothing more is needed in your kitchen. :)

      2. To make cornbread heat the seasoned skillet in the oven (450 degrees) while you are mixing the cornbread together. Pour cornbread mixture into the hot skillet and bake 25 minutes. It helps to have all the ingredients at room temperature. After baking, the sides of the cornbread should have pulled away from the slick skillet surface and you can turn it upside down on to a plate or platter. You will have have a beautiful, browned, crusty, outside surface. My mother used to throw her skillet right into the outside fire where she was boiling water for washing clothes (btw..in a huge cast iron kettle) in order to burn off the outside buildup of baked-on grease. She would leave it there until the fire went out. Of course, it would need to be seasoned again. To season a skillet, wipe clean, spread a thin coating of vegetable oil or lard and heat in a 250 degree oven for three or four hours. Every so often during this heating time wipe on more oil to allow it to soak into all the pores. Another note: do not put a hot skillet into cold water, it will crack just like glass. I do use mine on my glass stove top, but I am careful about not sliding it around.

    2. As a true southerner I would not make cornbread in anything rather than my cast iron skillet. My grandmother kept a #1 skillet hanging by the back door…
      I have another recipe for cornbread handed down from my grandmother that cooked it in a wood burning stove.
      heat oven to somewhere around 475
      place a big dollop (probably around a quarter cup) of crisco shortening in the skillet and put it in the pre-heating oven.
      break an egg in your bowl
      pour in about a cup of buttermilk and mix with the egg.
      scoop out about 4 or 5 good sized handfuls of self rising cornmeal mix and stir.
      add more meal or buttermilk until the mix falls off your fork, not runny or clumpy, i guess the word is silky?
      the shortening should be melted in the skillet.
      take it out of the oven and roll the melted shortening to cover inside of it and pour the rest into your mixture and stir.
      **warning** the liquefied shortening is very hot and you should fold it in the mixture SLOWLY so you don’t splash it on you.
      after the shortening is folded in you can stir it well and pour mix into to skillet. it should pour like thick cake batter.
      put in the oven and bake until the top is golden brown. Pull it out and turn it over onto a plate, leaving the bottom side up. this will leave the crust very crispy (you may want to keep on eye on this, the crust tends to disappear and leave the middle behind)
      this recipe will do well in a #8 or #10 (if you want it thin) skillet.

      1. As a northern girl who had never tasted cornbread before I got married I appreciate your recipe. My m-i-l used to tell me to use some of this and some of that but you spell it out: the size of a dollop is about 1/4 cup and a handful seems to be equal to about 1/2 cup. I messed up so much I had to fake it with Jiffy for a long time but I’ve always used a heated CI skillet.Years later I lucked up on a recipe I could understand. I’m sure your post will help many who don’t have a clue.

  8. Love, love, love cast iron. Your mac and cheese looks wonderful. If you have more creative uses please keep posting them. I'm always looking for new recipes to try in mine.

    Sorry I didn't get back to you, let me know if you still want the recipe you asked for, I think I have a couple of different versions so let me know if you are doing lamb or chicken…

  9. I have quite a collection of cast iron. My chicken fryer was a wedding gift from my mom. It's 10 inches across. I fried yeast doughnuts in it today. And my skillets are in various sizes: 17, 12, 10, 8, and 7 inches. Occasionally it's good to re-season them, but my 10 inch skillet, bought at a country junk store near Dollywood 25 years ago (when it was Silver Dollar City) is as slick as ice and perfectly non-stick. And yes, it will out-live me. They all will.

  10. Oh — and they are excellent weapons. My husband's aunt wacked her husband over the head with one once, and it permanently cured him of his tendency to the bottle. He stumbled to his mama's house for refuge, and she wouldn't give him entrance — "You've already got a home." The fryin' pan worked!

  11. I got a cast iron skillet for a wedding present and didn't treat it well. I washed it with soap a lot. It started to behave pretty poorly, so I did some research and seasoned it. Now I clean it with salt when I need to and it's the best cooking equipment I have.

  12. My cast iron skillet is in need of some help…There are a few rust spots on the bottom. What do I need to do? Help me o' wise ones…

    1. So basically what you need to do to remove the rust is start over from scratch with the pan. This is the great thing about cast iron. Here's some good instructions on what I've done in the past. I've never even had to do the steel wool thing. Normally the salt and oil combo does the trick.

      Because you'll be scraping off rust, you probably do want to actually wash it with soap (as the article says). This is the ONLY time that's okay though. Rinse it realllly well and dry it completely and then re-season it. It's a good lazy sunday activity and your pan will end up as good as new!


  13. I LOVE my cast iron cookware!! And, yes, you totally forgot the usefullness of it being a weapon.

  14. I cook a lot with cast iron. One of the all time favorites is potato encrusted salmon http://bit.ly/byzXQV

    Another favorite is whole roasted chicken at a very high heat, turning once. It bubbles up and is amazing, but smoke alarms will go off.

    I like reading the comments, learning to use salt to clean. But, one commenter said she uses olive oil to season. Not a good idea. Olive oil goes rancid. Best to stick with a canola oil.

    1. I know this is kind of an old post but vegetable oils like canola are highly processed (bleached and deodorized too) and should not be consumed or used in the kitchen at all. Coconut oil or tallow or lard are all very acceptable and preferred choices.

  15. I got my pan (please don't crucify me for this) at WalMart for like $15! My fave use for it is a ghetto bread stone. I turn it upside down and heat it in the oven til it's time to slide my loaf of bread onto it. I can't compare it to a real baking stone b/c I've never owned one… but I like the results I do get!

    I'm glad to know you can keep re-using the salt used to clean – I think that mine ends up with soap in it (I'm not the household dishwasher! But reading over my should the hubby says "NEVER!") so it certainly doesn't fry eggs without some pretty major stickage!

  16. Oops… and I forgot to add another vote for weaponry… legend has it that my mom broke a cast iron on her ex's head!

  17. I have 4 cast iron skillets at the moment. It's hard to say what my favorite thing to cook in them is.. I use them for just about everything. I have 2 regular 10in ones, 1 10in cast iron grill pan skillet, and then a 6in one that I don't really use so much.

  18. I love my cast iron skillets. I own several…originally owned by my grandmothers. I have two square and two round. One of the rounds was used as a paella pan by a grandmother. I also have a grill cast iron pan (with the ridges on it).

    And I also have several Le Cruset pots that I love using.

    I use my cast iron pans constantly.

  19. Do you have cleaning tips for when you let remnants of something (say, totally hypothetically, a black bean/spinach/egg scramble from breakfast-tacos-for-dinner) sit in your cast iron pan overnight and then it’s all stuck and crusty but you’re not really supposed to scrub it with soap?

    P.S. I made your brickle for a family BBQ and now my mom and her whole book club read your blog.

    1. On the cast iron question, when I need to really scrub my cast iron, I do one of two things:

      For 99% of stuck on stuff, I use a small plastic scraper that works great. Just run the pan under hot water and scrape away. I use mine all the time to clean really dirty cast iron and they work like a charm.

      If it’s REALLY bad stuck on stuff, you can put a Tablespoon or two of neutral oil in it along with a few tablespoons of Kosher salt. Then scrub like crazy with a clean non-soapy rag or sponge. The salt will scrub off the crud. Then be sure to rinse it out well with hot water a few times and you should be good to go.

      I’ve only ever had one or two things that the scraper wasn’t doing the trick on and I had to resort to the salt tactic. :)

      And thanks for the shout-out!

      1. Cleaning your cast iron when it is still hot is the easiest way to clean it. I use a paper towel or a clean damp dish rag. If your pan has sat overnight, my teens are famous for this, heat it on a medium heat. Let it get hot, not scorching, and then wipe it clean. Follow up with the oil wipe down and it’ll be good to go.

    2. I usually add enough plain water and set it on the stove. Bring it to a boil for a few minutes until the burned on gunk on the bottom is softened. It should be easier to scrape out. Also works for foods that are dried onto.the inside of the pan.

  20. I grew up on cast iron skillets. My mom had one in every size and now they are all mine ~ practically antique! From the teeniest 6 to a two-hander 18″, they all had a specific purpose from poaching an egg in the small pan to doing home fries on the outdoor grill — a stone oven (before Weber time). Recently I found a new idea for my 10″ skillet ~ I make fresh fruit cakes in it and bake them ~ so delish!!
    You’ll find the recipe on my website ~ here’s the link ~ http://www.tastefulliving.net/tastefulliving/2009/10/fall-fruit-cake-in-a-skillet.html
    Bon Appetit!

  21. I grew up with cast iron myself. I had actually forgotten about them once I left for college. After reading this blog, I skipped over to Amazon and bought one! I’m so excited to use it :D They really are wonderful pans!

  22. I can’t even remember where mine came from.

    I like to use mine when I don’t want to turn on the oven. I roast my own raw unsalted nuts on the next to the lowest mark on my electric stove. I leave it until it is done like I like it, usually an hour or two. Taste often.

    I am so glad to hear about the kosher salt. It is going on my shopping list. I will season it with canola oil.

    I cook my buffalo steaks in it. I cook stewish, chilish things in it.

    It lives on top of the stove I can grab it fast. Actually, both of them do and I can’t recall where either of them came from. My maternal grandmother?

    My grocery auction place had a big cast iron grill for $20. I use it instead of a baking stone and am very happy with it. It was good exercise to get it up to my second floor apartment. ;-)

    Thanks for all the good info. I will use it even more happily now.

  23. Great topic! My dear husband just gave me a 12″ 100+ yr old skillet for my birthday (not an odd gift at all, I had requested it, and he gave it to me a couple of weeks early). I already had a 10″ which was my grandfather’s – it’s about 70 or 80 yrs old. I use them all the time, love to make a dutch baby pancake in the 10″. It is also great to start out chicken on the stove and finish in the oven. We also have a grill pan, with a grill weight, and have been enjoying them for panini and for turkey or salmon patties. Really, I enjoy cooking in my cast iron far more than any “nonstick” skillet I have ever had. The versatility of these pans is so wonderful. I had been feeling sorry for myself because I don’t have Le Creuset, but am now perfectly happy with my cast iron. Look forward to getting a good dutch oven one of these days.

  24. Cast iron rules. Wish I had my grandmother’s but someone got off with it. So I bought a couple so that my kids will not fight over it when I am gone.
    Great article.

  25. I just received a 15″ cast iron skillet from my daughter for my birthday. She bought me a cookbook for it also. My question is how to convert some of the coffee cake, bread recipes that call for a 10 or 12 inch pan to my whopping 15″ pan? Would I make a 1.5 recipe? Thanks for any advice!

  26. My niece has her great-grandmother’s iron skillet. The best for southern food; cornbread (preheat oiled skillet in oven before adding batter), vegetables like cabbage, summer squash (cooked down to reduce watery liquid), fried corn and fried green tomatoes (well, maybe not THE healthiest, but oh so delicious), and “fried” chicken (seasoned, but not breaded, chicken.) Every kitchen should have at least one. And if you’re not the best of cooks…..just looking malicious with skillet in hand will turn those frowns to compliments!

  27. I do live in the suburbs, I do have a gas grill, but I almost daily use my cast iron pan with ridges for chops. chicken cutlets, hamburgers, and so on. It's a must in any kitchen for the person that loves to cook.

  28. I pick up my cast iron skillets at garage sales. Some as low as a quarter! I have all but the little size.

  29. I actually have a question for a cast iron professional: what is it about seasoning a skillet that makes the eyes burn? I don't know if maybe it's an allergy, or if maybe I'm just whinier than other people, but every time I use my skillet at high temperatures, or even low ones for a long time (like making cornbread, my favorite!) my eyes and nose start to burn! Hand mincing 10 lbs. of onions would feel better. Since I bought my bird over the summer I haven’t used the skillet at all. I was afraid it might hurt him too, since birds are so susceptible to fumes. Since no one else seems to have this problem, I was wondering if maybe the skillets that I have were just too old?

  30. I have several cast iron pans. Great post for saving them.
    Reason #11 – They make a great stove top to oven steak. If for any other reason, I would keep my cast iron pan for this. You sear really hot on top of stove, then put into oven at 375 to finish off. Steak stays tender and you can get a perfect medium rare with a seared outside.

  31. Your “vitamin rich” reason is not so much of a stretch! I’m borderline anemic, so every time I get my blood tested, they always give me these hand-outs on getting more iron in your diet. Cast iron cookware is always listed as a great way! Up with iron!

  32. I didn’t read all of the posts, but my favorite thing in a cast skillet is french fries. I know, not heart healthy, but sometimes ya just gotta have! And I know from personal exp that you CAN break one! I knocked my mom’s big one (12-15in) off the counter and it hit the tile floor just right, on the handle, and snapped the handle right off. I think she still has it. You just had to use oven mitts to move it around (which you did anyways) I guess you could say it became a cast casserole dish. One other thing…I was told you couldn’t use cast on a smooth top stove. My Kitchen Aid stove has good/better/best in the manual and says cast iron is THE BEST to cook with! So I use cast once in a while and have never had a problem with it. Should be great on an Induction stove!!

    1. when cast iron is really cold, it will break if a dropped on a hard surface. and it does work wonderful on an induction burner.

  33. I love cooking Chicken Etouffee in my skillet. Also, good for gumbo. Because of the even heat distribution it is excellent for making the roux for those dishes. I also enjoy cooking breakfast in my skillet. I start cooking the sausage, then I push them aside and crack in my eggs. Yum!

  34. Has no one mentioned that cooking in “non-stick” teflon-coated cookware is just not good for you? At high temps, bad stuff is released. Cast iron doesn’t have that problem. And it’s awesome.

  35. Fav thing to cook with my Iron skillet Is steak… Its just so darn unexpected. No one ever believes my steak will be any good.

  36. I never grew up on a cast iron skillet and I’m a Texas gal, but my mother always used glass Pyrex or Corning ware for everything. I had a cast iron skillet about 12 years ago, but the first night food stuck to it so I left it soaking over night. Needless to say, it rusted and I threw it out. I have learned since then that cast iron is a great cooking tool, so I decided to give it another try. I found one at The Christmas Tree Shops just the other day and since then I have cooked everything in it. I am wanting to try to bake some brownies or a cake in it. Things are still sticking, but each time I cook with it, it gets less and less sticky.

  37. My earliest recollection of iron skillets was when my mother took hers (3) out of the cupboard and proceeded to heat them on our gas stove to almost white hot, adding salt and then pacing the t-bones (very rare occasions) in searing them and having the smoke fill the kitchen. When the steaks were served the flavor, tenderness and juicy perfection made for a most delectable meal!
    Of course she cleaned them with paper towels before placing them back in the cupboards.

  38. I’m new to CI cooking, having recalled how my Dad would fry eggs on a skillet when we were camping, making a mess, I’d never learned how to cook in it. Then I saw a ‘pin’ on pinterest about how to clean them. I had one of my husband’s grandmother’s old skillets (BS&R #8) that she fried Shoe Leather bread in it (that’s what they called it, as they were Germans from North Dakota). So, I cleaned it up and started cooking in it. Tho’ I love the idea that three generations have cooked in that skillet, I also love my Wagner #6 that i got at a flea market. I like the size and weight of it (its thin walled). I make a Dutch Baby in it at least once a week!

    1. Thanks for sharing, I also have quite a collection of cast iron skillet as well other pieces. My grandmother used only cast iron and she taught me as a child how to use and clean them. I’m interested in your recipe for Dutch baby and fried shoe leather bread. I’m also from German descent and Native American. Have a great day!

  39. I just got one for $4 at the local fleamarket! Am baking the gunk off right now, look forward to seasoning and using it!

  40. I use a cast iron frying pan as a guide to what to look for in a man. Tough, durable, versatile, rugged, good in the kitchen as well as in the woods, elegant but unpretentious, timeless, can defend me in a pinch, good for everyday use, and the only pan I need :)

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  42. Hello, I have really enjoyed reading the comments here. I grew up in the south and I love my cast iron. Fried chicken and fish are one of my favorite foods to cook in them. Pineapple upside cake is soooo delicious in my skillet. I bought my first set of cast iron from Sears in the 70’s for $12.99. Whenever I find one at a yard sale or flea market, I scoop it up. recently found a large cast iron roaster for $5.00, griddle skillet for $4 and a 8 qt 12 inch dutch oven with the lid for 15.

    1. GIVE ME CAST IRON OR GIVE ME NOTHING!!!!! KK I love, love, love, my cast iron full cooking set that my Daddy purchase for me almost 18 years ago. He was a fabulous cook and as a kid I thought all fathers cook more than the mother LOL was I ever fooled. Everyone is so right the most expensive non-stick cookware can not touch cast iron cookware. It simply cooks your food to perfection. I finally found out after all this time that I can clean my cast iron in my self cleaning oven. I’m in Heaven.

  43. Dutch oven black Forrest cobbler amazing stuff. Also you can save bacon grease by filtering through coffee filter and refrigerating for up to 2 weeks. Use it in recipes instead of butter or oil for added flavor

    1. bacon grease will last in the refrigerator for a couple months. i do not filter mine, the little bits are concentrated flavor! i guess you would need to filter it if there are bits of egg or other matter, but if it is just bacon, there is not enough water content for bacteria to grow.

  44. I’ve been using cast iron for over 40 years. I do great with everything except potatoes. They turn dark gray every time. What am I doing wrong?

    1. Hey Charlene, tough to say without seeing the process, but it sounds like maybe the potatoes are oxidizing before they are cooked. You might want to try soaking the sliced potatoes in cold water for a few minutes and then drying them and cooking them. That usually helps and is how restaurants prevent oxidizing on potatoes. Good luck!

  45. I don’t own one myself but I’ll buy when I get an own household since I like that you can use metallic spatula and don’t mess the surface up

  46. I bought 4 cast iron skillet’s / pans secondhand. Tomorrow is my first try, can’t wait. Away with the teflon :)

  47. My grandmother used cast iron and she gave me two cast iron skillets
    when I moved out on my own. I loved cooking with them, and I wanted
    to purchase more but couldn’t afforded it on my tiny budget so I used
    the gift from G.Mama. I bought my first full set (20pc with griddle included)
    online (not seasoned) for $99 when I moved into my house. I googled how to
    season them and spent a full day seasoning my new cast iron. Every piece
    cooks so well. I do not cook with anything else. I will not purchase any other
    kind of cookware. Your 10 reasons are all right on point. I still have the two
    skillets G.Mama gave me and I buy cast iron as home warming and Christmas
    gifts. I maybe somewhat addicted for I find my self always on the look out for
    cast iron when I’m shopping or thrifting. I currently on 34 pc.

  48. GIVE ME CAST IRON OR GIVE ME DEATH! lol OK OK I love my cast iron and I even have a vintage skillet from the late 1800’s. Not only does it beat the pants off every piece of expensive non-stick my friends have bought, but the flavor that it imparts to food the more you use it is priceless.

  49. I have (3) three cast iron skillets that are rusted all over inside & out. I have scraped
    much of the old scum off. So there is mostly rust and scum all over. Is there any hope??? I see the pictures of the seasoned skillets and they are not-like new.

  50. When my handed down cast iron skillets got so bad that everything was sticking I took them to a powder coating place and had them blast them. I had already had several other pieces done so had no worries and no cost. I will fix them a pan of cornbread and a pot of cream peas for being such nice guys. What they actually wanted was the cast iron. The answer was NO.

  51. Did any one mention that the residue from cast iron is iron and that a little iron is good for you.
    It is the same stuff you find in the pills you take for iron deficiency and anemia.
    The residue from most other skillet surfaces is unhealthy. e.g., aluminum, plastic, etc.

    1. Hi Steve (or Nick)
      Can you help me find some credible info on how iron gets passed on to supplement our diet when cooking with cast iron cookware?

      It comes up often, I my sense is that it’s true but I’m one of those “What is the source?” geeks….

      (And thanks for a great post — we at FINEX Cast Iron Cookware Co are understandable biased in favor of cast iron cooking)

      1. Hey Dana!

        I’ve never heard anything “official” to that effect, but I’ve heard that forever through various unofficial sources. It makes intuitive since to me, but I’m not sure that the iron intake would be noticeable. I doubt doctors recommend cooking on cast iron instead of taking iron supplements is what I mean.

        Plus though… shouldn’t you fine people at FINEX have the ultimate word on such rumors? :)

      2. During my last pregnancy I had low iron and was put on iron supplements. Toward the end of my pregnancy I was given another blood test and my iron was still low. The midwife recommended cooking with a cast iron because it seemed to help a previous patient. It was the first time I delivered a baby and was not low on iron. :-)
        I also want to add that I think I only used it once or twice per week. I always recommend it to people low on iron.

      3. I don’t know anything about the “process” of absorbing iron from the pan, but I remember being taught decades ago that anemia was unheard of until somebody invented aluminum cookware and people quit using their cast iron.

  52. PRATHAM 07/28/2014 AT 2:24 PM
    Hi Nick, I have gone through your article regarding cast iron pans n 10 reasons to have it. You recomended Lodge 15″ pan there. But of late I have been reading a lot about the rough surface etc of Lodge pans especially Lodge Logic. I have heard a lot of appreciation for Griswold Pans n I am thouoghly confused now. Please advise me. Thank you.

  53. ATHAM 07/28/2014 AT 2:24 PM
    Hi Nick, I have gone through your article regarding cast iron pans n 10 reasons to have it. You recomended Lodge 15″ pan there. But of late I have been reading a lot about the rough surface etc of Lodge pans especially Lodge Logic. I have heard a lot of appreciation for Griswold Pans n I am thouoghly confused now. Please advise me. Thank you.

    1. Hey Pratham, I’ve used both lodge and Griswold and love both of them. Hard to go wrong with either… Good luck!

  54. I inherited my grandmother’s 3 CI sauce pots/lids. My great-grandmom’s round CI 9″griddle & 2 cornbread molds. My mom’s, CI 12″inch pan. My MIL gave me a large 22×10 Griswold griddle. A Wenzel dutch oven from my step mom. I have a very expensive chef Wolfgang Puck cooking set that I don’t use any more bc it doesn’t cook as well as my cast iron. I cook everything from grilled cheese, breakfasts, vegtables, soups & casseroles dailey in my CI. We also take a couple of pieces camping.

  55. Wow,

    I have one at home. I used it only few times. Last time i saw that it had a thin layer of rust in it and i was thinking to throw it to the trash. Lucky me i decided to Google it how to take care of cast iron skillet. Yuppie, I’m going to season it well as soon as I get home.

    thank youuuuuuuuuuuuu

  56. Camping! Nothing beats the heat distribution and it’s tough as nails! It’s also so very easy to clean up afterwards.

  57. I have more than one piece of cast iron cookware. One I use specifically for my cornbread is probably 30 years old. No real Southern Woman would cook cornbread in anything else. My former husband cooked something else in that skillet once, & I almost hurt him! You should have also mentioned that a cast iron skillet should NEVER be left to soak. That will also ruin your seasoning. I know that’s common sense but some people…I truly enjoy using cast iron & have rescued & cleaned up several nice skillets. I’m hoping that not too many people read your blog or I might have trouble finding my next one.

  58. I have a 7 inch cast iron skillet I use practically every day. I got it mostly for fun, but since I cleaned it and seasoned it I use it almost every day for an omelet. I also have a 4 quart lodge Camp Oven and when I camp with friends the request is always for a cobbler. I inherited my Mom’s hammered steel wok, and use that regularly for stir fry and whatever else I cook on the stove that doesn’t involve steaming.

  59. I was in a local kitchen store and was talking with an older salesman. Since we live in California where we experience earthquakes from time to time, we need to be prepared to take care of ourselves for a few days. I was looking at the Lodge Cast Iron Skillets and there were other people looking at the other brands of skillets made of non-cast iron. The salesman told me that these other pans do the job but they are not going to be able to be used on an open fire the way cast iron can be used in the case of an emergency, such as an earthquake. He went on to say that those other pans will just melt on the open fire (like a campfire) but the cast iron will not. He also told me that he only had cast iron skillets in his kitchen. I had planned on purchasing at least one cask iron skillet before talking with him but since I only have one small skillet that is non-cast iron and I need to get some other sizes, I will be purchasing more cast iron skillets now.

  60. Mine was given to me by my late father, and is probably 50 years old. I love the fact that it can go from stove top to the oven, too. The other night I browned some chicken, threw in some onions, mushrooms, garlic, herbs, salt and a little water. Pulled it off the stove and into the oven for half an hour. I put the chicken on a platter, added a little butter to the pan, then poured the mixture over the chicken. Bam, damn, and booyah!

  61. I’m an expat living in Mexico… After selling all of my worldly possessions to make my move to Mex. One on my most important must keep/have was my 30 year old cast iron skillet! I use it often and couldn’t imagine being without it. A cast iron seasoned skillet has been a multi generational Irish tradition for myself and my family. FUN! and practical. :-)

  62. From personal experience, I can tell you that #8 isn’t a stretch. About 10 years ago I bought my first set of cast iron pans, brand new, in a box. I happened to get some blood work done a few weeks later. And the doctor was concerned that my iron levels were high, and that I might have hemochromatosis, which is a disorder where your body absorbs too much iron. He suggested I come back in a month for a follow up to check my iron levels again. The next visit they were back to perfectly normal levels. Eventually I figured out that the high iron spike that first visit must have been from the new pans, and after they got broken in and smoothed out, the iron absorption was less extreme. The other side of this, is that the same concept applies to other pans as well. I’d rather be absorbing iron then God knows what they put into the nonstick coating on other pans.

  63. I use my Grandmother’s cast iron pan. She got when she was married in 1902! It has gone through the Great Depression when she cooked up in Northern Ontario for a family of 11 children. My mother had it and used it for her brood of 5. I used it for my cooking. It has been put away for a few years but, as we speak, I am seasoning it again for use again.

  64. I love cast iron and have several pieces including, a 15″ skillet, an 18″ skillet, 10″x17″ griddle, a 13″ wok, a 9″ round skillet, a muffin pan and a cornbread pan as well as several other skillets. I lost all of my dutch ovens and chicken pots, but we fully plan on getting replacements for all of them.

  65. started off with grandmas over 100 year old 10 inch skillet the thing has seen more bacon and sausage then farmer john and hillshire farms and johnsonville together the thing has a nonstick surface that rivals the sr 71 in smoothness love it now we own a dutch oven the two bigger ones 12 n 15 and a smaller love everything cast iron can do and is my goto skillet in the kitchen i CAN SAY CONFIDENTLY CAST IRON RULES …. SESAME OIL ROASTED HASH STYLE POTATOES WITH A TOUCH OF BROWN SUGAR N DICED BACON id reconsider remodeling the kitchen instead of stainless steel cast iron everything …..rock on

  66. So I’ve just got myself one of these but I hav a problem. Its cast iron but has a wooden handle. I should t put that in the oven to season it with oil right? So how can I do that?

  67. Best thing to cook in an iron skillet? CORN BREAD!!
    Its the ONLY way to cook cornbread :))

  68. Cast iron is great to cook with, but it actually does a terrible job at distributing heat compared to other metals used in cookware, especially on a burner.

    Also you can’t season it at 250, that’s just silly talk.

    Macheesmo try to get your facts straight. I won’t even comment on your soap and mineral points.

  69. Cast iron cooks the best cornbread! Yum! I use a size 8 cast iron pan that my grandmother used, so I know it’s much older than me.. My father has quite a few that we are currently working on. I have noticed that newer cast iron skillets are much lighter than older ones.

  70. My dad was a cook on a ship in the merchant marine. All he used was cast iron. After he died I stored his stuff in a dampish area. When I dug it out it was rusted and need of TLC. I had no idea that they could be cleaned and re-seasoned. I threw away three pans and two dutch ovens. Now I have to replace them. aaarg! I wish I’d have looked here first.
    A sad lesson learned

  71. I love cast iron. My dad taught me to use it. I am lost in the kitchen without it. I can destroy a nonstick pan the first time i touch it. Not so with cast iron.

  72. I have to take issue with this myth that cast iron can attain the same level of non-stick as a teflon coated pan (and i do NOT use coated pans). Can you crack an egg into your cast iron pan, let it fry for a few minutes, and then tip the pan and have the egg effortlessly slide out and onto your plate? With zero use of a spatula? And with zero egg left stuck to the pan? Because you can do that with a coated pan. And if you claim your cast iron is capable of the same feat, please link to a youtube video where you provide a demonstration.

    I love my cast iron pans too, but lets at least stop parroting these exagerated claims and accept them for what they are, shortcomings and all.

    1. Heya, so I don’t have a video of it but maybe I’ll do a facebook live on it soon. :) It’s true that they aren’t 100% as nonstick as teflon, but with proper seasoning, I can get my cast iron skillet VERY close. In my walkthrough on how to season a cast iron skillet I actually do the egg test you describe. It’s just a photo but I think it’s pretty close to what you’re looking for:
      But yea.. maybe I’ll do an FB live on it. Would be a fun challenge! Thanks for reading!

  73. I love my cast iron. Taken years to collect the full matched set of griswolds. The French fries with peanut oil on the stove are phenomenal. The fries in the stove with olive oil and seasoning, can’t be beat. Nothing breaks out the way back machine like the smell of pancakes on the griddle. I make XL ones for the kids. We call ‘em Uncle Bucks. In case anybody forgot, a grilled cheese (with extras) I like ham and jalapeños, in a cast iron skillet with the weighted bacon press sitting on top of it…can’t be duplicated.

    Thank you for your time.

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