May 18, 2024


Free For All Food

5 Foods You Should Never, Ever Cook in a Cast Iron Skillet

If you’re looking to whip up a deliciously juicy seared steak, no other type of pan will give you better results than a cast iron skillet. And it’s not just for steak: You can sauté, roast, sear, bake, braise, and more in these multi-functional pans, but they’re also extremely durable and affordable to meet all of your cooking needs.

How to Restore and Season Cast Iron With Eddie Ross



Their ability to get—and then stay—really hot makes them ideal for cooking meats and stir-fries. And the fact that they can go from the stovetop to the oven means you can cook perfect baked goods like cornbread and even pie. Another bonus: While you have to scrub your other pots and pans to get them clean, all you have to do to clean a cast iron skillet is rinse it with warm water post-cooking. Talk about a low-maintenance piece of kitchen equipment!

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Though you may be excited to order a cast iron skillet and start cooking away, the trick to achieving great results is knowing when to use them—and when another pan might be better for the type of food you’re making. Here are five things you should avoid cooking in a cast-iron skillet. Then keep reading for a few ideas of what cooks up really well in these pans.

1. Tomato Sauce

Acidic foods like tomatoes can damage the seasoning, or the nonstick coating, of your skillet. What’s worse, the end result will taste metallic, especially if it’s something—like a slow-simmered pasta sauce—that requires a long cooking time. Skip the cast iron for your bolognese and use stainless steel instead.

2. Wine-Braised Meats

It’s not the greatest idea to cook foods that require deglazing with wine or vinegar in a cast iron skillet. Unless your skillet is perfectly seasoned, the acid in the foods can leach small amounts of metal into your food, giving it an off-taste and potentially harming your health.

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3. Desserts

Some of your favorite desserts like pie and cornbread can be baked to perfection in a cast iron pan, it’s true. It also adds an appealing crisp edge to cakes and quick breads, and it can go straight from the stovetop to the oven. But here’s something to consider: If you mainly cook savory foods in your skillet, those residual flavors can transfer into whatever you’re baking, giving your dessert an unexpected flavor. The best solution: two skillets! Then you can designate one for garlicky stir-fries and another for the sweet stuff.

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4. Omelets

Omelets and other egg dishes can stick to the surface when you try to remove them from a cast iron skillet. That means, in addition to serving up an ugly omelet, you may be tempted to soak your pan to get it clean, which will definitely remove the seasoning. Go for an enamel pan instead, and those perfectly folded omelets will slide out with ease.

5. Other Foods that Stick

Like with omelettes above, you may have trouble with foods like pancakes or fried rice, especially when the pan is new and not well-seasoned yet. When the pan is nicely seasoned, these foods should do just fine — but until then, you may need to, say, scrape the pancakes off the bottom, and then scrub the residue off while you’re cleaning it.

6. Delicate Fish

Like eggs, flaky fish fillets can stick to a cast iron pan, making them difficult to remove. The hard scraping to remove your delicate fishes can damage the seasoning on your skillet. While cast iron is great for searing a steak, thanks to how hot it gets (and stays), enamel is better for fish like tilapia, cod, and flounder. Salmon and tuna steaks will cook perfectly in your cast iron pan, though, so feel free to try those out.

Now, how about a few ideas of what works really well in a cast-iron skillet? Try these three:

Fried Chicken

A cast iron pan is ideal for fried chicken, because it holds in the heat well, even when you drop the chicken into the hot oil. You can cook up tender and juicy breasts and legs in no time.

Pan Pizza

The pan is just the right shape, and here’s where the whole “put it right in the oven” thing really works well! You can turn out apizza that the whole family will love in no time.

Fruity Upside-Down Cake

This recipe uses cranberries, but you could use any type of frozen berries to turn out a splendid cake that serves a whole bunch of people! You start the recipe on top of the stove, and end up with it in the oven, turning the top a delicious toasty brown.

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