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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Best iron skillet I ever had I bought at an estate sale. It was nicely seasoned. Used it for years, then I got microwave and stopped cooking on my stove top. Report
MJ7DM33 6/9/2021
Thanks Report
TROUTPOUT 6/5/2021
I use a set of 3 I inherited from my mom every day. The are really old. Report
7STIGGYMT 5/19/2021
Why can't you find a cast iron skillet that is NOT pre-seasoned, unless it's 2nd hand. Im not sure how the season it. Its not that hard to season one.
I don't trust manufacturers and how they do it. Are they doing with something like Teflon? Most of the time New and Improved is half right, just New Report
CD4994568 5/5/2021
seems strange that they are promoting cast iron pans but show pictures of other pans. Report
LIACONO2 4/24/2021
I love my cast iron, I use it more than I thought I would!! Report
EVIE4NOW 3/25/2021
I gave mine away. I have a ceramic cook top that I don't want scratched or broken if I drop a cast iron pan. Report
SNUZYQ2 2/20/2021
Cast iron is truly awesome. I especially love my skillet and use it almost every day! Report
FISHGUT3 2/17/2021
thanks Report
CECELW 11/24/2020
I love my cast iron skillet Report
ERIN_POSCH 11/17/2020
thanks for sharing Report
RACHAEL2020 9/7/2020
Gave mine away! Report
Once I got over my fear of using them I love them! I am very anemic so it’s nice how much iron they add to food 😁 Report
I gave mine away years ago. They're very heavy, and I have a ceramic cooktop. I don't want to risk dropping the cast iron and having to replace the cooktop. Or scratching the cooktop. Report
I used to love my cast iron skillet when I was cooking seriously. Now I microwave everything. Report
Use my cast iron pan a lot Report
I have one of my grandmothers cast iron skillet she used, she had several. I don't use it exclusively, but am happy to have one of hers. Report
Yay! Report
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
Cast iron is awesome! Report
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
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
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
My cast iron dutch oven is one of my treasures! Report
I have several and use them regularly. Love them Report
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
I have 3 love them Report
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
Love my cast iron cookware! Report
Great article Report
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
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
We have 3 & love them! Report
Love my cast iron hand me down skillets Report
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
Thanks. Now I have incentive to start using all my cast iron cookware. Report
Great post helpful & useful Report
beef and broccoli - Yum! Report
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
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