The Do’s and Don’ts of Cast Iron

A little over a year ago a friend introduced me to the wonder of cooking with cast iron. Since then, I’ve never looked back. Using a cast iron pan has a way of making all of my favorite recipes better! Of course, learning to use and clean cast iron is different from other cooking pots, but once you learn the right techniques you won’t be sorry.

The Do’s for Cast Iron

* Do try to look out for used cast iron at thrift shops and yard sales.
* Repurposing old cast iron can be very simple if you have a self-cleaning oven. Here is a great video explaining the repurposing process

* Do know the difference between regular cast iron and enamel cast iron.
Enameled cast iron is typically French made and much more expensive, brands like Le Creuset. While these pans are great and beautiful (even drool worthy) they are much easier to care for and not what I’m talking about in this article.

Invest your time and work early on because as the pan becomes more seasoned, and you are more familiar with it, it is easier than taking care of any other cookware.  I’m someone who hates doing dishes and I almost only cook with my cast iron because now it is way less of a pain to clean!

The No No’s for Cast Iron

Don’t use cold water! Putting cold water particularly on a hot cast iron can lead to a crack in the pan, which is one of the only surefire ways to result in the death of a pan.

Don’t wash with soap (usually). Because soap cuts grease it can be harmful to the layers of seasoning on the pan. However if someone in your household who also uses with the pan has a food allergy, you should use some soap after cooking with any allergen.

Don’t soak the pan! Don’t put it in the dishwasher! Soaking the pan in water will lead to rusting the pan and removing of the seasoning. If you have bits stuck to the pan I suggest using the method in this video.

Don’t be afraid of fat! An important part of caring for a cast iron pan is using oil or some kind of fat regularly after washing. Using oils and fats on the pan is what makes your cast iron naturally non-stick! Typical oils like olive and vegetable don’t work as well asolive oil has a pretty low smoke point, which isn’t what you want here. Many claim that the left over fat from cooking bacon is the holy grail of cast iron. But if you’re like me and don’t cook bacon too often, I suggest using coconut oil.

Here are links to some of my favorite recipes to make in a cast iron pan:
The perfect steak
http://addapinch.com/cooking/skillet-steaks-with-gorgonzola-herbed-butter-recipe/

Amazing bread anyone can make! It makes a great gift too!
http://bakerbettie.com/easy-no-knead-skillet-bread/

My favorite way to make eggs, my loaded frittata recipe which is right here on Eat Up New York

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About The Author

Profile photo of Meredith
Sustainable Eater

As a former athlete with an intense competitive nature I like to challenge my cooking skills with new recipes and unfamiliar ingredients. I source local and organic ingredients as much as possible. I’m on a mission to conquer the kitchen