Cast Iron Skillet Care and Recipes

I’m taking a break for a few days to catch up on some writing and to finish up some design work I have in my queue. In the midst of my work I got a bit distracted. Thinking of dinner and what I should plan for next week’s meals I had the idea to create an ebook (free to my subscribers) on the care of and recipes for cast iron skillets.

I think every home should have a cast iron skillet. I know some of you have some concerns about them though and I’d like to address those concerns. So help me out and tell me some things in the comments:

  • What kind of recipes would you like to see for the cast iron skillet? I make lots and lots of dishes in them and I’m willing to use my family as guinea pigs to try out more. 😉
  • What are your greatest concerns about using cast iron skillets?

Once I have enough of an idea of what you need I’ll get to work on that ebook. In the meantime, I’m off to do some other work.

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  1. I have always heard that after use, you should just rinse, wipe dry, and grease. But, I have wondered about bacteria or germs that may be left over. Is this an issue? Because, I have been told to NEVER use soap on an iron skillet cause that will strip the coating from it that keeps the food from sticking. So, what is the best way to clean the skillet after use? And if something does stick (like a spot of food, not over the whole pan) what is the best way to scrub that food off, or care for the skillet from that?
    Any assistance would be great, thanks!!

  2. Dorothea Molewicz says:

    I was left some cast iron pieces in not such great shape…a corn bread pan,a popover pan and some skillets.Some have rust.How do I bring them back so they are safe to use?Also…is it safe to use cast iron on glass top stoves? Thanks bunches. Dori

  3. I have several cast iron pieces passed down from family menbers.
    Recently, I have started using my #8 skillet to bake my pies in.
    Love what it does with the crust and perfect for deep dish pies!

  4. Catherine Smith says:

    I have 2 of my Mother’s one of my Grandmother’s cast iron pieces. I use them all the time, although I sometimes have to use both hands now. I’m 69, just to let you know these pieces are tough. My oldest son, has my 12 inch iron skillet that he uses to grill with. They also take it camping. Food tastes wonderful out of one of these.
    Please be sure to include directions on how to clean and re-cure these pieces. It’s not difficult.

  5. I found some old rusty cast-iron skillets at the house we’re renting now that the previous renters left, so I don’t know anything about them, but I would like to know how to clean them so they’re safe to use and I don’t get lockjaw or tetanus or whatever!!!!!!! Thank you!!

  6. Heather says:

    My grandma just went into a nursing home so she gave her collection of pans to my sister and I. They are in nasty shape, Grandma didn’t take great care of stuff. I’d love to know how to clean up pans w/ years of caked on stuff. So far I’ve just tried burning it off in the grill and/or open fires so I can start fresh and re-season, but would love to know if theres a better way.

  7. We inherited My hubby’s grandmother’s skillets when we married. How I love them. I make huge omelets. Start out on the top burner and transfer to the oven. They fluff up so nicely. Also, fried okra and apples and peach cobbler. My husband actually taught me how to use them.

    I got a stainless steel set of pots and pan and didn’t use the cast iron as much. My blood iron level dropped so that I needed iron supplements! You really do get good iron from the skillets! Needless to say I started using them again.

    I can’t wait to see what all you come up with for recipes.

  8. I love my cast iron! I have my mother’s skillets….several in different sizes. I would LOVE to see any and all recipes. And I can’t wait!

  9. I love my cast iron dutch oven! I use it to make roasts and soup all the time. I have an enameled one so it is easier to care for…no worrying about seasoning it. Just wash, dry, and put it away 🙂

    • I love to use our cast iron dutch oven to cook pot roast on the stove on a low heat for about 2-3 hours depending on the size. I then take out the roast, make gravy in the cast iron dutch oven, and place the pot roast in the gravy to simmer for about 20 minutes___it’s so tender you can cut it with a fork.

  10. OH, I’m looking forward to the e-book on castiron skillet care. I have a small cast iron skillet and round castiron griddle pan that I inherited from my grandmother. Those things are “old”…but last foreer and are still in excellent condition.

    I’d love to see recipes that have lots of meat and veggies in them. I have to eat a gluten free diet for health reasons, but meat and veggies are always a winner in my home 😉 🙂 🙂

    Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather 🙂

  11. On Martha Stewart last week, she showed how to make pizza in the cast iron skillet. I think that’s a great idea, more like that! We eat alot of foods out of that skillet, like my whatever kind of meat/potatoes/vegetable hash is the best! I think that’s because of the skillet! How do you make cookies in them? I make cake in mine!

  12. I’ve been cooking in cast iron forever, i have my grandmothers plus a few more i’ve added over the years

  13. ldgautier says:

    I love my cast iron skillet & would love to see all sorts of recipes!

  14. I’d like to learn to use a cast iron skillet and so anything would be great! I also don’t know how to care/clean it, so any information/pictures would be helpful!

  15. Kaye Whitney says:

    My biggest problem is seasoning the skillets that I have so that food doesn’t stick. I inherited my mother’s pans for baking cornbread in molds that look like ears of corn. When I used them, the cornbread stuck and we couldn’t get it out. I love potatoes fried in an iron skillet. I like bacon and eggs in an iron skillet.

    • Kaye, do you preheat the pan before you use it? It should be at least 350 degrees before the batter is poured in.

      • Kaye Whitney says:

        Thanks, Amy. I will try it again.

      • Thanks for that tip Amy I did not know that

        • Yes, ma’am! I actually was a bit slow to learn this one too and often had issues with my baked goods or desserts (made in cast iron) turning out differently than I was used to eating growing up. Finally a relative informed me that you are supposed to preheat the cookware so that when you pour the batter in it immediately cooks and crisps up the edges forming a shell. that is the secret to it! And it does make a big difference.

  16. I love cooking in cast iron for so many reasons, but we just moved and our house has a flat cooktop. I am concerned about scratching up the stop, breaking it. I’ve heard that if the pan gets to hot it can even break the glass top. I’m open to suggestions and any help offered. Thanks! I would love to have a gas stove but not willing to convert our house just for that, at least not yet:)

    • I use my cast iron cookware on my flat cook top. You just have to be careful not to drag the cookware or drop it down onto the cook top. That could cause it to shatter.

      • I’ve read conflicting information regarding use on a glass top stove and I thought that wasn’t okay to do. So I have a bunch of nice cast iron but never use it any more.

        • I too have a cooktop that I haven’t tried to use for the cast iron, but using the cookware in the oven works great, and so it can be used for a lot of dishes.

  17. I don’t know what kind of recipes I’d like to see, but I can tell you that I cook everything. everything. in my cast iron skillet, from fish to corn bread to cookie bars (not at the same time, of course) 🙂

    I hardly ever use soap (only once or twice since I got it) on my cast iron pan and I store it in my oven. I haven’t had to re-season it in quite a while.

  18. I would love any and all types of recipes for cast iron skillets. I have NEVER used them to cook anything at home. My husband has used them when cooking over a campfire but honestly i have never thought to use them at home.

  19. Oh Amy, I am so looking forward to this series! I have three lovely cast iron skillets decorating my wall. The only thing I know to make in them is cornbread. I am excited at the thought of using them for more than decorations! I really did buy them for cooking.

    Love your posts! You’re full of good, useful information, thank you for sharing your knowledge with us!

  20. I love my cast iron skillets! And hate cooking, LoL. So, easy and fast recipes would be fantastic. Chicken. Veggies. 🙂 (Although I hesitate to put meat in them because one of the features I love is that the skillets are well seasoned, so maybe recipes that won’t kill my seasoning?) 😉

  21. I just inherited my first skillet, I received a set when I was 17 but did not have any sense in keeping them and taking care of them. Now I am much wiser and have a passion to cook, so I am going to be scouring and looking for pieces to add. So I would love any recipes, I love to bake, and serve tastey dinners to my family.

    • I did the same thing and thought I had ruined the skillet. But, I got a lesson from a true Cajun… he scrubbed that thing till most of the rust was gone then he rubbed it down with raw bacon and through it in a fire pit. I honestly thought at that point that he was getting rid of it. Come to find out that is how you fix them! I still have that pot.

  22. Momma Ruby says:

    This would be wonderful. I’m very interested in trying to obtain a least a few pieces. Any recipes would be wonderful. My main concerns are also about the acidic products, leaching metals into the food, as well as should I have other types of pans as well to cook certain things, such as boiling water for potatoes and the like.

    • I don’t recommend using them to consistently boil foods because that does tend to degrade the seasoning you’ve worked so hard to create. I use stainless steel cookware for making pasta and boiling potatoes or rice. I just use the pot though if it is a jambalaya or other rice dish. That seems to balance it out.

      And yes, acidic foods tend to leech out more iron than others. I make my tomato dishes in an enameled cast iron dutch oven.

  23. I have a set of old cast iron pans and a cast iron dutch oven, but I don’t know how to clean them up for use – or how to maintain them. Any recipes and basic cooking tips would be great, too!

  24. I find that they are too heavy for me to pick up. Are there any that are lighter?

  25. I’m always one for easy recipes. I have a few “one-pot” recipes where you do the initial sauteing in the skillet, then add more ingredients and bake – more like that would be fun.

    Maybe I’m just too naive, but I don’t have any concerns about cast iron.

  26. I’d love a wide array for them because right now I just use it as a normal skillet. We always use cast iron for frying pork chops and for everything tomato based. We have a few normal sized skillets, one small, a cast dutch oven, and a porcelain coated cast griddle. Recipes for any and all would be great!

    My concern: my mom-in-law said that you should not do tomato based dishes in cast iron because it leaches out the metals into your food… Have you heard anything like this?

    • I had actually heard that was one of the benefits of using cast iron…getting additional iron in your food, but I don’t know if that is true or not, I’ve never researched it.

      • It is very true and I can attest to it. I included a link in another response that goes to an article in the Journal of Food Science where they show results of iron being transferred to food. The amount depends on the food itself.

    • Acidic foods do tend to draw out more iron. If you are iron deficient then this is a good thing, however, if you have young children (under 4) I’d be cautious about the amount of iron they are getting because to them, too much is dangerous. For the average adult it does not pose a problem as long as you aren’t taking iron supplements.

      I give blood regularly and I am often told how “good” my iron levels are. The average adult lacks iron. I attribute my good levels to my cast iron cookware.

      Here is an article published on it:

  27. I would love to see recipes for cast iron skillets. I have a cast iron griddle and would love some recipes that would work in that. I am going to be investing in a regular cast iron skillet as well. My biggest thing is that I want to make sure I am taking good care of it between uses.

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