Modern day cookware doesn’t hold a candle to cast iron. Learn why you should be doing more cooking with cast iron pot and pans.
While stainless steel and nonstick cookware has become the trend lately, they really don’t hold a candle to a trusty cast iron skillet. Hang on to grandma’s old relic or that flea market find and learn why you should be cooking with cast iron.
They are cheap.
A typical brand new cast iron skillet might set you back $15. If you are lucky, you might even score one for less at a flea market of thrift store. A decent, brand new stainless steel skillet starts at $30. Quality nonstick skillets start at around $25.
They last forever!
I just recently had to throw out some of my nonstick skillets we received as wedding gifts over 12 years ago because they were starting to warp. On the other hand, I own several vintage cast iron skillets that belonged to my husband’s grandmother that are at least 60 years old! Chances are, my great grandchildren will still be cooking with these skillets in another 60 years.
They are safer to cook with.
Remember those non-stick pans I had to throw out? Not only were they starting to warp, but I began noticing little black flecks in our food. I realized the non-stick finish was starting to flake off! These non-stick compounds are made with materials that are toxic if ingested.
Which leads to my next point — there is some debate as to whether prolonged exposure to non-stick cookware can lead to other health problems.
They are naturally nonstick.
When seasoned properly, cast iron pans perform as well or even better than commercially manufactured non-stick skillets. Check out my tutorial for everything you need to know to season your own cast iron skillet.
They are versatile.
Cast iron skillets can be used on the stove or go straight into the oven. You can used them for grilling, searing, sautéing, even baking! Check out this list of recipes you can make in a cast iron skillet.
They spread heat evenly during cooking.
Have you ever tried brown a piece of meat and noticed once side of the skillet seemed hotter than the other? I’ve noticed this with some of my stainless steel cookware. I never have this problem with my cast iron skillets. They heat fast and they stay hot.
Food cooks evenly.
Because heat disperses evenly in the pan, your food cooks more evenly. There is nothing worse than meat that’s overcooked at the edge but still underdone in the center. Or a cake that’s still doughy in the center but burned at the edges.
They can withstand some pretty high heat.
There is nothing better than a perfect seared juicy steak. In order to achieve this though, you need to heat a skillet at pretty high heat. Try this with a nonstick skillet and your finish with burn right off (I know this first hand. My husband did this once, it ruined the pan).
You need less oil for cooking.
Food has a tendency to stick to the bottom of my stainless steel pans, therefore I need to add at least a couple tablespoons of oil into the bottom before cooking. Again, with cast iron, as long as they are seasoned properly, they are naturally nonstick. You’ll only need a small amount of oil during cooking.
Easy to maintain.
After cooking, I usually only have to wipe my skillet out with a paper towel or wet rag. Occasionally I have to scrape off some stuck on food, but it comes out easily.
They are tough and durable.
You know how you should never use metal utensils on a nonstick skillet? That’s not the case with cast iron. They take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’ … or cooking.
Can fortify your food with iron.
Your body needs iron to make hemoglobin, which helps your body carry healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells to the rest of your body. Cooking with cast iron imparts trace amounts of iron into the food your cooking, which is beneficial for people with low iron counts.