Inexpensive and durable, naturally nonstick and nearly indestructible, cast-iron skillets are a kitchen essential.
They last for generations, so the same skillet that brought you grandma’s juicy fried chicken now helps you whip up a decadent Apple Pecan Skillet Cake. The best part? The more you use it, the better it gets.
Cast-irons season over time. The oils and flavors from everything that’s touched its surface help the skillet become naturally nonstick. Regularly seasoning your cast-iron skillet will keep it in prime condition to bake for years. Here’s a quick how-to:
1. Wash the skillet with warm water and a sponge or stiff brush. Only use soap if you’re preparing to season it. Otherwise, use only water!
2. Rinse and dry the skillet thoroughly, then coat it with a thin layer of vegetable oil or shortening.
3. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 1 hour. Let the skillet cool completely, then store away.
Here are four ways you can put the cast-iron to work in your own kitchen.
Searing and Sautéing
Take advantage of cast-iron’s reputation for being stovetop and oven-friendly. Begin cooking dishes in the piping hot skillet on the stove, and finish the process in the oven.
Braising that Bursts with Flavor
Since cast-iron skillets heat evenly, and at a steady temperature, they’re perfect for braising meat or vegetables in stock and spices. Try this Braised Winter Vegetable Gratin as a comforting side dish.
Baking – Browned and Buttery
Because the surface of a cast-iron heats evenly and continuously, breads come out toasty and moist, while pies swell with rich, golden crusts. Baking with cast-iron creates sweet and savory dishes that everyone will enjoy. We love the rustic touch of Skillet Buttermilk Biscuits, slathered with warm honey butter. You could also pair a hearty stew with this Easy Mexican Cornbread or finish off a meal with this Blackberry Lime Cobbler.
Frying – The Golden Standard
Using a cast-iron skillet with some of your favorite recipes can open a new world of flavor to your food. A cast-iron skillet that’s well-used and well-loved is more than a kitchen utensil – it’s a treasured family heirloom.