11 Of The Best Reasons To Use Your Cast Iron Skillet More Often

Cast iron cookware is perfect for searing meets, roasting, and even making delicious pancakes.

The Many Benefits Of Cooking With Cast Iron

One memorable lesson I learned about the benefits of cast iron involved a plate of truly delicious blueberry pancakes that my sister Becky made one morning while I was visiting. She explained that the only “secret” behind her fabulous pancakes was that she cooked them in a cast iron skillet, which I had never tried or even considered a possibility before that transformative experience.

But since cast iron clearly made a world of difference in those blueberry pancakes, I started wondering what other benefits of cast iron cookware I may have been missing out on. I’m now much more familiar with cast iron cooking than I was back then, and I’ve truly come to see my trusty cast iron skillet as an indispensable part of my kitchen arsenal! I’ve discovered it’s the perfect tool when it comes to cooking meats, eggs, vegetables, and even baking bread!

In this post, I’m sharing 11 of the best reasons to own cast iron cookware and use it regularly. By the time you’re finished reading, you’ll know that cast iron isn’t just a useful way to cook meat, vegetables, eggs, and brand, but that it can do so much more!

11 Benefits Of Cast Iron Cookware

A cast iron skillet makes the most perfectly delicious pancakes.

1. No Toxic Stuff

Non-stick pans can be convenient, but they’re very easy to scratch up. That’s a problem, because those scratches can cause chemicals in the coating to leech into your food. Even preheating a dry non-stick pan can release toxic fumes into the air, so not having to worry about either issue is a great benefit of cast iron cookware.

One of the benefits of cast iron cookware is that it can be used on the stovetop or in the oven.

2. Cast Iron Can Handle The Heat

Unlike other types of cookware, cast iron can withstand even the hottest cooking environments. Put it over a wood fire, on a gas range, in your oven, or anywhere else — cast iron can handle it all!

Related: 11 Things You Didn’t Know Can Ruin A Nonstick Pan

Because cast iron is so heavy, it holds heat extremely well, making cast iron the best for getting a beautiful browning.

3. Food Doesn’t Stick

Let me clarify—food won’t stick to a pre-heated, properly seasoned cast iron pan. I’ve got a whole post on the best way to season cast iron and how to keep it seasoned so it’s non-stick and easy to clean.

Related: Problem Solved! How To Stop Food From Sticking To Stainless Steel

One of the benefits of cast iron cookware  is that it's easy to clean - if scrubbing is needed, just use salt and oil.

4. Easy To Clean

Cast iron is surprisingly easy to clean, especially if it’s properly seasoned. You don’t even need to wash it with soap (and you shouldn’t do it often anyway, as soap can erode the seasoning layer.) In most cases, the best way to clean a cast iron skillet is to just wipe it clean with a paper towel, but if you need a bit of scrubbing power, kosher salt and a bit of cooking oil will get the job done.

Another benefit of cast iron cookware is that cooking in it can boost your iron intake.

5. Boosts Your Iron Intake

Iron plays a vital role in the human body, helping to maintain energy levels and strengthening your immune system, and cast iron adds a bit of iron to everything you cook. (Some doctors even recommend cast iron cooking to patients with iron deficiencies as a way to increase their iron intake, though according to Healthline, the amount of iron you’d get from cooking in cast iron may be limited.)

A big benefit of cast iron cookware is that it lasts forever and is relatively inexpensive.

6. Relatively Inexpensive

In comparison with other types of cookware, cast iron pans are relatively inexpensive. You can easily pay over $100 for a high-quality stainless steel pan, but you can get a pre-seasoned cast iron pan for less than $20! (And that $20 pan will last a lifetime if you take good care of it.)

Benefits of cast iron cookware include the way food sears and browns in a cast iron pan.

7. Beautiful Browning

Whether you’re looking to put a beautiful sear on a steak, or get a perfect golden-brown finish on your French toast, cast iron makes it easy! Because cast iron is so thick and heavy, it retains heat better than other materials, making it easy to brown or fry almost any food you can think of.

Another benefit of cast iron cookware is its ability to retain heat and distribute it evenly for perfect cooking.

8. Even Heat Distribution

Another advantage of using heavy cast iron cookware is that it heats up more evenly than other materials. It’s common to experience hot spots with non-stick and stainless steel cookware, but cast iron heats up slowly and evenly. No more half-burned, half-raw cooking disasters!

You can use a cast iron skillet as an alternative to grilling in inclement weather.

9. Grilling Alternative

Whether it’s the dead of winter or you don’t have much outdoor space to speak of, grilling outside can be impractical. But having a cast iron pan is sort of like having an indoor grill, because you can get them really hot.

You’ll have no trouble searing steaks, chicken, and anything else you cook up, and a cast iron grill pan will even give you those picture-perfect grill marks too. (There are plenty of other grilling tips and tricks where that came from!

Cast iron cookware can be used on any heat source, so cooking outside is no problem.

10. Works With Any Heat Source

Cast iron pans are perfect for cooking food over a fire, so they are popular with outdoorsmen and preppers alike. If you suddenly didn’t have access to your gas or electric range, your stainless steel and non-stick pans wouldn’t be of much help, but as long as you had a cast iron pan and a way to start a fire, you’d be cooking in no time!

Cast iron cookware is endlessly versatile. In a cast iron skillet you can make every dish for any meal, including dessert.

11. Endless Versatility

In terms of versatility, cast iron reigns supreme over other types of cookware — you can use them to brown, sear, roast, sauté, grill, shallow-fry, deep-fry, bake, braise, and more. I especially enjoy using my cast iron skillet to bake delicious desserts like Triple Berry Cobbler and Fudge Cake (both of which are gluten free!)

What’s your favorite thing to cook in cast iron?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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  • We were digging up a part of our yard and found a cast iron pan, so rusty it was completely orange, but we coated it with oil, threw it in the oven, scrubbed, and repeated a few times and now I use it all the time!

  • Jillee I have a problem hoping you might be able to help me with it. I bought a new bathing suit and I forgot to remove the sanitary liner in the crouch. So now the crouch is very sticky from the glue and I can’t it to come off. Any ideas on how I can remove it now???

  • I only use cast iron skillets now. Unfortunately, the newer Lodge ones now are very rough. I recently bought a 12″ Lodge pan and really am disapponted in the rough interior. I’ve read somewhere that it costs more to smooth them out so they don’t do that anymore. Other companies do, but they are extremely expensive. I may have my husband route it out with a a sander on his drill. That’s how I got some of my pans smoothed out in the past. Also, recently we put three of our pans in the outdoor grill on high and shut the lid for about two hours. It took a lot of the gunk off of the pans. But, he still had to sand them a little to make them more glass like and nonstick.

    • Look at second hand stores you can find cast iron cookware there that just needs a little TLC that were I get them now. I also have some that belonged to my great great grandmother and great grandmother too and I’m 65 years old. So they may be close to 200 years old now. They are the only ones I use now except the pan I use to cook my Ramen Noodles and oatmeal in

  • Truly is nonsick when seasoned right. If you buy one look for one with a smooth interior. I bought one in a box a pot. No sample out and our is rough. Many new ingress are. Rough equals stick in my mind. I seasoned it well after a saw it stick said it was preseasoned. Still sticks. Just be cautious and you’ll be happy

  • OK. I have about 8 cast irons skillets. My sister took the dutch oven ( My mom almost had a heart attack when she saw my sis putting in the dishwasher! I wonder if she’d give it to me) Several of my skillets date back to my Great Gma, I’m 72 and she died when I was about 4. So maybe over 100 years old? How’s that for durability. I have everything from 6 to 14 inches. I gave my cast iron grill to my son as I’m extremely allergic to the fume/ dust/ whatever put off by using to grill it in the house.
    I know one is not supposed to, but occasionally I do wash mine, dry in the oven and then re-season with Crisco, and back into the hot oven for about an hour or so. They don’t suffer at all.
    I read on a web site the best way to clean an old rusted cast iron is to put in the oven on the oven cleaning cycle. Very safe, but I’m have not done it.
    https://lifehacker.com/remove-rust-from-cast-iron-cookware-in-your-oven-5845822

    Also, besides inheriting a bunch of cast iron, I purchase at old home garage sales and antique shops. Cheaper, and the new stuff may be good, but the really old pans are heavier and better made. Plus I like owning a bit of history.

  • I inherited a very rusty cast iron pan with lots of gunk on the outside. Tried lots of ways to clean it and finally had it sandblasted, then I seasoned it in the oven; use it daily and love it.

  • I love this post, I’ve been using cast iron many years, and I have all sizes. I agree that you really need to buy a product by Lodge as it’s the best, and I would really like the resipe for the chicken bake in the photo as it looks delicious!

  • When we purchased our glass top stove we were told not to use cast iron pans because they would scratch the glass. Will a burner cover change the efficiency of the cast iron? The photo in your blog shows you using a glass top stove and burner cover does not show up? I am also worried about voiding the warranty.

    • Hi Ima! With a glass top stove, you cannot slide cast iron pans around or they’ll scratch the surface. No sliding, dragging, or spinning/turning. Otherwise, they work just fine on a glass stove top! I’m not quite sure what you’re asking about the burner cover – I don’t use one :-)

  • I have been using cast iron skillets and Dutch ovens since i was a kid in the 70’s. Love them.
    Girl Scouts use them almost every time they campout. They usually make deserts in them, but we have been known the make one pot meals. Like Mac and cheese and stew.

    Did you know Sur La Table has cooking classes just for cast irons? Also American test kitchen has a cookbook for cast iron skillets. Check both out if you are learning to cook in a cast iron or want to use it more that crepes.

  • I can’t use cast iron because it’s too heavy after a wrist injury & surgery. My most versatile piece of cookware is my Calphalon Everyday Pan. Love it!

  • I like to use a cast iron griddle for pancakes, french toast and grilled sandwiches. I also have 2 sizes of cast iron pizza pans. Not only are they used for pizza, I use them for tater tots and roasting vegetables and roasting chicken. I have quite a collection of cast irons pans. My sons kept telling me to get rid of those old things and now they want them.

  • I have the hardest time cleaning my cast iron grill pan. It seems like I have to scrub forever to get it clean. Nothing sticking to it just black char when cooking steaks. I don’t want to have to add water and boil it loose just to season again.do I just scrub, rinse, repeat until it rinses clear?Suggestions?

    • It sounds as if your pan isn’t properly seasoned. I suggest you look at some YouTube videos on how to do that — it takes several hours to really get the pan seasoned to the point where things don’t stick. And when you scrub it hard you’re really removing the coating that you’ve built up. — I grew up with a cast iron pan that we used for everything and I don’t recall anything really sticking to it. To clean it, you just run a bit of hot water in it, wipe it dry (preferably put it back on a warm stove to ensure it gets really dry), then wipe the inside with a bit of vegetable oil.

    • I use a chainmail scrubber to clean stubborn messes on my cast iron. I found it on Amazon.
      Also for pancakes, eggs and things like that I have a flat griddle pan. It it so much easier to flip than in the deeper sided cast iron pans.

    • If you need to season it again, try using flax seed oil. It makes an awesome non-stick coating. We did this with our Blackstone griddle, and it works great.

    • I have a small square cast iron grill pan that I love for sandwiches, steaks and chicken breasts. I use it almost daily. I scrub it with a stainless steel scrubber and water. It gets in the grooves,too. I only need to spray with cooking spray before cooking.

      • I did not know that. My book said using cast iron would void the warranty. However, I am now well past that point. Also said the glass could overheat and crack.

      • So does my stovetop instructions. They come with several limits. Did not know about a burner cover.

    • …Glass tops are also not good for canning. My mom cracked hers frying chicken. I would never buy glass top or induction ranges for those reasons.

      • I actually cracked my 10 year old Lodge cast iron frying pan on my induction stove! The stove is fine!

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