I was visiting my sister Becky a few years ago, and while I was there she made me the most incredible blueberry pancakes I’d ever had. When I asked her how she made them, she revealed that the key to making spectacular pancakes was simple—just cook them in a cast iron pan!
I had never even considered making pancakes in a cast iron pan before, even though I knew I had one at home. Those pancakes got me thinking about cast iron in general, and I started to wonder what other things they might be good for. I started researching as soon as I got home, and that brings us to today’s blog post!
I’m now much more familiar with using my cast iron pan, and I’ve truly come to love and appreciate it! So today I’ll be sharing 11 of the best reasons why you ought to own at least one of them, and why! Trust me, once you embrace the unique qualities of cast iron pans, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without one! :-)
11 Advantages Of Cooking In Cast Iron
1. No Toxic Stuff
Non-stick pans can be convenient, but they’re very easy to scratch up. And scratching up a non-stick pan is especially problematic, because it releases toxic residues that can leech into your food. Even preheating a dry non-stick pan can release toxic fumes into the air! Using cast iron is an easy way to avoid both issues.
2. They Can Stand The Heat
Unlike other types of cookware, cast iron can withstand even the hottest of cooking environments. Put it over a wood fire, on a gas range, in your oven, or anywhere else—cast iron can handle it all!
3. Food Won’t Stick To Them
Let me clarify—food won’t stick to a pre-heated, properly seasoned cast iron pan. Check out the link below for all the details about how to properly season (or re-season) your cast iron.
4. They’re Easy To Clean
Cast iron is surprisingly easy to keep clean, especially if it’s properly seasoned. You don’t even need to wash it with soap (and you shouldn’t, as soap will erode the seasoning layer.) Many times you can just wipe a cast iron pan clean with a paper towel. But if you need a bit of scrubbing power, just use kosher salt and a bit of cooking oil!
5. Boost Your Iron Intake
Cast iron cookware adds a bit of iron to everything you cook. Iron plays a vital role in the human body, helping to maintain energy levels and strengthening your immune system. (Some doctors even recommend cast iron cooking to patients with iron deficiencies as a way to get more iron!)
6. They’re Relatively Inexpensive
In comparison to 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 as little as $15! (And that $15 pan will last a lifetime if you take care of it.)
7. Beautiful Browning
Whether you’re looking to put a beautiful sear on a steak, or just get a perfect golden-brown finish on 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.
8. Better 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 when using non-stick and stainless steel cookware, but cast iron heats up more slowly and evenly. No more half-burned, half-raw cooking disasters!
9. Use It Like A Grill
Whether it’s the dead of winter or you don’t have access to a yard, sometimes grilling outside is impractical. But having a cast iron pan is sort of like having an indoor grill, because you can get them really hot. You’ll get great searing on steaks, chicken, and anything else you cook up. (And if you use a cast iron grill pan, you can even get gorgeous grill marks too!)
10. Use It Over Any Heat Source
Cast iron pans are the cookware of choice for camping enthusiasts and doomsday preppers alike, because you can use them over an open flame! If you suddenly didn’t have access to gas or electric burners, your stainless steel and non-stick pans would be pretty useless. But you could still rely on your trusty cast iron pan if you needed cook over a fire!
11. They’re Versatile
In terms of versatility, cast iron reigns supreme over other types of cookware. You can use them to sauté, grill, shallow-fry, deep-fry, bake, braise, and more! Some of my favorite ways to use my cast iron pan are to bake delicious desserts, like Triple Berry Cobbler and Fudge Cake (both of which are also gluten free!)
What’s your favorite thing to cook in cast iron?