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Cast Iron 101: How to Use, Clean, and Love Your Cast Iron Cookware

Cast Iron Skillets

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How to Use, Clean, and Love Cast Iron Cookware
Cast Iron Skillets

I’m in a committed relationship with my cast iron skillet. We’ve been together longer than my husband and I have. My skillet never lets me down, is incredibly versatile, and will grow old with me if I take care of her (not dissimilar from my husband). If you told me today that I could only have one item in my kitchen to cook with for the rest of my life, it would be my 10-inch cast iron skillet.

I haven’t been shy about my love of cast iron, and every time I write about my cast iron cookware, I get lots of requests for a primer on how to cook with cast iron. People are scared of it! And I’m here today to tell you that the water is fine. Come on in and fall in love with cast iron cookware.

Cast Iron Skillets

I think folks are intimidated by cooking with cast iron because they believe there are so many “rules” that you have to follow to keep from ruining your skillet. THIS IS COMPLETELY FALSE. There are things that you should avoid doing to keep your skillet in top shape, but the glorious thing about cast iron cookware is that it can come back from almost anything. Literally, people have found rusted cast iron skillets in landfills before, sandblasted them clean (seriously), seasoned them, and happily used them to make their eggs the next morning. Unless you use it for target practice, you are not going to ruin your skillet. I promise.

Anywho, I’m here to make you feel comfortable with cast iron. We’re going to cover both unenameled (the regular black skillets you are used to) and enameled cast iron (like the fancy colorful Dutch ovens you see).

MY OTHER RECIPES

If you don’t have time to (or don’t want to) read 5,000 words about skillets, then here is the long and short of it:

  • Cooking with cast iron rocks because you (eventually) get a chemical-free, non-stick surface on a über versatile piece of cookware. You can do everything you want to do in your kitchen with one (maybe two) pieces of cast iron.
  • Cleaning cast iron cookware takes all of 30 seconds, and if you take care of it, cast iron never needs to be “seasoned,” and will last for generations.
  • Heirloom quality cast iron cookware isn’t expensive. You can start with the piece I recommend (a 10-inch skillet from Lodge) for less than $20 new—and much cheaper if you find it at an antique store or flea market—and it’ll be around longer than you will.
One Pot Summertime Primavera

Alright. Now, for those of you who want the whole, nerdy write-up, let’s do this. Since this post ended up being so gosh darn long, I even have a table of contents for you. Click on a topic to jump to that part of the post.

Table of Contents

The Benefits of Cast Iron Cooking

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Before we talk about the how, I want to talk a little bit about the why. Why should you use cast iron when you like your current pots and pans perfectly fine? Everyone has different reasons they like the pots or pans they do, so let me talk a little bit about why I like cast iron.

Even heat: Once cast iron is warmed up, you have even heat throughout the entire skillet or pot. This is great for things you need to long simmer like soups or gravies—no scorched spots! That’s why so many awesome Dutch ovens are made from cast iron.

This is also really great for searing things like steaks or even just for cooking my childhood comfort food—tuna patties. Things in the middle of the pan cook the exact same way things on the outside of it do.

Mac and Cheese

The heat of cast iron is also different from, say, a stainless steel pan, because cast iron radiates heat like a mofo. You know when you go to cook a sunny-side up egg in your regular stainless skillet, and the top of the egg is still runny and goopy and the bottom is overcooked no matter how low the burner is? That doesn’t happen with well-heated cast iron. Cast iron radiates heat so well that there is a glorious bubble of hot air all around the food in a cast iron pan. Think of it like the original convection oven.

Über versatile: On the stove, in the oven, over the campfire, on the grill. Use it to make soup or cobbler or pizza or bread. If you want to go minimalist and buy just one piece of cookware for your kitchen, it should be cast iron. I actually think the most versatile piece is a 5-quart (non-enameled) cast iron Dutch oven. But it’s not light. Like, closing-in-on-20-pounds-not-light. So if hulking around a big, heavy Dutch oven isn’t your thing, the second most versatile piece is a 10-inch skillet—still heavy, but not back-breakingly so.

Heirloom quality: I know we’re in a consumerist society where we’re all about shiny and new things, but cast iron cookware is one of those few things in our lives that is so high quality, it’ll last for generations. That’s not an exaggeration. My parents cook daily on cast iron skillets that are FOUR GENERATIONS old. Those are the same skillets my great-grandmother cooked on, people. And other than having the über slippery nonstick surface I’ll talk about in a sec, they look exactly like a new skillet.

Cast Iron Skillets - Cast Iron Cookware

Nonstick (eventually): Okay, I’m gonna do some #realtalk here: even though the marketing says otherwise, most new cast iron cookware is not going to be nonstick, no matter how “pre-seasoned” it is. I’ll get into this more in a sec, but the surface of new cast iron is not smooth—it’s got tiny little nooks and crannies. As you cook more, those nooks get filled up with heat-altered fats and oils from your food that help create a slip ‘n’ slide smooth nonstick cooking surface. It doesn’t happen overnight. But when it does happen? Hold onto your hats! It’s the best nonstick coating you’ve ever cooked on without any nasty chemicals. The longer you cook on your skillet, the more nonstick it will get—and the less oil you can use when you cook in it. I’ll tell you more about how to build up your nonstick coating later.

Cast Iron Skillets - Cast Iron Cookware

Iron added to food: I have been anemic my entire life, and regularly cooking with cast iron is one way that many natural practitioners recommend helping to supplement iron. There have been studies that show that foods cooked in cast iron cookware show a 16% increase in iron content over those cooked in a non-iron skillet. That’s no small amount when you’re fighting iron deficiency and loathe taking iron supplements. (If you want to get all nerdy and read about the studies, more here and here).

Yummier food: Okay, so I can’t prove this with scientific research, but I think food cooked in cast iron is just dang yummier. And the older and more seasoned the skillet? The even yummier. Maybe it’s the decades worth of fats and seasonings in the skillet. Maybe it’s all in my head. Either way, it tastes better, and that’s always a good thing.

Cast Iron Cookware

The Negatives of Cast Iron Cooking

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So, I think the benefits of cooking with cast iron far outweigh the negatives, but I do want to chat through those a bit so you guys don’t think I’m selling you a bill of goods here.

Not always nonstick: We already covered this, but new skillets (even pre-seasoned ones) and old skillets that haven’t been taken care of won’t be nonstick. If you’re looking for a non-stick surface right out of the gate, cast iron cookware isn’t for you. I recommend getting a good quality ceramic-coated skillet if safe, non-stick is super important to you (I really like this one).

Can’t quickly change temperature: Because cast iron heats so evenly, once it is hot, it STAYS hot. You know how with a regular pot, if something starts boiling over, you can quickly turn down the heat and the bubbling stops? That’s not the case with cast iron. Until you are used to cooking with iron, adjust your temps in small increments.

Not dishwasher safe: We’ll talk more about this in a sec, but you should generally avoid putting your cast iron in the dishwasher (or using detergents at all when cleaning it). Cast iron is a bit fussy when it comes to cleaning, but I’ll show you my favorite, easy method that takes less than a minute. Once you get used to it, it honestly isn’t a big deal at all.

Cast Iron in Sink

Rusts easily: You don’t want standing water hanging out on your skillet—it’ll rust pretty quickly. Keep your skillet dry, and you’ll be golden (also, minor rust scrubs off pretty easily with coarse salt or steel wool—your skillet isn’t delicate).

Heavy: There is no getting around it: cast iron is mad heavy, yo. If you struggle with any sort of hand or arm pain or weakness, cast iron cookware might not be the right choice for you. On the flip side, if you want to bonk intruders on the head cartoon-style, cast iron is totally the right choice for you.

Cast Iron Skillets - Cast Iron Cookware

Some cooking limitations for uncoated cast iron: The standard black/unenameled cast iron skillet you are used to does have some cooking limitations. In general, you want to avoid cooking super acidic things it in frequently or for long periods of time until you have a really good seasoning on your cast iron. I wouldn’t make a tomato-based soup three times a week in a new cast iron piece. That’s why enameled cast iron exists. Same awesome even heat, but it’s able to cook acidic foods right off the bat.


What Cast Iron Cookware To Buy

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If you aren’t fortunate enough to have a well-loved, perfectly seasoned cast iron skillet handed down to you, then you’re gonna have to go out and purchase one. Before we talk about where to get it, let’s run through what to buy.

You’re probably going to start off with one of two cast iron pieces (or both): a 10-inch unenameled cast iron skillet and a five- to six-quart enameled Dutch oven. This combo is everything. Dear people getting married everywhere: stop registering for the KitchenAid stand mixer that you’ll use once a month, and instead register for a cast iron skillet and a cast iron Dutch oven that you will use every dang day for the rest of your life. And that’s coming from someone who loves her KitchenAid mixer. Trust me on this one.

Cast Iron Skillet and Dutch Oven

Between these two pieces of cookware, you can make a big batch of soup AND bake a loaf of crunchy bread. I mean, really, what more do you need in life?

Once you’ve gotten these two pieces and learned to love them, there are some other awesome cast iron pieces that you might like (I lurve my cast iron grill pan). And if you cook for a crowd often, you might want to upgrade to a ginormous cast iron skillet at some point. But honestly? Between the small skillet and the Dutch oven, you’ll be able to cover 99% of what you cook in your kitchen.

Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread

When it comes to what brand to buy, if you’re looking for an heirloom quality piece without breaking the bank, I highly recommend Lodge brand (they aren’t sponsoring this post, they don’t know I’m alive). I love Lodge because it’s super high quality, but it’s affordable. You can get the two pieces I talked about above for less than $100 total. And it’ll last you a lifetime (and more). They’ve been around for a century, and their pieces are made in the USA. There are more expensive brands of cast iron cookware, but as far as value goes? You can’t beat Lodge.

When you’re buying cast iron, weight is one of the biggest indicators of quality. If it feels like it’s lighter than it should be for a piece of iron that size, put it back on the shelf and pick up one that requires some muscles to hulk around. Another indicator: how the handles are attached. You’re looking for one piece of cast iron—not something where handles are added or screwed in. If you’re buying a piece to hand down to your great-grandkids, you don’t want a weak spot where a handle meets the pot.

Where to Buy It

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Normally, I’d say just hit up Amazon and nab one (and that’s fine if that’s easiest for you), but if you’re looking for the best value? Head to a yard sale, flea market, antique store, or thrift shop.

Because cast iron cookware has been so misunderstood for so long, they’ve become cast-offs that you can get so flippin’ cheap secondhand. You can find cast iron—sometimes that needs a little TLC—for pennies on the dollar. Someday remind me to tell you about how I found this exact $200 cast iron French oven at a thrift store in Canada for $10…

If secondhand isn’t your thing, you can get cast iron cookware almost anywhere now. Amazon, Target, Walmart, Cabella’s, my grocery store even sells it in the mini kitchenware aisle.

Two Kinds of Cast Iron Cookware: Enameled or Not

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I touched on this briefly above, but when talking cast iron, we’re talking about two general categories—enameled and unenameled (I don’t think that’s actually a word, but we’re going with it). Here’s the story on each:

Enameled Cast Iron Cookware

Cast Iron Skillet and Dutch Oven

I’d venture to say that most people who cook a lot have an enameled cast iron Dutch oven in their home (and if you don’t, you should!). I actually have, um, four. You only need one. Do as I say, not as I do.

If you don’t own one, enameled cast iron is basically a regular cast iron pot, but with a skin of smooth enamel and glaze over it. This gives you a lot of the cooking benefits of cast iron—even heat, ability to go in the oven or on the stove, etc.—without some of the fussier aspects.

Dublin Coddle

You can wash enameled cast iron just like you would any other pot or pan. You don’t ever have to worry about seasoning it or it rusting. And you can cook whatever you want in it.

Enameled cast iron is not non-stick however, and never will be. You’ll always need to use oil or other fat to cook in it.

Some folks have concerns over the chemicals used in the glazing and enamel itself, but I haven’t found anything other than anecdotal evidence pointing to issues with it. I will say that I have never had an enameled cast iron piece that the enamel didn’t eventually start chipping (even the über expensive ones). But, it’s entirely possible I’m just hard as hell on Dutch ovens.

Unenameled Cast Iron Cookware

Cast Iron Skillets

This is what your standard cast iron skillet is—no coating, just forged iron in the shape of a skillet. Uncoated cast iron is not smooth—it actually has tiny nooks and crannies, and some folks even consider it porous. So as you cook (especially if you cook more fatty foods, like bacon), the fat from these foods goes into these crannies and eventually creates its own, totally natural non-stick coating over the iron.

Because the coating you create is made from natural food fats, you want to avoid using a lot of anything on the skillet that breaks down grease (Dawn dish soap, I’m looking at you) to protect the nonstick coating you’ve worked so hard to create. You want your skillet to be a wee bit greasy, so much so, in fact, it’s recommended to wipe a little bit of oil to the surface of your skillet after every wash. More on that later.

Whole Wheat Pan Pizza

To season versus the seasoning

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Before we talk about how to build up your nonstick coating, I need to go into glossary mode for a bit. When talking about cast iron cookware, the word “season” is used in two different but related ways:

  • to season (verb) is a specific action you take to help protect your skillet by oiling it and baking it at a high temperature. i.e., “I bought this old skillet from a flea market, and I’m going to season it tonight.”
  • the seasoning (noun) is another name for the nonstick coating of polymerized fat on skillet that is built up over time. i.e., “This skillet has a great seasoning on it—I can cook eggs without a drop of oil!”

And neither of these seasonings have anything to do with salt, pepper, or other spices in the way people refer to seasonings in a recipe. Are you confused yet?

You might see people asking you to use a “well-seasoned” cast iron skillet in a recipe. That doesn’t mean you need to go through the act of seasoning your pan before cooking with it, it’s just saying you want to use a pan that has a good nonstick surface.

Worth noting, none of this semantic craziness applies to enameled cast iron. Phew. Okay, moving on!

Building up your seasoning (AKA: the nonstick coating)

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Most unenameled cast iron skillets you buy today come preseasoned, but that does not mean they are nonstick. Building up a nonstick coating (also known as “the seasoning”) comes over many months. And, if I’m being completely honest, you’re looking at years of regular cooking before you get a totally nonstick surface where you can cook eggs without a drop of oil. But you’ll get there, and it’ll be awesome. Best. Pancakes. Ever.

Every time you cook something with fat (or add fat to sauté or brown in), you’re adding to your nonstick coating because the surface of a cast iron skillet acts like a mini sponge and sucks up the fat. The heat of cooking then chemically-alters the fat into a crazy hard, crazy slick surface. If you cook a lot of fatty foods, like bacon, you’re going to get to the nonstick promised land faster than if you just sauté veggies in water all the time (yes, that’s a thing). Fat is good. Grease is good.

You can also speed up the nonstick process by seasoning your skillet repeatedly. More about how to season your skillet below.

What if some of my skillet is nonstick but other parts aren’t?

When you’re working on building up a nonstick coating on cast iron, it’s pretty common that some parts will be nonstick before others. Keep on keepin’ on! You’re doing great! This is because you probably drizzle the oil in the same spot every time. Or only put two pieces of bacon in every time. Or a drop of dishsoap got on that one spot one time. Keep working at it, and eventually you’ll have an even, nonstick cooking surface.

Exactly how to clean cast iron cookware

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One of the things that gives folks the most anxiety about cast iron is cleaning it! No anxiety needed. It’s really super simple. Just remember one thing: salt instead of soap.

Cleaning a cast iron skillet is different from how you’d clean anything else in your kitchen. It’s true, you can’t clean it in your dishwasher or in your normal sinkfull of soapy water because soap is designed to cut through grease, and we’re trying to keep the grease in our skillet.

But just because you skip the soap, that doesn’t mean cleaning cast iron is difficult! For not-so-stubborn stuff, you can just wash your skillet out using hot water and a non-abrasive dish brush, sponge, or dishcloth.

How to Clean Cast Iron

For gunkier cooking messes, follow these steps:

  1. While it’s still hot, place the skillet in your sink (use oven mitts, please!).
  2. Sprinkle on a heavy dose of coarse kosher salt. This works as a food exfoliator, without eating away at the nonstick coating you’ve worked so hard to create.
  3. Use a dish brush, sponge, or dishcloth to scrub away any muck or guck. Some folks also use a half of a potato (cut side down) to do this. I don’t like wasting perfectly good potatoes.
  4. Rinse thoroughly.
  5. Dry completely—either use a towel or put it back on the stove over heat (that’s my favorite method).
  6. Put a little bit of your favorite cooking oil on a paper towel, and oil the cooking surface before storing it away. Remember, your skillet isn’t delicate, so stacking is fine for storage.

Cleaning Enameled Cast Iron Cookware

If you have an enameled cast iron pot, no special treatment is needed when cleaning. You clean these just how you normally would clean pots or pans. Wash it in soapy water, put it in the dishwasher. The only thing you want to avoid is using steel wool (or super abrasive scrubby tools), so your enamel stays nice and solid.

Um, that’s gross and dirty. I want to use soap!

You do you, friend. You can use soap on your cast iron cookware if it weirds you out not to—you’ll just have a hard time ever getting the glorious non-stick coating that makes people love cast iron so much, and you’ll probably need to season your skillet regularly to protect it.

Soap isn’t the deadly, dangerous, cast iron-killing thing people make it out to be. If you want to use a little bit of soap, you won’t kill a well-seasoned pan, but to be on the safe side, I recommend against using soap regularly (especially if you’re still working on building a good seasoning).

Honestly, if you want to use soap regularly, and in large amounts, you’re better off investing in a good set of stainless steel pans (I love these OXO ones) instead of cast iron.

But before you do that, can I tell you that people have been cooking on cast iron pots and pans for hundreds of years without washing them in soap? And that if you stay on top of cleaning your pans right after cooking, hot water and abrasive salt gets everything awesomely spic-and-span without any lingering smells or chemical residue. Salt is a natural cleanser that has been used for centuries. CENTURIES, PEOPLE.

Cast Iron Salt

I’m gonna get all crunchy granola on you for a sec: we now live in a society that is incredibly topsy-turvy when it comes to what “clean” means. To us, clean means drowning our dishes in soaps that are packed with an insane amount of chemicals that are harmful to our bodies and the environment. And we’ve been taught that if we don’t use those soaps, things are “dirty.” I just don’t subscribe to that belief. I highly encourage you to think about what “clean” means to you. Does it mean artificial scents, lots of bubbles, and damaging chemicals? Or does it mean free of food particles and lingering smells? The latter is what it means to me. And I get there with some salt and hot water. End crunchy granola Cass.

What’s the deal with seasoning?

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This is maybe the #1 question I get about cast iron skillets—what is seasoning? How often do I need to do it? How do I do it? Well, are you ready for this? If you take care of your skillet and use it regularly, you should never need to season it. Ever. 

What is seasoning?

Seasoning a cast iron skillet is the act of baking a piece of cast iron cookware in oil to protect it and create (or begin to create) a nonstick cooking surface. This nonstick coating is made up of oils and fats that have been chemically altered by heat to form a type of armor around the skillet. Once upon a time, most cast iron skillets were sold unseasoned, and you had to do it yourself at home. Nowadays, it’s almost impossible to find a skillet for sale that isn’t pre-seasoned.

The act of seasoning a skillet is just one way to achieve a seasoning on a piece of cast iron. You can also build up the coating on your skillet by using it regularly and taking good care of it (which is what I recommend).

When to season

Some people recommend a “light” seasoning occasionally, and that’s fine if you want to do that, but, if you take care of your skillet every time you use it and use it regularly, I don’t find that necessary at all. I think there are only really three instances where you’d need to season a skillet:

  1. You don’t use your skillet regularly. Cast iron cookware is made to be used frequently, so if you only pull it out once a year, you’ll probably need to reseason it when you use it.
  2. If it’s been majorly neglected and you had to go to town with steel wool or even a sandblaster to get rust off.
  3. If it has been subjected to a large amount of detergent or acid—anything that eats away at the seasoning. A little bit of dish soap isn’t going to require reasoning, but if someone didn’t know better and dropped your skillet into a sinkful of soapy water and then you forgot about it all night? You might think about reseasoning because your nice, protective coating has been compromised.

I think of seasoning as an emergency reset button. It’s not a regular maintenance thing in our house – we only do it when things get desperate.

How to season

If you do happen to need to season your skillet, it’s honestly SUPER SIMPLE. Here are the steps (all three of them):

How to Season Cast Iron
  1. Get your skillet clean. Use steel wool and remove any rust or flakes or anything nasty and gnarly. More on what to do for a really nasty skillet below.
  2. Oil it. Coat the whole darn thing (top, bottom, sides, handle, all of it!) in a thin, but solid, coat of whatever oil makes you happy—just as long as it has a smoke point of higher than 350°. Some good options are avocado oil and canola oil. I tend to use this baking oil blend that I really love.
  3. Bake it. Place it upside down (so oil doesn’t pool) on a sheet of aluminum foil in a 350° oven for an hour. Turn the oven off, and let the pan cool completely in the oven. Just don’t forget to take the pan out of the oven before you go to preheat it the next time.

That’s it. You can repeat the process a few times if you really need to build up a coating (like if you did have it sandblasted), but in most cases, one go ’round should be enough. Now you’re ready to cook with it. And just as long as you keep your skillet clean, dry, and oiled, you should never need to season it again.

What if my skillet is rusty?

Fear not, my friend! With the exception of a hole rusted through, a piece of cast iron cookware can come back from almost anything—even severe rust.

The vast majority of rust that shows up on a cast iron skillet that is used frequently is just surface rust leftover from cleaning, and can be easily scrubbed off with a little bit of coarse salt or a fine mesh steel wool. If you start to see raw cast iron while you are scrubbing (you can tell because it has a different coloring and sheen from the rest of the skillet), go ahead and reseason your entire skillet using the steps above to protect it. As your cast iron gets more and more seasoned, and the nonstick coating becomes more and more rock solid, you’ll see less of this surface rust. Newer cast iron is much more prone to rust.

Raw Cast Iron

If your rust is a lot more severe, your cast iron can still be saved. You can try using elbow grease at home by scrub, scrub, scrubbing with steel wool–although the one caveat here is that rust is like a disease, you have to get EVERY SINGLE BIT of it off or it’ll reinfect the whole skillet. An easier option is to call around to local machine shops or auto body shops and see if they’ll sandblast the piece for you. Then, you’ll need to immediately season the skillet again.

Cooking Considerations

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Let’s address some of the cooking truths and myths of cast iron cookware.

Different Kinds of Cooktops

Cast iron can be used on all kinds of cooktops: gas, electric, induction, glass/ceramic. All of them work with cast iron.

Skillet on Stove

There is a myth that you can’t use cast iron on glass cooktops because they can crack, and it seems this is mostly an issue with older glass cooktops. In fact, word on the street is that Lodge themselves use glass cooktops in their test kitchen! You just have to be a little more careful with it on glass.

Because of the rough bottom of unenameled cast iron, it does run the risk of scratching a cooktop if you shake or slide the pan. If your glass cooktop manual stays to not use cast iron, chances are, it’s because of a weight issue—glass is, uh, breakable—and with too much weight on top, glass cooktops have been known to crack. If you are gentle with your cast iron, you should be good, but make sure to read over your warranty before you use cast iron on a glass cooktop.

Utensils

You can use any kind of utensil (rubber, plastic, wooden, metal) on a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. The seasoning should be hard enough to take all the scrapes and scratches of even your roughest metal spatula. If you’re still working on building up a good nonstick coating, stick with softer utensils like rubber, plastic, or wood.

When using enameled cast iron, it’s best to avoid metal utensils completely to avoid scratching the enamel.

Foods to avoid

Just like with the utensils, if you have a good nonstick coating on your cast iron, you can cook just about anything in it. If you’re still working on building up your seasoning, avoid acidic foods likes tomatoes that can eat away at the coating. You don’t have to avoid anything when using enameled cast iron.

Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese

Phew. If you made it to the end of this post, you now know my entire wealth of knowledge on the topic of cast iron. I will say that cast iron is STEEPED in folklore, myth, and tradition (as are most things that have been around that long), so what I know and practice might be different from what your grandparents taught you. As with everything in life, figure out what works for you and your kitchen! And I’d love to hear any tips or tricks you’ve figured out to make cast iron work in your kitchen.

And now, for getting through all of that, you deserve a cookie. Thanks for reading!

Congrats to Lisa! She won the free cast iron cookware. Woohoo!

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273 comments

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  • Stephanie Simpson SAYS

    You have inspired me to pull out my cast iron! Thanks for the great post…oh, and I need the dutch oven! Must order soon.

  • Sarah D. SAYS

    So much helpful information! Thank you! I have been struggling with cleaning my pan and felt like I had to scrub down and reseason it every time. Salt for the win! I’m going to try it tonight.

  • Mer SAYS

    This is making me love our cast iron even more. And a fun read for the 5 am nursing session.
    Are there tricks to getting staining off of enameled cast iron?

  • JulieA SAYS

    I have numerous enamel cast iron pans/dutch ovens (I’m embarrassed to admit how many). I have one lowly cast iron skillet (enamel just on the outside), but have not used it much due to intimidation. Thank you for the tips–I’m going home to start using it tonight.

  • Rebecca Bowers SAYS

    Omg. Thank you so much for every single word. I grew up with my parents using cast iron but have been terrified to get my own. You broke it down and made it less scary :) I’m totally going to need to get some of my own now.

  • Sarah SAYS

    I don’t own any cast iron because I was totally intimidated by it but now I think I could handle it. Thanks for such a wealth of information!

  • Karly SAYS

    THANK YOU for this!! I got a cast iron skillet for Christmas and I’ve been hesitant – I’ve used it twice so I’m getting comfortable but all of the “rules” made me nervous. This made me feel better since I know I can’t ruin it!

  • Denise B SAYS

    I love my cast iron! I recently added a new piece, which I purchased at Academy for about $20.00…I was shocked at how inexpensive they have stayed. I have another piece that my mom handed down to me, and it’s seasoned perfectly! I also have a le Creuset Dutch (enamel) oven that I have used for years. I paid about $80.00 at Marshalls for it, and I have definitely got my money’s worth. Thanks for writing such an informative piece!

  • Jen SAYS

    This post was AWESOME!! I’ve always loved the idea of cast iron but to be honest, was a little intimidated by it. I’m officially a believer now… thank you so much for the tips!!! This one is getting bookmarked for sure… :)

  • Great article! I’ve always thought about using cast iron, but thought I couldn’t because I’ve always had glass top stoves.
    I like the idea of buying used, but a cast iron skillet from a thrift store I would still want to wash with soap at least once. Surely once won’t hurt it? :)

  • Katie SAYS

    This was such a great post!!! I have been cooking in an enameled le crueset broiler since my wedding, but it’s a small one. I’m looking to invest in a bigger dutch oven, but can’t swallow the le crueset price tag. good to know that lodge is an affordable alternative.

    I also use a 12 in lodge skillet regularly too…i can’t seem to get it seasoned! it seems like every time I clean it (using hot water and salt) I need to dry it and put oil in it (I use crisco). Even still, stuff is sticking to it when I cook. Any advice? Or will it just take some more time to develop the seasoning?

  • Sabra SAYS

    I love cooking with my cast iron skillet (only have 1 right now, but we use it for everything). I didn’t know about the salt! Such a great tip. You might have convinced me that I need an enameled Dutch oven… :)

  • What an amazing post. I have long been interested in cast iron but have been scared to get into it. This post has made me feel much more confident and plan on checking out some thrift stores to see what I can find. Thank you so much!

  • Carly Rose McCarthy SAYS

    Fantastic post! My sister gifted me a brand-new cast iron skillet (my first!) for Christmas this year, and I’ve been using it, but was still unsure if I was using it correctly! Thank you for soothing my worries :)

  • Holly SAYS

    Another negative would be that you have to have an oven mitt on when you grab the handle. Many new pots have rubberized handles.

    I have one cast iron pan that was my grandmother’s. I have not used it. I have it more for posterity.

    I see cast iron pans at flea markets and garage sales and thrift shops all the time. I think it would be very affordable to buy used.

  • Crista SAYS

    Thank you so much for this!!

  • karina SAYS

    Thank you so much for this post, Cassie! I bought a couple of cast iron pans a few months ago –and was super jazzed about them– but have felt extremely intimidated by them ever since, so they definitely have not seen as much use and love as they should. That is about to change!

  • Mallory SAYS

    This makes me want to dig my cast iron out and use it again. I just found out my little boy is slightly anemic, so maybe that would help!

  • Coree Truesdell SAYS

    I have shamefully always used soap on my cast iron! Consider me a convert. Thanks for all the information!

  • Heather Brooks SAYS

    Alas!!! I might be able to conquer my cast iron fears. I am now embarrassed to admit that I had a cast iron grill pan that started rusting and I threw it away (oops). I thought it was just cheap and/or defective. Thanks so much for this post!

  • Leslie SAYS

    Cassie, I love this post! I am cringing because when I was a young married person, 20ish years ago, I had a fantastic skillet and I threw it away because, I just didn’t know. I thought it was just too much.
    So sad! It would be the perfect kitchen tool now!! Sigh…. Guess I’ll have to go buy another now.
    As always, you make life a little simpler! Thanks

  • Bets SAYS

    This is great. I definitely use my cast iron pan more often now that my baby is eating solid foods and I’m trying to get lots of iron in her food!

  • Kait SAYS

    I love cast iron. When I moved out of my parents home my dad (the chef of the house) sent me off with three gifts: a small toolbox, a good, sharp chopping knife, and a cast iron skillet. 13 years later and the skillet and I are still going strong! I regularly cook in my cast iron skillet and am pretty comfortable with cast iron cooking – but I still learned some great tips & tricks in this post! Thanks for the comprehensive review. I think a link to this article would be the perfect companion when gifting cast iron cookware.

  • Kelly SAYS

    I had ben highly anticipating this post and it did not disappoint! I’ve held off for so long buying either of these types because I thought it would be one of those things I use 1-2 times a year. I’m totally sold on the idea now!

  • Brenda Logsdon SAYS

    I loved this post! 2017 is the year to get healthier and that starts with cooking at home. Because of your blog, I started making overnight oats, so thank you!!!
    A Dutch oven would awesome!

  • Rebekah SAYS

    I love this post so much. I’ve been wanting a cast iron skillet, but have been scared just not knowing how to get it right. After reading this, I’m not worried!!!

  • Rachel SAYS

    I’ve been thinking about getting a cast-iron pan because I am always struggling to find good frying pans that are oven-safe. This was a really helpful post – thank you!

  • Alyse SAYS

    Awesome informative post! I love my 10-in skillet and un-enameled Dutch oven and would love to add an enameled one to the collection!

  • Fun fact: I went to college with one of the Lodges, and the Lodge headquarters was just down the interstate from my undergrad!

    I’ve had the Dutch oven in my Amazon cart for months now — I really just need to bite the bullet.

  • Navya SAYS

    I am big fan of cast iron pans. I own 2 and would love to win one to add to my collection.

  • Janice SAYS

    Thank you for such a great article. I love my cast iron skillet, Don’t have a Dutch oven as of yet!

  • This was your best post yet!!! I asked you to talk about which to buy and you clearly answered that and more. Thank you so much! Would love to add these to my collection :)

  • Misti SAYS

    Thank you! So much useful information here! I’m getting my grill pan out tonight.

  • Corinne SAYS

    I was just gifted my first cast iron skillet, and now I feel prepared to use it! This was excellently timed! It is seasoned, so I feel good to go! Part of dinner tonight will be cooked in my cast iron!

  • Melissa SAYS

    This is amazing! I registered for my first cast iron skillet for my upcoming wedding and this will be so helpful in the future.

  • Jay SAYS

    Being from Europe I probably won’t make a chance to win one of the pans, but either way I loved reading up on how to use my favorite pan. I have a 10″ skillet and a large cast iron wok (or wadjan actually) which I use a lot! I used to use it for spaghetti sauce as well, but after reading your article I’ll use a normal skillet for that in the future.

  • Melissa SAYS

    This is amazing! I registered for my first cast iron skillet for my upcoming wedding and this will be so helpful in the future!

  • Kandi SAYS

    Whew! What a great post! We now have three cast iron pans in our collection – an enameled dutch oven, a 10 inch skillet, and an enameled casserole pan. Now I know more than I ever dreamed on how to care for them! I knew some of this before but definitely gained more knowledge from this post. Thank you!

  • Bethany Almeida SAYS

    Loved this article! Especially
    Your tips on cleaning! Thanks ?

  • Erin M. SAYS

    So much great info! I think I’m feeling brace enough to finally break my cast iron skillet out of its box in the back of the cabinet!

  • Mollie Lyon SAYS

    LOVE LOVE LOVE my cast iron, I have some of my Grandpa’s pieces and can’t imagine ever getting rid of them!

    I like to use the salt and potato method for the really gunky aftermath of cooking. but otherwise water and paper towel usually does the trick!

    Last Christmas my sister in law sewed me some handle mitts for my pans. so cute and work so well!

    Thanks for the giveaway! nice surprise when I got to that last paragraph ;)

  • Sherri SAYS

    Very interesting and informative. Thank you for going into such detail. I want to own one to pass down to my daughter. I love the history in making process

  • Rosemary LeBlanc SAYS

    Thanks for the great information!

  • Dee Dee SAYS

    Awesome post, thank you for sharing your knowledge of all things cast iron. I love my traditional cast iron pan and need to invest in an enameled one. Thanks again!

  • Ingunn SAYS

    Thank you for this post!! I grew up thinking cast iron sucks because clearly our family had no idea how to care for them – I didn’t know about any of this stuff until a couple of years ago when I was at a friend’s rustic cabin and she showed me how to clean their ancient but amazing skillets. So we have several enameled pieces that I love, but now I’ll dig out my old, neglected skillet and see if I can nurse it back to health. Oh, and I’ll season our little cast iron tortilla pan while I’m at it.

  • Emily SAYS

    What a helpful post! We recently “re” discovered old cast iron skillets from great-grandparents and now we cook practically everything in them!

  • Janelle Martinez SAYS

    Completely worth the read! I am guility of using soap on my cast iron, but I’m heading out now for some course salt! Thanks for the great information.

  • Kim SAYS

    Thanks for this! I started using cast iron a year ago and it is AWESOME! This article had some information I didn’t know (like be careful with acidic foods at first). I would love to try out an enameled dutch oven one.

  • THANK YOU so much Cassie for this long and detailed informative post on cast iron cookware! I’ve discovered cast iron cookware thanks to food blogs and got my first one last year. Of course I didn’t know much about it and the tricks and tips on how to use it, so after washing it with soap and letting it dry up on a cloth I was horrified to see it covered in rust! I had a small heartattack fearing I have ruined it. Thankfully I saw (after a quick googling) that it can be reversed, but until this post I wasn’t aware that one should clean it with salt instead of soap. So thank you for all the info, bookmarking this post!!

    I have a cast iron skillet, grill pan and a bigger and smaller enameld Dutch oven that I LOVE! .

  • Sally SAYS

    Brilliant Cassie (as always). You’ve inspired me to look to cast iron for all of my skillet-ing needs!

  • Deborah D Jones SAYS

    I love my cast iron skillets–I inherited them from my grandmother and my mother. A lot of cooking and love those skillets have seen! What a great and comprehensive (and enjoyable to read!) post on how to care for them. I’m sending the link to this post to my daughter because I’ve tried to give her one or two of my skillets and she refuses because “they scare her!” LOL

  • Thank you!!! I finally bought a 10-inch Lodge about a year ago. I used it maybe once or twice and put it away because I didn’t understand the hype. I didn’t do any seasoning other than the fat in the pan while cooking, though! You got me excited to take it out and try it again.

    Thanks again!

  • Meg (classicnutmeg) SAYS

    Yay!! I’ve been waiting for this! I inherited two cast irons from my grandma and although I’ve been instructed by my mom on how to clean it, I didn’t know how to “care” for it as much. My boyfriend has also been interested in buying a cast iron because his stove top is uneven so his pots get hot spots, so I’ll be forwarding this article to him! Thanks Cass! And thanks for responding to my weird snapchats. lol

  • Amy SAYS

    I LOVE my cast iron! Great post!

  • Mallory SAYS

    I love my enameled french Dutch oven (score from working at a kitchen store a few years back) but you’ve convinced me to bust out the OG cast iron more often! I need a smaller pan, though. Mine is big enough for an army!

  • Francy M SAYS

    Made it to the end for the special treat!! I’ve been wanting to try a cast iron skillet but have been afraid of the care. After reading your entire article :-), I am going to have to give it a shot. Thanks so much for all the info!

  • Robin Willoughby SAYS

    I love my cast iron griddle! Cooking hamburgers inside the house is so convenient!

  • Britnee SAYS

    Yay! I bought our cast iron pan four years ago and I thought it would be non-stick right away. That was a mistake. It took a lot of constant use for it to build up that coating, but now I love it!

  • Jennifer W. SAYS

    What an awesome post! My parents only cooked with cast iron when I was a kid, but somehow they (and I) got out of the habit and have been using hard anodized. I bought a new one last weekend and I’m looking forward to getting a good coating built up!

  • Susan SAYS

    Thanks for all the reminders & tips….now I need to pull out my new cast iron frying pan that I bought last summer & actually use it!!

  • deb c SAYS

    I am forwarding this on to my kid…she is moving into a cast iron- using household and has limited experience with it. You wrote the perfect article for her….AND….now she will have two weapons…..her softball bat and a cast iron skillet…..be afraid bad guy,,,be very afraid!! Happy Day!!

  • Sueann Walter SAYS

    We have a 15 inch, a 10 inch, a flat griddle and a tiny little skillet. I need to get an enamel Dutch oven as my husband loves tomato sauce dishes. Thanks for all of your information.

  • E. SAYS

    I love cast iron! I was raised using cast iron skillets and dutch ovens and won over my future mother in law by teaching her how to take care of her cast iron-she had never learned to not use soap and didn’t understand why she had never developed any seasoning!
    For cleaning it, I am a convert to a thing called the ringer, which is basically chain mail. Put some water in, rub the ringer around, done.

  • Colleen SAYS

    Cook all the time – always been scared of cast iron! This post has inspired me to try it!

  • Karen SAYS

    Thank you for this post! I admit I was never really sure how to use cast iron, but wanted to try it. Got a jump start when my husband bought me a 12inch skillet (I’m upsizing all my cookware as my three boys grow) and a small one for Christmas. Because he always splurges more than me, I have the nifty silicone grips and an awesome glass lid for the larger one as well. Still building seasoning and still learning, but loving the idea even more after reading this post!

  • Elena SAYS

    I have my great-grandmother’s pan that my mom rescued from rust but she gave it up when she got a glass top stove. I have never used salt, but that would have been helpful last night when my frittata stuck more than I was hoping.

  • Stephanie SAYS

    Wow this post was amazing and so timely! I can’t wait to try out cast iron now, and I’m finally not terrified of it! Thank you!

  • Georgia SAYS

    Such an awesome, informative post – thanks for sharing your wisdom on this. Quick question: could you share (or have you shared) the recipe of that delicious looking skillet bread? I think I need some in my mouth! :)

  • Lora B. SAYS

    Thank you for such an outstanding post!! What fantastic timing for me. I’ve been wanting to begin using cast iron but have just been too chicken! I’m convinced to go for it now. You’ve answered any and all questions. Thanks a bunch Cassie!

  • Tammy SAYS

    I would love to win these, but I’m in Canada. Do I still qualify?

  • Jana SAYS

    What a great post, Cassie, thank you! In my little corner of the world (Berlin, Germany), cast-iron skillets aren’t as easy to come by, but I’ll definitely keep my eyes peeled for them now. :)

    PS: I’m not sure how much you can do about this, but I just noticed that your video (plus the ad) under “My latest video” starts autoplaying. I’m glad none of the people on the train with me got a heart attack because of course the volume on my laptop was set to maximum. ;) I understand that you want people to see the vids, but autoplaying is really not that great… (Sorry for the criticism.)

    • Cassie SAYS

      No apologies necessary, Jana! Thank you so much for letting me know. It definitely isn’t supposed to do that, and I’ll pass the issue onto my ad manager. Again, thank you!

  • Sarita Sandmann SAYS

    Hello! Tank you for clearing up all these things, some I did not know or actually believed other data to be correct. I do use my skillet most of the time because I hate the idea of accidentally feeding my family not so yummy chemicals.
    I do love most of your posts and I have followed you for a while now. what is up in your pre spring garden? – to early? yep in Hamburg to.

    • Cassie SAYS

      Still too early ’round here! Our first plants will go in the ground in about six weeks (if Mother Nature cooperates). :)

  • Vicky N. SAYS

    This is so helpful. I’ve never tried salt but I’m stocking up on it now!

  • Kendra SAYS

    Thank you for the incredible post! I was reading it and I kept thinking “This is so good! I must tell others about this post!” Cleaning my cast iron skillet was always such an intimidating thing! No more! I’m now armed with knowledge and it certainly helps that I know you’re writing from experience. I will be looking diligently at thrift stores and other second hand places for a
    small cast iron skillet! I have a hunking big one- it’s a work out to handle…but it makes some pretty amazing pizza! Thank you so much for your blog. I eagerly look forward to Tuesday mornings!!!

  • jodi SAYS

    Best cohesive & informative post on cast iron!!! Could you share how you make pizza in a cast iron skillet?

  • Katlyn A SAYS

    Just added these to my wedding registry in hopes someone will buy them!

  • Ash K SAYS

    As a child of Punjabi immigrants, I did not get introduced to the wonders of cast iron until I moved out and discovered the world of food blogs! I still haven’t managed to buy myself a set yet (medical school + getting married = very expensive!), but it is on the list!

  • I loovvvee my cast iron, and this was incredibly helpful. Gonna bookmark this one.

  • Vanessa Albright SAYS

    Sooo… I just want to say how much I love reading your blog and that I look forward to reading every week!! I am going to go home and pull out the cast iron skillets I have had down stairs for the past 5 years (since we moved in our house). I have a glass top stove… I would LOVE a gas stove but it isn’t gonna happen :( You have inspired me to try to use them again. I grew up using cast iron and have missed using it ALOT! Thank you for the inspiration <3

  • Luann SAYS

    Great post!

  • Jeremy SAYS

    I’ve read on other blogs that you should season your cast iron at 475-500 for 30 minutes, while other references-including yours-suggest 350 for 30-60 minutes.

    Do you have any idea why there is so much discrepancy?

    Thanks!

    • Cassie SAYS

      No clue! 350° is what I’ve always done, but if a higher temp works, then that’s great. The only hiccup I’d see is that you’d have to be careful to get an oil with a REALLY high smokepoint to avoid smoking up your house at 500°. :)

  • Julie in TX SAYS

    What a fantastic post, thank you! I will admit I have owned a 12″ Lodge cast iron pan for YEARS and just recently (like in the last six months) committed to learning how to use it and take care of it. It is now my favorite pan and I just leave it on the stove after cleaning and cooling because I know I will use it again the next day. I, too, have the two burner cast iron grill pan that I need to be better about using so I can build up the seasoning on it!

  • Kim SAYS

    We just moved to the country and for some reason, cast iron now seems like a more appropriate cookware choice! We have a cast iron griddle but I’d love to build up the collection!

  • Lisa SAYS

    Great post! I’ve decided after reading that I just need a better place to store my cast iron skillet- it’s hard to get out of my cabinet and sometimes that’s enough for me to choose another skillet!

  • Amanda Key SAYS

    I found this post after looking for reviews for green life pans. Ive been married 18 years and never have uswd teflon becuae i grew up with cast iron. Also liked the iron factor. thr only problem i had have is cooking eggs in my cast iron. They always come out looking brown which is just unappealing. That was my reason for considering a green life, solely for cooking eggs. Either way, this post was very informative and interesting. I love cast iron. I have a dutch oven but also 3 cast iron skillets. I love to use them and will continue.

  • Dalia SAYS

    I loved this post! I have an enamled dutch oven and an iron skillet. I’ve had trouble with my iron skillet mainly because I’ve not been 100% clear on how to clean it. I had never heard of using salt, but it makes so much sense!!! Can’t wait to try this method.

  • Alicia SAYS

    Great info, thanks Cassie!!

  • Julia Miller SAYS

    My daughter and I looked at investing in skillets last fall but I was intimidated by all the work it seemed a cast iron skillet would take. Now I would love to have one!! You have made it seem easy compared to the other online information I gleaned. If I don’t win the contest, I will have to keep my eyes out for a skillet to love as my own and one to give to my daughter!

  • Whitney SAYS

    I have never cooked with cast iron and learned a ton from this post! I would love to win these and put all this info to use! :)

  • Sarah SAYS

    Thank you for this informative post! I got a hand-me-down 10-inch cast iron skillet last year and I LOVE it. I make pizzas, chicken, and more in it and have really enjoyed it. A Dutch Oven would be a great way to round out the collection!

  • Yvann SAYS

    This was a super super super duper informative post. I don’t own any cast iron, and I’m not about to buy any (it seems cool, but if it can’t go in the dishwasher, it can’t come into my house) – but this was really interesting to read and I know I’ll come back to it / recommend it to anyone who’s embracing the cast iron lifestyle!

  • Anne SAYS

    You confirmed everything my Grandma told me when I was young. I LOVE my cast iron skillet!

  • Sami SAYS

    I am excited to say that I knew most of this info, but there were still some awesome tidbits of cast-iron knowledge! Thanks for putting this together!

  • Joan Tylman SAYS

    Thank you for the information, now I remember why I quit using my cast iron skillets years ago, I could never keep them seasoned properly so I gave them to good will, and starting buying anything and everything with nonstick coating and now with ceramic coating and still not happy that end up eventually sticking no matter what I do. Thanks to your rather lengthy but informative instructions I am actually excited
    to give cast iron another try!

  • Shari SAYS

    Sadly, my sister got my great grandmother’s cast iron skillet. The benefit of being born first, I guess.. hehe For years, I have begged for that skillet. To no avail. Yes, I know I could just go buy one, but I was really hoping to get the one passed down through the family. Obviously, not going to happen, so I am getting one for my birthday.

    That being said.. I know my great grandmother always cooked with Lard. Yup.. No shortening for her. Big 5 gallon buckets full of lard. Best food I have ever had in my life, and she and my great grandfather both lived to nearly a hundred.

    What I’m wondering, since I’m sure she had her pan passed down and it was already well seasoned, is it ok to do the first seasoning on a new skillet with lard? I don’t know what the smoking point is on it, since most people don’t/won’t use it any more.

    Thank you SO much for your post. Even though I grew up with cast iron, I didn’t know a lot about it, I am so happy to have found this on Pinterest, and yes.. I read every single word of it! I can’t wait to get mine, and start cooking with it. ^_^

    • Julie @ Wholefully SAYS

      I think the smoke point for lard is right around 350, so it is borderline. You could probably try it… or use something else for the seasoning, and keep the lard for cooking!

  • Ryan Chang SAYS

    Thanks for the helpful information!

  • Perfect timing! Our one cast iron pan has been getting rust on it so I was wondering how to fix it.

    Also, I never had a wedding registry… but if I had done one I definitely would have put a dutch oven on it. 11 years of marriage and it’s still on my wish list :)

  • Dawn Coco SAYS

    Sounds great! I’d love a castiron skillet!

  • Kyla Cecil SAYS

    Thank so much for this! I too was very intimidated by cast iron yet completely jealous of my mother in law’s beautiful perfect cast iron pan that she got for super duper cheap at a secondhand store! I think I need a whole set now ?

  • Julie SAYS

    THANK YOU for your wealth of knowledge! I needed to know all of this now that I own my first cast iron skillet. I grew up with my Southern stepmom never using soap on her cast iron, so I knew that as the benchmark of cleaning. But she never used kosher salt, and that makes so much more sense to me than never using at least something to help get particles off the skillet!

  • Alaina SAYS

    Perfect timing! I received a few cast iron skillets for my birthday and my hubby just bought me a pot rack to hang them on – just need to season them, since they are pretty old and in need of love. Haven’t cooked on cast iron before, though I’m itching to try it!

    I’ve read a lot about these skillets in the past and there is so much info out there, it’s easy to get bogged down with TOO much info. Thank you for doing this post – all the info in one place from someone I trust! Wonderful!

  • Vanessa SAYS

    Nice! I’ve been meaning to get into the cast iron game for forever!

  • Alexandra Robertson SAYS

    I love cast iron cooking! I’m a recent convert from nonstick and there is no going back.

  • Karen SAYS

    Thank you so much for this post! I wonder if cooking in this helps fortify your food with iron! (probably not… but that will be my excuse)

  • Rochelle SAYS

    I am new to using cast iron and I have always wanted some. I bought my first little cast iron pan and this post has given me insight on how to take care of it and use it….I am excited

  • Cathy SAYS

    I haven’t used cast iron cookware since my mom had it when I was young and learning to cook. Then it was a struggle to even lift it! Would love to use this new cookware now!

  • Emily Guerrero SAYS

    Holy information overload! :) I have been eyeing a cast iron skillet for the last year or so but have put off because 1. I wasnt sure I would use it enough 2. I didnt know “how to care for it”
    This post answers both! Thanks Cassie!

  • Veronica Villalobos SAYS

    Thanks to this post I was able to rescue my cast iron skillet that was forgot on my kitchen. Let me tell you, that I got that skillet in a garage sale for 2.50, believe it or not. And now, I can enjoyed it! Thank you Cassie!

  • Renee SAYS

    This was a great post – thanks for all the info! I have low iron, too, and this would be a natural way to give that boost. And with such a thorough review of cooking with cast iron I have greater confidence in trying it out. Thank you!

  • Teresa SAYS

    I love using cast iron pans!

  • First OMGoodness thank you for the extremely comprehensive run down on all things cast iron. I learned so much. I have one tiny pan and would love to own more. Second than you for the giveaway I would be over the moon to win some cast iron pieces. Ihave older “other” cookware that needs to go so this would be a great start to ditching it. thanks again for sharing

  • Linda SAYS

    That’s a super informative article! So glad to read it. Wow, you have a lot of cast iron pans, by your photo! I’m impressed, and maybe a bit jealous.

    I’ve got a regular pan, which I love. I really want to make a pizza in it. I’ve never had an enameled dutch oven. Always too expensive for my tiny budget.
    Thanks again for your great article!

  • Debra Aupperle SAYS

    Love cast iron cookware ..hard to find good sets

  • Arthur SAYS

    Crazy amount of information! If only this had been around years before when my mother scolded me for how I started washing her cast iron skillets after a big get together. Maybe now I’m qualified to clean the fun wares lacking enamel.

  • Jen K SAYS

    This is great! I need to get my one cast iron skillet out and get to work!

  • Erin SAYS

    I don’t own any cast iron yet but I’m getting serious about cooking since starting a diet for SIB0/Crohn’s disease. Thank you for this informative post and giveaway!!

  • Lynnn SAYS

    Wow, what a great post! You can tell you put a lot of thought, planning, and work into this. Great job!

  • twodiffsocks SAYS

    great post. bought mine: 3 {size range} skillets in Kmart.. Oddly, from Emeril Lagasse line. i dont season it every time since i live in NYC. we have the 2 pests: bugs & mice.
    Thanks

  • Claudia SAYS

    Thank you so much for this wonderful, beautiful, and informative post! I am going out right now to buy a cast iron skillet!

  • Jen W. SAYS

    I hate to admit that I’ve had my grandmothers cast iron skillet in the bottom of my cupboard and NEVER used it. Thank you so much for the information & inspiration to use it. Grandma is smiling from above!

  • Janet Chutro SAYS

    i inherited a couple cast iron skillets, one is HUGE, can’t imagine what I’d ever make in it and the other is relatively tiny, I think 8″, although I thought about using it to make pineapple upside down cake.

  • Jill SAYS

    Thank you for this amazing post! I was just gifted a cast-iron pot and am just starting to use it. I’ve learned so much from this post!

  • Ashley SAYS

    I received a cast iron skillet as a gift but never used it because I have a glass top stove! I’m going to pull out my warranty info and hopefully be cooking on it this weekend! Thank you for the tips!

  • Elyssa SAYS

    Thank you so much for posting this! I’ve been curious about cast iron for years, and I finally have a place where all my little questions could be answered!

  • Emily Endrizzi SAYS

    Wonderful post! I have never used any cast iron pans before. I would love to try them!

  • Katie SAYS

    What a great resource! I’ve been wanting to work some cast iron cookware into our grocery budget but it is now at the top of my list! Thank you!

  • Kat W SAYS

    Well I have a Dutch oven… that I’m sure we haven’t been taking proper care of. Now is the time! That’s for the info!

  • Rosalinda Corral SAYS

    Great article!! Lots of useful tips!!.. i really love all your posts and page!

  • DIANE SPATH SAYS

    Super helpful – watch the videos twice! Thanks so much

  • Marva SAYS

    Great post

  • Kayla R. SAYS

    My dad has always cooked on a cast iron, so I got spoiled quickly on using them while I was learning to cook. However, since I have recently moved out, I don’t have one of my own & I’ve been so lost! Time to make a trip into town!

  • Shoshana SAYS

    Thank you once again for an incredibly detailed and extremely helpful post. Cast iron all the way!

  • Heather SAYS

    And the best reason to have cast iron is that you can make shakshuka in it and shakshuka is AMAZING!

    Also – I love the gnarly pic of you holding all those pans.

  • Jess SAYS

    Great post! I don’t have any cast iron yet but I have been dying to get some. I see so many yummy recipes that suggest using one. Definitely going to pin this for future reference!

  • Janie P Moroz SAYS

    Really appreciate all the tips you shared – thanx!

  • Meghan SAYS

    I am DYING to worn cast iron cookware!

  • Pat SAYS

    After reading your post I’m inspired to cook with cast iron pans. Not only will my food taste better but I’ll burn calories lifting the darn thing.

  • Steve SAYS

    My wife and I love our cast iron. We are still using some that has been passed down in both of our families for several generations and they cook better every time we use the. Great post thanks.

  • Caryn SAYS

    My husband has recently become obsessed with using cast irons to cook (he is the chef in the house, but I am the one who loves food blogs!). He is going to devour this post — thank you!!

  • Kristin Q SAYS

    I have a Dutch oven and it’s my favorite thing to cook in. I’d love to get started with more!

  • I am 74 years old and had an iron skillet my mom gave me, I loved it nothing stuck to it, but I had never heard of using salt to clean it, great tip, Well they do break sometimes, mine fell off the counter, hit the floor and had a crack across the bottom, it cracked clear through. I love cast iron cooking.. I have never used coated cast iron..

  • Katie SAYS

    Hamburgers with fried onions cooked in cast iron are a favorite in our house! Don’t have a dutch oven yet, but you’ve inspired me to add it to our wish list.

  • Emily H SAYS

    I’ve never used regular cast iron pans but do have an awesome enameled le creuset that is the absolute best for stews and roasts! Thanks for putting this comprehensive guide together!

  • Gracie Desmet SAYS

    Cast iron is great I have been using it since my great grandma taught me to bake my first pan of corn bread and that was 53 years ago.

  • Lee Larrick SAYS

    I’ve always been resistant to using cast iron because I thought they pieces took more work. I’m glad that you posted this, now I’m more will to try using cast iron.

  • Ty Gray SAYS

    This is an awesome post. So much helpful info. My mom and grandma had quite the collection. I need to start my own.

  • Jeannie SAYS

    Thank you, Cassie. You posted great info about cast iron cookware. I have ruined several skillets due to improper care. Wish I had this info years ago. Maybe I could have saved my old iron skillets. Would like to give the enamel cast iron a go.

  • Dianne Lorento SAYS

    Cassie-this article has inspired me! I’m going to start checking flea markets for castoff cast iron! Thanks for an incredibly informative article (&a for the chance to win, of course)!!

  • JMeans SAYS

    My son uses a dutch oven all the time cooking on Boy Scout campouts. They have so many great recipes too! Our favorite is Dutch Oven Dump dessert. Cake mix, butter, canned fruit pie filling. Yum! I don’t have a cast iron skillet, but would love to try it!

  • Robert SAYS

    Been using Cast Iron pans and Products most of My Life. There’s nothing like food made in Cast Iron.

  • Susan Howard SAYS

    I love my cast iron skillet. I primarily use mine to sear meat and the flavor is AMAZING! After reading your post I think I will venture into other recipes, maybe even eggs, which I have to say scares me. But, my skillet should have a good season since I’ve had it for a while. Your cleaning video definitely gave me peace of mind. I’ve always been leary of just scrubbing with salt and following with some oil. Thank you for teaching me how to dry it completely! I do have a question, though…how do you remove stains from enameled cookware? Thank you

    • Cassie SAYS

      I have to be honest, I’ve *never* been great about keeping my enamel completely stain/mark free. If someone else has any ideas, please chime in! :)

  • Heather B SAYS

    What a wealth of info! Thank you! Now I want to get cooking some of these dishes!

  • Meg SAYS

    What great info! I’ve not cooked with cast iron yet, but would love to try!

  • Lisa Jennings SAYS

    I absolutely love my cast iron. It is pretty much all we use these days. I have so many more pans I’d love to add to my collection!

  • Francesca Anderson SAYS

    I definitely need to use cast iron more… it’s so versatile!

  • Kimi Starr SAYS

    So much useful info in this post (and yes, I read it all!). I’ve got some family heirloom cast-iron pieces from my grandmother and late aunt, among which are a nifty grill pan, HUGE and small skillets, and a cute little cornbread muffin pan that makes cornbread in the shape of ears of corn. I’ve been scared to use any of it, because of remembering my relatives talking about how you have to be careful how you handle cast iron. Looks like I’ll be digging some of those pieces out to season and try cooking in, soon!

  • Jessica M SAYS

    I have never used a cast iron skillet, but have heard great things!

  • Tina A SAYS

    Thanks SO much! I really needed this information as I’ve been doing both cleaning and seasoning incorrectly. Not anymore!

  • Danielle SAYS

    I love cast iron. I’ve inherited two pans from my grandparents and I’ve bought a few pieces of my own. I’ve never cottoned on to the enamel cast iron. But I’m willing to try something new.

  • Jessica England SAYS

    I need some cast iron in my life!!!

  • Lisa Broadley SAYS

    wow…such an extensive post!! We have a cast iron pan, grill pan & enameled pot & really enjoy them all!!

  • Janice SAYS

    The only thing that I have baked in my cast iron skillet is corn bread. I will definitely try the frittata. BTW Martha Stewart told me the same way to clean cast iron many, many moons ago. Probably before your blog was born!!!

  • Annie SAYS

    Everything I know about cooking, I learned living in a co-op in college. The downside of that is I only know how to cook 20 servings of rice at a time. The upside? I LOVE my cast iron ($10 from the supermarket) and use it for everything, even toast bc I don’t have a toaster.

    I had no idea it helped with iron as a nutrient! that’s so cool!

    My main cast iron concern is avoiding rust on the bottom — this post is def full of good tips for a more complete cast iron care routine! Thanks!

  • Super helpful! I’ve always had a lot of questions about cast iron and this post cleared most of them up!

  • Audra Tang SAYS

    Thank you for this post! I’ve been meaning to use my cast iron more, but have been too intimidated. Thank you also for the email reminder to go back to this post; I love that the Dublin Coddle recipe was in it and it reminded me that I want to try it!

  • Tammy Robertson SAYS

    Cassie, I have truly enjoyed reading the informative article that you obviously have lots of well earned knowledge about. I LOVE my cast iron!! Everything you stated reinforces the way I care for my cast iron. Never lets me down. I don’t own any enamel coated cast iron and would love to give it a go!! Thanks so much!

  • Athena R SAYS

    I adore cast iron and use one of my skillets almost daily. Thank you for the great tips.

  • Mandy SAYS

    I love cooking with cast iron! Thanks for this post!

  • Amanda Jolivette SAYS

    I feel so much more comfortable cooking with cast iron now! Thanks for all the info. Now I just need to go grab myself a couple skillets!!

  • Kathy Wynne SAYS

    Thanks for the great tips! I inherited my grandmothers cast iron skillets and want to keep them in good shape to pass along to my children.

  • joel timmons SAYS

    Love. Cast. Iron. For. Frying. Baking. In. The. Oven. General. All. Purpose. Use. Home. Or. Camping

  • Hannah Miller SAYS

    Would love to have these pans!!! :)

  • Dana SAYS

    I wish I had a cast iron pan or pot! They sound so versatile and the diversity of the recipes you can cook in them!? Genius!

  • Dawn M SAYS

    You’ve inspired me to work on seasoning the cast iron skillets I bought at a garage sale. Thanks for your helpful blog!

  • Melissa M SAYS

    I absolutely love cooking with cast iron. I currently only have 1 square skillet but it does a lot of different dishes. My next investment is going to be a Dutch oven. Love your blogs.

  • Karly SAYS

    I love your posts!
    I always have struggled to care properly for my cast iron pots, thanks for sharing!

  • Jan SAYS

    When I got my new glass top stove, II was told not to use cast iron. So like a dumb bunny I got rid of all of my cast iron pans. They now say we can use them, so I am trying to build up my pans again. I love my cast iron pans and will never give them again.

  • Jo Salvatico SAYS

    Thanks for this post I was told to use cast iron by my doctor as I am also anemic but was afraid to try as it seemed to hard I am going to get some as you made it easily understandable

  • Hi! I received your email about cast iron cookware, and I had to open it. After reading it, and all the comments, I got excited! I am 56 yrs young, and have been cooking since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. I learned about cast iron wayyy back in the 60’s, and have been cooking with it basically my whole life. I love using it for pretty much everything!!! My favorite use is for fish. Walleye and trout especially! Nothin better than a pan fried fish. Seasoning isn’t at all intimidating. One thing I learned is to NEVER put it in water. A big NO NO!. And after looking and reading all of your ideas, I learned so much more. And thank you for that! My pans are from back in the early 1900’s. It still is in pretty good shape, but over the course of time, I lost quite a few thru either people borrowing, or mysteriously disappering. I have never used the new enameled one out now, but if it is everything I have heard or read about, I would be willing to try. My favorite will always be the GOOD OLD-FASHIONED plain style! Thank you!

  • Kim Jones SAYS

    Yep – I’m one of those who are fearful of cast iron cooking. I actually found some old old cast iron frying pans from my Grandmother and gave them away because they were so ugly. Luckily I gave them to my son and he knew better than I did – fixed them up and uses them all the time. Maybe it’s just me but I swear when I cook in cast iron, I can detect a metallic taste. Is that even possible? But you have debunked some of my concerns and will give cast iron another try! Thanks!

  • Abby SAYS

    I just discovered your blog and I’m crazy about your recipes! Can’t wait to go to the grocery store tomorrow <3

  • Kim SAYS

    This is exactly the info I was looking for! Very helpful. Thanks for posting this ?

  • Nita Wilkerson SAYS

    I have a small #5 that I fix my breakfast in every morning, but I agree, if I had to go with just one pan it would be my #7. I have never had a dutch oven so can’t comment on them. However, looking forward to trying the Irish Coddle and the Summer Primavera. Come on fresh veggies!

  • Valerie SAYS

    So many good tips, THANK YOU! I just started using cast iron and I’m thinking about ditching all my other skillets and only using the cast irons. It’s so impressive that you’ve had yours for so long! Thanks for all your wonderful and thorough help!

  • Brianna McDonald SAYS

    So many tips and tricks I will have to try! I have a very rusty skillet and now I have hope.

  • Barbara Law SAYS

    Thank you for the great information. My grandmother used to bake home made biscuits in her cast iron skillet. I have a cast iron grill. Thank you for the opportunity to win. I think the colors are pretty.

  • Susan SAYS

    I have no cast iron–always been kind of scared of the seasoning part. But you make it look easy! Thanks for the tips!

  • Sondra Milgrim SAYS

    This information is WONDERFUL. I’m going to save this and refer to it often. I only hope my family will check it before “helping” with the dishes.

  • Linda Szymoniak SAYS

    I’ve heard so many wonderful things about cooking in cast iron. I love to cook and have some really nice pots and pans, but have just never managed to get any cast iron items for my kitchen. I have some great recipes that call for cast iron that I’ve been saving. I’d love to win these and be able to finally use them.

  • Julie nish SAYS

    Great info on cast iron esp cleaning , nothing like cooking in cast iron.. from breakfast , cornbread to a cobblers

  • Kristin SAYS

    You have convinced me to take the plunge! Thanks for all the helpful information!!!

  • Lu Page SAYS

    This is the most comprehensive overview of cooking with cast iron that I have ever read! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I gave my son his great-great grandmother’s cast iron skillet when he moved to his first apartment and I am proud to say that it continues to be the go-to pan for cooking in his house just as it had always been for me, (his mom), and the grandmothers before me. That skillet is on it’s 5th generation of family cooking — not sure if all the great meals tasted so good because of the history of meals cooked in it or because cast-iron is still the workhorse utensil it was meant to be! Again, Cassie, thanks for this great post. I am forwarding it to my son and his wife as well!

  • Angela McGeown SAYS

    Thank you for this very informative post. I love my cast iron cookware, but am a little intimidated by it as well. But, at least now I have a reference to go to for all my questions. You are the best.

  • Susan Bobier SAYS

    Hi Cassie!
    My mom used a cast iron pan growing up but I really learned to love it when I met my husband and he lad 3 pans!!! I love them, use them all the time, for everything!!! I even have a cast iron wok and use it for my stir frys!!! Great post!!!
    Sue

  • Irina SAYS

    I don’t qualify for the draw cause I live in Finland, but I’m VERY grateful for all this info I got from this post..
    I lost my cast iron frying pan some time ago – sure would had needed all this info to try IF it could have been saved..
    Sure it had rust on it for not been used for a long time, but that wasn’t why it was discarded…
    Ashamed to even tell you this – but our mama cat (we have 6 cats in the house and she’s mother to all 5 other cats) – well she was “in heat” and we didn’t want to let her out (she wasn’t cut /sterilized at the time) so we “locked her in” and one day when we came home after long day at work, we found that she had used my pan as a potty :/
    Couldn’t get the smell out of it – well didn’t know to use anything else than washing up liquid with hole lot of elbow grease and hot water..
    So my hubby threw it away..
    Now I wonder if ti could have been saved after all…

    I think I’m ready to try and find myself a new one from flea market or similar..

    (Hope I gave you at least a good laughs with my story ;) )

  • Christine Waldvogel SAYS

    I actually gave away a cast iron pot when moving but after reading this am I going to buy another one. I have anemia and I did forget that this would be a great natural way to supplement…..Thanks for the great informative post:)

  • Trish DeVrieze SAYS

    I was just talking to my husband that I wanted some cast iron pans. He asked ‘Don’t you have to season them?’ I said I would have to look into it and 2 days later, here you are providing the information! Thank you

  • Erica SAYS

    Beauty. I have never used a cast iron

  • Allison SAYS

    Cast iron has always intrigued me and now I know why everyone loves it. Thanks for hosting such a wonderful giveaway!

  • Paulina SAYS

    Hi!
    I’d like to tell a thing about enameled cast iron. People are afraid to use it if some enamel is chipped, but it is completely safe. Mostly because enamel is not the best name (although widely used). Unlike enameled pots that are covered with toxic paints (and should never be used if paint is chipped) cast iron pans and pots are glazed, not enameled. That glaze is like porcelain, not like paint (as many people think). So if anything is chipped off there will be no nasty chemicals coming from the glaze to your food.

  • Cynde Fail SAYS

    Thank you so much for this article. I have wanted to start using cast iron for awhile now.

  • Melanie SAYS

    Wow! so much good and helpful information. Some of it I knew and some I did not. Definitely going to invest in some cast iron cookware. I love to cook from scratch anyway!

  • Jean SAYS

    Thanks for the tutorial – very helpful

  • J. Ernstein SAYS

    I did not know about the effects of acidic foods (e.g., tomatoes) on cast iron cookware. Interesting. Thanks for sharing; learned good stuff here.

  • Robin Alderete SAYS

    Thank you SO much for this post. I just recently started using cast iron and I really like it.

  • Jessa K SAYS

    Such great info! I’m a beginner in the kitchen (and still get grossed out every time I touch raw meat) but I’m getting better and so much more interested in the different cooking tools out there.

    Cast iron has been on the list for awhile and this page will be used heavily once I commit – thank you!

  • amy henning SAYS

    This took me a few days to read , but I’m saving it for later. Thanks for putting together such a comprehensive guide to cast iron care and cooking!!

  • Mary B SAYS

    You made me feel a lot better about my cast iron caretaking! I love my Lodge skillet, though I should use it more often. I need an enameled Dutch oven to round out my cookware collection!

  • Barb Curtis SAYS

    Thanks so much for this post. Lots of great info.
    I love my few pieces of cast iron and use them often. (Thanks to my and my husbands grand-mothers)

  • Caroline SAYS

    Thank you SO much for this. My only experience with cast iron is through a friend – she has a couple pieces for camping and even then, those pans are only used for open fire cooking. I have just been so intimated by using it and have read such conflicting info. We’re due to replace most of our cookware and I want to be real thoughtful in the pieces we bring in to our kitchen. This has been immensely helpful. Thank you again for putting together this mammoth post and for offering the giveaway!

  • Brianne SAYS

    My only recent experience with cast iron was during the few years my husband and I lived with his Dad – talk about underseasoned/poorly cared for cookware! Ever since then, I haven’t been as excited about it as I secretly knew I could be – so this post is a great inspiration. Thank you!

  • Catherine SAYS

    This is super helpful! I have one cast iron pan that is a work in progress and I’m excited to have a better idea of what I’m doing now. Thank you!

  • Laura Olslund SAYS

    This post is incredible and loaded with soooo much useful info!! I’ve always been really intimidated to use anything cash iron, but now I just might have to give it a shot! Thanks!

  • Heybeckyj SAYS

    I have an enameled Dutch oven, and I’ve been wanting to try out a standard cast iron skillet. This might just be the motivation I need to do it.

  • Michel Krist SAYS

    Thank you so much for this information!!
    I have a very old Very rusty Dutch oven that I now want to clean up and try cooking with.
    Very inspiring!

  • Cindy Tavarez SAYS

    Two words, THANK YOU. I found myself watching an episode of a cooking show, that originally aired back in the 90s. Guy cooked up a piece of steak in a cast iron pan. Here I am going interesting.. Went to a store to purchase some home decor and guess what I ran into and night I add for $12.99.. A good old CIP! After reading your sanity saving post, u realized I snagged a Lodge. Now u can happily build away a nonstick coating.
    Woo Hoo!!!

  • Shelby SAYS

    I have beautiful cast iron pan and I seasoned it, cooked in it and then one day I fred an egg. And the egg stuck. And left the “egg” shape behind in my beautiful pan. Now I am freaked out that I seasoned it wrong. However, after reading your post, I shall conquer my fear and season again! And hopefully not burn another egg!

    • Julie @ Wholefully SAYS

      Cast iron can almost always be saved! Scrub off the egg shape, oil the pan well and/or season it again, and you’ll be good to go! :)

  • Denise S. SAYS

    I inherited a skillet and now use it every single day! I love going through thrift shops and flea markets looking for old pieces to bring back to life.

  • Christine Kennedy SAYS

    I wasn’t blessed with a handed down cast iron pan, but I purchased two recently so I can have them ready for my daughters when they are ready to sprout wings. Thank you for the lovely tips!

  • Karen SAYS

    Wow, thank you for that! The best & most simple instructions I’ve ever read on caring for & seasoning my cast iron cookware! Love the videos & photos. Too. A+++

  • Christi Conran SAYS

    Love cast iron. I just started using it this summer. We are so in love.

  • janet SAYS

    I cook everything in my cast iron skillet! Love it!

  • chelsea Lulla SAYS

    I inherited a small cast iron (4 maybe 5 inches when my grandma passed way and I have discovered I love it and I am hoping to get a larger one soon. Thank for the inspiration!

  • Angela SAYS

    There is nothing that compares to cast iron. I love cooking and baking with it. It is so versatile. Easy to care for it.

  • Lisa SAYS

    I have several pieces of vintage cast iron that I use regularly and love. I agree — food does taste better cooked in cast iron. I stopped using teflon non stick pans because I did not want the fluoride in the teflon getting into my food. Usually just clean my cast iron immediately after use using hot water and a steel scrubby. I have used baking soda in the past to remove odors, but I will have to try using the salt. Thanks for the tip.

  • Barbara Logan SAYS

    I love my cast iron skillet.

  • ChristinaT SAYS

    Thank you so much for this helpful post! I received a couple of cast iron pieces a few years ago (1 old and 1 new), but have been so afraid of ruining them that I rarely use them. I feel much better knowing it is in fact quite difficult to ruin them? I can’t wait to try them out and hopefully eventually get the two pieces you highly recommend! Thanks for all of the great information!

  • MysticAngel SAYS

    Love this post! Thank you for clearing up many issues with cast iron. It’s definitely filled with much information. Knowledge is power!!!!
    Thank you

  • Olga SAYS

    Love cast iron!

  • Stephanie Atkins SAYS

    We love our Lodge iron skillet! We are relatively new owners (just shy of two years) and since neither of our parents ever used them, he have (well, HAD) no clue how to keep them clean and pretty! Thanks for all the info! Now, to find non acidic things to cook in our iron Dutch oven! Sadly, ours doesn’t get used very often because I’m at a loss when it comes to what to cook in it.

  • Tami SAYS

    I begged for cast iron last year (2015!) for Christmas and received it. Have used it three times and was unhappy with the results. Now I know why! Thanks for the info. I am recommitting myself to my cast iron and will be using your tips to do so!

  • Laura Jaget SAYS

    I love serendipity! I am on my own for the first time in 25 years and I have been dreaming about the kitchen I will have and the cookware. I finally get to get what I want. All mine! I have recently decided to go with cast-iron which I have never used before. But I have done some research and decided to go for it. But, I admit I was a bit unsure where to begin. Then your article appeared to me! I loved the information, your writing style, but mostly I loved your passion. I am onboard! Write more stuff. I would love to hear opinion on anything else you have this much passion about. Thanks, Friend! (And I mean that sincerely). You have been instrumental in my new journey!

  • Kath SAYS

    Great article, very helpful. I love my cast iron. Every so often I think “oh I got to get rid of this it’s so heavy” but I never do.. I never knew about the salt. Can’t wait to try that.

  • Kellie SAYS

    Thank you so much for this! I just got a cast iron skillet because I’ve heard how great they are and I haven’t used it much because I was nervous about how to clean it/take care of it. I think lots of bacon is in its future now!

  • A. Gilbert SAYS

    Great advice! I look forward to restoring some favorites! (And if chosen for the pans, thank you!)

  • Krissy SAYS

    Thank you for sharing! I feel so much better about cooking with my cast iron griddle! I had no idea about using salt to clean it, I will definitely be doing that from now on.

  • Danielle SAYS

    Love all the details on cast iron! I have been so hesitant to take the leap because I did not know how to properly care for them. Thank you for sharing!!

  • Natasha Oblak SAYS

    This answered questions I’ve been wondering about for a while, but never really had the direct motivation to look up. Thanks for putting together such a comprehensive resource!

  • Jamie SAYS

    Love this post! So informative. I never knew if I was using and cleaning my cast iron correctly. Now I know. You’ve inspired me to cook dinner in my little cast iron pan tonight.

  • Morgan Fray SAYS

    Wow! I’ve been nervous forever about using cast iron because I wasn’t sure how to get/keep the seasoning on it. I was given a brand new skillet when we got married, and it’s just sat there for years. I’m going to get the seasoning going for good now! Thanks for the encyclopedia on cast iron. That’s exactly what I needed.

  • Ravina SAYS

    I love cooking in cast iron! Thank you for all the instructions- I can definitely see some things I am doing wrong.

  • WuzYoungOnceToo SAYS

    “Because the coating you create is made from natural food fats, you want to avoid using a lot of anything on the skillet that breaks down grease (Dawn dish soap, I’m looking at you) to protect the nonstick coating you’ve worked so hard to create.”

    I’m sorry, but that’s a dead give away that you know absolutely nothing about the subject. Modern non-lye dish soaps (Dawn included) have NO adverse effect on cast iron seasoning. This is because “seasoning” is not simply vegetable/animal fat, but fatty acids that have been broken down and recombined into long-chain polymers and carbon that bond to the iron (and lower layers of polymerized fats), forming a tough plastic-like coating that is impervious to non-lye soaps.

  • Gretta SAYS

    This is so helpful. Thank you for writing this! I have a question – ive read that some people simply wipe out their cast iron pan after using it to “clean” it…i.e. no soap, no water, no salt, nada – do you think this is safe/hygienic to do? I am very very crunchy myself but I don’t want to get my family sick. Thanks again for writing this. You are very good at explaining things and I enjoyed reading this!

    • Cassie SAYS

      I think it’s fine, but I’m pretty loosey-goosey about stuff like that. My husband would say it is definitely NOT fine. :)

  • Donna SAYS

    OMG you are my sister from another life! I’ve had my 10″ and my Dutch oven since my teens (I’m 57). They have been my favorites and at times my only cookware. I recently inherited my grandmothers hurkin huge pan (which I discovered was languishing in my sisters garage – whaaaaa?! Are you inSANE!!!) and over time I’ve acquired a leetle bitty fry pan, like, 5 inches, another 10″, a grill with bumps, and a phenomenal pot that looks like a witches cauldron, complete with little legs. (From mom. It’s super old.) I consider myself fortunate in that I am a fourth generation cast iron cook, both mum and dad. Oklahoma Cherokee and Texas German, respectively. My boyfriend thinks I have had to do without all the “necessary” kitchen accoutrements, I think I have pieces that will do anything better. ( ?Anything yoooo can do, I can do better!) I do not, however, have enameled. Anything. I guess I’m a bit of a cast iron snot. Good cooking to you!!!

  • Autumn SAYS

    Just received my first piece as a gift from my boyfriend…a beautiful 5 qt dutch oven. Your article has taken all the fear I had of ruining it away. Thank you for all the very well written information. Happy cooking!

  • Thank you was very helpful

  • Eva SAYS

    I’ve been meaning to thank for this post right after you published it so here I go now only a short while later ;-)
    This might seem a bit out there but just a few days before this post went online my Dad had passed away very unexpectedly. On christmas he had given me a very expensive cast iron casserole. Which is special for two reasons:A he hadn’t been giving out presents to me and my sister for years. B it will for ever be the last gift he ever gave to me. So when I read your elaboration on cast iron cookware and how it will last you a lifetime during all the turmoil it not only seemed like an odd pun by the universe but was also absurdly comforting. I have since broken in my new beloved casserole and solemly swear that I will take good care of it for the rest of my life.
    So thank you, Cassie, for not only giving out very helpful and inspiring information but also undeliberatly making me very happy in a not so happy time. Keep up the good work! <3

    • Cassie SAYS

      Hi Eva, thank you so much for this comment, and I’m so sorry to hear about your Dad—but I am really happy to hear you have this beautiful piece of cookware to remember him by every time you step into the kitchen. What a beautiful story!

  • Scott Price SAYS

    Go out and find a nice skillet from the 1800’s. No I am not talking Griswold, Wagner or some other common skillet. They look better. More often than not they are lighter than equivalent Cast Iron Cookware. If you look at the surface of the skillets she’s cleaning and cooking with they (Lodge) don’t not have a smooth surface. So to compensate you’ll need that butter or oil to ensure no sticking. Griswold, Wagner and others from pre 1960 have a nice cooking surface (even Lodge!). Just a tad heavier. Back in the day there wasn’t the need to clean or even season compared to todays layman’s recommendations. You want to see cookware you can find and want to display go here… http://www.pinterest.com/stkpc

  • Grace SAYS

    Excellent…. fantastic article. One question, what would you do about the soot left on the bottom from campfire grills? I read about soaping the bottom before cooking, but some say not to do this with cast iron, others don’t acknowledge the question. Some say to scrub with ash, but I didn’t see this being done with cast iron, only stainless steel. Some say just leave them black, that blackened pots are a Badge of Honor. Some say rinse and rub with hands, not with any rag you want to keep (TRUE!) and let it dry then wipe again. Thanks in advance!

    • Cassie SAYS

      A baking soda scrub will get it right off! :) Or if it’s really rough, a baking soda and vinegar combo to eat it away.

      We also sometimes wrap the bottom of our Dutch oven in aluminum foil before putting it on a campfire. A little wasteful, but a heck of a lot easier to clean!

  • Matthew SAYS

    Crap!, we’ve been using our skillet to cook our pasta sauce in after we cook the beef in it, and we cook a lot of pasta sauce. That’s why I have raw iron showing, Looks like I’ll have to get an enameled Dutch oven now. I actually got my wife into cooking with cast iron because of fond memories of my grandmother always cooking with (never saw her clean it lol) cast iron skillet, best bacon and eggs you’d ever have ;D

  • Lisa SAYS

    I bought a 12″ cast iron from Walmart. It says it’s pre seasoned. So I don’t have to do anything? Doesn’t seem right.

  • Julia SAYS

    Hi, found you on Pinterest (great post!), and I know this article is older so you may not get my comment, but just in case you do, I was wondering about flakes. I didn’t see anything about them in your article, but if you have little black flakes in your food after cleaning and reseasoning a rusty skillet, is this seasoning coming off in your food? Or something more sinister? Do I need to re-draw the battle plans for this skillet?
    Thanks!

  • Rosa B. SAYS

    Your post has been extremely informative & helpful!! Thank you so much!! I already have a Dutch oven & love it! But I just received my first cast iron skillet for Christmas. I admit that even though I wanted it, I am intimidated by it! You’ve given courage & taken out the mystery of it for me – thank you!! I can’t wait to get busy using it now!

  • Sandy S. SAYS

    Of all the information out there, yours is the easiest to follow and the most helpful. Thank you so much, I have been using my cast iron skillet for a few months now and it’s stored on top of my gas stove for daily use! Love it!

  • scarlett SAYS

    i’ve been terrified of using cast iron. thank you so much for this!! i have a question though. before i read this, i thought i seasoned my skillet the right way. i had had the heat on the skillet (on the stove) until it was very hot, turned off the heat, then added oil. i didn’t put it in the oven at all. it did pool a little, so i wiped it off with a paper towel. i haven’t used it yet. should i still put it in the oven? should i rinse it with water and try again? please help! thank you!!

  • David Lord SAYS

    Here is a trick to avoid any damage from water that hides in the pores of the cast iron. Use some cooking oil with the coarse salt to scour the skillet. After all the stuck bits are no longer sticking, wipe all the salt and bits out of the pan until all that remains is a very thin layer of cooking oil. It should be just enough to give the shine that a well seasoned pan has, even if the seasoning is very light on the pan. No water used to possibly cause rust in the future and a light coat of oil to help build and maintain the seasoning the next time you use it.

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