Top 8 reasons to cook with cast iron


Our own non-stick cookware was wearing down, and it was just the impetus I needed to quit cooking with a chemical that is hazardous to children and small animals.

With the endorsements of good foodies, and a hefty amount of research, I decided on cast iron. Here are the top 8 reasons for cooking with cast iron:

8) The pros do it. Check out this page of pan-roasting with a cast iron skillet at Bon Appetit and try to tell me you’re not impressed.

7) Function wins: it distributes heat evenly for perfect cooking, and you can move it from stovetop to oven. But since the heat is dispersed evenly throughout the pan, that motherf*cker heats up pretty damn quickly. Watch the handle.

6) A seasoned (oiled) pan functions like a “non-stick” pan and the food in it tastes way better than cooking spray. It just makes sense that food tastes better than chemicals.

5) They’re affordable. Lodge cookware starts at around $15 for a small skillet. This Dutch oven with a lid that doubles as a skillet is a great starting piece at only $35. 

4) You will never have to replace them. They will outlast you. If you have nothing more to pass along to your spawn, at least you can give them some hefty cast iron cookware.

3) You can accumulate a collection over time. And if you’re into this sort of thing, you can even find cast iron cookware at thrift stores. That gives me the chills, but perhaps you can get away with it.

2) If you’re looking for an excuse to clean less, you don’t have to clean cast iron every time – just wipe it down with oil and a paper towel because in 4 minutes on medium heat the cookware is sterile. If that scares you, here’s Design*Sponge’s 10 Second How To: Cleaning a Cast Iron Skillet. And if you share my level of cleanliness or anxiety, you can still clean it with water and mild soap and oil it up again after each wash.

1) Instead of a gun, you can just sleep with your cast iron skillet under your bed. And you don’t have to worry if your kids find it.


8 thoughts on “Top 8 reasons to cook with cast iron

  1. I bought my first cast iron skillet last year to replace our 12 inch nonstick skillet. It’s very disconcerting to see all the missing bits of Teflon and wonder “did we eat that stuff?” I actually ordered the 13&1/4″ skillet from Lodge’s website because I noticed that the 12″ skillets I found in stores seemed smaller than the one I was trying to replace. The 13&1/4″ was perfect. I also ordered the lid. (Years ago I vowed never to get a pan without a lid! I was tired of using pizza pans or ill-fitting lids.) Some of Lodge’s pans come with glass lids (nice!) but mine only offered a cast iron lid. We love our cast iron pan for all the reasons you listed. Just three thoughts: 1) We had to learn and remember that cast iron retains heat longer than nonstick, so you have to watch your temp a little closer. If you get your pan too hot it takes a couple minutes to get the temp down, so we burned a few things when we first started using it. 2) I always have and probably always will use a little soap and one of those sponges with the scratchy pads on the back to clean cast iron (my mom used cast iron). My pans have always done just fine. There’s some stuff that gets stuck on that I just can’t wipe off with a paper towel. I also sometimes use one of those little plastic scrapers that I got from Pampered Chef. I’m going to try the salt & oil method! 3) One drawback is that this stuff is heavy. Our 98 pound Analise has to have someone move it for her if she is going to do a little cooking and it’s in the way. With the lid, it weighs 18lbs. But that’s probably the heaviest piece we’ll own. I fully intend on buying more cast iron! Enjoy yours!

    • I have only had one experience with enamel lined pans and it was bad – we had a Martha Stewart pan lose its enamel as Josh was cooking. Turns out it had been recalled. But for those 30 minutes I thought Josh really screwed the pooch. Never touched enamel again.

      I’ve always admired Le Creuset, but for superficial reasons: the colors are amazing and perhaps if I had one perfectly placed on my stovetop, I might pass for a cook who knows her way around the kitchen.

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