11 Reasons Why No Kitchen Is Complete Without Cast Iron

cast iron

I was visiting my sister Becky a few years ago, and while I was there she made me the most incredible blueberry pancakes I’d ever had. When I asked her how she made them, she revealed that the key to making spectacular pancakes was simple—just cook them in a cast iron pan!

I had never even considered making pancakes in a cast iron pan before, even though I knew I had one at home. Those pancakes got me thinking about cast iron in general, and I started to wonder what else I might be missing out on simply because I wasn’t using it all that often. I started researching as soon as I got home, and today’s blog post was born.

I’m now much more familiar with using my cast iron pan and I’ve truly come to love and appreciate it! So today I’ll be sharing 11 of the best reasons why you ought to own at least one of them and why. Trust me, once you embrace the unique qualities of cast iron pans, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without one!

11 Advantages Of Cooking With Cast Iron

cast iron

1. No Toxic Stuff

Non-stick pans can be convenient, but they’re very easy to scratch up, which is a problem because scratching that non-stick coating can release toxic residues that can transfer to your food. In fact, even preheating a dry non-stick pan can release toxic fumes into the air! Using cast iron is an easy way to avoid both issues.

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2. They Can Stand The Heat

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

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3. Food Won’t Stick To Them

Let me clarify—food won’t stick to a pre-heated, properly seasoned cast iron pan. Check out this post for all the details about how to properly season (or re-season) cast iron.

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4. They’re Easy To Clean

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

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5. Boost Your Iron Intake

Cast iron cookware adds a bit of iron to everything you cook. Iron plays a vital role in the human body, helping to maintain energy levels and strengthening your immune system. (Some doctors even recommend cast iron cooking to patients with iron deficiencies as a way to increase their iron intake.)

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6. They’re Relatively Inexpensive

In comparison to other types of cookware, cast iron pans are relatively inexpensive. You can easily pay over $100 for a high-quality stainless steel pan, but you can get a pre-seasoned cast iron pan for as little as $15! (And that $15 pan will last a lifetime if you take good care of it.)

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7. Beautiful Browning

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

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8. Better Heat Distribution

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

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9. Use It Like A Grill

Whether it’s the dead of winter or you don’t have access to a yard, grilling outside can be impractical. But having a cast iron pan is sort of like having an indoor grill, because you can get them really hot. You’ll get great searing on steaks, chicken, and anything else you cook up. (And if you use a cast iron grill pan, you can even get those picture-perfect grill marks too.)

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10. Use It Over Any Heat Source

Cast iron pans are the cookware of choice for camping enthusiasts and doomsday preppers alike because you can use them over an open flame. If you suddenly didn’t have access to your gas range or electric burners, your stainless steel and non-stick pans wouldn’t be of much help to you, but as long as you had your cast iron pan and a way to start a fire, you’d be cooking in no time!

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11. They’re Versatile

In terms of versatility, cast iron reigns supreme over other types of cookware. You can use them to sauté, grill, shallow-fry, deep-fry, bake, braise, and more. One of my favorite ways to use cast iron pans is to bake delicious desserts, like Triple Berry Cobbler and Fudge Cake (both of which are also gluten free).

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