Toronto Chef | Blogger | Television Food Expert

Toronto Chef | Blogger | Television Food Expert

Cast Iron Skillet Cooking For Dummies

Cast Iron Skillet Cooking For Dummies

Disclosure: There are some affiliate links below, but when it comes to Cast Iron Skillet Cooking, I won’t put anything on this page that I haven’t verified and/or personally used.

xoxoBianca

First, I know you’re not a dummy, but I’m a sucker for cute title; but I digress. Cast Iron skillet cooking has long been considered a professional cooking technique, reserved for chefs or REALLY good home cooks, but I’m here to dispel this myth. Cast iron skillet cooking is not only easy but a delicious way to cook, because you can literally cook ANYTHING in cast iron- I sh*t you not- anything.

skillet cooking

One of the best things about cast iron skillet cooking is that it can be done on the stovetop AND in the oven (more on this process later) which makes cast iron a double duty utensil. One caveat about cast iron skillets is that they are heavy, like really heavy. Like, you’ll probably need two hands, kind of heavy, but a cast iron skillet is worth its weight in gold.


Which Cast Iron Skillet to Buy

The cast iron skillet you choose to buy need not be expensive, which is another myth I’m here to dispel about cast iron skillet cooking. Sure you can spend a fortune on a cast iron skillet, but it’s cast iron there’s not a lot of variation from brand to brand. REMEMBER this is pan that can- and will- take a beating and you need not be precious with it.

My favourite brand for cast iron skillet cooking is LODGE, they are pre-seasoned which means you don’t have to do an inaugural season (read below for more on seasoning a pan); LODGE is the brand I use at work and at home!

 

NOTE if your frame is diminutive, you have two options, lift weights to accommodate your newly acquired cast iron skillet cooking habit or get a lighter size; but note that getting a smaller size means less versatility with what you can prepare.


How To Season a Cast Iron Pan

Seasoning a cast iron skillet is like the boogeyman, everyone is scared of it, but it’s not scary at all. Layman’s terms, seasoning a cast iron skillet is rubbing it down with vegetable oil and baking it in the oven, which acts as a protector. It doesn’t need to be done every time you cook, unless you cook something aggressive and the pan NEEDS to be washed, most often you can just wipe out the cast iron pan with a paper towel or cloth. Easy to clean is always a bonus.

skillet cooking


Cast Iron Skillet Cooking For Beginners

One of the things I tell people about cooking and meal planning is to walk before you run, but in the case of cast iron, jump in head first. Seriously babes, just go for it!

Just a quick reminder, season your cast iron pan BEFORE you start cooking with it.

  • High Heat Cooking

I’ve long been accused of loving high heat cooking, and cast iron skillet cooking is tailor made for high heat. If you cook in a cast iron skillet that isn’t hot, whatever you are cooking will stick unrelentingly, which will greatly mess with your esthetic- as a food blogger this matters to me lol.

As you are using high heat cooking methods, you’ll want to employ high heat cooking oils, like coconut, grapeseed, vegetable (controversial for some, but bears a high smoke point) or lard.

Cast iron skillet cooking lends itself PERFECTLY to shallow or deep frying because it conducts heats so well. Foods that are best reserved for another pan are eggs and SUPER delicate fish, everything else is fair game!

  • Cast Iron Goes Both Ways

Cast iron is a material that conducts heat well, so it lends itself to both stove-top and oven cooking. I reiterate, DOUBLE DUTY FOR THE WIN.

The method to cooking with cast iron on the stovetop is HEAT, do not add the cooking oil until the pan feels hot, because the oil will be the benchmark of the pan’s readiness. If the butter sizzles, pan’s ready. Oil slides across the pan with easy, pan’s ready. Oil is a tool you can use in cast iron skillet cooking!

Stove-top to oven cooking means that stove-top portion is to create a crust of some kind, so to this point the stove-top portion is short, because the oven portion is meant to complete the cooking. This is the method I often employ when I’m cooking with cast iron, because stove top cast iron skillet cooking is perfect for creating a beautiful crust, and because cast iron conducts heat so well, when I put it in the oven I can trust that whatever I’m cooking will come out great!


Easy Cast Iron Skillet Recipes

The following two recipes are E-A-S-Y, because it’s always best to start with easy until you get your sea legs with the whole cast iron thing.


Roast Chicken

Roasting chicken in cast iron employs the two-part stove-top/oven method.

skillet cooking

  • Season a whole chicken. Place 1 full lemon (sliced) into the cavity.

  • Rub with melted butter OR place knobs of butter underneath the chicken skin.

  • Heat butter and olive oil in a cast iron pan

  • Add the chicken, wing side down.

  • Cook for 5-7 minutes.

  • Place the cast iron pan in an oven preheated to broil (500F)

  • Once the chicken has been in the oven for 2 minutes, turn the oven down to 375F.

  • Cook for 90-95 minutes or until juices run clear or temperature reads 155-160.

  • Cover with foil for 15 minutes.


Whole Roasted Cauliflower

Aka the EASIEST cauliflower recipe you’ll ever make.

skillet cooking

  • Wash and dry a whole cauliflower.

  • Remove the leaves.

  • Cut stem so the cauliflower lays flat.

  • Combine olive oil, chopped herbs, salt, pepper and maple syrup.

  • Rub the mix all over the cauliflower.

  • Lay flat in a cast iron pan.

  • Roast in an oven preheated to 390F for 20 minutes OR until a knife pierces the cauliflower easily.


MY SUGGESTION

I suggest you acquire varying sizes for your cast iron skillet cooking adventures, which means you can prepare many different items at once; because cast iron roasted chicken and cast iron roasted cauliflower pair VERY nicely together!


Are you feeling ready to up you skillet cooking game? It’s easy, it’s delicious and now you’re ready to do it!

If you have any cast iron skillet cooking tips or questions, please share below!

skillet cooking

 




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Craig
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I love my Lodge Skillet. This website is a great find, can’t wait to try some of these recipes. Thanks!

Bianca Osbourne
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Bianca Osbourne

Thank you so much Craig! Cast iron is so amazing, with a little know-how, so many tasty meals are possible!

Nikki
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I also love my cast iron pan. It seems that I’m reaching for it more than my other pans lately!

Bianca Osbourne
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Bianca Osbourne

Agreed! It’s almost all I use at home and at work these days!

Emily
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I have never had much luck with a cast iron skillet. This blog is so helpful!

Bianca Osbourne
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Bianca Osbourne

I’m so happy to hear Emily! If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate!

Dia M Susngi
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Dia M Susngi

Hiya!! Great Post. I never thought cast iron is so important! I will buy one! Thank you for this lovely post.

Bianca Osbourne
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Bianca Osbourne

You should definitely buy one! They are amazing!

Jennifer
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I don’t use our cast iron skillet because I really don’t know how to lol. This helps!

Bianca Osbourne
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Bianca Osbourne

I’m so happy to help! Good luck:)

Tiff
Guest

I always forget that you cannot wash with soap….

Bianca Osbourne
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Bianca Osbourne

It’s okay! It’s not the end of the world. Just reseason and you’re fine!