35 Ways to Love Your Cast Iron Skillet

updated Jun 5, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

Yesterday I fessed up to something you may be able to relate to: I’ve spent years in an uneasy relationship with my cast iron skillet. It is so delicate, for all its brawny heft, demanding to be seasoned, kept away from tomatoes, and cleaned just right (if soap or vinegar comes near start all over again!). Who needs that kind of fuss in the kitchen? Not me. But I just hadn’t learned yet to love my cast iron skillet.

Given proper, loving care — and less of it than you might think — the cast iron skillet can be your friend with benefits in the kitchen. Here are 35 ways to love your skillet more. It will love you back — I promise.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

I finally learned it takes much less work than I thought to keep a skillet in shape. It’s all about the cleaning routine. I learned to clean my skillet immediately after cooking in it, with nothing more than a dish brush (sometimes I use a tiny bit of soap) and hot water. Then I wipe it out and dry it over a low flame on the stove. This keeps it well-seasoned and darkly gleaming.

In return for this bit of loving attention, the skillet loves me back in so many ways. There’s nothing like a good dark crust on a ribeye, cooked indoors in the oven; for those of you grill-less this summer, this is your secret to great summer steak. The skillet is the best way to reheat meat and leftovers, it gets a delicious smoky char on beans, it makes the best cornbread you’ve ever had, and it’s just the right tool for frying chicken.

Love your cast iron skillet — it may seem demanding, but properly cared for it is a quiet treasure of the kitchen. Here are 35 ways to give it some loving attention this weekend, from proper care and seasoning, to understanding the best ways to put it to use, to recipes that show off its splendid features. And don’t miss the cast iron skillets we really love — handmade Borough Furnace skillets, and an amazing United States of America in cast iron form!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

The Essentials

(Image credit: Emily Han)

All About Seasoning

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Cast Iron Pans We Love

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Smart Ideas for Cast Iron

Your Cast Iron Questions — Answered!

  • Can You Suggest a Good Cast Iron Skillet?
  • What Size Cast Iron Skillet Should I Buy?

  • Should I Buy a Cast Iron or Stainless Steel Skillet?

  • What Is Wrong with My Vintage Cast Iron Skillet?
  • Will Cooking Acidic Foods Damage My Cast Iron Skillet?
  • How Do I Keep My Cast Iron Skillet Seasoned?
  • What Is the Best Way to Clean Cast Iron?
  • Is It OK to Use a Cast Iron Skillet on a Glasstop Stove?
  • What Are the Best Recipes to Make in a Cast Iron Skillet?
  • What Is the Quickest Way to Season a Cast Iron Pan?

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

What to Cook in a Cast Iron Skillet


(Images: See linked recipes and posts for full image credits)