The 8 Best Things Kitchn Editors Have Ever Bought for Their Cast Iron Skillets

published Nov 5, 2020
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Cleaning a cast iron skillet with a brush in the sink
Credit: Joe Lingeman

You know how, when you really love something, you buy lots of little treats and treasures for it? Like your kids. And your pets. And your cast iron skillet. Yup, for many Kitchn staffers, our cast iron skillets rank right up there with the living things that depend on us. (Because these pans kind of do depend on us too, right? They’ll love you for a lifetime if you give them the TLC they yearn for.) So, yes, we buy little presents for our cast iron skillets. Little things that can help the skillets perform better, get cleaner, last longer, or just feel extra special.

Here are some of the best things Kitchn staffers have ever bought for their skillets.

Credit: Etsy

1. Leather Skillet Handle Cover

“I’m not the strongest home cook so picking up a cast iron skillet (with food in it!) can be tough. And I feel like towels and oven mitts make it extra hard to grip the heavy pan. So I got one of these leather handle covers and it’s made things so much easier. I don’t have to contend with a bulky heat protector and I can really hold onto the handle. Bonus: It comes in a few different colors and you can personalize it with your initial, too.” Lisa Freedman, Lifestyle Director

Buy: Leather Skillet Handle Cover, from $11.20 at Etsy

Credit: Amazon

2. Progressive Nylon Pan Scrapers

“Lisa actually introduced me to these (we used a few for some photoshoots for her stories) and they’ve saved my life many times. They really get in there, under burnt-on bits of food. And they somehow only remove the crud and none of the hard-earned seasoning.”

Samantha Bolton

Buy: Progressive Nylon Pan Scrapers, $12.99 for eight

Credit: Amazon

3. Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Care Kit

“I have this set and love the whole thing but I especially love the little brush. I keep it in a small ramekin next to the sink so that I can access it all times. The brush fits oh-so-comfortably in the palm of my hand, which means I can get great leverage with very little effort. And the bristles are soft enough that they won’t scratch the seasoning but firm enough that they’ll break off burnt-on bits.” Patty Catalano, Contributor

Buy: Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Care Kit, $17.90

Credit: Amazon

4. Full Circle Tenacious C Cast Iron Brush and Scraper

“I bought this scrubby brush two years ago (based on this post and all the glowing Amazon reviews). I love it. I also love that it’s not hideous and looks nice in my sink. My only regret is that I didn’t get it sooner!” Kelli Foster, Food Editor

Buy: Full Circle Tenacious C Cast Iron Brush and Scraper, $7.99

Credit: Target

5. Quaker Yellow Cornmeal

“I love making pizza, focaccia, and bread in my skillet, but I always get nervous that it will stick and rip apart when I try to take it out. (A bummer I have experienced one too many times.) Instead of loading up the skillet with olive oil, I recently switched to using cornmeal. I just sprinkle a tablespoon or so on the bottom and I have had no issues! It helps the bread slice right out without any issues! I have been using Quaker Yellow Cornmeal, which is pretty gritty. Using a finer one might not work as well and act more like flour.” Jesse Szewczyk, Studio Food Editor

Buy: Quaker Yellow Cornmeal, $1.99 for 24 ounces at Target

Credit: Courtesy of Diamond Crystal

6. Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt

“I know there are people who say that dish soap is fine to use with cast iron, and I do use it from time to time. But usually, just a bit of this kosher salt is enough. The flakes are just gritty enough to help scrub away stuck-on food pieces. And a box isn’t so expensive that I feel like I need to use it too sparingly.” — Rebecca Longshore, Director of Audience Growth

Buy: Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt, $11.99 for 48 ounces

Credit: Amazon

7. Scotch-Brite Stainless Steel Scrubbers

“My mom gifted me a cast iron skillet a couple of years ago, but I was so skeptical to use it, I never took it out of the box. When she came to visit last year, she finally gave me an extensive tutorial on how to season, maintain, and care for my pan, and now I’m a cast iron convert! A key step? Buying these steel wool scrubbers, which my mom swears by. They tackle gritty, stuck-on grime like a total champ. She taught me to be gentle with them and to use them only with warm water and salt (instead of soap!) to maintain that coveted seasoning.” Sholeen Damarwala, Commerce Editor

Buy: Scotch-Brite Stainless Steel Scrubbers, $2.48 for three

Credit: Walmart

8. California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil

“Typically, vegetable oil or another type of oil with a high smoke point, such as grapeseed oil, is recommended for seasoning cast iron, but to be honest, I rarely keep them stocked in my pantry. I do, however, always have a bottle of this olive oil within reach in the kitchen and it works perfectly for me every time.” Sheela Prakash, Senior Contributing Food Editor

Buy: California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil, $17.66 for 500ml