The New Piece of Cast Iron Cookware You Absolutely Need — Especially If You’re a Lover of Flaky Pie Crusts

published Nov 16, 2021
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

It’s no secret that all of us here at Kitchn are big fans of cast iron cookware. Cast iron is incomparable when it comes to even, steady heat retention and distribution. It gets ripping hot and stays hot, which makes it a great choice for searing meat and achieving the ultimate crispiness on roasted veggies.

But how does cast iron perform for baking … a pie? While I already love cast iron for baking skillet cookies and cornbread, I had never tried to bake a pie in cast iron before. So when I found out that Lodge, known for affordable, high quality cast iron skillets and Dutch ovens, launched an entire line of cast iron bakeware last year, I was very interested to try the pie plate. (The launch also includes a casserole dish, a baking pan — similar in shape to a traditional aluminum cookie sheet — and a pizza stone.)

Would it turn out ultra-flaky pie crust or result in stuck-on, burnt dough? As one of Kitchn’s most devoted cast iron cheerleaders, I decided to find out.

Like all of Lodge’s cast iron, these pieces are pre-seasoned — meaning you don’t have to cook a generation’s worth of bacon to achieve a naturally nonstick, easy-release finish. For the purpose of my test, I went with the 9-inch pie pan, which is standard size for pies. 

Credit: Rochelle Bilow

I was immediately impressed upon opening the box. It’s a substantial pan, with the heft and weight typical of cast iron. It’s also lovely to look at; unlike my boring old glass pie pans, this one has a scalloped rim around the pan, and two handles. It’s similar in size and shape to my favorite cast iron skillet, which I use daily for frying eggs and roasting vegetables, but I’d never considered using that as a pie pan. (Over the years it had built up a distinctly savory flavor in the seasoning, which probably wouldn’t go well with an apple pie.)

Credit: Rochelle Bilow

I decided to take my pan for its inaugural voyage with a quiche. As the dough rested in the refrigerator, I studied the instruction card that came with my pan. Lodge recommends spraying the pan with nonstick cooking spray and rubbing it all over the surface with a silicone pastry brush. Then, it is suggested to lightly coat the pan with a layer of flour. I’d never greased and floured a pie pan before — I typically save that for cakes and quick breads — but knowing that cast iron can sometimes be finicky on the release, I followed the instructions dutifully. 

After rolling the dough, I fitted it inside the pan, crimped the edges, and set it in the freezer to firm up for 10 minutes. The blind bake turned out beautifully with no uneven spots in the crust. And the second bake was just as good; the filling set effortlessly, and the crust was so flaky that it reminded me of a croissant.

The pan is also easy to use: As I transferred it from the oven to the cooling rack and back again, I was grateful for the handles. They absolutely make the process easier. The pan’s scalloped rim proved inconsequential for me; I didn’t use it to guide my crimp, but it didn’t get in the way of my design, either. It certainly added to the aesthetics of the finished product, though. Here are my overall thoughts about the Lodge cast iron pan.

Credit: Rochelle Bilow

Pros of the Lodge Cast Iron Pie Pan

  1. It’s beautiful: There’s no denying that this is a stunner of a pan. It definitely has a “wow factor” for on-the-table serving. 
  2. It crisps the crust beautifully: Cast iron gets much hotter than glass or aluminum, which means that my quiche crust was far and away flakier and more tender. If you’re a crust person over a filling person, you’re going to be very happy with a cast iron pie plate.
  3. The handles are extra handy: Most pie plates don’t have handles, so these are a really nice bonus and incredibly nice to have. They’re very accommodating, even for the bulkiest oven mitts.
  4. It’s affordable: The pie plate will cost you $25.55 — while that’s more expensive than a throwaway aluminum pie plate, it’s surprisingly affordable. Remember that we’re talking about quality cast iron, which is made to last.

Cons of the Lodge Cast Iron Pie Pan

  1. You can’t see the bottom of the pie: Unlike clear glass, cast iron pie plates don’t allow you to peek at the bottom of your pie to check on progress. I have a pretty good feeling for when a crust is baked-through, but I still do a visual check to ensure that there’s no soggy bottom. With cast iron, you have to really rely on your intuition and clues from the “upper crust.” 
  2. You’ll have to fiddle with baking times: My quiche was finished about seven minutes ahead of schedule — both the crust and filling were fully cooked long before the timer sounded. It’s also important to remember that because cast iron pans stay hot, there will be some carryover cook time, even after you remove the pan from the oven. This isn’t a deal-breaker, but might be a hurdle for novice or nervous cooks. 

My Overall Thoughts on the Lodge Cast Iron Pie Pan

I love this pan. It feels like an heirloom piece, and provided I treat it well, it will be. (Like all cast iron cookware, Lodge’s bakeware should be hand-washed, then dried immediately and heated with a light layer of cooking fat to protect the seasoning.) 

Related: How To Season a Cast Iron Skillet

My favorite part about any pie is the flaky crust, so this was a huge bonus for me. I suppose I could have been using one of my many cast iron skillets all along, but I like that now I have a dedicated piece for pies — those handles are a total must for taking pie out of the oven. Frankly, I don’t know how I ever functioned without them.

I won’t be tossing out my glass pie plates (with holiday baking season right around the corner, there’s no such thing as too much bakeware), but I have a feeling I’ll be reaching for my cast iron pie plate most often. In fact, I’m already planning on using it to put a bowlful of apples to good use!