Kitchn Love Letters

These Mini Cast Iron Skillets Are Wildly Underrated

published Jul 22, 2021
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Summer desserts cooling on kitchen counter.
Credit: Sarah Crowley

You’d be hard-pressed to find cookware with a more loyal fan base than cast iron. There are legions of cookbooks devoted to cooking in cast iron, Facebook groups for fans, and a huge market for collectors. There are cast iron Dutch ovens and skillets of all kinds — from giant to itty bitty, single-serving sizes. And today, I’d like to focus on the latter. Because these miniature cast iron skillets don’t get nearly enough attention. And they should.

In a world where big and bold often garner the most praise, a small, 3.5-inch cast iron skillet isn’t likely to grab your eye. And while its size means it’s not well-suited for making, say, a hash for four people, there are plenty of things it can do. Like its larger siblings, these mini Lodge skillets are made from seasoned cast iron, so they’re ready to go right out of the box (after a quick wash, of course). Also like other cast iron skillets: They offer superior heat retention, and therefore brown food beautifully (albeit in much smaller portions). They’re oven-safe, grill-safe, and even campfire-safe, too.

Credit: Sarah Crowley

The thing is, I think you need more than one. Like, four! Or six! Or eight! With a bunch on hand, you can have a little fleet of cast iron skillets and do any of the following:

  • Make individual portions of any type of fruit crisp or cobbler in the oven or on the grill because, well, it’s summer and that’s a very warm-weather thing to do!
  • Fry a single egg.
  • Make individual portions of baked eggs.
  • Make spinach artichoke dip or Buffalo chicken dip, portioning it into and baking it in the mini skillets. Put the dip-filled mini skillets on different trays with assortments of bread slices, crackers, and vegetables for dipping.
  • Use the skillets as little serving dishes for nuts, sauces, condiments, cheeses, pickles — whatever!
  • Put a grilled peach in the cast iron skillet. Top it with ice cream and caramel sauce. Repeat with the other skillets. Serve.

I could go on, but I think you get the gist! Cleaning and seasoning the mini skillets is just like any other cast iron cookware, too. And at about $36 for a set of four, it’s a pretty good investment for something you’ll get a whole lot of use of this summer … and beyond.

Do you have mini cast iron skillets you love? Tell us about them in the comments!