Use your nonstick pan all the time? Don't forget about the versatile cast iron. Here's why you should use it tonight.
A cast iron skillet is a prized possession among Southern cooks. Seasoned with years of cooking and loving care, heirloom cast iron skillets and Dutch ovens are as valued (and fought over) as Grandma’s china and sterling silver. A new pre-seasoned skillet also makes the perfect gift for a young cook. Browse our collection of delicious recipes utilizing cast iron. We all know how great fried chicken tastes hot out of the skillet, and we love how easy cast iron goes from oven to table with weeknight favorites including Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole and King Ranch Mac and Cheese. These cherished skillets are also great for party appetizers, like Cast Iron Salsa, and for impressive desserts, such as Pineapple Upside Down Carrot Cake. Great cooks know the more they use their cast iron, the better it gets. Keep your prized skillet on the stovetop and reach for it often.
Recipe: Potato-Bacon Hash
Every Southern cook knows a good hash recipe or two, and you’ll be adding this one with russet potatoes, bell peppers, onions, and thick-cut bacon to your list. We suggest you top it off with a fried egg.
The Big Cinnamon Roll
Recipe: The Big Cinnamon Roll
With this big (and we mean massive) cinnamon roll, you can serve a warm, homemade breakfast right from the oven.
Classic Grilled Cheese
Ham and Dijon Grilled Cheese
Recipe: Ham and Dijon Grilled Cheese
Video: Ham and Dijon Grilled Cheese
You’ll never make a plain ham and cheese sandwich again after trying this stepped-up grilled cheese that’s made with Gruyère. Don’t forget to coat the outer sides of the bread with mayonnaise or butter for that golden brown crunch.
Caramelized Onion Grilled Cheese
Brie, Fig, and Arugula Grilled Cheese
Beef Stew with Buttery Garlic Bread
Make this comforting beef stew on chilly fall and winter nights. Our favorite way to get the buttery garlic bread crispy is using our cast-iron skillet instead of the oven.
Lighter Pan-Fried Chicken with Green Beans and Tomatoes
This delicious dinner recipe proves that you don’t need a deep-fryer to get crispy, golden goodness.
Texas Skillet Cake
Recipe: Texas Skillet Cake
If you love classic Texas sheet cake, you’ll be obsessed with this thicker, richer Texas skillet cake.
Cast-Iron Pork Cacciatore
Recipe: Cast-Iron Pork Cacciatore
This is the most restaurant-worthy 30-minute recipe you’ll ever serve. A tip from the test kitchen: Pork chops that aren’t too thick or thin are best in this recipe. Look for chops that are one inch thick—they will be meaty and filling without taking a ton of time to cook.
Skillet Caramel Apple Pie
Recipe: Skillet Caramel Apple Pie
Ever had apple pie out of a cast-iron skillet? We bet you haven’t had apple pie with a bourbon-spiked caramel sauce, either. This warm fall dessert achieves both.
Our Best Cast-Iron Skillet Recipes
Recipe: Cast-Iron Cowboy Steak
You might remember it as the heavy black skillet grandma fried chicken in (and later passed down to you). But versatile cast iron goes from stovetop to oven to grill with such ease that you can bake a gooey upside-down cake in it as well as fry unbelievably crisp catfish. And it’s a regional icon that will boost your reputation as a savvy cook. So pull out your hand-me-down skillet, or buy a new preseasoned one―once you try these recipes, you’ll be a cast iron convert. We'll start with our Cast-Iron Cowboy Steak: This is the best way to cook a thick, juicy bone-in steak restaurant-style without smoking up the house. The skillet surface area promotes a more assertive flavor and better sear than grill grates, yielding a steak with the proper steak house crust.
Cast-Iron Chicken Piccata
Recipe: Cast-Iron Chicken Piccata
The best part of this chicken piccata is it only requires one dish to make, and we recommend a cast-iron skillet. It will heat more evenly than a nonstick pan, yielding a delicious cutlet that’s tender with crisp skin. Don’t forget to save the sauce to serve over pasta!
Recipe: Cast-Iron Salsa
Turn your skillet into a Mexican comal, aka griddle, by slowly charring onions, garlic, and peppers in a dry skillet. We like to use this traditional dry char technique because it coaxes sweet, earthy flavors from the vegetables and gives them just a hint of smokiness.
Ginger-Peach Shortbread Cobbler
Recipe: Ginger-Peach Shortbread Cobbler
Put down your peeler: This brilliant dish is our easiest peach cobbler ever.
Crispy Sweet Potato-Green Onion Cakes
Crispy Sweet Potato-Green Onion Pancakes are a great choice for a Thanksgiving side dish. They bring a unique twist to the classic sweet potato, and create a nice crunch to complement the other items on the holiday lunch or dinner table. What’s so delicious about this recipe is that it blends the delicate flavors of the sweet potatoes and the green onions with the spicy zest of a couple of chopped red jalapeño peppers, meaning that it mixes the heat with the sweet. But it all mixes together to form a delicious sweet potato delight. Serve these savory little numbers with a dollop of sour cream and a squeeze of lime as a crunchy appetizer or a dish to accompany roasted or grilled meats or fish.
Smoked Trout-Apple Hash
Recipe: Smoked Trout-Apple Hash
Equally at home on your stove or over a campfire, this fragrant skillet breakfast pulls double duty for dinner with a green salad. Try substituting sweet potatoes for russets and your favorite tart apple for Granny Smith. Other smoked fish like bluefish or whitefish also work well here. If using thinly sliced smoked salmon, cut into pieces and drape over hash just before serving.
Chicken-and-Wild Rice Skillet Casserole
This rustic meal, a company's-coming riff on the old-school chicken-and-rice number, is held together by a tangy gravy flavored with country ham and mushrooms. This dish is perfect for weekend nights when you have more time to devote to ingredient preparation – it takes some time for these ingredients to come together to form one of the most delicious casseroles we’ve ever cooked. We can attest that this dish is worth the wait. Nutty wild rice helps sop up all the good chicken gravy so you don’t miss any flavor. Jazz up the classic comfort food recipe with fresh toppings like flat-leaf parsley and crunchy sliced almonds.
King Ranch Chicken Mac and Cheese
All the flavors of a favorite casserole come together in the comfort of mac and cheese. Serve this dish to your family, and it will become a quick favorite.
Pan-Seared Filet Mignon
Recipe: Pan-Seared Filet Mignon
Filet mignon cooks quickly with a little butter and olive oil in the skillet. Just add salt and pepper to seal the taste.
Fried Pecan Okra
Recipe: Fried Pecan Okra
Crushed pecans and baking mix form a crisp breading for this Southern-style appetizer.
Top-Shelf Chicken Under a Brick
Recipe: Top-Shelf Chicken Under a Brick
The "top-shelf" in this recipe speaks to the crispy skin, superior flavor, and juiciness of the bird. It also refers to a novel new technique: cooking potatoes in the heavy cast-iron skillet that's used as a weight on the chicken. The weight presses the chicken flat against the grill grates, cutting the cooking time in half. Plus you'll be cooking your side dish at the same time.
Apple-Cinnamon Dutch Baby
Recipe: Apple-Cinnamon Dutch Baby
Straight from the oven, this puffy, airy pancake will elicit major oohs and aahs from your crowd. Be sure to use low-fat or fat-free milk--the pancake will puff higher. Like a soufflé, it will begin to deflate as soon as it leaves the oven, though that won't affect the flavor.
Braised White Turnips
Recipe: Braised White Turnips
This recipe is a simple way to create a delicious and beautiful side dish for your Thanksgiving table. If you prefer single-item sides rather than casseroles, or gratins, then dishes like these Braised White Turnips are the perfect dishes for you. These are cooked in butter, then simmered first in vinegar, then after in honey and butter, to create a beautiful combination of sweet-and-sour-tasting turnips. We based this recipe on one from Atlanta chef Linton Hopkins found in the book Lodge Cast Iron Nation. Use small Japanese turnips from farmers' markets, or peel and cut larger turnips into 1- to 2-inch cubes.
Sour Cream Cornbread
Cast-Iron Blistered Brussels Sprouts
This is the absolute best way to cook Brussels sprouts, but this recipe is as much about the beautiful flavors of the glaze as it is making sure that the sprouts are cooked to perfection. Mixing sweet and sour, an Asian-influenced sauce that includes honey, soy sauce, garlic, and crushed red pepper is stirred in with the crispy sprouts. This gives you spice, crunch, and bite in every mouthful. Searing your Brussels sprouts over high heat caramelizes the outside and yields perfect crisp-tender texture inside. For best results, use a 12-inch cast-iron pan, or sear your sprouts in two batches.
Pineapple Upside-Down Carrot Cake
One quick flip and this moist cake with perfectly caramelized fruit slips from a skillet.
Charred Peppers with Feta Dipping Sauce
Look for a colorful assortment of baby sweet peppers in the produce section of your local grocer. Hold them by the stems while dipping.
Upside-Down Caramelized Apple Cake
The brown sugar, apple, and pecan mixture that’s cooked in the skillet and then topped with a spiced cake batter become a gooey, rich topping for the cake when it’s inverted.
Pork Chops with Pepper Jelly Sauce
The sweet and spicy pepper jelly sauce creates a beautiful glaze on the pork chop and keeps the meat moist and tender.
Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette
Brighten a wintry day with this combination of roasted root vegetables, mache, and a citrus-and-ginger-packed vinaigrette.
Recipe: Cornbread Focaccia
The inspiration for Cornbread Focaccia is Italian, but the taste is pure Southern comfort.
Apricot-Pecan Cinnamon Rolls
Recipe: Apricot-Pecan Cinnamon Rolls
Roll pecans, apricots, and a brown sugar mixture up in biscuit dough to make this warm breakfast treat. Or substitute chocolate chips, raisins, or other fruits to adjust the flavor to your liking.
Fried Green Tomatoes With Bread-and-Butter Pickle Rémoulade
Fried Green Tomatoes are crusty and salty outside; warm, juicy, and lemony inside.
Parmesan-Pecan Fried Catfish with Pickled Okra Salsa
This sensational main dish combines two Southern favorites, fried catfish and pickled okra, with a new twist.
Barbecued Pork Quesadillas
Recipe: Barbecued Pork Quesadillas
Repurpose barbecued pork to make these cheesy quesadillas in your skillet, and top them off with green onions, sour cream, and cilantro. They are great as an appetizer or main course.
Sunny Skillet Breakfast
Recipe: Sunny Skillet Breakfast
Sunny-side-up eggs top off this skillet full of shredded potatoes, bell peppers, and onions.
How to Care for Cast Iron
- To rid of rust stains, rub this handy rust eraser (pictured) on the stain, and then reseason pan. Find it at hardware stores, bike shops, or wood-working shops.
- To clean, use a stiff brush or plastic scrubber under running water while the cast iron is still warm but cool enough to handle with ease. Kosher salt is also a good scrubbing agent for baked-on stains. The most important tip is to never use soap!
- Before cooking, apply vegetable oil to the cooking surface, and preheat the pan on low heat, increasing the temperature slowly.
- Never marinate in cast iron. Acidic mixtures will damage the seasoning. Reseason if food particles start to stick, rust appears, or you experience a metallic taste.