Why should you use a cast iron skillet over modern alternatives? Is the cast iron skillet a better choice over other materials, such as stainless steel, ceramic coated, and nonstick coatings?
No cookware is perfect, and cast iron certainly has a few flaws, the biggest being the weight. However, if you can look past this problem, using a skillet makes a lot of sense.
And I will cover the reasons you should use a cast iron skillet instead of buying a standard flimsy pan.
Table of contents
- Comparing the weight of different frying pans.
- Why are cast iron skillets still popular?
- The benefits of using a cast iron skillet.
- What are the reasons to use a cast iron pan?
- Why you should use a cast iron skillet (final thoughts).
Just how heavy is a cast iron frying pan compared to different materials?
Lodge Boy Scouts of America pre-seasoned 12-inch skillet
|Stainless steel + aluminum core|
All-Clad D3 stainless steel 12-Inch Fry Pan
Tri-Ply Stainless Steel
Lodge 12-inch seasoned skillet
|Anodized aluminum |
12-inch T-Fal E76507 ultimate hard anodized skillet
(with glass lid)
Why are cast iron skillets still popular?
If cast iron is so heavy, why do people still use iron pans?
Despite cast iron skillets being the heaviest cookware on the market, people still use them. And in most cases, home cooks prefer to use a skillet over modern alternatives. And you read the reasons below.
Skillets are semi nonstick.
A trusty cast-iron skillet will never be as nonstick as a chemically bonded surface such as Teflon.
However, using a cast iron skillet is more nonstick than stainless steel. And apart from stubborn scrambled eggs, food releases easier. This is due to the seasoning layer on the skillet. Seasoning is polymerized oil baked onto the pan. As the seasoning builds over time with usage, cast iron skillets become more nonstick.
You can use a skillet on most heat sources.
A cast iron skillet can be used on almost any cooking heat source, including induction.
You can even bake a cake and use your skillet on a campfire. But most people use their skillets for stovetop cooking or for use on the oven. Using your skillet in an electric oven is extremely useful. And only frying pans that are entirely metal are oven-safe. So skillets are ideally suited for a variety of cooking methods and not redistricted to frying.
It is easy to clean a skillet.
A lot of people worry about not cleaning their cast iron correctly. But a well-seasoned pan is easy to clean. And food releases from the pan with little effort. You can clean your skillet with a kitchen brush to lift off any stubborn bits on your frying pan. But in most cases, a simple sponge will be enough.
Cast iron skillets are very easy to clean. How easy? Well, some cast-iron enthusiasts prefer not to use soap when washing their skillets. And a short soak in warm water lifts most stubborn stuck-on food.
The simple design is why you should use a cast iron skillet.
Pans are cast in a single piece of metal.
Cast iron skillets don’t have riveted or plastic handles. Instead, cast-iron frying pans are molded in one piece. This totally eliminates the weakest point of most cookware…the handle. This is one of the main reasons skillets can be used for decades and still be in useable condition.
The short handle saves room in your oven.
Skillets have a short stumpy handle which you may think is a disadvantage. But if you plan to use your skillet in the oven, the stumpy handle is nothing short of brilliant. Because it will fit into your electric oven without taking up too much room. This helps if you need to use multiple baking dishes at the same time.
Cast iron has a natural and safe cooking surface.
Another reason why you should use a cast iron skillet is the safe cooking surface. Iron is a naturally occurring material, and it is considered food safe. Cast iron skillets do not contain nickel or chromium. And you can have a semi nonstick cooking surface that does not have a chemically bonded coating. And many people concerned about food safety opt for cast iron cookware.
Reasons to use a cast iron skillet.
You’ve probably come to this post because you’re looking for more in-depth information. And as a cast-iron collector, I can give you a few more reasons to cook with a cast-iron skillet. Check out some of the reasons below.
- Each skillet has a unique personality.
- Cast iron has been used for centuries.
- You can buy a skillet for a low price.
- Skillets are suited for home cooks to professionals.
- A lot of brands offer high-quality skillets.
Cast iron skillets have a lot of character.
Vintage pans have a lot of character. And each looks slightly different and develops a different patina over time.
Skillets today are no longer as smooth as the old-timers unless you buy a premium brand such as Butter Pat Industries or Smithey Ironware Co. These companies pay homage to the early American foundries such as Griswold and Wagner and make their ironware with great care and detail.
If you think new skillets don’t have character, put them side by side with the alternatives. I’m sure you’ll gravitate towards the cast iron. In fact, your skillet will get better with age as it builds seasoning and develops its own character.
We have been using iron cookware for over 2000 years.
If you are looking for a cooking surface that has been tried and tested. Then a trusty skillet could be for you. Cast iron is said to have originated in China over 2000 years ago. Over time casting technology spread to Japan before moving West.
Most cast iron skillets are inexpensive.
One of the main reasons I suggest using a cast iron skillet is that it’s cheap. Yes, premium cast iron skillets can be pricy, but most skillets are incredibly budget-friendly.
A cast iron skillet really is an excellent bang for your buck. A skillet can handle high temperatures and is ideal for searing. They can be used on the stovetop as well as the oven. And the average cast iron skillet is not expensive.
Now I don’t want to mention prices as prices from retailers vary. And there also are many brands and sizes available. However, you might be able to pick up a new skillet for less than you spend on lunch. Now, I’d say that’s a real bargain.
You can read about my top choices for low-cost skillets in this article.
Cast iron cookware is easy to use.
Professional chefs use a lot of stainless steel in restaurants because it responds to heat quicker.
However, many chefs still like to use a cast iron skillet in their own homes. You can bake, sear, fry, and roast using a regular skillet. And remember, those fancy restaurants using stainless steel pans also need full-time dishwashers to scrub those expensive pots.
A seasoned skillet is simple to use and clean. And because it has excellent thermal density, you are less likely to burn your food.
There are many brands to choose from.
However, you are not limited to one or two brands if you are looking for a quality skillet. Camp Chef, Utopia, Coleman even Tefal make a cast iron skillet. I was careful to say brand. Most brands outsource their manufacturing. And I would choose a trusted brand such as Lodge or Victoria if you want a low-cost skillet.
Why use a cast iron skillet?
But if you are considering buying your first cast iron skillet. Pans are available almost everywhere. They are not going to blow the budget and are fun to use.
A trusty pre-seasoned skillet will give you loads of enjoyment and can make plenty of tasty dishes. Go for it, you won’t be disappointed.