8 Best Foods to Cook in a Cast Iron Pan

by Robin Hood | Last Updated:  April 1, 2024
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Cooking in a Cast Iron Pan

Your cast iron pan is one of the most versatile tools in your kitchen. It will be able to cater to hundreds of recipes. But some foods make it shine most brightly. So, what are the seven best foods to cook in a cast iron pan?

The best foods to cook in your cast iron pan are;

  1. Eggs
  2. Steak
  3. Chicken
  4. Roast Vegetables
  5. Stir-Fry
  6. Fried Rice
  7. Pizza
  8. Grilled Cheese

Your cast iron pan should be the star of your kitchen. Let’s look at seven ideas for how you can put it to good use.

1) Eggs

When trying to think of a quick, healthy meal eggs fly to the top of my mind. This is a highly versatile dish. You can fry them or scramble them. No matter what you do, they will always taste delicious.

One of the biggest reasons why you should use a cast iron pan to cook eggs is because it heats evenly. Once you have heated it, you won’t need to worry about any temperature spikes. This helps eliminate the risk of overcooking the eggs.

What Are Some Tips When Cooking Eggs in a Cast Iron Pan?

The first thing you need to consider is the amount of oil you are using. You don’t want the eggs to stick to the pan. But you also don’t want to make them too greasy. You’ll only need a tablespoon of oil.

There are plenty of oils that you can use. Some people prefer olive oil. Others will want to use vegetable oil. Some even like the flavor of coconut oil. Don’t be afraid to experiment, finding the ones that you enjoy using the most.

Another good tip is to make sure that you are using medium heat. You won’t need it to be searingly hot to cook eggs properly. Because a cast iron pan will retain heat so well, you might want to turn it down once you put the eggs in.

Here is a link for cast iron pans from Amazon.

2) Steak

Whether you’re hosting a dinner party with friends or a smaller gathering with friends and family, steak is always a popular choice. A cast-iron pan is the best choice when planning to cook a steak.

The high heat will be ideal for searing it. This locks in the juices for a more flavorful meal. It also ensures that there will be a crust around the outside of the steak. By the time you’re finished, you will have a restaurant-quality meal.

What Are Some Tips When Cooking Steak in a Cast Iron Pan?

First, you’ll want to ensure you are using a high temperature. Make sure that the pan is hot before you put the steak in. You should be able to hear it sizzling. This will give you a good sear.

It’s also important to consider how you season the meat. Usually, you’ll need to use a spice rub. This will add extra flavors. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your spice rubs, trying new flavor combinations.

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Use a meat thermometer to check the doneness. This will ensure you don’t need to cut into the meat and release the juices. The temperatures can vary depending on the thickness of the cut. Generally, it will be raw If it’s around 120 degrees Fahrenheit. When it reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit, it will be well-done.

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Finally, you’ll need to give the steak a few minutes to rest before you serve it. Often, you’ll only need to give it a few minutes. This gives the juices plenty of time to redistribute themselves. Because of this, the meat will be juicy and flavorful when you slice it.

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3) Chicken

Another staple food is chicken. When most people find out that chicken is on the menu, their first thought is often the skin. Everyone wants it to be crispy. That’s why you should turn to the cast iron pan. You’ll need to use a high temperature to crisp up the skin.

There are plenty of types of chicken that you can cook in a cast iron pan. You will be able to cook breasts, legs, and drumsticks. If your pan is big enough, you might be able to cook a whole chicken.

What Are Some Tips When Cooking Chicken in a Cast Iron Pan?

The best way to get crispy skin is by using a hot pan. Wait until it has heated up properly before you add the chicken, butter, and oil.

Another good tip is to make sure that you are using plenty of spices. You can rub these into the skin of the chicken. This will add more depth of flavor. Like steaks, you’ll need to experiment to find the right mix of spices for you.

Like a steak, you’ll want to check the temperature before you take the chicken off. If it’s not hot enough, eating it can make you sick. Leave it to rest for a while before you eat. This will let the juices settle.

Finally, you might want to try basting the chicken in its own juices. Though it can be a bit more intensive, it will allow you to get the best flavor. You’ll need to spoon the juices over the chicken every 15 minutes.

4) Roasted Vegetables

The ideal accompaniment to meals is a large serve of roasted vegetables. The good news is that everything from potatoes and pumpkin to carrots can be cooked in a cast-iron pan.

Using a hot pan will allow you to deliver crispy skin. Once they see the crunchy exterior, you won’t have any problems getting kids to eat their vegetables.

What Are Some Tips When Cooking Roast Vegetables in a Cast Iron Pan?

First, you’ll want to make sure that the pan is fairly hot. When cooking vegetables, it should be around 400 degrees Fahrenheit. This will ensure that it will be crispy enough on the outside while staying tender on the inside.

You’ll need to make sure that you are using seasoning. You won’t need anything too overpowering. Often, you’ll just need to use some light herbs. For example, things like lavender typically pair well. For bigger flavors, you might want to try using garlic or lemon. It’s always a good idea to experiment, trying out multiple combinations.

If you have a large enough cast iron pot, you can cook multiple vegetables at once. If you’re doing this, you’ll need to pair them together by cooking time. This will ensure that they all finish at roughly the same time. Though it’s important to avoid overcrowding them. This will result in them getting cooked unevenly.

5) Stir Fry

The pan you are using is the key to making a good stir fry. You’ll need to pick something that retains the heat properly. You’ll need consistent heat, even when you are adding in new ingredients. By doing this, you’ll end up with soft rice and crispy vegetables.

What are the Best Tips for Making Stir Fry in a Cast Iron Pan?

First, you’ll need to make sure that the pan is hot. Ideally, it should be smoking before you add in the meat. This will ensure that you get a good sear. It might take five to ten minutes before the cast iron pan is at the right temperature.

You’ll also need to make sure that the meat is at room temperature. This will deliver a good sear. If you have marinated it, pat it dry before you put it into the pan. Once you’ve seared the meat, put it to the side. At the end, you can mix it in with the other ingredients.

Below are some marinades that I can recommend.

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6) Fried Rice with Peas, Carrot, and Shrimp

Fried rice is a family staple. It’s ideal for weeknights, as it doesn’t take a long time to prepare. If you use ingredients like peas, carrots, and shrimp you’ll have a meal that’s both healthy and nutritious. Though many people think you need a wok, a cast iron pot will work just as well. It’s able to get to the same high temperatures as the wok, which is key to preparing fried rice properly.

How Can You Make Delicious Fried Rice in a Cast Iron Pan?

One of the most important components of this meal is rice. It’s usually best to use medium-grain rice. Jasmine rice is usually a good choice. This shouldn’t clump in the pan, so it stays soft when served.

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You’ll want to avoid overcrowding the pan. This can sometimes cause the rice to clump together. Depending on the size of the pan, you might want to stick to cooking two or three servings at once.

7) Pizza

Pizza is the ideal meal to cook with children. They will be able to help you make the dough. You can also get creative, picking out the best toppings. A cast iron pan can be the ideal choice for cooking a pizza. It has a round shape, can be put into an oven, and the non-stick surface will make it easy to slide out when you are finished.

How Can You Make Pizza in a Cast Iron Pan?

There are plenty of easy recipes for making pizza in a cast iron pan. Regardless of which one you use; you’ll need to follow the same steps. First, you’ll need to place the pan in the oven. This will let you get it hot. As you’re doing this, you’ll need to start making your dough.

When the pan is how enough, remove it from the oven and add the oil. Then, form the dough into a rough circle. Next, you’ll want to add toppings and put the pizza in the oven. When you see the cheese is melting, the pizza is done.

A quick word of warning. Though this is good for children, you’ll need to supervise them around the pan. It will be very hot and you don’t want anyone to accidentally burn themselves.

8) Grilled Cheese

Today, grilled cheese is making a surfacing again with gourmet versions popping up in restaurants and homes across the country. Internationally, people exploring hundreds of varieties of grilled cheese sandwich recipes.

Some of the best-grilled cheese sandwiches are made with flat cast iron griddles. Don’t forget to prepare some tomato soup. I wonder why grilled cheese tastes so good with tomato soup?

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Final Thoughts

Your cast iron pot can be used to cook hundreds of meals. You can create anything from a simple fried egg to a delicious stir fry. Your mind is the limit. So, grab your cast iron pan and try to cook one of these foods for yourself.