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10 Foods You Should Always Cook on a Cast-Iron Skillet

Cast-iron pans get hotter (and stay hotter) than your usual skillet, and you can move them straight from stovetop to oven. These classic recipes take full advantage of your cookware's potential.

Fresh Homemade Hash Browns to eat for breakfastBrent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Hash browns


The starch from potatoes has an unfortunate habit of sticking to the pan. That’s where cast iron comes in handy—the high heat from a cast-iron skillet like this gives hash browns their namesake browned crust without leaving you with a caked-on mess to deal with later.

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Taste of Home

Scallops

Rely on a non-stick pan for scallops and you’re bound to end up with a rubbery, chewy seafood dish. Instead, pop them onto a cast-iron pan. The intense heat will sear them perfectly, giving you restaurant-quality shellfish in no time. Find out the best thing you can do to care for your iron skillet.

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Deep-dish pizza

When you want thick, chewy, Chicago-style crust, a cast-iron pan is the tool you’ve been looking for. A regular pizza pan is too flat, but the raised edges on your skillet will turn up the sides so your pie is ready to be loaded up with all your favorite toppings. Avoid these things you should never cook on a cast-iron skillet.

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Steak

Good luck making a seared steak on your regular skillet. To get that crunchy crust without overcooking the whole thing, the key is to start with a hot-hot-hot pan. Preheating a cast-iron skillet will give your steak the right sizzle as soon as it hits. Taste of Home even recommends finishing grilled steaks on a cast-iron pan—it’ll prevent scorching and retain all the flavor from its juices.

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Taste of Home

Dutch babies

Dutch babies, aka German pancakes, are puffier, bigger, and less hands-on than your typical griddle cakes. These babies call for a hot cast-iron pan, which means they start getting golden and are on their way to a popover-like status even before you close the oven door. Wait 20 minutes or so, and brunch is served—no flipping required.

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Taste of Home

Cornbread

Skillet cornbread is a Southern classic. Preheating a cast-iron skillet means the batter starts cooking the moment it hits the pan, creating a crunchy, crave-worthy crust. Sweeten up your favorite recipe with a drizzle of maple syrup, or try this bacon- and chipotle-spiced version. Learn the easiest way to restore a rusted cast-iron skillet.

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Burgers

When grilling season is over, you’re going to want to reach for a cast-iron skillet when flipping burgers. Cast iron gets hotter than regular ol’ stainless steel, giving your patty that perfectly crusty outside while keeping it juicy on the inside. Who needs backyard barbecues now?

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Taste of Home

Blackened fish

The key to making blackened fish, well, blackened is to use high heat. Most pans won’t fit the bill, but cast iron can. You’ll get a spicy, crunchy sear unlike anything you’ve made before. Try out these other 35 recipes everyone should know by age 35.

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Taste of Home

Cookies

OK, so nothing will ever beat your trusted, go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe, but hear us out. If you want to skip scooping dozens of cookie dough balls and waiting for several batches to go in the oven, a skillet recipe is the answer you’ve been looking for. Pop it in the oven once for a warm, nostalgic treat; the hot bottom and sides give it those crunchy edges you love. Serve it hot and fresh with a scoop of ice cream for an unforgettable dessert.

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Taste of Home

Dinner rolls

Swap out your glass baking dish for a cast-iron pan next time you make homemade dinner rolls. The cast iron heats more evenly, creating pillowy, uniformly cooked rolls. Just make sure you make enough for seconds! Watch out for these 13 mistakes you’re making with your cast-iron skillet.

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Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s Medscape.com and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.