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15 Reasons (in Recipe Form) to Sing the Praises of the Cast Iron Pan

July 29, 2016

A chef's right hand may be their knife, but the left hand—at least in my kitchen—is the castiron skillet, which earns its keep at least twice over. Some love their cast iron pans so much they go on and write odes to it in the form of ​cookbooks​, like Charlotte Druckman did. Use it on the grill, or in the oven, or over a roaring fire at your campsite, or on top of a wood-burning oven, or on your stovetop for everything from a brunchy pan of shakshuka to a birthday cake.

The pan itself is mythic and revered, often with a story about where it came from (my dad pulled mine off the side of the road and seasoned it for me) and it's happy as a clam as long as you care for it (a process oft-debated).

It also carries a dose of cabin-in-the-woods romanticism to it—so there's no better time to sing its praises than during Summer Camp Week.

Here are just a few of the recipes that inspire us to pull out our skillets:

Is there one recipe you always make in your cast-iron pan? Or a fable about how your pan came into your life? Tell us in the comments.

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  • Shannon Lee Faulstick
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Writing and cooking in Brooklyn.


Shannon L. July 30, 2016
My favorite go to is gravy. Sear the meat and use the drippings to make a dark rue add some onions, thyme and rosemary.
Melissa M. July 30, 2016
I have two and use them at least a few times a week. My go to easy dinner meal is Brussels sprouts and drumsticks, tossed in olive oil and sea salt, and roasted in the oven. I've tried doing it in a casserole dish but the flavor wasn't the same.
arcane54 July 30, 2016
We used to lug our cast iron skillet on camping trips. My dad would make gingerbread and just before it "set" would throw dollops of applesauce into the batter. Add some "whipped" cream (shaken by turns in a canning jar) and we had a wonderfully elegant and rustic campfire dessert. It would work in the oven as well.
Joanne H. July 29, 2016
I love love, my cast iron pans, I have two killers and use them for everything. I cannot make pineapple upside down cake without or. Also, banana cake, a regular recipe for banana bread, but it totally changes in the cast iron.