It is important to know what you are going for, before getting a kitchen utensil. In this guide, we would be showing the advantages and disadvantages of using a cast iron pan. Cast iron pans are great for your kitchen, but as they say, anything that has advantages would have disadvantages. Read through this guide to find out the advantages and disadvantages of cast iron pans.
All well-maintained cast-iron skillets will become more nonstick with time. While you might think this will take years, we found a significant difference in our pans after just a few weeks of regular use in the test kitchen.
How is Cast Iron Cookware Made?
Cast iron cookware is made by melting blocks of iron and steel together in a factory. Then chemicals are added to the mixture in order to raise its carbon levels. Next, the molten metal is poured into a mold made of sand, water, and powdered clay. When the cast iron pot or pan is cool, the sand mold is broken and the cookware is released. Workers then smooth each piece before it’s ready to be sold.
Reasons Why Cast Iron is Becoming Popular Again
Some people may think that ancient styles of cookware wouldn’t hold up next to modern aluminum or stainless steel pieces, but cast iron is experiencing a resurgence in restaurants and homes all over the country. We’re here to help you understand why people are returning to old cooking methods, and how you can participate in this exciting resurgence.
- Other Cookware May Come with Health Concerns
A major reason why cast iron cookware is making a comeback is because of health concerns involving other types of cookware. For example, some non-stick coated pans are now known to emit toxic fumes when they are heated past a certain temperature. Cast iron poses none of these risks and can be heated to extremely high temperatures without negative effects.
- Cast Iron Cookware Lasts Forever
Many people would rather invest in cookware that will last, instead of spending money on something they’ll need to replace within a few years. Cast iron cookware can be used for hundreds of years, so as long as you treat it right, it should last you a great deal longer than other cookware might.
- Cast Iron is Visually Appealing
Some restaurant owners are incorporating more cast iron cookware into their mix because it looks great for serving. When cooking with cast iron, you can make sizzling fajitas or a giant skillet cookie, which adds a rustic and unique feel to the presentation.
How to Resurface Cast Iron Cookware
- Scrape the pan with steel wool until there are no more rust spots.
- Wash the cookware with warm, soapy water.
- Dry the piece completely. This is an important step that will keep new rust spots from appearing. First, dry with a cloth, then place it on a range burner and let the heat dry your pot or pan the rest of the way.
- Soak paper towels with cooking oil and use them to coat the inside of your pan with a thin layer of oil.
- Place the cookware on the top rack of the oven, face down at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to put a piece of aluminum foil on the bottom rack to catch dripping oil. Leave the piece like this for an hour.
- Remove your pan from the oven and let it cool. It’s now ready to use!
Advantages of using a cast iron pan
- It is naturally non-sticky:
The first advantage of using a cast iron pan is that it is naturally non-stick. Yes, you heard me right. A cast-iron pan or skillet is well-seasoned cookware making it non-sticky. Cast iron pan non-stickiness comes without the use of any chemicals. So using a cast iron pan, which is naturally non-stick, allows you to use less grease while cooking.
- Dietary benefit
Don’t we all need some iron? When cooking with cast iron pots, some of the iron will leach into your food and into your body upon consumption. This can effectively supply your body with the 18 mg of iron that an adult needs daily. Just make sure it is genuine cast iron cookware and not something covered with synthetic material.
- The cost of the pan is inexpensive
A cast-iron pan is affordable and low cost. Stainless steel pans or aluminum pans are much more expensive than cast iron pans. The low cost of cast iron pans doesn’t compromise its quality; today, we can get cast iron pans of good quality for less than stainless or aluminum pans.
- Heat distribution
The heat distribution of a cast iron pan is pretty even. Irrespective of your cooking surface, a cast iron pan provides an even distribution of heat. At the same time, a cast iron pan is said to retain the heat for a longer duration than other pans.
- It is beneficial for health
We all know that the body needs iron for growth and development. Cooking food in a cast iron pan will allow some part of it to get leached into the food.
The right term should have been affordable or low cost, but considering the price of aluminum or stainless steel cookware with the same quality, cast iron pots and pans are inexpensive. Imagine getting the same quality cast-iron saucepan or griddle for a fraction of the cost of a stainless steel saucepan.
- Cast iron pans retain heat well
Compared to other materials, cast iron is one of the best when it comes to retaining heat. Some metals like aluminum, experience a significant temperature drop when you add food to the pan. Not so with cast iron: once heated, it’ll maintain a fairly consistent temperature, even after you drop a colder item into it. Why is this even important? Well, a hot pan that stays hot will help create a crisp, brown crust.
This is true on the stovetop (searing things like tofu or meat), but also in the oven. In fact, if you preheat your cast iron pan in the oven, then toss a fresh pizza on top, it’ll develop that prized crispy crust – no pizza stone required. In short: cast iron is the way to go if you want a nice golden brown sear on your food. And seriously, who doesn’t want that?!
- Cleaning and maintenance
Cast iron pans are low maintenance. Cast iron cookware needs a little cleaning after its first seasoning. On using a cast iron for cooking food, ensure you resin it with water and dry the pan completely before storing it
- Cast iron pans are durable
In all likelihood, your cast iron cookware will last longer than you do. No joke. The hand-me-down pan from my grandma’s kitchen is by far our favorite. Why? Because cast iron improves with age. And while they don’t quite make them like they used to, cast iron pans are heavy, near bullet-proof kitchen essentials that’ll last you decades.
Disadvantages of using a cast iron
- Cast iron pans are poor conductors of heat:
Due to the properties of a cast iron pan, it retains the heat for a long duration and also gets very hot. So you must handle the pan cautiously.
- They are heavier
The weight of a cast iron pan is heavier than other materials. You need two hands to handle the cast iron pans because of their weight and size. Also, ensure you have a sink big enough to clean a cast-iron pan comfortably.
- The handles on a cast iron pan can get very hot
Since cast iron pans are literally cast from a single piece of metal, the handle eventually gets quite hot. This is especially true if the pan has been heating in the oven. Grabbing the handle with your bare hand – in a temporary lapse of judgment – will result in a painful burn. Ouch.
- Maintain the seasoning
As mentioned previously, cast iron pans are naturally seasoned well. But you have to pay attention to its seasoning and maintain it. Avoid using heavy soap for cleaning cast iron pans as it takes away its seasoning.
- It does include cooking limitations
Cooking heavier acidic food like citrus and tomato in cast iron pans can make your dish darker. This is because the acid reacts with iron, which can alternate the taste of your dish slightly.
- Requires seasoning
A well-seasoned cast-iron skillet won’t stay seasoned for long. It is then your responsibility to season it every so often, which can take a good chunk of your time because the process is time-consuming. It also takes skills and knowledge to know if you got the seasoning right. If you don’t mind the work, however, then it’s not a disadvantage, entirely.
- Cooking limitation
You can’t use all your culinary skills with cast iron cookware. If you want to cook tomato sauce and other acidic foods, you will have to use other types of skillet or pot, as an iron will react to acid, turning food color to something darker, or altering the taste slightly.
With this, we conclude our article on the advantages and disadvantages of cast iron pan. Considering the points mentioned above, it can be said that the benefits of using a cast iron pan in our cooking outweigh the cons