30 Recipes You Can Cook in Your Cast-Iron Skillet
Count on your trusty cast-iron skillet for around-the-clock cooking. From fluffy pancakes and juicy steak dinners to bubbling cobblers and family-sized cookies, you can cook just about anything in this go-to pan can.
Sure, you can use a cast-iron skillet to cook anything you would typically use a regular skillet for, but regular skillets just can't compete with what cast-iron varieties are capable of. When it comes to certain tasks—like achieving a perfect sear on quick-cooking scallops or creating a golden-brown crust on a juicy steak—this skillet type reigns supreme. It's a must-have for making both weeknight dinners, like the Braised Chicken with Potatoes, Olives, and Lemon pictured here, and more special dishes. That's because it's a fit for all kinds of cooking methods—you can take it from the stovetop to the oven and then finish it under the broiler before setting it on the table for family-style sharing.
If you just invested in your first cast-iron skillet and are wondering what all the fuss about, the secret to finding lifelong success with it is simple: use it! No, really—the more you use your cast-iron for jobs like sizzling bacon and searing steaks, the more you will build up its seasoning which makes it more and more nonstick as time goes on. If the term "seasoning" in this context is new to you, be sure to check out Martha's quick explainer on the important subject. It's a common misconception that cast-iron is finicky and hard to care for. Yes, it does have a different cleaning protocol than other pans, and no, it won't immediately be as slick as a Teflon-coated pan, but what you get in return is a long-term relationship with a stick-free surface that can handle high heat—even the roaring flames from a campfire if you choose!
Whether you're breaking in a new skillet or dusting off your family heirloom, the following recipes will help you make the most of your pan.
Seared Rib-Eye Steak with Smashed Potatoes
Searing a steak is the kind of task that the cast-iron skillet was made for. Its heavy bottom will retain a steady, even heat which makes scoring a deep brown crust with crackling edges a cake walk. This recipe has you top the steaks with a flavorful scallion butter and it gets served alongside crispy smashed potatoes.
Skillet Chocolate-Chip Cookie
We wanted a quick dessert we could make on a whim. One skillet and two steps later, this easy and delicious cookie was created. The well-insulated cast iron lightly toasts the edges while center stays protected from overbaking, so the cookie winds up being chewy, gooey, and crisp all at once.
Test Kitchen's Favorite Buttermilk Pancakes
A well-seasoned cast-iron skillet is a great choice for making pancakes because of its ability to retain a steady and consistent temperature. Though it may take a few extra minutes of preheating due to its heft, it's worth it to not have to fuss with the dial the whole time.
Dry-Fried Green Beans
If you've only ever had steamed green beans and feel pretty meh about them, give them to your cast-iron to transform. This easy skillet side comes together in under 20 minutes and produces a tasty char on the beans, which enhances flavor and brings out their natural sweetness.
Skillet Chili Nachos
Let a cast-iron skillet be the cradle for some seriously good nachos; the high sides of the pan allow for many cheesy layers.
Creamy Lemon Chicken with Spinach and Artichokes
While we'd never judge you for having dip and chips for dinner, we'd like to offer this skillet dinner as an alternative: chicken cutlets are seared in a little butter until golden brown, then simmered in a creamy spinach-artichoke sauce. Serve over rice or pair the chicken with crusty slices of bread for dipping.
Pad See Ew
Sage and Honey Skillet Cornbread
When you want a moist, tender cornbread that has a buttery crust all around the edges, there's only one skillet for the job. Don't believe us? Ask your grandma! Perhaps the most famous use for cast-iron skillets, cornbread has found a home in this pan for generations.
Skillet Spinach Pie
Garlic-Stuffed Roasted Chicken
One of the hurdles with roast chicken is that the white meat is typically done before the dark meat. This recipe solves the problem by roasting it in a cast-iron skillet; the dark meat gets a jumpstart from its proximity to the super-hot pan, allowing everything to finish at the same time.
Wild-Mushroom Skillet Pizza
Greg's Campfire Breakfast Hash
Cast-iron skillets were pretty much made for campfire cooking. They can go right over the open flame, be it on an actual fire, coals, or backyard grill—try this hash over fire sometime soon.
Vinegared Pork Chop Milanese
The steady, consistent heat that a cast-iron skillet can bring is great for shallow-frying these breaded pork chops. The same skillet is later used to dress the crispy chops in a vinegar sauce right before serving.
Fruit Skillet Cake
This simple cake will highlight a wide variety of different fruits depending on the season. From strawberries in the summer to apples in the fall, what doesn't change is how easy and delicious this cake is to make.
When it comes to easy-to-cook proteins, scallops are a sure bet. The secret? A ripping hot pan and a cooking oil that can take the heat without turning your kitchen into a smoke show. A cast-iron skillet and this recipe that uses safflower oil are your ticket to perfectly-cooked scallops with a deep golden crust.
Saffron Rice and Potato Skillet Cake
Your dinner guests will flip for this skillet dish inspired by the Persian delicacy tahdig. Pile saffron-scented rice atop a layer of thinly sliced potatoes and let it cook on the stovetop. While the rice steams, the potatoes brown and crisp. Before serving, invert the mixture out of the skillet and onto a platter for a stunning presentation.
Classic Dutch Baby
The steam created by pouring the batter into a super-hot cast-iron skillet is what sends this Dutch baby to new heights. Once the pancake poofs up in the center and the edges look brown and crisp, take it out and pile on the berries and cream.
Vegetarian Enchiladas Suizas
Broiled Skillet Chicken with Leeks, Potatoes, and Spinach
Skillet Shrimp and Orzo
This one-dish dinner is inspired by Spanish paella and comes together in about 30 minutes. It puts the stovetop, oven, and broiler to work; it's a good thing a cast-iron skillet can do all three with ease.
Oven-Baked Blueberry Pancake
On those mornings when standing at the stove flipping a dozen little pancakes just isn't going to work, turn to this skillet recipe. Pop a tray of bacon in the oven to cook alongside it and serve your giant pancake in wedges with softened butter and warmed maple syrup on the side.
Gingery Pork-and-Broccoli Stir-Fry
The trick to this great stir-fry is to cook the ingredients separately over very high heat before combining them with the gingery sauce.
Skillet-Fried Trout with Herbs and Tomatoes
Here's a great recipe to call on when camping—a cast-iron skillet can be put over a campfire or backyard grill and cook whole pieces of trout to perfection.
Chocolate Brownie Spoon Bread
A small cast-iron skillet is used for this irresistible chocolate spoon bread that features a crackly crust and pudding-like interior.
Roast Beef with Shallots
As the beef roast cooks in the oven, its drippings go right on top of a sizzling bed of shallots and are the start of a delicious pan sauce.
Squash Hash with Kale and Baked Eggs
In this case, a healthy start to the day begins in a cast-iron skillet, where squash and carrots are sautéed with kale and cilantro to make a hash. Eggs baked sunny-side-up complete this picture of health.
Grilled Gruyère Sandwich with Onion Jam
This fancy grilled cheese is a little like French onion soup in sandwich form. As the Gruyère cheese and onion jam filling melt on the inside, the outside is being crisped up in a cast-iron skillet until golden brown.
Spicy Fried Rice with Chiles, Ginger, Garlic, and Soy
A large cast iron skillet that is well-seasoned is perfect for a quick dinner like this fried rice; its surface stays extra hot as you work in batches to pan-fry thinly sliced pork and veggies like carrots and onion. A fiery sauce of chile paste, ginger, garlic, and soy sauce is added near the end to season every bite.