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Dec 2, 2007 07:44 PM

iron skillet recipes

I've always wanted an iron skillet but since receiving two as wedding presents(a 10" and a 5"), I don't really know what to make in them. What dishes do you bring out the iron skillet for? Any ideas on things that are just not the same without an iron skillet? I can't wait to try all your ideas, thanks in advance!

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  1. I'm sure you're going to get a lot of input on this; folks are passionate about their cast iron! Just to name a few...bacon, corn bread, biscuits, upside down cake, upside down apple pie, fried chicken (or anything, it keeps the heat stable) sauteing things, rice dishes like hoppin john or dirty rice. I have actually made most things in cast iron except for tomato sauces or things deglazed with wine. I like enameled cast iron also.
    It's great for roasting vegetables or small chicken. I've cooked a lot of fish fillets in it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: WCchopper

      Isn't using tomato sauce in a cast iron skillet a good way to up your daily iron intake? In fact in home ec class many moons ago we learned to make spaghetti sauce in the cast iron pan.

      There isn't much I don't use mine for, but it is especially good for sauteeing meats, quick cooking veggies (stir fry type action). The one thing I don't use if for is pancakes and scrambled eggs, I like the nonstick pan for that. I do like it for fried eggs, though.

      I've got a 30-year old Wagner 10-inch skillet which is so well seasoned that it's ugly. We even used to take it camping.

    2. Iron Skillet Baked Potatoes

      4 Tbsp cooking oil
      1/4 tsp dried rosemary
      1/8 tsp seasoning salt
      3 or 4 medium size potatoes, sliced length wise

      These potatoes are baked, cut side down in a cast iron skillet. This
      results in a potato with a slightly golden brown crust on the cut side and
      a delicious, roasted flavor.

      In a room temperature, cast iron skillet, add the oil and spread evenly over bottom. Sprinkle rosemary and seasoning salt evenly over the oil.
      Scrub and dry the potatoes. Leave potato skins on. Cut potatoes in half, lengthwise, through widest part of potato. Place potatoes, cut side down, one layer deep in
      bottom of cast iron skillet. Press down on potatoes so that the cut side is coated in oil. Place cold skillet of potatoes in cold oven. Set oven to 400F. and bake for 45-minutes. At end of cooking time, pierce with fork to test for doneness. Potatoes can be served with sour cream, grated cheese, etc.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Antilope

        Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

        A Pineapple Upside-Down Cake is a layered cake that is baked in a cast
        iron skillet. After baking it is turned out (right-side up) onto a plate.
        The layers consist of a yellow cake made with some pineapple juice, topped
        with brown sugar and butter and pineapple rings with maraschino cherries.

        1/2- cup butter (1-cube, 1/4-lb)
        1-1/2 cup brown sugar
        1 (20 ounce) can sliced pineapple rings - reserve liquid
        7 to 10 maraschino cherries - without stems
        1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
        3 eggs
        1-1/3 cup water / pineapple juice from above can
        1/3 cup cooking oil

        Preheat oven to 350 F. In an 11-inch cast iron skillet on the stove-top,
        over medium high heat, melt 1/4-pound of butter. Remove from heat.
        Sprinkle 1-1/2 cup of brown sugar evenly to cover melted butter. If
        needed, even out layer of brown sugar with a fork. Arrange pineapple
        rings around the bottom of the skillet, on top of the brown sugar, one
        layer deep. You will probably end up with six pineapple rings around the
        edge of the skillet and one in the middle. Reserve pineapple juice from

        Place a maraschino cherry in the center hole of each pineapple ring. In a
        2- cup measuring cup , mix pineapple juice from can with enough cold water
        to make 1-1/3- cup of liquid. In a large mixing bowl, mix at low speed
        until moistened, 1 (18.25-oz) box of yellow cake mix, 3 eggs, 1-1/3 cup of
        water/pineapple juice and 1/3- cup of cooking oil. When cake mix
        ingredients are moistened, mix on medium speed for 2- minutes. Pour the
        yellow cake mix batter over the pineapple/cherry layer in skillet. Place
        skillet in oven, on center rack, and bake for 45-55-minutes or until a
        cake tester inserted in the center of cake comes out clean. Remove from
        oven, place a plate over skillet and carefully turn cake out onto the
        plate immediately. If you wait until later to turn out cake, the brown
        sugar layer will stick in the skillet.

        1. re: Antilope

          Great idea- I love my cast iron, and cook home fries all the time. Never thought to use for a baked potato. Will definitely try this one!

        2. As said above, cornbread and upside down cake (we had a ton of figs this year and they made some great cake). Also, it is indispensable for blackening. Steaks can also been done very nicely in a cast iron pan, provided your stovetop can get hot enough. Some of the best New York Strip steaks that I have ever prepared were done in a cast iron skillet; be sure to finish with a little butter.

          8 Replies
          1. re: frankiii

            For steak in the cast iron skillet, do I need to add any oil?

            1. re: yamalam

              Depends on the steak. If it is well marbled with fat then no; the fat will render and you don't need to add extra. If it is on the lean side you may want to add a bit of oil to get things going.

              1. re: JockY

                If you do use oil, rub it on the steak. If you put it directly in the pan, odds are it will burn.

                I dont think i've ever put oil on my steaks. I tend to make ribeyes, hanger steak, skirt steak. The only steak I think might need to be oiled would be a filet mignon, but since I dont like it, I've never cooked it.

                1. re: ESNY

                  Instead of adding oil, you can just rub any fatty edges of the steak or chops around in the hot pan. That renders just enough of the fat to ensure no sticking if the pan is less than fully seasoned.

              2. re: yamalam

                You really should let the pan get super hot over a high flame for 10 minutes or so before you add the steak. If it is hot enough, you wont need to add any oil

                1. re: frankiii

                  I agree - Suzanne Goin's recipe for cooking steak in cast iron pan calls for heating it for 8 minutes.

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    Putting a layer of salt and/or pepper in the pan, or on the steak itself, will help it to release, and, of course, in a super hot pan, it will release when it has seared enough.


                    1. re: violabratsche

                      I have since made ribeyes, new york strips and a porterhouse in my cast iron...delicious!!!!!! Mmm, the seared crust...I'll never do it any other way. Now I just need another to make the skillet baked potato at the same time. Thanks for the input.

            2. Custardy cornbread was a family favorite when I was a kid. It's sort of halfway between cornbread and spoonbread. We ate it with butter and honey.


              1. Don't forget WHY not acidic foods in your cast iron. We have discussed this before, here, and I stand by my experience, although some disagreed, that tomato sauces turn a strange colour cooked in cast iron, and wine, vinegar or lemon juice tend to strip the seasoning from the pan.


                2 Replies
                  1. re: yamalam

                    'No deglazing' is an overstatement. I deglaze my cast iron pans all the time; they are well-seasoned, and if I use wine it does strip a bit of the seasoning off, but it's nothing a good batch of bacon next time around can't take care of. Or use stock or water to deglaze.

                    I use cast iron for just about everything; never had the experience of tomato sauce turning a strange color (what color does it turn, by the way?)