Cast Iron Heats Evenly
Using cast iron makes it easier to cook a variety of dishes because iron is thick, dense metal which absorbs and conducts heat slowly and evenly. Although a cast-iron skillet takes longer to get hot after placing it on heat, it’s more likely to stay hot when you add cold ingredients. The even heating also makes it great for cooking sauces or things that may burn easily like milk or cheese. If the pan is properly manufactured, it will keep relatively the same temperature on the edges as it does in the center of the skillet – and since cast iron retains heat so well, you can also serve in it – saving you time and leaving one less dish to wash.
All-Metal Construction Means Less Pans to Wash
In addition to being able to be used as a serving vessel, cast iron skillets offer one other versatility which you may not have thought about. Since most cast-iron skillets are manufactured from a single, solid piece of metal, you can begin the cooking process on the stovetop and finish in the oven or under a broiler without having to switch to a new pot or pan – thereby saving yourself time and from having to wash another pan. Skillets that come with a tempered plastic or a wooden handle aren’t as flexible as they are limited to the stove top only and would require switching the food to bake-safe pan before switching to the oven.
Cast Iron Promotes Crisping
Not everything that comes out of a cast-iron pan is going to be crispy, but if you’re cooking something that should have a crispy or even crunchy exterior and a soft interior, cast iron is the best choice. The surface of the pan encourages food to brown and crisp better than even the most expensive non-stick skillet on the market. Even a brand-new, freshly seasoned skillet can give food a crispy, delicious texture.
A Seasoned Skillet Leads to Healthier Cooking
Cook dishes with a high fat or oil content the first eight to ten times you use a new cast iron skillet. As your skillet gets more seasoned, you’ll need less fat and oil. And because the surface and metal used in your skillet will help you create a crust on foods, you won’t miss the fat. With cast iron, even your boneless, skinless chicken breast will look like browned comfort food.
The Ability to Cook on High Heat
Many non-stick and other lightweight pans cannot be used over high heat. Because the metal is thin and conducts heat quickly, they can get too hot and then cool off easily. But with cast iron, you can place your pan over high heat. You can even place your pan directly over the hot coals on a grill or over a campfire, which makes them perfect for camping.