15 Cast Iron Mistakes You’re Making Based on Myths

Cast iron cookware has stood the test of time, cherished for its remarkable durability and versatility in the kitchen. However, numerous myths and misconceptions about its care and use abound. From misguided cleaning methods to unfounded fears about what you can cook, these myths can do more harm than good, potentially damaging your beloved skillets.

Let’s debunk 15 common cast iron myths, clear the air, and help you make the most of this kitchen staple without the misinformation holding you back.

Myth: You should never wash cast iron with soap

The finished bratwurst and sauerkraut skillet ready to serve.
Photo Credit: The Peasant’s Daughter.

Truth: Washing cast iron with a mild dish soap is okay. Modern soaps are gentle and won’t strip the seasoning off a well-seasoned skillet as old lye-based soaps did.

Myth: You can’t use metal utensils on cast iron

Cast iron pots and pans and other kitchen things.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Truth: Using metal utensils on cast iron is generally fine. It’s sturdy enough to handle metal spatulas or spoons without damaging the seasoning, though excessive scraping should be avoided.

Myth: Cast iron skillets are completely nonstick

Cheese cooked in cast iron.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Truth: While a well-seasoned cast iron skillet has nonstick properties, it’s not completely nonstick-like manufactured nonstick surfaces. It still requires some oil to cook foods without sticking.

Myth: You should heat up cast iron slowly to prevent warping

Salmon and greens cooking.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Truth: Cast iron is very durable and can handle varying temperatures. However, avoid placing a cold skillet on a very hot burner as extreme and rapid temperature changes could potentially cause warping.

Myth: Cast iron skillets distribute heat evenly

Sauerkraut added to cast iron skillet with other ingredients.
Photo Credit: The Peasant’s Daughter.

Truth: Cast iron actually retains heat very well but doesn’t distribute it as evenly as materials like aluminum. It’s best to allow the skillet to heat thoroughly by preheating it for a few minutes.

Myth: You need to season your cast iron after every use

Cast iron pots and pans.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Truth: It’s not necessary to season your skillet after every use. Regular cooking and proper cleaning will maintain the seasoning. Re-seasoning is only required if food starts to stick or after deep cleaning.

Myth: You should soak cast iron in water to clean it

Stacked cast iron pans.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Truth: Soaking cast iron in water can lead to rust. It’s best to wash it promptly after use and thoroughly dry it before storing.

Myth: Rust on cast iron means it’s ruined

Pepper cooking.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Truth: Rust doesn’t mean cast iron is ruined. Small amounts of rust can be scrubbed off and the pan re-seasoned to restore its surface.

Myth: Cast iron works well on high heat settings

Three rouladen added to the other prepped ingredients.
Photo Credit: The Peasant’s Daughter.

Truth: While cast iron can handle high heat, cooking with it on high settings can cause foods to burn due to its excellent heat retention. Medium to medium-high heat is sufficient for most cooking tasks.

Myth: Store cast iron with the lid on

Food in cast iron.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Truth: Storing cast iron with the lid on can trap moisture and lead to rust. It’s better to store it in a dry place with the lid off or with a paper towel inside to absorb any excess moisture.

Myth: You should never cook acidic foods in cast iron

The finished bratwurst and sauerkraut skillet ready to serve.
Photo Credit: The Peasant’s Daughter.

Truth: Cooking acidic foods like tomatoes or lemon juice in cast iron can be done but should be limited, especially in newly seasoned skillets. Acidic foods can break down the seasoning over time, but occasional cooking won’t ruin your skillet.

And speaking of acidic foods, you should try my bratwurst and sauerkraut recipe from the picture.

Myth: Cast iron is too heavy to be useful for everyday cooking

Tomatoes in cast iron.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Truth: While cast iron is heavier than other materials like aluminum or stainless steel, its weight contributes to its ability to retain heat and cook food evenly. Many find the results well worth the extra weight.

Myth: You should always cook over low heat with cast iron

Cast iron pan.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Truth: Cast iron can be used over a range of temperatures, including high heat. It’s excellent for searing meats and frying due to its heat retention. The key is to heat it gradually and give it time to reach the desired temperature evenly.

Myth: Cast iron is difficult to maintain

Pasta and meat in cast iron.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Truth: Cast iron does require a bit of extra care compared to non-stick pans, but its maintenance routine is straightforward once you get the hang of it. Regular cooking, proper cleaning, and occasional seasoning keep it in great shape.

Myth: Cast iron is expensive

Eggs in cast iron pot.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Truth: Cast iron is generally very affordable compared to high-end cookware made from other materials. It’s also incredibly durable, making it a cost-effective investment over time.

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