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What Are the Benefits of Cast Iron Pans?

Cast iron pans can be used in the oven, such as when baking skillet cornbread.
Some people will sell cast iron cookware at garage sales.
A cast iron skillet.
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  • Written By: Marisa O'Connor
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 21 August 2014
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There are many benefits of cast iron pans. These pans are cost effective, durable, and long-lasting. They also cook food evenly, act as a source of iron in the food being prepared, and are extremely versatile. Cast iron cookware has stood the test of time and continues to be a kitchen staple.

One major benefit of cast iron pans is their unique cooking ability. Cast iron is an ideal heat conductor. Unlike steel and aluminum pans, cast iron heats the cooking surface evenly and consistently. Other kinds of pans tend to heat unevenly and therefore cook food unevenly. Many professional cooks depend on cast iron cookware for precise control of cooking temperature.

Cast iron pans are also highly sought after because of their longevity. With a little bit of care, a cast iron skillet, grill, or pan can outlast its owner. These pans are often passed down as family heirlooms because of their ability to maintain quality generation after generation. They are incredibly durable. It is very difficult to cause any permanent damage to a cast iron pan.

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Cast iron pans stand apart from other cookware in that they supply nutritional benefits. Iron is an essential nutrient in the human diet. Small amounts of iron are absorbed from the cast iron pan into food while cooking, thus adding extra nutrients. More iron is absorbed in acidic foods, such as tomato sauce. Cast iron can also be a valuable asset to a no-fat or low-fat diet. When properly seasoned, these pans don't require any cooking oils or added fats.

Cost value is another significant benefit of cast iron pans. A good quality cast iron pan can be purchased for $20 to $30 US Dollars (USD). The durability and longevity of these pans contributes to the value of the used cast iron cookware market. It is fairly common to find decent or worn cast iron pans at a garage sale for a discount, but don't be fooled by a worn appearance. With some scrubbing and seasoning, just about any cast iron pan can be restored for many more years of use.

Seasoned and properly cared for cast iron pans are nonstick. Many people believe the quality of the nonstick surface of cast iron cookware surpasses the expensive, manufactured nonstick pans. They also won't crack or peal like manufactured nonstick pans because of cast iron's superior heat absorption capability. Seasoned cast iron cookware is widely available, but some people prefer to season their own pans. Seasoning instructions can be found with a quick Internet search.

Another benefit of cast iron pans is versatility. These pans can be used for almost any kind of cooking. Scrambled eggs are a breeze on the nonstick surface. The heat capacity is great for browning meats as well as deep or shallow frying. The cast iron can also be transferred from the stove top directly to the oven for baking.

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Discuss this Article

anon191485
Post 3

My mother has two cast iron skillets that are both well over 50 years old. She uses one exclusively for cornbread, and would kill me or my sister if we used it for anything else.

My husband has managed to burn the seasoning out of my Lodge Logic skillet at least three times, necessitating a re-seasoning. Still, I love my cast iron skillet. They are nearly indestructible and I'd fight to keep mine!

HappyDay45
Post 2

@BreeZee - There actually has been at least one study on how much iron is absorbed from cast iron pans during the cooking process. It depends on things like how acidic the food is, how long it is cooked, how much it is stirred, and how much surface contact there is.

One thing interesting they did find is that older pans give off less iron than newer ones. Since there seems to be a bigger problem with people having low iron rather than people getting too much iron, I would think you are safe. But you might want to ask your doctor or other health care adviser.

By the way, another benefit of cast iron pans is that they can be used in the oven. Dutch Baby Pancake is a delicious recipe that is baked in the oven. Using a cast iron pan is the best utensil for this in my opinion. Just be sure you don’t forget the hot pads!

BreeZee22
Post 1

I have an old cast iron skillet that was my grandmother’s. I have been enjoying using it, but I wonder if it is possible to get too much iron from using it? I usually cook with it three or four times per week.

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