From saucepans and dutch ovens to skillets and frying pans, enameled cast iron needs tender loving care. Here’s the ultimate guide to cooking with and caring for this stick resistant wonder.
While stainless steel, carbon steel and other styles of cookware have their place in the kitchen, enameled cast iron offers a number of advantages.
To start, the material is super easy to clean. Thanks to its slick enameled coating, food won’t stick, burn or crust onto the surface. Also, unlike traditional cast iron, the enameled version doesn’t require seasoning, so maintenance is a breeze.
Health-conscious cooks also like enameled cast iron’s ability to block iron from seeping into food. This means you can even use it to cook tomatoes and other acidic ingredients that would otherwise ‘interact’ with regular cast iron.
Some other awesome benefits:
- Enameled cast iron is very durable, providing many years of dependable use
- Cookware can withstand high heat, so you can sear meat and other ingredients in it
- Cast iron maintains heat well, making it ideal for soups, chilis, stews, bread-baking, and braising.
- Since it conducts and holds heat so well, enameled cast iron is also eco-friendly
- The enameled coating is not nonstick, but also resists rusting
Strike while the iron is hot
While Made In gets ready to launch a hot new line of enameled cast iron cookware, it’s the perfect time to integrate some of these dutch-oven-inspired delights into your kitchen.
For best results and decades of stress-free cooking, follow this ultimate guide to cooking with (and caring for) enameled cast iron.
How to clean enameled cast iron
Unlike its high maintenance cousins, enameled cast iron is refreshingly easy to clean and care for. Cookware can be cleaned in your sink just like your other dishes. Use dish soap, a sponge or soft brush to thoroughly wash, then let air out or towel dry.
How to remove residue from enameled cast iron
If debris is caked onto the walls of your enameled cast iron pot or pan, there are a couple of other cleaning methods:
- Fill your vessel with water about halfway, then boil on the stovetop to loosen up stuck food
- Use a wooden spoon or similar utensil (avoid using metal) to scrape off dried foods
- To remove tough stains, mix up a solution of 1/3 bleach and 2/3 water, pour into the pot and let soak
How to prevent enameled cast iron from chipping
Enameled cast iron has very few downsides, and this is one of them. If you drop or otherwise hit the surface with a heavy object or utensil, the material is prone to scratching, chipping—and in extreme cases, cracking.
This is because the enamel coating is made of a material similar to glass. But don’t worry. We’d be lying if we said enameled cast iron is ‘fragile,’ because it’s not. Still, you want to be relatively gentle with your cookware, just as you would with any other precious tool in the kitchen.
Here are some basic tips for keeping your pots and pans in pristine condition:
- Avoid using metal utensils if you’re stirring, scraping, or otherwise working aggressively within the pot; stick to wooden spoons, plastic spatulas, and the like
- Never preheat your pot on the stovetop; instead, always ensure food or liquid ingredients are placed inside first prior to introducing direct heat
- When using very high temperatures, stick to liquid-heavy meals—like stews, soups, etc.
- Avoid drastically changing temperature in the pot; just like glass, going from room temperature to scorching hot (or freezing cold) could cause cracking
How to store enameled cast iron
Part of the reason why enameled cast iron is so resilient is due to its thick, weighty composition. This inherent heaviness can make it tricky to store multiple pots and pans, as it’s not safe to stack them.
Since it’s so beautiful, consider displaying your enameled cast iron cookware on a shelf or pot rack. When storing inside a cabinet with other equipment, always use something soft as a buffer (especially when stacking). You can use rubber trivets, dishtowels, bubble wrap or other padding. This will help prevent scratching.
The dos and don’ts of enameled cast iron
As you can see, caring for enameled cast iron is pretty simple. Remember the following tips to enjoy your cookware for a lifetime:
- Do NOT clean enameled cast iron in the dishwasher; always clean by hand, as the dishwasher’s aggressive water action and high drying temperatures may damage it
- Avoid exposing enameled cast iron to a direct flame UNLESS food or liquid is already inside.
- Use wooden, nylon, silicone and similar utensils with your enameled cast iron cookware to PREVENT chipping
- Since it has iron at its core, enameled cast iron is magnetic, so you CAN use it on an induction cooktop, as well as gas, electric and ceramic ranges
Here’s to many years of happy Made In cooking!