6 Uses for Cast Iron Skillets

Whether your Cast Iron Skillet is collecting dust or you’re a Cast Iron pro, get the most out of your skillet with the following recommendations.

By Sasha Weilbaker
Feb 16, 2023
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Known for its naturally non stick surface and ability to perform as a workhorse in the kitchen, the Cast Iron Skillet is one item with unlimited uses. With its tolerance for extremely high heat, cast iron can be used both on the stovetop and in the oven, making it a phenomenal tool for baking, stovetop meals, and dishes that require an oven finish.

Our team put together a guide to 6 common uses for Cast Iron Skillets that will revolutionize the way you use the tool. Let’s get into it.

What Is Cast Iron?

cast iron skillet white

Cast iron is an alloy formed of iron and steel. Because it’s so strong, it’s prized as a construction material for highly durable cookware built to last lifetimes. While shopping for a cast iron skillet, you’ll likely come across two different kinds: Enameled cast iron and unfinished cast iron.

Both unfinished cast iron and enameled cast iron are crafted from a solid cast iron core, but the latter is coated with a thin layer of enamel. This coating covers the metal’s pores, creating a smoother cooking surface, protecting the material from rust, and rendering seasoning useless.

6 Best Uses for a Cast Iron Skillet

cast iron skillet food

Cast iron skillets are beloved for their ability to do it all in the kitchen. Below are just a few suggestions for how to use your skillet, whether you’re cooking for one at home or for a group  over a campfire.


Because cast iron is oven safe, it’s a great tool for baked items that require an oven finish. As the material retains heat evenly, it’s an excellent choice for dishes that require high heat, as baked goods often do. Try using cast iron to bake doughy skillet cookies, fluffy cornbread, or tasty skillet pies.

Many swear by baking bread in a Dutch Oven, as the lid traps moisture and effectively mimics the commercial steam ovens professional bakeries use to maximize rise and crispy crust.

Cooking Tortillas

With thick walls that can handle high heat evenly and effectively, cast iron skillets are a favorite for those who make tortillas at home. Their thick, heat-retentive construction allows them to operate like comals, the griddle-like cooking surfaces traditionally used for making tortillas. Unlike, say, aluminum pans, Cast Iron’s ability to heat evenly at extremely high temperatures are a necessity when preparing multiple batches of uniform tortillas.

One-Pan Meals

Whether you’re cooking for one or prefer to keep dishes to the minimum, cast iron skillets are perfect for creating delicious one-pan meals. This is especially true for dishes that require an oven-finish, like shakshuka or braised chicken, or starters like queso fundido.

Open-Fire Cooking

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as campfire cooking. And with the amount of gear needed for most camp meals, it’s helpful to be able to pack a versatile tool you already have at home.

Cast iron skillets are widely known for their ability to withstand the high temperatures of a campfire—this was a common use for the first iteration of these pans on the frontier. As the material is forgiving, durable, and versatile, it’s perfect for camp meals. Popular campfire meals to try on your next camping trip include frittatas, breakfast hash, and filling for burritos or tacos.

Roasting Proteins

One of the easiest, most reliable methods of preparing meat, roasting requires even heat that allows the surface of the meat to brown. If you don’t have a Roasting Pan handy, cast iron skillets are often the preferred tool for roasting, as they’re large enough to accommodate generous cuts of meat (like chicken), while heating evenly in the oven.

Searing Meat

It’s no surprise that cast iron’s high heat tolerance makes it a great tool for searing meat. When preheated correctly, a cast iron skillet provides the even heat needed to caramelize the natural sugars in the meat (also known as the Maillard reaction), creating a delicious, juicy steak, pork, or chicken breast.

Ready to Shop?

Cast iron skillets are a must-have for both their durability, versatility around the kitchen, and easy maintenance. For those looking to up their cast iron game, check out our Enameled Cast Iron Collection below.