There are a lot of myths out there about cast iron cookware. Some people think that you can't use metal utensils in cast iron, or that if a pan rusts, it's ruined.
Others believe that cast iron is unbreakable, or that it doesn't need to be seasoned if it comes pre-seasoned. In this blog post, we're going to debunk all of those myths and explain why they're not true!
We'll also discuss some other common misconceptions about cast iron skillets. So, read on to learn more about this amazing type of cookware as we disprove these cast iron myths once and for all!
Myth 1: Cast iron pans are expensive
While this can certainly be true, especially for high-end brands of cast iron cookware, it doesn't have to be the case. There are many cheaper alternatives, and you can often find solid, high-quality cast iron pans for under $40.
Add to that the fact that a good cast-iron pan can last a lifetime, and you'll see why this belief is just plain false. Cast iron pans are very affordable.
Myth 2: You can't use cast iron on a glass top stove
This is another myth that's simply not true. You can absolutely use cast iron cookware on a glass top stove. In fact, many people prefer to do so. The only difference is that it may take longer to heat up a cast iron pan on a glass top stove.
Still, that's not to say there's no risk of scratching or cracking the surface. So if you're going to use cast iron on a glass top stove, be careful when moving it around the stove, especially if it's a heavy skillet.
Otherwise, there's no reason why you can't use cast iron cookware on a glass top stove. It's perfectly safe and will work just fine. If you'd like a list of the best cast iron skillets for glass top stoves, read our full article on that topic here.
Myth 3: There's no such thing as a non-stick cast iron skillet
This one is actually half-true. While it is possible to season a cast iron skillet or buy one that's pre-seasoned, it's not possible to create a truly non-stick surface.
However, if you season your cast iron skillet properly, you can create a surface that's pretty close to non-stick. And with proper care, that seasoning can last for months or even years.
You can have a super nonstick cast iron skillet that's been reseasoned for years - after all, the longer a cast iron pan is used, the better the seasoning becomes - and it still won't be at the same level as a Teflon nonstick pan.
Of course, there are benefits to having a cast iron pan over a traditional nonstick Teflon pan, most notably of which is the lower risk of negative health effects.
So while you can't get a truly non-stick cast iron skillet, you can certainly get one that's close enough for most purposes.
Myth 4: You can clean cast iron in the dishwasher
Putting a cast iron skillet in the dishwasher is a big no-no. The dishwasher is much too harsh for cast iron and will strip away the seasoning, leaving the pan vulnerable to rust and corrosion.
It's also just not necessary to clean cast iron in the dishwasher. A little warm water and occasionally soap is all you need to clean a cast iron skillet. Just be sure to rinse it well and dry it completely before putting it away.
Yes, we said soap. About that...
Myth 5: You should NEVER wash cast iron with soap
This isn't true. You can wash cast iron with soap, although you shouldn't do it all the time.
Soap is fine for occasional use, but if you use it too often, it will strip away the seasoning on the pan. That's why it's best to reserve soap for those times when you really need it, like when you're cleaning a particularly dirty skillet or one that's been left with dry food in it overnight.
Otherwise, just use warm water to clean your cast iron skillet.
Myth 6: Cast iron is unbreakable
Cast iron cookware, while durable, is quite fragile and can break if dropped or banged against something hard.
Take care not to drop or bang your cast iron skillet, and be especially careful with glass or ceramic stovetops.
Myth 7: If a cast iron skillet rusts, it's finished
This is yet another myth that's half-true. Rust will damage a cast iron skillet. Cast iron is a metal that does not like water - that's why you should always dry your skillet thoroughly after cleaning it.
But a bit of rust is not the end of the world. If your cast iron skillet does rust, don't panic. Just scrub it off with steel wool and some coarse salt.
Once the rust is gone, rinse the skillet well and dry it completely. Then put it back on the stove and re-season it.
To keep it from getting rusted, never leave a cast iron pan wet, and make sure to re-season it every few months at least.
Myth 8: You don't need to season a pre-seasoned pan
The truth is, you should always season your cast iron skillet, even if it's pre-seasoned.
The factory seasoning is usually not enough to create a truly non-stick surface, and it will wear off quickly with use. So it's always a good idea to season your cast iron pan again.
That's not to say there's no benefit at all to buying a pre-seasoned pan. A factory seasoned cast iron skillet will have a better seasoning than one you season yourself, at least at first.
But over time, the seasoning on a cast iron skillet that you've seasoned yourself will be just as good - if not better - than a factory seasoning.
Myth 9: You can season a cast iron skillet with nonstick spray
You shouldn't use nonstick spray to season your cast iron pan.
There can be toxic chemicals in these sprays, including lead, PTFE, PFOA, and butane. When heated, these chemicals can release harmful fumes.
Nonstick spray seasonings like PAM can also break down the seasoning of your skillet, exposing it to rust. In addition, you can't heat nonstick spray to the same temperature as oil, and it leaves a sticky residue on your pan and food.
So, long story short, it's best to avoid using nonstick spray on your cast iron skillet. Instead, season it with oil or fat. We recommend grapeseed, olive, or walnut oil.
Myth 10: You can't use metal utensils in cast iron skillets
This is not true. You can use metal utensils in cast iron. Some people believe that using metal spatulas or forks in a cast iron skillet will scrape off the seasoning.
In reality, the seasoning of a cast iron pan isn't just a layer that's stuck-on to the cooking surface, as it is with a nonstick pan. Instead, a cast iron seasoning is chemically bonded to the metal.
So, feel free to use any utensils you like, including metal.
We hope this article has helped to clear up some of the myths about cast iron cookware. As you can see, there are a lot of misconceptions out there!
If you're new to using cast iron, don't be discouraged by the myths - just be sure to follow the proper care and seasoning instructions, and you'll be an expert in no time. Happy cooking!