Cast iron skillets have been around for centuries, and there is a reason why they are still popular today. Cast iron cookware offers some unique benefits that you can't find with other materials. However, there are also some disadvantages to using cast iron.
In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of cast iron skillets so that you can decide if this type of cookware is right for you.
The Benefits of Cast Iron Cookware
1 - Cast iron skillets are durable
Chances are, you've seen some old cast iron cookware that has been passed down through generations.
That's because cast iron is incredibly durable and can last for many years with proper care. in fact, because of the way the seasoning works, cast iron cookware actually gets better with age.
If you are looking for cookware that will last a lifetime, cast iron is a great option. With proper seasoning and care, your cast iron skillet could be passed down to your children or grandchildren. No joke!
So if you are looking for something that will last a long time, cast iron is a great choice.
2 - Cast iron cookware is affordable
Another great benefit of cast iron cookware is that it is very affordable. You can find good quality cast iron skillets for around $30-$40.
Compare that to other materials like stainless steel or copper pans which can easily cost $100 or more, and you can see why cast iron is such a great value.
So if you are on a budget, or just want to get the most bang for your buck, cast iron is a great option.
3 - Cast iron can be made nonstick
One of the most common complaints I hear about cast iron is that it can be difficult to get food to release from the surface.
However, this is not necessarily true. With proper seasoning, a cast iron skillet can be made nonstick.
Seasoning is simply the process of coating the skillet with oil and then heating it until the oil polymerizes. This creates a nonstick barrier between your food and the pan.
Seasoning your cast iron skillet is easy to do and only takes a few minutes. Once you've done it, you'll be able to cook all kinds of foods in your skillet without any sticking issues.
So if you are worried about food sticking to your pan, don't be. With a little seasoning, you can make your cast iron skillet nonstick, or at least more nonstick than a stainless steel pan.
4 - Cast iron pans have great heat retention
Another great benefit of cast iron cookware is that it has excellent heat retention. This means that once your pan is heated, it will stay hot for a long time.
This is great for cooking things like steaks or burgers because you can get a nice sear on the outside without overcooking the inside.
So, if you're looking for cookware that will help you create perfectly cooked food, cast iron is a great option.
5 - It can add some iron to your food
According to a recent review, eating food cooked in a cast-iron skillet significantly increased the amount of dietary iron in the blood in certain cases.
While this is not a reason to switch to cast iron cookware if you don't already love it, it is an interesting benefit that you might not be aware of.
If you are looking for a way to increase the amount of iron in your diet, cooking with cast iron could be a good option.
So, those are some of the benefits of using cast iron cookware. As you can see, there are many reasons why you might want to consider switching to cast iron.
Now let's take a look at some of the disadvantages.
Disadvantages of Cast Iron Cookware
While there are many benefits to using cast iron cookware, there are also some disadvantages that you should be aware of.
Let's take a look at some of the most common complaints about cast iron so that you can decide if it is the right choice for you.
1 - It can be heavy
One of the most common complaints about cast iron skillets is that they can be quite heavy. Cast iron pans usually weigh around five pounds or more.
While some people don't mind the weight, others find it to be a bit too much. If you are worried about the weight, consider getting one with a helper handle. This will make it easier to lift and move around.
Because most cast iron pans are big and heavy, it's also essential to have a big enough sink to clean it. Try to pick a pan that's the right size for your needs and not any bigger.
2 - Cast iron handles can get hot
Another downside of cast iron cookware is that the handles can get quite hot. This is because the entire pan retains heat, including the handles.
So if you are cooking with cast iron, be sure to use oven mitts or towels to protect your hands from the heat.
Some people find this to be a bit of a nuisance, but it's really not that big of a deal. Just be sure to use caution when handling your cast iron skillet, and you'll be fine.
3 - Cleaning cast iron skillets can be a chore
A seasoned cast iron pan will usually be easier to clean than something like a stainless steel pan.
Still, it can be a bit of a pain to clean if you don't do it right. You need to be careful not to use too much soap, or you will strip the seasoning from your pan. If you do need to use soap, be sure to rinse it well and dry it thoroughly before using it again.
You should also avoid cleaning your cast iron skillet in the dishwasher. The harsh detergents can damage the seasoning on your pan.
4 - Cast iron doesn't conduct heat well
This may seem to contradict the earlier point about cast iron having great heat retention. However, retention and conduction are two different things.
Without getting into too many boring details, it has to do with the way that different materials conduct heat. Some materials (like aluminum) are great at conducting heat but not so good at retaining it. Other materials (like cast iron) are good at retaining heat but not so good at conducting it.
So, if you're using a small burner, you might want to consider using a material like aluminum instead of cast iron.
Of course, this is only an issue if you're using a small burner. If you're cooking on a large grill or over an open fire, this probably won't be an issue for you.
Conclusion: Cast Iron Cookware Pros & Cons
As you can see, there are both advantages and disadvantages to using cast iron cookware.
It's important to weigh the pros and cons carefully before deciding if cast iron is right for you.
If you do decide to use cast iron, be sure to season it properly and take care of it so that it will last for many years. With proper care, your cast iron skillet can last a lifetime.
Cast iron skillets are a great option for those who are looking for a way to increase the amount of iron in their diet. However, there are some disadvantages that you should be aware of before making the switch to cast iron cookware Be sure to consider the pros and cons carefully before decide if this cooking method is right for you.