1. Holds Heat
Made of heavy, dense metal, cast iron heats slowly and then holds its heat, unlike thinner pans such as aluminum, in which heat can fluctuate when food is added.
TIP: Try cooking a stir-fry in cast iron. Because the pan heats up hot like a wok and holds its temperature, food cooks quickly and evenly.
2. Is Versatile
Cast iron is oven-safe, so cook in it on your stovetop or use for baking.
TIP: Cornbread is wonderful when baked in cast iron. Preheat the pan as the oven warms, and then pour in the batter. The result: a crunchy, golden crust.
3. Lasts for Decades
Cast-iron pans are extremely durable if well cared for.
TIP: It’s best to clean cast iron right after use while the pan is still warm: Wash by hand in hot water with a sponge or stiff brush. A little bit of soap is fine, too. Rinse, and dry the pan over low heat on the stovetop.
4. Has Health Benefits
If your cast-iron pan is well seasoned, you can cook with less oil because the pan is already coated. You also get a bit of iron in your food from the pan, particularly if you’re cooking more acidic foods like tomatoes.
TIP: To season cast iron, heat oven to 350°. After washing and drying the pan, use a cloth or paper towel to apply a thin coat of cooking oil (vegetable, olive, coconut or flaxseed work well) to the inside and outside of the pan. Place pan upside down on oven’s center rack with aluminum foil underneath to catch any drips. Bake for an hour.