1. Sweet, sticky, and delicious desserts
The depth of a standard cast-iron skillet may seem like it’s made for multi-layered desserts, but its textured surface simply can’t handle items that are particularly sticky. What’s worse is that your delectably sweet dessert might just end up taking on the savory seasoning of the skillet. Certainly not how we like our desserts to taste!
2. Tomato sauce
…or any other acid-packed sauces, for that matter.
Who doesn’t love a long-simmered tomato sauce made with love? Unfortunately, cast iron doesn’t share the same warm and fuzzies about tomatoes. As tomatoes break down, metallic flavors from the pan will leech out into the sauce. Yum! The good news is that those iron-y notes don’t start to arrive until around the 30-minute mark, so long as you’re not cooking tomatoes in your cast iron pan for an extended period of time, you should be able to avoid a metallic sauce. But just to be on the safe side, we always break out the stainless steel when we’re in the mood for marinara — you should, too.
Unless your cast-iron skillet has a proven track record of having omelets literally SLIDE off of it, then viscous eggs don’t belong anywhere near it!
Once your pan is well-seasoned, no problem at all. But when your pan is new, even though it’s seasoned, sticky things like eggs still may present a problem. Unless you like brown eggs and a gunky pan, relegate them to a regular nonstick pan for a while.
4. Fried rice
Though many traditional fried rice recipes DO call for the use of a cast-iron skillet, it’s just not the best advice to follow. You see, rice tends to stick to surfaces, which means that over time, it will start compromising the integrity of the seasoned skillet’s surface.
Cooking fried rice in it may give you some immediate gratification, but if you have hopes of passing down your own cast-iron wonder one day, it’s best to use a wok instead!
5. Delicate fish
Cast iron can be a fantastic surface on which to cook a piece of fish. Durable swimmers like swordfish, tuna, mahi mahi and wahoo achieve a beautiful crust when cooked on hot cast iron. Even slightly thinner fish, such as catfish and trout, often hold up well. But the most delicate fish — sole, flounder, and even salmon — all have the tendency to stick. High heat transfer is essential to ensuring that foods release easily from their cooking surface, and since cast iron is a relatively poor conductor of heat, delicate fillets can easily break apart when you attempt to flip them. Instead, try carbon steel.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on these cast-iron “no-nos!” Were you surprised by any of the items on this list? Do you know of any other meals you shouldn’t cook in the skillet? Do you have any tips for preserving cast-iron skillets?