Cast iron pots and pans have so many benefits and are a wonderful (and inexpensive) addition to any kitchen. They are naturally nonstick, virtually indestructible, easy to clean, and they hold the heat very well. If properly taken care of, cast iron can last for generations. Once you get the hang of using them I have no doubt they will become some of your most favorite pieces, I absolutely love mine.
The two most common kinds of cast iron that you can purchase are seasoned cast iron and enamel coated cast iron. The seasoned cast iron pans are coated in oil and then heated to a specific temperature in order to create a naturally nonstick cooking surface. The enameled cast iron pans are offered in an array of vibrant, beautiful colors. These colors are created by a process in which a glass particulate called “frit” is applied to the cookware, the cookware is then fired in extreme temperatures where the frit transforms into a smooth porcelain. This process bonds the porcelain to the cast iron creating a very smooth nonstick cooking surface.
Both options are excellent choices and offer certain benefits however, in my opinion I think that the seasoned cast iron pans have a slight edge. For acidic foods I always prefer to use my enameled cast iron but for all of my other cooking and baking, I always grab my seasoned cast iron pots and pans. For starters, they are far more inexpensive than their enameled counterpart. Enameled cast iron pots and pans can run you hundreds of dollars, especially if you invest in some of the big name brands such as Le Creuset or Staub. The seasoned cast iron is also more durable, over time you might find that the enameled cast iron chips or stains. Lastly, I find that with repeated use, the seasoned cast iron actually has a better nonstick surface. The one drawback to the seasoned cast iron, which can easily be avoided, is that it can (and will) rust if not taken care of properly. The good news is though, even if you end up with a little rust on your cast iron it’s something that is correctable.
I highly recommend taking a look into the Lodge Cast Iron line of pots and pans. They are very affordable, excellent quality, and they even offer a line of enameled cast iron pots and pans that are far less money and of equal quality as the more expensive name brands. I usually purchase my Lodge products on Amazon as they almost always offer the best price. Below is one of my most favorite and useful pieces, their 12″ frying pan. It’s such a great and versatile piece, you can make everything from eggs to chicken to apple crisps in it. If you own even just one piece of cast iron in your kitchen, this should be the one!
For those that are new to cooking with and caring for cast iron check out this great video below from the Tasty YouTube channel. It offers some great advice and will get you off on the right foot with cast iron. So many people think cooking with cast iron is hard and requires a lot of work but this video will show you just how easy it really is. Once you go cast iron, you’ll never want to go back. Enjoy!