Discover 101 delicious reasons to own a cast iron skillet that will make your mouth water! Easy main dishes, sides, desserts, and more!
Countless reasons make possession of cast-iron cookware an indispensable must. If you don't cook in a cast-iron skillet, are you really cooking?
Why cook in a cast-iron skillet?
For starters, it's really fun to cook with cast iron. Second, every conventional skillet or pan, and even casserole recipe, succeeds effortlessly in the cast-iron skillet.
If you've cooked with it before, you'll agree, and if you're new to cast iron, you have to trust me.
Take this popular recipe, Paprika Schnitzel, for example. The schnitzel is traditionally fried on the stovetop, then layered in a baking pan with the sauce and baked in the oven - no need for extra steps when you use a cast-iron skillet. And you only dirty one dish - it's a win-win!
Cast-iron skillets, pans, and pots have been around since ancient times. Especially fascinating about them is that you can use them with any heat source.
- They're inexpensive.
- They're incredibly versatile.
- They're virtually indestructible.
- It's easy to clean them.
- They evenly distribute heat.
- They safely go from stove to oven.
Cast-iron cookware was used without significant changes over the years. From the time when we cooked over the open fire to the era of coal and wood stoves, then to gas, electric, or ceramic stoves, and now to the present state-of-the-art induction cookers.
The old tradition and the thought of the cast-iron pots on our grandmothers' stoves make many hearts beat faster.
It is irrelevant for cast-iron cookware whether the food is directly on the bottom of the pan or three layers above it. Everything is heated equally. Once cast iron is hot, it stays that way - for a long time.
Not sure how to clean and maintain your cast-iron cookware? Check out this ultimate guide to CI care.
Image by Ernest Roy from Pixabay
Which cast-iron ware should I have?
You might be happy with just one skillet, and for beginners, that's all you need. But once you start cooking with cast iron, you'll want to expand your collection.
If you're not sure which ones to get, these are my recommendations [I own every single one]:
- 12-inch skillet - You'll get the most use from this size skillet no matter if you're cooking for a family of two or four, cooking breakfast or dinner. I know you will use it almost daily.
- Dutch oven - This pan was gifted to me and is a must-have for soups, stews, and even baking artisan bread.
- Individual skillets set - Really not necessary, but super cute for serving separate omelets, frittatas, eggs, hot dips - the sky is the limit.
- Covered casserole skillet - My newest cast-iron family member. I only wish I got it sooner. It comes with a lid, which makes it perfect for so many recipes.
- 9 qt Dutch oven - It's good to have if your family is large or you often host gatherings. I bring it out every holiday and when I'm cooking freezer meals.
Now that you're a proud owner of a cast-iron frying pan let's put it to good use and get cooking!
Here are 101 delicious recipes to make in your cast-iron skillet:
43 main dish cast-iron skillet recipes
Are you team seafood? This Seafood Paella with clams, mussels, shrimp, and chorizo is going to be your new favorite dish!
In the mood for good Southern food? This South Louisiana Shrimp Creole has that certain ‘jena se quois’ that puts it in a class all by itself, y’all. I'm in!
Here are more seafood dinners you will love:
- Ready in less than 30 minutes, a screaming hot cast iron pan is the key to Healthy Cajun-Style Charred Okra and Shrimp. The flavors of gumbo – thyme, paprika, cayenne, garlic – without the fat-laden roux.
- There are two main types of jambalaya: Creole and Cajun, with tomato base being the main difference. Check out Sally's healthy and Authentic Jambalaya Recipe.
- This gluten-free Shrimp and Grits Pizza honor the flavors and essence of its classic Southern roots while presenting the components of this time-honored favorite in a deliciously unique way.
- This Creamy Lemon Parmesan Shrimp recipe is delicious and can be ready in under 20 minutes! It’s the perfect weekday meal.
Chicken is super versatile and is often on our menu, especially when grandkids come over. We try to rotate delicious recipes from around the world and here are some fantastic cast-iron chicken recipes you'll love:
Jackie doesn't think the Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya is visually appealing, but I disagree. It's making me drool all over my screen!
Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
Also, try these chicken skillet recipes from around the world:
- Easy Authentic Pad Thai. Once you try this recipe, you will never have to order Thai food again! You can make it with seafood or tofu, or eliminate additions for a side dish.
- Who doesn't love easy meals? This Filipino Chicken Adobo Recipe makes a quick and easy low-carb dish. The meat is cooked in a tangy mix of cider vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic.
- You will love Mediterranean flavors in this Greek Lemon Chicken with Baby Potatoes and don't forget to try this One-Skillet Keto Portuguese-Style Chicken too. I love trying new flavors, so next up on my menu is this Chicken With Mint Chutney.
- If you need a last-minute dinner recipe, this 3-ingredient Apricot-Ginger Glazed Chicken is for you!
- Ever tried making lasagna in a cast-iron skillet? This turkey Skillet Lasagna is ready to eat in just over an hour. It's the perfect solution to add a new twist to an old favorite, by using ingredients you probably already have on hand. Dads know best!
- This Shirataki Noodle Stir Fry with chicken is a savory, nutrient-dense meal. It is made with high fiber, zero-calorie shirataki noodles with only 11 net carbs!
- Packed full of flavor, this restaurant-style Chicken Dhansak curry brings the creaminess of lentils together with traditional South Asian spices. It creates a hearty and nourishing meal for the entire family.
- An easy Cajun Spiced Chicken made with a flavorful blend of cajun chicken seasoning. The perfect mix of spices and heat for a favorite evening meal at any time of the year.
- This authentic Peruvian Chicken (pollo a la brasa) features chicken thighs marinated in a savory sauce packed full of seasoning and then grilled to perfection.
- According to Lisa, Chicken Piccata is one of the best things to do with chicken. I'm not arguing. Tender scallops of chicken in luscious lemony, garlicky wine sauce. YUM!
Beef and Lamb Recipes
Don't you love the aroma of freshly made fajitas? These One Skillet Ribeye Steak Fajitas are easy, perfectly seasoned, and delicious with tender, juicy, sizzling Ribeye steak, bell peppers, and onions, and drizzled with a squeeze of lime juice.
Bobbi's Japanese Pepper Lunch Steak and Rice Sizzle is a fantastic dish with sizzling tender sukiyaki beef, pepper, and rice. She serves it with delicious Amakuchi and Karakuchi sauces and makes everything in less than 30 minutes.
Pepper Steak and Rice Sizzle
You'll want to save these beef meals too:
- Plov is Uzbeki originated one-pot meal with tender and flavorful chunks of beef, vibrant carrots, and wonderfully spiced rice on top. Sounds so comforting.
- Janette's Homemade Minced Beef and Dumplings are the best British comfort food. A hearty meal served hot and bubbly to warm you from the inside out, and it’s all made in one pan.
- Get ready to meet the new Minnesota classic: Not Yo Mama’s Tater Tot Hotdish! It's gluten-free and dairy-free. Dinner has never tasted so good!
- This Healthy Hamburger Helper Beef Skillet is a one-pan meal that is so easy to make and satisfying. It's dairy-free & gluten-free and is a much healthier alternative to the popular boxed mixes.
- Thanh shares this tasty and authentic recipe for Swedish Meatballs with Creamy Sauce [with step-by-step photos], which is full of fresh ingredients for maximum flavor. I know you can't wait to try it!
- Rich and creamy Skillet Linguine with vegetables and meat sauce smothered in cheese and prepared all in one skillet, in under 30 minutes.
- If you love comfort foods, you will enjoy this Spaghetti Bolognaise.
- Quick & Easy Skillet Lasagna Pasta with Ground Beef is truly a 30-minute meal!
Lasagna Pasta with Ground Beef
I agree with Eileen - Pork Chops and Sauerkraut is major comfort food for a fall afternoon and a crowd-pleaser. Growing up in Europe, sauerkraut was a staple food, and it triggers many childhood memories.
More recipes with pork to love:
- Joyce says this Chinese-style sweet and sticky, melt-in-your-mouth Beer-Braised Pork Belly is simple to make and incredibly flavourful. Serve it with potatoes, noodles, or rice.
- If you're watching your figure, you'll love this Chorizo, Beans & Dark Greens is a fun, flavourful lunch that preps and cooks in 30 minutes! It is top 8 allergen-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free.
- My mouth is watering over Ty's Milk Brined Southern Fried Pork Chops. She says they are extra tender and full of flavor with the perfect amount of gravy sustaining crispiness. YUM!
- An easy recipe for savory, juicy One Pan Boiled Brats browned & boiled on the stovetop with sweet onions and hard apple cider.
- This Pork Tenderloin with Apples is cooked with bacon, garlic, and herbs in a rich, creamy sauce. It's an easy pork fillet recipe that’s quick enough for every day but special enough for date night!
Pork Tenderloin with Apples
Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes
You don't have to be a vegetarian or vegan to love these recipes:
- This Skillet Zucchini Pesto Pizza has a crispy yet chewy crust. With layers of tangy basil pesto, mozzarella, zucchini, and ricotta, it's perfect for summer!
- Katia's succulent and super easy Vegan Meatballs in Italian Tomato Sauce are healthy and budget-friendly comfort food.
- You must try this rich and creamy Vegan Chickpea Curry from Sara. It has a great depth of flavors, and it's surprisingly ready in 10 minutes.
- This delicious Spanish Spring Tortilla de Patata recipe is the quickest and most delicious way to use up vegetable scraps in the kitchen.
- You can prep ahead these Mediterranean Stuffed Tomatoes filled with brown rice, toasted corn, green onion, feta, and pistachios, then drizzled with a tomato vinaigrette. It's a delicious vegetarian and gluten-free meal.
- Debra is right about this Beans + Greens recipe: it's healthy, and you can serve it for dinner, lunch, or as a side dish. Delectable plant-based nutrient-dense recipe done in 10 minutes, start to finish. Short on time, big on flavor.
- These cute and festive Mini Rice-Stuffed Pumpkins make a great vegan/vegetarian main dish or a Thanksgiving side dish!
Mini Rice-Stuffed Pumpkins
9 cast iron skillet side dishes:
The best easy recipe for baked beans in a thick sweet and smoky sauce made from scratch in one skillet is this Homemade Maple Bourbon Molasses Baked Beans with Bacon. No BBQ can be good without baked beans.
Try these easy one-skillet side dishes too:
- Fried Corn Recipe is the best southern classic EVER and comes together in only 30 minutes. Another classic comfort dish done in 30 minutes and perfect for novice cooks is Skillet Mac and Cheese.
- The same goes for Swiss Chard and Potatoes, a garlicky Croatian side dish that only requires a few ingredients. I'm a sucker for anything potato, and these Baked Parmesan Hasselback Potatoes with herbs and garlic looks divine!
- Potatoes, cream, two kinds of cheese, and onion are delicious in this simple, but a classic dish that's always a hit with everyone at the table. These cheesy Potatoes Au Gratin are gluten-free.
- Denay's Roasted Tomatoes with fresh herbs are a perfect side dish or appetizer topping. Spread a spoonful over grilled steak, chicken, or fish.
- Making Riced Broccoli yourself is as easy as can be, it makes a simple side dish and also works well as a rice or pasta substitute.
- Not many people love Brussels sprouts as much as I do and I always welcome new recipes. Karman's Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta & Parmesan are cooked to perfection in cast-iron in 20 minutes or less!
Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Parmesan
26 breakfast/brunch recipes:
This Broccoli, Mushroom, and Brussels Sprouts Cast Iron Frittata recipe by Megan is loaded with veggies and packed with flavor. More frittatas to try:
- Kuku Sabzi – Persian Herb Frittata is a delicious Sabzi recipe mixed with fresh green herbs, eggs, fruits, and nuts.
- Chorizo Frittata Recipe. Neyssa says chorizo adds a smoky flavor to this unique chorizo frittata recipe. Sounds wonderful!
- Sweet Potato and Baby Spinach Frittata by Pam. Sweet potatoes, tangy goat cheese, and baby spinach are perfect together in this start on the stove, finish in the oven vegetarian frittata!
- Vegetarian Corn and Tomato Frittata by Katie is an easy and healthy meal your whole family will love.
Corn and Tomato Frittata
Also worth trying is this Mexican-style breakfast Chilaquiles Rojos by Isabel! She lightly fried corn tortillas until crispy, then simmered them in salsa, and combined them with scrambled eggs and cheese for a quick and easy breakfast or snack.
Fried or poached skillet eggs with sauces, meat, or other ingredients are demanding the web, and rightfully so. A delicious and nutritious way to start your day, and these are some of my favorite recipes:
- The Best Shakshuka recipe by Elena. Need I say more?
- Shakshuka for One with tangy kalamata olives, crumbled feta, and fresh parsley by Laurel is a recipe you can easily double.
- Baked Eggs Skillet with Avocado and Spicy Tomatoes that are low-carb, Keto, low-glycemic, gluten-free, dairy-free, Paleo, Whole 30, and South Beach Diet-friendly by Kalyn.
- Easy Eggs in Hell by Maya. It's packed with Italian flavors, Paleo-approved, needs only six ingredients and is done in 15 minutes.
- Potato Huevos Rancheros by Courtney start with perfect crispy pan-fried potatoes topped with runny eggs, salsa, cheese, and sour cream.
- Indian Style Shakshuka Recipe by Hina is spicy, tangy, and saucy! You'll love this twist to the traditional recipe.
- Baked Chilaquiles Recipe with Shrimp by Beth is easy and tasty. Shrimp lovers, unite!
- Shakshuka with Sausage, Pepper, and Feta recipe by Jenni is grain-free, gluten-free, and friendly for Low-FODMAP diets.
- Potato Breakfast Hash with Eggs, Sausage, Mushrooms, and Peppers by Tryn is a great gluten-free option for a weekend breakfast or brunch.
- Easy Ukrainian Breakfast Hash by Terri uses leftover potatoes with sauerkraut, kielbasa, dill, and dry cottage cheese. Eggs are optional.
- Bubble and Squeak is traditionally a leftover dish, and Brian's recipe is a little bit different than mine. Can't wait to try his version!
Bubble and Squeak
Another simple hash recipe to try is Rika's Breakfast Potatoes Skillet with Kielbasa Sausage, green bell peppers, yellow onions, fresh corn, and is seasoned with chipotle pepper, coriander, salt, and black pepper.
Replace potatoes with rutabaga, and you'll get Breakfast Rutabaga Rösti. It's a perfectly nutritious and cheap breakfast.
Savory Dutch Baby by Sarah and Pam is made in an iron skillet and has plenty of herbs, tasty cheese, pancetta, and roasted tomatoes.
My favorite breakfast item is cake, but these sweet alternatives are healthier options:
- Cardamom Apple Dutch Baby is quickly made and cooked in a cast-iron skillet with fresh apples, and cardamom, turning the regular into decadence.
- A low carb twist on a breakfast favorite, this cinnamony Low-Carb Puff Pancake (or Dutch baby) will make you want to eat breakfast for every meal from here on out.
- This Puffed Apple Pancake by Lo is a lovely fall upgrade to your usual breakfast menu.
- You will drool over this Overnight S’more French Toast. Kudos to Claire for this recipe!
- These Overnight Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze, are the perfect Sunday morning treat!
- This Cranberry Clafoutis is loaded up with dark chocolate chunks and pecans. The classic French custardy breakfast.
16 skillet desserts:
- Maple, cinnamon, and nutmeg combined with sweet juicy apple top this soft Maple Apple Cake.
- Apple Crisp Skillet - sweet apples covered in brown sugar oatmeal crumble and baked to perfection.
- Double Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie - a quick and easy dessert, more delicious when topped with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream!
- Gooey rich and decadent Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookie made in a skillet. It's a giant cookie that is sure to bring a smile to your face!
- An easy prep Gluten-Free Rustic Skillet Peach Pie with a buttery, flaky crust and sweet juicy peach filling!
- Blue Ribbon Caramel Apple Pie will take First Place at the County Fair. Made with white and brown sugar, this pie is sure to please.
- This rich, gooey Hot Chocolate Skillet Cake is easy to make and perfect topped with ice cream. It just so happens to naturally be gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, and vegan.
- Cookies are amazing, but skillet cookies are ten times more amazing! This simple Salted Peanut Butter Skillet Cookie is warm and gooey. You can eat it with a spoon, and it’s ready in no time with little effort.
- Crispy Berries and Plum Crumble by Kristina and Mitja is an easy and delicious vegan dessert that makes excellent use of the fruit you have rolling around.
- Learn how to make S'mores Dip in a skillet! It is so easy and requires only four ingredients. This summer dessert will be ready in no time!
- Peach Blueberry Clafoutis is an easy dessert that can be served year-round with any fruit you have at hand.
- Almond Joy Chocolate Chip Cookie - so much better than a candy bar! It certainly feeds more people, unless you eat it all yourself…no judgment here.
7 bread recipes:
You will love this Mexican Cornbread by Marissa. It's a spicy, cheesy riff on traditional skillet cornbread!
Also, try these bread recipes:
- Quick Rise Easy Yeast Rolls are the perfect go-to dinner roll recipe! This pull-apart rolls recipe uses rapid rising yeast, so the rolls only have one 20 minute rise time.
- If you like cheddar chive biscuits, then you will also enjoy this Italian Skillet Pull-Apart Bread! They are easy to make and great to prepare for a quick side!
- This moist and tender Easy Skillet Cornbread has a crispy crust and a warm buttery taste. It’s all prepared in one bowl, which makes clean-up a breeze.
- This Cheddar Chive Skillet Cornbread is the next go-to for our family barbeques. It’s crispy and golden on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside. Just slab some butter on it, and it is good to go!
- This Golden Sweet Cornbread recipe is an easy one-bowl sweeter spin on a southern classic.
If you love cooking in cast ironware or you're just starting out, you will appreciate these skillet recipes:
Can you believe how many amazing recipes you can make in a cast-iron skillet? And this is not even the tip of an iceberg. What is your favorite skillet dish?
I'd love to know how you use your cast iron. Let me know in the comments!