28 Best Cast-Iron Skillet Recipes

These scrumptious recipes will break your mealtime boredom in no time!

From savory to sweet, the variety of meals you can whip up in a cast-iron skillet are endless. It's time to ditch your flimsy aluminum pan for this heavy-duty kitchen hardware. What draws an avid cook to this kitchen tool is its ability to heat up quickly and, more importantly, preserve that heat. Unlike traditional skillets with protective rubber handles, the entirety of a cast-iron pan gets hot, so don't grab the handle without a thick towel or oven mitt—otherwise, you could scorch the palm of your hand. This skillet helps you sear meat or fish, toss a veggie-filled stir-fry, make deliciously gooey desserts, and may even help you to land the perfect pancake flip.

Before you hit up a cooking specialty store to buy your very own cast-iron skillet, you may want a few pointers on how to properly cook with it and take care of it. We spoke with Dan Harris, the executive corporate chef for 4 Star Restaurant Group, for tips on how you can best cook and bake with a cast-iron skillet.

Why is a cast-iron skillet good for cooking?

"Cast irons are a great investment for home and restaurant cooking," says Harris. "They allow for an even cooking surface that can get ripping hot, allowing an amazing sear on the outside of steaks, pork, and tuna. Cast irons also hold temperature extremely well and create a non-stick surface, which is excellent for skin-on fish."

Why is a cast-iron skillet good for baking?

Harris says a cast-iron skillet's versatility allows them to make for an excellent swap for a baking dish, too, "whether it's cooking and caramelizing fruit before baking a crumble, quick braising, or—my favorite—making the best cornbread," he says. "Adding the batter to the preheated cast iron allows for a golden crispy crust with a buttery, creamy batter inside."

Why should you preheat your skillet before cooking or baking with it?

Unlike pans that are made from aluminum, Teflon, or stainless steel, Harris says cast-iron skillets are the superior choice because of their ability to retain heat. The preheating process (putting the skillet on the stove burner for about 10 minutes) is an important step to unleash the pan's heat-capturing powers.

"By preheating the pans, you optimize their function of caramelizing proteins, browning crusts for bread, and breaking down the fruit. Aside from being great for heating and holding heat, cast irons are incredibly easy to clean when hot and can last forever if properly cared for," says Harris. Speaking of how to properly care for your cast-iron skillet…

How do you properly care for a cast-iron skillet?

As is the case with any pan you cooked raw meat in, or anything that has left bits of charred food or an oily residue behind, you want to clean it thoroughly after each use. In order to best clean a cast-iron skillet, you'll want to handwash the skillet with a stiff mesh brush and hot water. If the pan is sticky from making a fruity dessert, you'll want to throw some kosher salt into the cleaning process, and then wipe it down with a paper towel. Finally, dry the skillet and then apply a light coat of oil with a paper towel before storing it in a dry place.

Why shouldn't you store leftovers in your cast-iron skillet?

"Cast irons hate moisture," says Harris. "Storing food in cast irons [is a common mistake] that will lead to rusting, and [it] breaks down all the seasoning that developed in the pan, reducing their longevity."

How do you season a cast-iron skillet?

The best way to season a cast-iron skillet essentially involves cleaning it, then applying an unsaturated oil (think canola oil or vegetable oil, but preferably grapeseed oil) to the entire pan, including the bottom and handle. Next, you'll want to preheat the skillet and then pop into the oven with the open part of the skillet facing down and bake it at 450 degrees for one hour. You'll want to make sure you put an aluminum foil draped baking sheet on the rack beneath the skillet to catch any drops of oil. It's recommended that you repeat that process once more to increase the longevity of your pan.

Our favorite cast-iron skillet recipes

Now that you have acquired a wealth of knowledge on cast iron care and maintenance, let's talk about what kind of recipes you can make with such a flavor-enhancing skillet. We rounded up some recipes that will help you make the most of the versatile kitchen tool.

From breakfast to dinner to dessert, here are the 28 best cast-iron recipes you can make.

RELATED: Easy, healthy, 350-calorie recipe ideas you can make at home.


Baked Eggplant Parmesan

baked eggplant parmesan
Courtesy of Love & Olive Oil

An eggplant is essentially like a sponge—it absorbs olive oil, sauce, and all of the spices you sprinkle on top of it! In other words, this version of eggplant parmesan is the mecca of flavor with Italian seasonings and four cloves of garlic minced throughout the bed of tomato puree and fresh mozzarella. Yum!

Get the recipe from Love & Olive Oil.


Honey Lemon Chicken

honey lemon chicken

Looking for another dish to add to your collection of healthy chicken recipes? If yes, then make sure to add this sweet rendition of a dinnertime classic! This blogger made an easy recipe (like, only 7 ingredients kind of easy) and transformed it into a crispy and tender gourmet meal. Enjoy these heavenly, plump thighs with a side of greens and roasted red skin potatoes for a filling combination.

Get the recipe from Pinch of Yum.


Zucchini Pesto Pizza

zucchini pesto pizza
Courtesy of Running to the Kitchen

If pizza is one of your favorite words, then you'll want to break out the cast-iron skillet for this recipe. This creative blogger actually concocted a recipe that will have your pizza ready to eat within 30 minutes. Instead of pine nuts, her pesto contains walnuts and pistachios, which are loaded with an assortment of healthy fats and—not to mention—are cheaper than pine nuts.

Get the recipe from Running to the Kitchen.


Corned Beef, Sweet Potato, and Kale Hash

Courtesy of Recipe Runner

This is not your traditional sweet potato recipe. Savory corned beef balances out the sweetness from the sweet potato, but do note that this dish is higher in sodium because of the meat. Make sure to indulge in moderation!

Get the recipe from Recipe Runner.


Turmeric Chickpea Falafel

turmeric chickpea falafel
Courtesy of Minimalist Baker

If you're not as familiar with turmeric, this recipe is a great way to start incorporating it into your daily regime. Just ½-1 teaspoon of turmeric per day can help fend off Alzheimer's disease and dementia. It's one of the spices found in curry, but it's best to buy turmeric by itself and mix it with a dash of black better to enable it to absorb into the bloodstream at a faster rate. Intrigued? Give this recipe a whirl!

Get the recipe from Minimalist Baker.


Huevos Rancheros

huevos rancheros
Courtesy of Inquiring Chef

This is a vegetarian and gluten-free dish that anyone can enjoy—just make sure to use corn tortillas!

Get the recipe from Inquiring Chef.


The Ultimate Skillet

the ultimate skillet
Courtesy of Well Plated

This skillet is full of vitamins, minerals, protein, and flavor! What more could you need? The golden brown chicken and bits of succulent bacon intertwine with one another in this sea of Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and apples. Enjoy this crisp blend with a glass of cabernet to add a touch of fruit to this hearty veggie dish!

Get the recipe from Well Plated.


Mushroom Paella

mushroom paella
Courtesy of Blissful Basil

Chipotle's burrito bowl has got nothing on this traditional Spanish rice dish. This skillet is filled with decadent flavors and an enticing aroma. Eat this if you spent the day running around town because it is loaded with carbs—which FYI are not bad so long as you expend them!

Get the recipe from Blissful Basil.


Brown Butter, Blueberry, and Peach Crisp

brown butter, blueberry, and peach crisp
Courtesy of Sally's Baking Addiction

Enjoy this gooey blueberry and peach-filled dessert in moderation, and don't forget to give this pan a thorough scrub immediately after to keep it in tip-top shape!

Get the recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction.


Chimichurri Steak Fajitas

chimichurri steak fajitas
Courtesy of Half Baked Harvest

Sautéeing strips of steak and bell pepper on a cast-iron skillet with fresh lime is one way to win over your guests at dinner. This juicy, easy-to-make steak sits perfectly inside a warm, fluffy tortilla. Add this recipe to your taco Tuesday routine for a boost in iron and for a great way to entertain your friends. Also, you'll get a hearty dose of protein, too.

Get the recipe from Half Baked Harvest.


Cheddar Polenta with Sausage and Cranberries

cheddar polenta with sausage and cranberries
Courtesy of Running to the Kitchen

It's the cranberries that make this skillet dish stand out among the rest for its delicious mix of ingredients. The creamy polenta pairs beautifully with the savory Italian sausage.

Get the recipe from Running to the Kitchen.


Chipotle Lime Salmon

chipotle lime salmon
Courtesy of Inquiring Chef

You'll never want to cook salmon any other way after you've taken a crack at this recipe. Chipotle pepper and honey give this already-rich-in-flavor piece of fish some extra jazz! Place it atop a bed of rice and pair with black beans for a generous portion of protein.

Get the recipe from Inquiring Chef.


Chili Mac & Cheese

chili mac & cheese
Courtesy of Well Plated

If you did not indulge in copious chili mac dishes during childhood, now is your time to experience such bliss. Because the dish is predominantly made of pasta noodles, it's loaded with carbs, so it's important that you do something active the day you chow down on this meal. If you're struggling to squeeze in that morning walk before work, opt for some low carb snacks to nosh on at work so you can enjoy this dish at dinner.

Get the recipe from Well Plated.


"Idiot Proof Lobster Pasta"

Courtesy of Half Baked Harvest

"Idiot Proof" lobster pasta is probably the best way to market a dish that a gourmand would prepare to an at-home cook. This meaty fish soaks up all of the flavors from the tomato and curry butter sauces. Delish! Stop fearing the impossible, because this fancy dish is totally possible to whip up in the comforts of your home.

Get the recipe from Half Baked Harvest.


Peanut Butter & Jelly Pancakes

peanut butter & jelly pancakes
Courtesy of Blissful Basil

If you're an avid pancake and PB&J eater, congratulations: this may just be the best meal you'll ever sink your teeth into. Does this dish even need further explanation? Check out which peanut butters we loved to see which ones would be best to include in your dish!

Get the recipe from Blissful Basil.


Quinoa Pizza with Stone Fruit and Queso Fresco

quinoa pizza with stone fruit and queso fresco
Courtesy of Cafe Johnsonia

Here's another recipe for those who love pizza! This is not your traditional slice of pepperoni and cheese, though. The crust of this pizza is blanketed by a variety of sweet fruits, including peaches, pluots, and plums. If you're into this kind of non-traditional pizza recipe, you'll want to see these incredible healthy pizza recipes for some more inspiration.

Get the recipe from Cafe Johnsonia.


Hot Gruyere and White Wine Chicken Dip

hot gruyere and sweet onion chicken dip in cast iron skillet with spoon and crackers
Courtesy of Heart Beet Kitchen

This recipe is designed for those who love to host wine nights with finger foods or dinner parties. Who could possibly resist a skillet full of tender chicken that's smothered in creamy gruyere cheese and seasoned with thyme, onions, and a hint of white wine?

Get the recipe from Heart Beet Kitchen.


Pistachio Butter Dutch Baby

dutch baby pancake with blueberries and pistachios and pistachio butter in cast iron skillet
Courtesy of How Sweet Eats

This is not your ordinary kind of pancake. While fluffy, chocolate chip pancakes can win just about anyone's heart, a thin and crisp Dutch baby pancake is just as enticing. The pistachio butter takes this sweet breakfast to the next level. Sprinkle blueberries atop the pancake as this blogger did for a boost in antioxidants and sweetness.

Get the recipe from How Sweet Eats.


Honey Skillet Cornbread

Courtesy of Sally's Baking Addiction

Chef Dan Harris mentioned that his favorite thing to make in a cast-iron skillet is cornbread. Check out how this baking-centric blogger whips up the old-time favorite side dish in Southern cuisine.

Get the recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction.


Turkey Chili Pie

Turkey chili pie in cast iron skillet with two bowls spoon and herbs
Courtesy of Running to the Kitchen

This blogger describes the dish as if chili and shepherd's pie had a baby, making it "comfort food central" and—our favorite—still super healthy. Honestly, she's not wrong. The inclusion of lean, ground turkey, fresh bell pepper, diced tomato, and black beans are just some of the healthful ingredients enclosed in this savory pie.

Get the recipe from Running to the Kitchen.


Spinach and Pea Pesto Socca

Spinach and pea pesto socca dish in cast iron skillet with forks
Courtesy of Gourmande in the Kitchen

Did anyone else re-read the word socca? Also known as farinata, this dish has roots in Nice, France, and is most enjoyed during the summer months alongside a cold glass of rosé. But what exactly is it? The blogger describes it is as "part savory crepe" and "part flatbread." Intrigued? Attempt to whip up this French delicacy for yourself in your trusty cast-iron skillet with this recipe.

Get the recipe from Gourmande in the Kitchen.


Breakfast Fried Rice

Fried rice with beef and slices of avocado in cast iron skillet
Courtesy of Foxes Love Lemons

Fried rice for breakfast? Absolutely. You'll be full till lunch after eating this satiating turkey sausage, egg, and veggie-filled rice dish.

Get the recipe from Foxes Love Lemons.


One Skillet Tomato Tortellini With Sausage

Person holding tortellini dish in cast iron skillet
Courtesy of Chelsea's Messy Apron

Anyone else's mouth watering just looking at this skillet full of savory goodness? This decadent tomato tortellini with sausage pasta dish is perfect to whip up after a long day of work, as it's not too challenging to make and it's chock-full of filling ingredients.

Get the recipe from Chelsea's Messy Apron.


Cheesy Farro Bake With Mushrooms, Tomatoes, and Shallots

farro dish topped with tomato slices and spices in cast iron skillet with wooden spoon
Courtesy of Blissful Basil

Don't let the word cheesy fool you here: This dish is 100 percent vegan-friendly. The cheese is constructed from primarily nutritional yeast and tahini. Also in the mix is farro, eggplant, and mushrooms, hiding under the myriad slices of vibrant tomato that blanket all of it.

Get the recipe from Blissful Basil.


One Pan Brown Sugar Pork & Apples

Glazed pork with apples and bits of diced garlic in cast iron skillet
Courtesy of Creme De La Crumb

Succulent pork that's glazed in brown sugar and topped with slices of apple? Need we say more? The cast-iron skillet helps the pork soak up all of the sweet flavors. What's more is that you can achieve this camera-ready dish in less than 30 minutes.

Get the recipe from Creme De La Crumb.


Shortcut Spanish Tortilla

Authentic Spanish tortilla in cast iron skillet
Courtesy of Gimme Some Oven

The "tortilla" referenced is not what it sounds like. In Spain, tortilla is the name of a very special dish that almost resembles a hybrid between a quiche and an omelet, but is made with chunks of potatoes in addition to eggs. The cast-iron skillet is perfect for making tortilla, because you will need to transfer this dense, yet fluffy Spanish dish to the oven for a few minutes after it's been cooked on the stovetop.

Get the recipe from Gimme Some Oven.


Naked Chicken Piccata With Picholine Olives

chicken piccata dish with olives, lemon slices, capers, and cilantro in cast iron skillet
Courtesy of Foraged Dish

This is a wonderful example of what a Mediterranean diet-inspired dish looks like. This blogger has taken chicken thighs to a whole other level having topped the meat with plump olives and tangy capers and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.

Get the recipe from Foraged Dish.


Loaded Smothered Beef Burritos

beef burritos smothered in cheese and parsley in cast iron skillet
Courtesy of Averie Cooks

Is it just us or are these burritos radiating in sunset-like colors? Sink your teeth into these cheesy, skillet-prepared-works-of-art burritos for a satisfying meal when you have a little extra time on your hands. You won't want to rush this process!

Get the recipe from Averie Cooks.

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Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the news editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and drink coverage, and breaking down the science behind the latest health studies and information. Read more