Can You Use Metal on Cast Iron?
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Cast iron is a popular material for cookware because it distributes heat evenly and retains heat well. However, there are some things you should know before using cast iron cookware. In this article, we will answer the question “Can you use metal on cast iron?” and provide helpful tips on how to care for your cast iron cookware.

The Truth About Cast Iron

Cast iron is difficult to maintain

If you don’t season it properly, it will rust. And once it rusts, it’s difficult to clean.

Cast iron is difficult to maintain

You also have to be careful about what you cook in it. acidic foods can cause the iron to leach into your food, which is not good for you.

That said, cast iron is a great material for cookware. It distributes heat evenly and retains heat well. It’s also durable and, if properly cared for, will last a lifetime.[1]

Cast iron heats really evenly

This is one of the main reasons people use cast iron cookware. Because cast iron heats so evenly, it’s great for cooking things like pancakes and eggs. No more flipping your pancakes multiple times!

Cast iron pan is as non-stick as any non-stick pan out there

If you season your cast iron pan properly, it will be as non-stick as any non-stick pan on the market. In fact, many people prefer cast iron pans to non-stick pans because they don’t have to worry about the chemicals leaching into their food.

You should NEVER wash your cast iron pan with soap

If you do, you’ll have to re-season it. And no one wants to do that. The best way to clean your cast iron pan is to simply wipe it out with a paper towel after each use. If there’s any food that’s stuck on, you can scrub it with a stiff brush and some kosher salt.

Don’t use metal utensils on your cast iron pan!

If you do, you’ll scratch the surface and ruin the non-stick coating. Stick to using wooden or plastic utensils.

Modern cast iron is just as good as old cast iron. It’s all the same material, after all.

There’s a common misconception that old cast iron is better than new cast iron. This simply isn’t true. Modern manufacturing techniques have improved the quality of cast iron, so there’s no need to scour antique stores for an old skillet.

Never cook acidic foods in cast iron

Acidic foods like tomatoes can cause the iron to leach into your food. This is why many people prefer to cook acidic foods in stainless steel or enameled cast iron.

How You SHOULD Use Your Cast Iron Skillet

Season it when you get it

If you just purchased a new cast iron skillet, it will likely come “pre-seasoned” from the manufacturer. This means there is a layer of oil on it that has been heated to create a non-stick surface. While this is a great head start, it’s still a good idea to season your pan again before using it. This will ensure that your food doesn’t stick, and that the pan develops that beautiful black patina.

Season it when you get it

To season your pan, place it on the stove over low heat. Once it’s warm, rub vegetable oil all over the interior surface with a paper towel. You don’t need to use a lot, but make sure you cover the entire surface. Then, increase the heat to medium and let the pan heat for about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it cool completely before using or storing.[1]

Clean it after each use

You should always clean your cast iron skillet immediately after use while it’s still hot. If food is allowed to dry on the surface, it will be much harder to remove later. To clean it, simply scrub the pan with a stiff brush and hot water. Avoid using soap, as this can remove the seasoning from the surface. If there are any stubborn bits of food stuck on, you can boil some water in the pan to loosen them up.

Once you’ve scrubbed away all the food, rinse the pan thoroughly with hot water. Then, place it back on the stove over low heat and let it dry completely. Once it’s dry, rub a thin layer of vegetable oil over the surface to keep the pan seasoned.[1]

Re-season it

If your pan starts to look dull or rusty, it’s time to re-season it. To do this, simply scrub the pan with a stiff brush and hot water to remove any build-up of food or grease.

Then, place it in a preheated oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour.
Once it’s cooled, rub a thin layer of vegetable oil over the surface.

You should also season your pan if you notice that food is starting to stick to it. This usually happens if you’ve used soap to clean the pan, which can remove the seasoning. If this happens, simply follow the steps above to re-season your pan.

Fry and Sear in it

Cast iron skillets are great for frying and searing because they can withstand high temperatures without warping. This makes them ideal for cooking meat, as you can get a nice crispy sear on the outside while keeping the inside juicy. Just be sure to avoid cooking any acidic foods in your cast iron skillet, as this can strip away the seasoning and cause the pan to rust.

Don’t let it stay wet

One of the most important rules for taking care of a cast iron skillet is to never let it sit wet. Water is the enemy of cast iron, as it can cause the pan to rust. If your pan does get wet, be sure to dry it thoroughly with a towel before storing it. You can also place it on the stove over low heat to help speed up the drying process.

If you notice any rust on your pan, simply scrub it off with a stiff brush and hot water. Then, season the pan again with vegetable oil.

Mistakes You May Be Making With Your Cast-Iron Skillet

Skipping the Seasoning

If you’ve just purchased a cast-iron skillet, the first thing you need to do is season it.

Seasoning is essentially creating a natural nonstick surface on the pan by coating it with cooking oil and then heating it.
This process not only prevents rust but also adds flavor. Once your pan is seasoned, it’s important to maintain that seasoning by regularly cleaning and oiling the skillet.[2]

Skipping the Seasoning

If you don’t season your cast-iron skillet, food will stick to it and it will be difficult to clean. In addition, the unseasoned pan will likely rust.

Cooking Everything ― Seriously, Everything ― in It

Your cast-iron skillet is versatile ― you can use it for baking, frying, sautéing and more. However, there are some things you should avoid cooking in it. Tomatoes, for example, contain acid that can strip away the seasoning on your pan. In addition, recipes that call for a lot of liquid (like soup or stew) are not ideal for cast iron because the pan doesn’t retain heat well.

Cooking acidic foods or dishes with a lot of liquid in your cast-iron skillet can cause the seasoning tostrip away. This will make the pan more difficult to clean and more likely to rust.

Attempting to Flip Tricky Items Without a Metal Spatula

A cast-iron skillet is the perfect tool for cooking things like pancakes, burgers and grilled cheese sandwiches. But flipping these items can be tricky. If you don’t have a metal spatula, it’s likely that your food will stick to the pan and break apart when you try to flip it.

To avoid this problem, make sure you have a metal spatula that is the same size or slightly larger than your cast-iron skillet. This will give you the leverage you need to easily flip whatever you’re cooking.

Avoiding Soap at All Costs

It’s true that you should avoid using soap on your cast-iron skillet ― too much soap can strip away the seasoning. However, if your pan is particularly dirty, a little bit of soap may be necessary. Just be sure to rinse the pan thoroughly and dry it immediately to prevent rusting.

If your cast-iron skillet is very dirty, you can use a small amount of soap to clean it. Just be sure to rinse the pan well and dry it completely to prevent rusting.

Going Au Naturel for Drying

After you’ve washed your cast-iron skillet, it’s important to dry it immediately ― otherwise, it will rust. The best way to do this is to place the pan on a stove burner set to low heat. This will help evaporate any water that may be left on the skillet.[2]

Going Au Naturel for Drying

Another option is to simply towel-dry your cast iron skillet before storing it. Just be sure the pan is completely dry before putting it away.

Is It Safe to Use a Metal Spatula with Cast Iron?

The short answer is yes, you can use a metal spatula with cast iron. In fact, using a metal spatula is the best way to ensure that your food doesn’t stick to the pan and that you get those beautiful sear marks.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind when using a metal spatula with cast iron. First, it’s important to choose the right type of metal spatula. Second, you need to make sure that the metal spatula is clean before each use. And finally, you should always use a little bit of oil or fat when cooking with a cast iron skillet.

Here’s a closer look at each of these tips:

  • When it comes to choosing a metal spatula, there are two main things to consider: the size and the type of metal.
  • Size: When it comes to size, you’ll want to make sure that the metal spatula you choose is big enough to fit the whole surface area of your cast iron skillet. This will help you get an even cook on your food and prevent any sticking.
  • Type of Metal: When it comes to the type of metal, you’ll want to choose a spatula that is made from stainless steel or another non-reactive metal. Reactive metals, such as aluminum or copper, can react with acidic foods and cause off-flavors.

It’s also important to make sure that the metal spatula you choose is clean before each use. This will help prevent any cross contamination of flavors or bacteria.

Finally, you should always use a little bit of oil or fat when cooking with a cast iron skillet. This will help create a non-stick surface and prevent your food from sticking to the pan.[2]


FAQ

Can you use a metal knife on cast iron?

The short answer is yes, you can use a metal knife on cast iron. However, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, avoid using a serrated knife as the teeth can damage the surface of the pan. Second, always use a cutting board to protect your countertops. And lastly, make sure to season your pan regularly to maintain its non-stick properties.

Can you use metal on cast iron enamel?

The same rules apply for cast iron enamel – avoid using a serrated knife and always use a cutting board. In addition, be careful not to scratch the enamel surface as this can lead to rusting.

Can you scrape a cast iron skillet with metal spatula?

Yes, you can scrape a cast iron skillet with a metal spatula. In fact, this is the best way to remove stuck-on food from the surface of the pan. Just be sure to use a plastic or wooden spatula when cooking as metal can damage the non-stick coating.

Can you ruin a cast iron?

Cast iron is a very durable material, but it can be ruined if not properly cared for. The most common way to ruin a cast iron pan is by rusting it. Rust will occur if the pan is not seasoned properly or if it is left wet for too long.

Can you ruin a cast iron?

It is also important to avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners on the surface of the pan as this can damage the seasoning.

What is the black stuff coming off cast iron?

The black stuff coming off cast iron is called carbon steel. It is a byproduct of the manufacturing process and is not harmful. However, it can be unsightly and should be removed before using the pan. The best way to remove carbon steel is to scrub the surface with a stiff brush and hot water.

How can you tell if cast iron is ruined?

If your cast iron pan has rust on it, then it is ruined. Rust will damage the surface of the pan and make it difficult to use. If you see any rust on your pan, throw it out and buy a new one.

What is the best oil to season cast iron?

The best oil to season cast iron is a vegetable oil with a high smoke point, such as canola oil or peanut oil. Olive oil can also be used, but it has a lower smoke point and will need to be heated for longer in order to season the pan properly.

Is it OK to leave food in a cast iron skillet?

Yes, it is perfectly fine to leave food in a cast iron skillet. In fact, many recipes call for food to be cooked and then left to rest in the pan before serving. Just be sure to season the pan regularly to maintain its non-stick properties.

Useful Video:Can You Use Metal Spatula On Cast Iron? 4 Superb Facts About It

Conclusion

So, can you use metal on cast iron? In most cases, yes – as long as you’re using the right kind of metal and taking care to avoid any potential damage. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your cookware, and if in doubt, err on the side of caution. With a little care and attention, you can keep your cast iron cookware in excellent condition for many years to come.

Do you have any tips or advice on using metal with cast iron? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!


References:

  1. https://www.seriouseats.com/the-truth-about-cast-iron
  2. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/cast-iron-skillet-mistakes_n_59ef9be8e4b0b7e632658c96

Hello! I'm a James Miller, and I'm an expert in materials science. I learned different metal properties in the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and I know everything about all kinds of metal. That's why I want to share my experience with you.

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