Cast iron cookware is cheap, versatile, heavy-duty, and popular worldwide for its durability and natural nonstick properties. It can be used on an open flame and any stovetop. However, if you have one at home, you may be wondering if it can also be used in the oven.
You can put cast iron in the oven. Cast iron cookware is generally oven-safe for up to 500 °Fahrenheit or 260 °Celsius. However, if the cookware has parts that are not oven-proof, such as a wooden or silicone handle, then it is not safe to be used in the oven.
In this article, I’ll discuss some fool-proof ways to know if your cast iron skillet is oven-safe, the benefits of using cast iron in baking, and more. Let’s get started!
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How to Know if Your Cast Iron Skillet Is Oven Safe?
Using the wrong pan in the oven doesn’t only ruin the food and the pan; more importantly, it can expose you to toxic fumes and pose a risk of fire. If you own a cast iron cookware and you want to know for sure if it’s safe to use in the oven, these tips may help:
To know if a cast iron cookware is oven-safe, check the manuals or examine the cookware and look for an oven-safe symbol or text. You can also contact the manufacturer and ask for information. Generally, an uncoated all-metal pan is safe for up to 350 °Fahrenheit in the oven.
If you’re looking to buy an oven-safe cast iron skillet, I recommend this Amazon.com bestseller: Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet.
Lodge cast iron skillet is available in different sizes and has a removable silicone handle. It is oven-safe (without the handle) and pre-seasoned with vegetable oil so you can use it right away.
Another high-rated oven-safe cast iron cookware on Amazon is the Victoria Cast-Iron Skillet. This skillet is pre-seasoned with non-GMO flaxseed oil and features a long handle for increased safety. Depending on your needs, you can choose sizes from 4.8 to 13 inches.
Cast iron has been used for generations. Despite today’s wide selection of cookware in the market, the good old cast-iron cookware remains a popular choice for amateur cooks and professional chefs alike.
Cast iron cookware is made of a heavy metal known for its incredible durability and heat retention. When properly seasoned, cast iron pans are terrific for nonstick cooking.
Cast iron cookware and bakeware include:
- Frying pans
- Baking pans
- Flat top grills
- Panini presses
- Deep fryers and more.
If you’re planning to buy cast iron cookware but aren’t sure if it’s the best choice for you, here are more reasons why cast-iron cookware is worth using for baking and cooking:
Cast Iron heats slowly, absorbs heat well, and distributes it evenly throughout its surface when used properly. Its ability to retain heat for a long time makes it ideal for cooking specific dishes and keeping food warm, especially if the recipe stresses the importance of a consistent heat level.
Uncoated cast iron cookware is practically non-stick if “seasoned” properly. Seasoning is the process of coating a metal surface with layers of heated oil to make it naturally nonstick and protect it from rust.
Good quality and properly maintained cast iron cookware won’t need to be reseasoned frequently. In fact, just by cooking with oil in it, you’re practically reseasoning it and increasing its nonstick abilities.
I’ll teach you how to season your cast iron cookware later on in this article.
With proper care and regular seasoning, a good cast iron pan can last a lifetime (or more!)
However, one essential issue to be worried about when using a cast iron pan is cracking. Cast iron is sensitive to sudden temperature changes and can crack under these conditions.
To prevent it from cracking, never put cold water on a hot skillet, nor put a cold skillet in a hot oven.
Cast iron, made from melted pig iron mixed with scrap metals, is one of the cheapest metals used in cooking tools and is a top choice for practical families.
Take note, however, that most modern cast iron cookware is treated with a coating such as porcelain enamel. The coated type can be convenient to use but is significantly more expensive than the uncoated variants.
Cast iron is suitable for cooking on any heat source: on the grill, on any type of stovetop (gas, electric, and induction), and can be used when cooking over hot campfire coals or placed directly into the oven.
Cast iron can also be used to cook a huge variety of dishes, from steaks and roasts to cornbreads and cookies. What’s not to love?
Not only that, but with their aesthetic look, cast iron skillets double nicely as serving dishes, perfect for adding a decorative touch to any table.
Easy to Clean and Maintain
While there are preconceived opinions that cast iron cookware is hard to maintain and many people tend to avoid using them, the truth is taking care of cast iron cookware is relatively easy.
And while many people will advise against washing your cast iron cookware with dish soap, cleaning with a bit of soap won’t do any major damage to your cast iron pans.
Here are some tips on how to clean your cast iron cookware:
- Make sure to use a soft cloth or dish sponge, and avoid using metal scouring pads when washing your cast iron cookware.
- For stubborn traces of food and stuck-on burnt food, use kosher salt as an abrasive. Wipe the salt off the surface with a damp cloth or sponge, then leave the pan to dry on any dry surface.
- When completely dry, you can store it in your cupboard with the lids off.
- Never store leftovers in your cast iron cookware for a long time. Moisture will penetrate the seasoned surface, destroy your seasoning and cause the surface to rust.
- Cast iron is not dishwasher-safe and should not be put in the dishwasher. You should also not let it soak in water for an extended period to avoid rust.
Generally, a cast iron cookware can withstand a temperature of up to 500° Fahrenheit or 260° Celsius in the oven, but always check with the manufacturer to know the temperature limit of your particular cast iron cookware.
Another element to consider is whether your cast iron is seasoned or not. If it is seasoned, you should not put it in the oven for more than 1 hour. Putting it in the oven for a prolonged time can burn your seasoning off and damage the nonstick surface.
How to Season a Cast-Iron Skillet in the Oven
An uncoated cast iron skillet requires seasoning with oil before use to create a nonstick surface and help prevent rust.
You can season a cast iron cookware on a stove, but seasoning it in the oven builds a thicker coat onto the surface of the pan.
If you’re using your cast iron skillet for the first time, seasoning it in the oven may sound complicated, but it is a practical and straightforward process.
Follow these simple steps to help you season your cast iron properly:
- Start by cleaning your cookware with warm, soapy water. Rinse the soap with water and gently wipe it with a cloth to dry.
- Once fully dry, use a basting brush to apply a light, even layer of oil or shortening to the interior and exterior surface of the cookware. You can use any preferred brand of vegetable oil, canola oil, or melted shortening.
- Place the cast iron upside down in the oven, then put a large cookie sheet beneath it to catch excess oil.
- Heat the cast iron pan in the oven at 450 to 500 °Fahrenheit for one hour. It will smoke to start with, but that’s okay.
- Turn off the oven after an hour. Then leave the pot in it until cool to the touch.
- You can repeat the seasoning procedure up to 4 times to get a thorough coating of oil.
- Take the cast iron pan from the oven and let it cool on a non-burnable surface.
- After using the cookware for cooking, clean it with warm soapy water. To remove stubborn food, use a light brush or rub with salt to avoid damaging the seasoned pan.
Cast iron may not be as popular as it was some decades ago, but it is still an excellent cooking tool if you want to avoid the dangers of using synthetic nonstick pans.
With proper care and precautions, you can cook and enjoy a variety of dishes for years to come with your versatile cast iron pan.