How to Safely Cook on Different Cooktops With a Cast Iron Pan
What type of cooktop is best for cast iron? The answer is actually many types! Cast iron does well on a wide variety of cooktops, and in this post I’ll give tips for cooking on everything from an electric range, to in a broiler, to on a glass top, and more.
Want to know how to protect your glass top stove from damage and what the no-nos for broilers are? I’ve got you covered. I’ll walk you through the best cooktops to use cast iron pots and pans on, plus give you some helpful tips to keep in mind as you go about cooking on them.
Cast Iron on a Gas Stovetop
Can you use cast iron on a gas stovetop? Yes, you definitely can. Is it the absolute best cooktop companion for cast iron? Not exactly, but it works quite well if you keep temperature in mind.
You see, cast iron pans perform best when they are gradually heated to create a beautifully even temperature of the metal. If you turn the burner on high at the beginning of cooking, the pan won’t have enough time to heat evenly and you may have cold spots that won’t cook the food reliably.
Plus, the unevenness of high starting temperatures could cause your pan to warp or crack, which is sad because cast iron pans can last for generations if they are properly cared for.
So say Bye to thermal shocks and Hello to even cooking temperatures! In fact, properly heated cast irons maintain warmth so well that you can often reduce your burner heat to low once the food starts cooking. Your pan will stay hot for a good long while. (Which is also a safety PSA!)
Cast Iron in the Oven and Broiler
You may not be used to the idea of popping a skillet in the oven, but with cast iron pans, it’s a must-try. They turn out amazing sweet or savory loaves, casseroles, roasts, and even quiches. All of those dishes (and more!) benefit from that extra layer of flavor from your pan’s season.
However, remember that cast iron pans with wooden handles are a big no-no in the oven because they can crack or even catch fire in a broiler.
Instead, use fully metal cast iron skillets and simply grab a heat-resistant handle cover like Lodge’s Silicone Skillet Handle or a snazzy Leather Pan Handle, and slip it over the iron handle before bringing the pan out of your oven.
Here are 3 things to do when using your cast iron in an oven or broiler. …
Before you put any ingredients in your pan, don’t forget to thoroughly coat the pan with oil or butter. Keep in mind that every type of fat has its own smoke point, and butter burns at a lower temperature than most oils.
If you don’t want to coat yourself in the process, you can use a pastry brush like this one for all those hard-to-reach angles. And if you are intending to pop out baked goods instead of serving them right in the pan, you’ll want to sprinkle flour in the pan after oiling it up.
Once you’re ready to put your filled pan in the oven or broiler, you can safely cook a dish up to a temperature of around 500°F (260°C).
Though many users crank ovens up higher and don’t experience issues with cracking, proceed at your pan’s own risk!
Once you finish baking or roasting in your cast iron, place the pan on a silicone or wooden trivet to avoid big thermal shocks — especially on stone countertops! Any sudden temperature change can cause warping or cracking.
Cast Iron on an Electric Range and Glass Top
When I decided to get an electric stove with a glass top, one of the first questions that popped into my mind was, “Can I use my cast iron on a glass top stove?”
I did a bit of Googling and was happy to learn that cast iron pans are safe to use on my new stove. And, in some ways, an electric stove is preferable to gas when cast iron is involved.
Here are some things to keep in mind if you want your cast iron and electric range to be friends. …
Heating on Electric Stoves
Electric stoves heat up more slowly than gas stovetops, which is actually what you want for a cast iron pan.
Like I mentioned earlier, quick heating makes for uneven heat and can even cause warping or cracking over time. To avoid creating hot coil spots, medium heat should do the trick.
Avoiding Damage to Electric Stoves and Glass Tops
To prevent any damage to your electric cooktop, check the bottom of your pan for oil, residue, or burrs.
Oil or residue can stain your glass top, and a cast iron pan without a completely flat bottom can actually crack glass. But don’t panic if you just ran to look at the bottom of your skillet and noticed burrs. All you have to do is file them down with a steel rasp and you’re good to go.
Also, make sure you don’t shift your cast iron pan back and forth while you cook on an electric stove. This could damage the coils or scratch a glass top. Plus, it’s not great for your wrist anyway. Simply use a rounded spatula to shift ingredients around while you cook.
So that is the low-down on the best cooktops for cast iron.
If you want to learn more about the dos and don’ts of cooking different foods in a cast iron pan, go to our Cast Iron Cooking Tips article.
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