5 Myths About Cast Iron: You Actually Can Use Soap

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February 01, 2018

Your grandmother may have sworn by her precious cast iron cookware. For good reason, too. It’s versatile and sturdy (and a great way to protect yourself from home intruders, “Tangled” style). But somewhere along the way, cast iron fell by the wayside.

There are a few small markets that still adore their cast iron, but it’s not as prevalent as it once was. In fact, many myths are spread about it, convincing people to use nonstick skillets instead of the tried-and-true cast iron.

Check out these myths about cast iron. Maybe by the end, you’ll be willing to try it out for yourself!

Myth: It’s not worth the hassle.

If you’ve never had a steak seared in a cast iron skillet, I guess that myth could work its way into your mind. But trust me, as soon as you try a cast-iron seared steak, you’ll change your mind. Because cast iron has such a high heat, it can quickly sear your steak to perfection, making even the cheap cuts taste 5-star-restaurant-worthy.

Even better, cast iron lasts forever. Okay, maybe not literally forever, but basically. People are still using cast iron made in the 1800’s. A cast iron skillet you buy now might last for generations after you. Can your precious nonstick skillet make any of those claims?

Myth: Everything sticks to it.

This annoys me too, honestly. But not with my cast iron—it annoys me with my skillets that were once non-stick and have lost their non-stickiness. If your cast iron is well-seasoned and you heat it before adding food, you shouldn’t have any problems with things sticking to it.

Myth: You can’t use metal utensils on it either, so you might as well stick with your nonstick pans.

Sorry, wrong again! The idea behind this myth is that metal utensils will scratch off the seasoning, causing it to flake. However, the seasoning molecularly bonds to the pan’s surface. It would take a whole lot more than a metal spatula to scrape that off. Of course, this does require that the pan has a good seasoning built up, but after a bit of use, you should be okay using metal.

Myth: Don’t use dish soap.

You cook meat in something, rinse it out, and call it good. Sounds unsanitary, right? There’s a myth that you can’t use soap to clean your cast iron cookware (did you hear that? MYTH!). According to this myth, dish soap is meant to break down oil and cast iron is seasoned with oil, so you don’t want to ruin your seasoning by using dish soap.

Makes sense, but it’s not true. For the same reason you can use metal utensils, go ahead and use soap. The oil bonds to the surface, which changes its chemical makeup enough to keep it in place, regardless of whether you use dish soap. It is a good idea to hold off on using dish soap for the first few times you use it, though. You need to make sure the seasoning is strongly bonded, which can take a few times of heating and cooling to do properly.

Myth: It’s hard to take care of.

There this idea that cast iron is impossible to take care of, but many cast iron users don't know where that came from. It’s a little bit of work to get a new cast iron skillet seasoned, but after a bit of use, you can misuse it just like those pans you used back in college. A good seasoning will hold up for years, regardless of how you wash it, what you cook with, or how you store it.

The best part of cast iron pans? The price! For something that can last you forever, you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg as you do for a high-quality nonstick pan. Buy our favorite cast iron skillet here!

Do you love your cast iron? Let us know your tricks on Facebook.

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