6 Things You Should Never Cook in Cast-Iron Skillet

Cast Iron Cover

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Cast Iron Cover
Cheapism / LauriPatterson/istockphoto

Cast These Foods Aside

Cooking with cast iron is a go-to for many, a right of passage for some, and intimidating for plenty of people, too. From the proper ways to season and clean your cast iron cookware to what foods are best to cook in these pans, there are plenty of nuances to understand. 

Here are six things you should never cook on cast iron. 

Baked Tilapia in a Lemon, Garlic and Butter Sauce

1. Fish

If you're cooking fish, especially delicate varieties, cast iron might not be your best bet. Flaky fish like tilapia won't hold up to cast iron the same way a steak will. Instead, your fish might fall apart completely and stick to the pan, creating an obnoxious mess. Even if you're dealing with a meatier fish like salmon, you won't often flip your fish without incident on cast iron, and you'd be better off opting for non-stick.

Related: Cast Iron vs. Stainless Steel: Which Pan Should You Cook With?

Frying Egg in a Cooking Pan in Domestic Kitchen

2. Eggs

You might be able to get away with cooking eggs on an extremely well-seasoned cast iron skillet, especially if you're cracking them into a pan that you just finished frying bacon in. But often times, if you try and scramble eggs, make an omelet, or even just fry eggs in a cast iron skillet, you'll wind up with eggs stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Hot Homemade Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

3. Dessert (In Certain Situations)

We love a good skillet cookie or brownie. Just try and remember where your cast iron skillet has been before making dessert on it. If you just fried chicken in it the night before, your cookies could end up tasting like fry oil since the cast iron is porous and absorbs those flavors.

Shakshuka in pan on kitchen counter.
Anastasia Dobrusina/istockphoto

4. Highly Acidic Foods

If you're careful with this, you should be okay to move forward, but generally speaking, it's not a great idea to introduce too much acid to your cast iron skillet. We're talking lemon juice, vinegar, and tomato sauces. If you simmer ingredients like that for too long, they can begin to break down the pan. 

Related: 13 Things You Should Never Clean With Vinegar

Roasted Garlic with Salt, Pepper, Thyme and Olive Oil in a Cast Iron Skillet

5. Smelly Foods

This concept goes hand-in-hand with our warning about dessert. If you're working with pungent ingredients, you should plan on their flavors lingering on the cast iron skillet for a couple cooks after the fact. 

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Scallops Asparagus Polenta

6. Anything Super Sticky

If your pan is well-seasoned, you have a little more wiggle room with sticky foods, like grits, apple cobbler, and certain sauces. But on a new cast iron skillet, you should tread lightly and avoid anything sticky unless you want it to stick to the bottom of your skillet.