Thinking of buying or owning a cast iron piece of cookware? Not sure what’s best to use with it? I’ve got you covered!
The type of utensils you use on cast iron is actually quite important and will determine how well you maintain your cast iron pan or pot.
I’ve created this complete guide which explains the best utensils to use. Not only does this list cover your cast iron cookware, but it keeps your other cookware products in mind.
As I love to say when it comes to the number of cookware products you own, less is more!
Either way, there’ll be a particular product that is best for you, depending on your needs.
So, what is the best kitchen tool for you?
Table of Contents
- What kind of utensils do you use on cast iron?
- Can you use metal on cast iron?
- Finally, what utensil is best for cast iron?
What kind of utensils do you use on cast iron?
The versatility of cast iron cookware is truly unmatched. The same can be said for the variety of utensils that you can use with it.
Almost all utensils can easily be used with cast iron. That being said, I would practice caution with some of them.
Metal, wood, and silicone spatulas are probably the best cooking utensils to use, but for different reasons. It depends on how you would prefer to use your cast iron cookware, which I will explain below.
Other types of utensils like plastic utensils and softer metal spatulas are not so good for use with cast iron cookware, due to how hard the cast iron is. These types are easily worn down by the cast iron and can even leave residue in your food!
Can you use metal on cast iron?
The answer may surprise you – yes!
You may have previously thought that a metal spatula would damage the interior surface of your cast iron cookware. But the opposite is actually true.
It is a popular choice among professional chefs and they’re even great for flipping pancakes!
Metal spatulas are a great utensil to use with cast iron, but as I’ve previously mentioned, the quality of the metal needs to be considered for utensils used with cast iron cookware.
So, let’s find out why this is, and which one is the best to use with cast iron cookware!
Debunking the myth about using metal utensils with cast iron
Using a metal spatula on a cast iron pan can help to smooth out the interior surface by lowering the high spots in the natural texture of the cast iron. This results in a smoother surface for your cooking.
While you may think that this would remove the non-stick capabilities of your seasoning, it actually won’t! Having a smoother bottom enables the non-stick capabilities of your cast iron.
Other factors to consider when using a metal spatula include the composition, shape, and the handle.
It is recommended not to use a softer metal spatula for cast iron because it is softer than cast iron. The desired result of a smoother interior cannot be achieved with normal stainless steel, and will actually scrape itself off, leaving small particles of steel in your food!
Hardened stainless steel spatulas are ideal for cooking with cast iron and is tougher than normal stainless steel.
The heavyweight material is also safer – the spatula won’t flex while using so you can apply force to the spatula without propelling food out of the pan! It is one of the most superior inflexible spatulas.
Sharp corners on your steel spatula make it more difficult to reach remnants left in the corner of the cast iron skillet.
It may be worth choosing a spatula that has softer corners in order to reach these hard-to-get-at areas and make sure you’re getting all the flavor!
The best spatula handle will ideally
- be comfortable to use
- doesn’t melt
- won’t heat up on the pan edge while you’re using it
Handles made from materials like wood are great because its comfortable to hold, wont melt when left in the pan or heat up too much. They also look really good!
Is a silicone spatula good for use with a cast iron skillet?
Despite their flimsy appearance, silicone cooking utensils are fantastic for cooking at any temperature and are highly heat resistant compared to usual plastic cooking utensils.
What makes silicone spatulas so great?
The heat resistance of silicone cooking utensils is extremely high – at 600 degrees Fahrenheit, its nylon and plastic counterparts do not come close. Nylon has a heat resistance of 400-500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Plastic will immediately begin to melt at any temperature above 220 degrees Fahrenheit, which is considerably low when you consider what temperatures can rise to!
If you’re like me and cook lots of tomato-based dishes or with lots of spices, you’ll want utensils that won’t stain. Silicone is great for this purpose as it really doesn’t stain easily.
Some lighter colors may be more susceptible to staining but with a good wash with hot soapy water, the stains should come right out. This is thanks to the non-porous composition of the material!
Safe To Use
Silicone is also really safe to use. The silicone used is produced from food-grade silicone, meaning it is safe to use with food. There is no worry that it will impart toxic chemicals into your food, the way that nylon and plastic utensils potentially can.
Silicone is composed of non-corrosive properties. The synthetically manufactured material is stable and will not react with other factors it may come into contact with, such as temperature, acids, and even the products you use it with.
Unlike softer steel spatulas, the silicone won’t corrode when used with your cast iron, which imparts itself into your food while cooking! It also won’t rust like these softer metals.
Work Well With Non-Stick Pans
Silicone utensils are very versatile for perfect for use with non stick pans too. If you have lots of pans that have a non stick layer, it is really important that you protect this to increase your pans’ longevity.
Using utensils like metal on non stick pans will ruin them and you’ll find that every time you cook, your food will cling to the bottom and burn.
Silicone is much superior in this aspect and using it will prevent scraping the non stick layer off.
Firm But Flexible
Silicone is also good for cooking with cast iron griddles with ridges at the bottom. The silicone can bend around the grooves so if you’re trying to scrape off some of the flavor, then silicone will be the best for this!
List of ways silicone utensils are great
- Can withstand high temperatures of up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit
- Not easily stained
- Does not release chemicals into your food
- Prevents scratching non-stick on all cookware
- Safe to use
- Great for use with non-stick pans too
The old reliable. Wooden spatulas have been around for centuries and are great for cooking with. Safe, cheap, sturdy and environmentally friendly, the wooden spatula is a great all-rounder. It really is a great spatula for cast iron.
What makes a wooden spatula so great?
Wooden spatulas are very sturdy – their inflexibility cannot be compared with that of the silicone spatula.
Where you might find softer metal, plastic, and silicone spatulas bending and flinging food out of the pan, or even worse – splattering hot oils.
Wooden spatulas are much sturdier and will prevent this from happening, making them very safe to use.
If you find yourself applying lots of pressure on your food when cooking, a wooden spatula is great in this aspect.
Its sturdy structure will prevent any bending. This is great for the likes of cooking diced chicken to check the inside.
Wooden spatulas are also really cheap! If you’re looking for an inexpensive utensil that you can use with all your other cookware, then look no further.
The handle won’t heat up if left in the pan, preventing you from burning your hand. Unlike a steel spatula, wood is an excellent insulator. Even if you’ve left your spatula in the pan for a prolonged period, the handle will still remain safe to use.
There’s also no fear of your wooden spatula melting. When you’re busy making a meal and there are lots of things going on, it’s very likely you’re going to leave the spatula in the pot while attending to another part of the recipe. The last thing you want is to have your spatula disintegrated onto your pan! A wooden spatula is fantastic in this respect.
A wooden spatula is also great for use with your other non-stick pots and pans. Like silicone, won’t remove the non-stick layer on your other pans, making it a really versatile utensil. This will reduce the need for having lots of kitchen utensils.
Not only is wood one of the best utensils for cast iron, but it is also great for the planet too! Your wooden utensil is biodegradable, meaning it truly is a guilt-free purchase.
Benefits of using a wooden spatula
- Comfortable to use
- Safe to use – prevents flinging oil
- Great for use with non-stick pans
What utensil should I not use with cast iron?
Personally, I would never use a soft metal spatula or a plastic spatula with my cast iron. The soft metal spatula can corrode itself against the bottom of the cast iron and leave metallic residue, which will end up in your food!
The reason I’m against plastic spatulas is due to the melting point of the plastic. It can range hugely and on some occasions impart some of its chemicals into your food.
The lower melting point can be a nuisance too because the handle can easily melt if left for even short periods of time. And if the handle has melted against the edge of the pot, I dread to think how much of the spatula has melted at the source of heat!
Grapeseed oil and flaxseed oil. These oils have a very high smoke point which is desirable as this will be on the surface of your cast iron for years to come and you don’t want a pan that is susceptible to become smoky every time you use it. By the same stroke, these oils can be expensive and other oils can be very effective too.
Finally, what utensil is best for cast iron?
This has an ambiguous answer. It depends on what your desire for your cast iron is, and whether you want to smooth out the bottom of your pan
If you would prefer to smooth out the bottom of the pot and get rid of the rough bottom, then metal spatulas are the ones for you.
If you’re looking for an affordable utensil that can be used with all your other cookware products and aren’t fussed with the interior of your cast iron, then wood or silicone spatulas are the best choice.
It is down to personal preference. Once you’ve seasoned the interior of your cast iron, it will still be non-stick regardless of if you smoothen it with the metal spatula or not.
Either way, these choices are good ways of using your cast iron. Hopefully this guide will help your decision!
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