Best utensils to use on a cast iron pan
If you find yourself spending more time in the kitchen than any other room in your house, then a cast iron pan is one of the best investments you can make. Their ruggedness and ability to cook food evenly have made them the go-to pans for both professional and amateur bakers.
Another reason why cast iron is so popular is its longevity. Most cast iron pans will never need to be replaced. As long as they are well maintained, they can last an entire lifetime. Along with knowing how to properly clean them, knowing what utensils to use with your cast iron pans is essential to making sure your pans last as long as possible.
Let’s look at different types of utensils and which are the perfect companions to your cast iron pan.
Wooden utensils are one of the more popular choices to use with cast iron pans. Part of this is because of their versatility, since they can also be used with other types of cookware. From spoons and spatulas to soup ladles and pasta forks, wooden utensils are also popular because they often cost less than other types of utensils. Wooden utensils have been around for a long time and are extremely durable, provided you take care of them.
Why are wooden utensils good for cast iron?
- Hardwood cooking utensils are strong and built to last. They are so difficult to break that even the heat from the cast iron is unlikely to cause any damage.
- Wood is also a poor conductor of heat, which means it does not heat up as easily as other materials like metal. This means there is less chance of getting burnt after leaving your wooden utensil resting on your cast iron pan. Wood is such a good insulator that it is often used to make handles for other types of utensils.
- On average, wooden utensils are cheaper than other types of utensils.
- Wooden utensils are the most environmentally friendly option as they are 100% natural and compostable.
- Wood will not scratch or damage the seasoning layer on your cast iron pan.
- You can use your wooden utensils on other types of non-stick pans as well, such as Teflon, making them a versatile option.
Silicone has many properties that have helped it become the modern material of choice. Not only is silicone used for cooking, but also for many other purposes. Its heat-resistant and antimicrobial properties make it great for use in the automotive, aerospace, and construction industries.
Why are silicone utensils good for cast iron?
- Cast iron pans can get very hot quickly, so any utensils you use must be heat resistant. Silicone is well known to be a heat-resistant material meaning that it won’t melt or conduct heat, even at super high temperatures.
- Silicone utensils are non-porous, meaning they don’t hold onto odours from past dishes and are unlikely to stain. Plus, they are less likely to introduce toxic chemicals into your food than plastic or soft metal. They are also incredibly easy to clean since food won’t stick to them.
- Silicone utensils are much more flexible than wood or metal. This means that they can bend to fit the nooks and crannies of the pan to reach any food that might be stuck in tight spaces. They are especially good for when you’re baking bread and don’t want to damage the exterior of your loaf.
- Silicone utensils have smooth edges that will not scratch or damage the seasoning of the cast iron pans.
- Because silicone is heat resistant, it doesn’t get as hot as other utensils and will stop the user from getting burnt while using it.
Hard metal utensils
It’s a common myth that you can’t use metal utensils with cast iron, but as long as you choose the right type of hard metal, you won’t have any problems. Unlike soft metal, which tends to corrode quickly due to heat and general use, hard metal does not chip off into the food. Instead, hard metal can help to maintain the flatness of the seasoning layer by taking off any excess oil buildup. They do get very hot, so consider getting one with a wooden handle to avoid getting burnt.
Why are hard metal utensils good for cast iron?
- Hard metal is non-toxic and does not corrode as easily as other utensils. That means there is less chance of harmful chemicals or chipped metal ending up in your food.
- Like the cast iron pans themselves, hard metal utensils are strong, sturdy and will not easily break or melt due to heat.
- The thin edge of the hard metal utensils is superb for flipping your favourites such as pancakes, crepes, and veggie burgers. They can get further under the base of whatever is being cooked than utensils with thicker edges. This is perfect for meals that require strategic flipping.
- The hard edges of the utensils also help to maintain the seasoning layer of the cast iron pan. This is important in maintaining the non-stick nature of the pan. The hard metal utensils help even out any excess oil that adheres to the seasoning layer, making it bumpy and uneven.
What NOT to use on cast iron
Now that you know what utensils are best to use on your cast iron pans, here are some that are no-gos.
Plastic utensils are not heat resistant and can be easily damaged by the heat from a cast iron pan due to their low melting point. When these plastic utensils melt, harmful chemicals can leech into the food you’re cooking. So, not only is your utensil ruined, but you could be putting your health at risk. It’s a lose-lose.
Soft metal utensils are also counterproductive when used with cast iron pans. They can easily be corroded by heat and leave tiny particles of the metals in your food and on the pan. The last thing we want is to be ingesting metal fragments.
Best utensils to use on a cast iron pan
Choosing the right utensils to use with your cast iron bakeware will ensure that it stays in tip-top condition for many years, plus helps you avoid any harmful chemicals or fragments making their way into your food. Wood, silicone, and hard metal are all good options, but you definitely want to avoid plastic and flimsy metal.
Beyond the utensils, it’s also important to practice proper maintenance of your cast iron pan. You can find our guide here.