Anyone who loves to cook knows that there are advantages to having more than one type of cookware. And some of the best kitchens are never without cast iron cookware. It is one of the more versatile set of pots and pans, especially because it’s non-stick. It is also more affordable. But like most things we sing praises with, cast iron cookware has its downsides too.
List of Advantages of Cast Iron Cookware
1. Non-stick, naturally
Yes, a cast iron skillet that is well-seasoned becomes non-stick, naturally. This offers a huge advantage over stainless steel and aluminum cookware, because you can lessen the amount of oil or fat you need to use when cooking. So if you want to start making healthy meals, start by buying cast iron cookware. Properly seasoned bakeware becomes non-stick too.
The right term should have been affordable or low cost, but considering the price of an aluminum or stainless steel cookware with the same quality, cast iron pots and pans are inexpensive. Imagine getting the same quality cast iron saucepan or griddle for a fraction of the cost of a stainless steel saucepan.
3. Even distribution of heat
The main benefit of cast iron cookware is an even heating area. Yes, even when the flame is only set in the middle, uniform heat will be distributed. It doesn’t even matter which type of cooking surface you use, but this particular attribute is most advantageous when cooking over an open fire. Additionally, cast iron retains heat long after it is taken off the fire, which means your meal can stay warm for longer, or will cook thoroughly with its residual heat.
4. Dietary benefit
Don’t we all need some iron? When cooking with cast iron pots, some of the iron will leach into your food and into your body upon consumption. This can effectively supply your body with the 18 mg of iron that an adult needs daily. Just make sure it is genuine cast iron cookware and not something covered with synthetic material.
List of Disadvantages of Cast Iron Cookware
1. Requires seasoning
A well-seasoned cast iron skillet won’t stay seasoned for long. It is then your responsibility to season it every so often, which can take a good chunk of your time because the process is time-consuming. It also takes skills and knowledge to know if you got the seasoning right. If you don’t mind the work, however, then it’s not a disadvantage, entirely.
Compared to aluminum and stainless steel cookware, cast iron is heavy. Camp pots, for instance, can weigh up to 20 pounds, which will surely increase the load you’ll have to bear. But you need to remember that the weight is mainly due to its durability and longevity.
3. Cooking limitation
You can’t use all your culinary skills with cast iron cookware. If you want to cook tomato sauce and other acidic foods, you will have to use other types of skillet or pot, as iron will react to acid, turning food color to something darker, or altering the taste slightly.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.