Here's Why You Should Never Use A Cast Iron Pan To Make Homemade Caramel Sauce

If you've invested in a cast iron pan, you've likely tried your fair share of recipes designed to be cooked in the skillet. However, while cast iron cookware is great for the likes of pizza, steak, and cornbread, it's not a pan you should necessarily use for everything. Yes, there are some foods you should never cook in your cast iron — for example, acidic foods can damage your cookware and stinky foods can leave your skillet, well, not smelling so great.

Similarly, you should avoid using your cast iron cookware for dessert-type recipes, especially gooey desserts. A cobbler, for example, will leave behind a syrupy mess, and the scrubbing required to clean your cookware could very well damage it. Not exactly worth it.

Pull together bits and pieces from all the aforementioned cast iron no-no's, and you end up with a list of reasons why you shouldn't ever use cast iron to make caramel sauce. Didn't quite catch them? Don't worry, we're about to take a closer look at the science involved.

Caramel and cast iron are a finicky combination

While we're certainly not discouraging you from whipping up some homemade caramel sauce, we do have to recommend you not use cast iron cookware in the process. Why? Well, it all boils down (pun intended) to acidity, texture, and odor.

Caramel has a pH between 4.5 and 5, making it acidic, and we've already discussed how acidic foods can eat away at cast iron cookware. What's more, because caramel is so gosh-darn sticky, it's almost definitely going to be an absolute pain to get out of whatever pan you use. Cast iron should not be soaked, nor should you be scrubbing it with soap, so getting that caramel out will be near-impossible.

Even if you don't care about preserving your cookware, the final reason to not use cast iron for making caramel is its tendency to hold smells and flavors. Once you use cast iron to cook pungent foods, that smell is staying. So unless you enjoy fishy caramel, garlicky caramel, or peppery caramel, just use a different pan.