The Best Recipes To Try With Your Cast Iron Skillet

There are many opinions when it comes to what cookware items are essential, but it's difficult to argue with a cast iron skillet. This one piece of equipment has so many positive attributes, it's difficult to list them all — but we'll give it a try. Every time you cook in a cast iron skillet, you season the pan, which ensures that your next meal will be even more flavorful. Cast iron holds heat very well, making it great for searing meat and keeping food warm. Cast iron skillets are also extremely durable, so odds are, you won't need to purchase a second one any time soon, but if you do, they're very affordable.

Now that we discussed how great cast iron skillets are, you'll want to start using one pronto. We're here to help with just that. Whether it's breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even dessert, here are a few of the best recipes to try with your cast iron skillet.

One-pot chicken parm pasta

This one-pot chicken parm pasta is a hefty dish that needs a pot that's large and sturdy enough to handle all of its deliciousness. Specifically, this recipe calls for one pound of chicken tenderloins or boneless skinless chicken breasts, one pound of pasta, 24 ounces of marinara sauce, and more than one cup of cheese. A flimsy pot simply can't handle all of that weight. The good news is that, as the recipe name implies, you won't need any other pan than your cast iron skillet.

You can fry the chicken in the skillet first, then remove it to cook the pasta before adding the chicken back in as well as mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. The cast iron skillet comes in handy again next. Because it's oven-safe, you can finish the chicken parm under the broiler to allow the cheese to lightly brown before serving.

Corned beef hash

There aren't many meals more comforting than a warm plate of hash for breakfast (or any meal of the day, for that matter). And because the ingredients include common kitchen staples like eggs and potatoes, you can pretty much always whip up any variation of this dish, such as our corned beef hash.

To get started, cook the onions and potatoes in your cast iron skillet, then add the corned beef, paprika, onion powder, garlic, and a vegetable stock cube. While that cooks, fry an egg or two in a separate pan. When you're ready to serve, place the eggs, as well as some heated baked beans, on top of the hash, and you're ready to dig in!

Buffalo chicken dip

If you need another buffalo chicken recipe, let this one for buffalo chicken dip be it. The spread takes just 15 minutes to prep and consists of only five ingredients, including cream cheese, mayonnaise, hot sauce, chopped cooked chicken, and blue cheese crumbles. Once the ingredients are combined, pour the mixture into a cast iron skillet, and bake for 20 minutes. Top with some extra blue cheese crumbles, and serve alongside celery, chips, crackers, or get adventurous and make a sandwich out it — the choice is entirely yours!

Chicken paprikash

If you've never enjoyed it before, paprikash is a classic Hungarian stew that combines the sweetness of paprika with the richness of sour cream. Your cast iron skillet comes in handy for this chicken paprikash recipe, because you'll need to sear the chicken on the stovetop before putting the whole dish in the oven.

Although the dish may sound intimidating, the recipe is fairly straightforward and can be prepared in less than an hour. It helps that everything gets cooked in the same pot. Once the ingredients are combined on the stovetop, put the dish in the oven until the chicken is fully cooked. Once it's done, add sour cream to the sauce, and serve your chicken paprikash over egg noodles, pasta, or even mashed potatoes.

Pork chops

The key to a great pork chop is to keep things simple. This recipe for pork chops has just five ingredients, including salt, pepper, and garlic, which make up the entirety of the meat's seasonings. The one mistake that's a no-no is overcooking the pork chop. The meat needs just two to three minutes per side on the stovetop in a cast iron skillet to get a perfect light sear. Then, transfer the skillet to the oven to let the chop cook through. It will only take ten to 15 minutes before you have the best — and simplest — pork chop that's ready to eat!

Turkey burger

We can often be far too quick to think burgers have to be cooked on a grill. In fact, preparing burgers on a cast iron skillet can be a much simpler production while also providing the same great taste and texture. 

In this turkey burger recipe, the patties, which are made from ground turkey, parsley, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, salt, oregano, pepper, and sautéed onions, get cooked in a cast iron skillet for five minutes on each side. Once they're ready, place them in between two toasted buns, top with the condiments of your choice, and chow down!

Seared salmon with chickpeas and kale

Arguably the best part of a salmon steak is the crispy, crunchy skin. But getting that perfect texture is easier said than done. Cast iron skillets are particularly good at creating the perfect sear on a piece of meat (via America's Test Kitchen). This ensures that your piece of salmon gets the skin you're looking for when following recipes like this one for seared salmon with chickpeas and kale. As an added bonus, cast iron can also obtain a nonstick coating. Anyone who has had half their piece of fish stick to a pan or grill knows how big of a deal this is.

Once the salmon is perfectly seared, place it on a bed of vegetables, and serve. The whole dish can be ready in less than 30 minutes.

Dutch baby

You may be asking yourself, "What exactly is a Dutch baby and why is it called that?" Both are good questions. A Dutch baby is essentially a type of pancake cooked on one side as opposed to being flipped over. As for its name, we don't have a clear answer. The treat is actually of German origin and its title a distortion of the word "Deutsch."

With the formalities behind us, we can get to the good stuff. Our Dutch baby recipe creates an amazingly delicious sweet treat in just 35 minutes. But it's one that cannot be done without a cast iron skillet. Skillets are known for being able to retain heat (via America's Test Kitchen). "You need to maximize how much heat and how long the heat will last in the skillet to poof up the dish," says recipe developer Nathaniel Lee. 

Once your batter is ready, pour it evenly into a buttered and preheated cast iron skillet, and place it in the oven. After 25 minutes, you'll have a perfectly puffed Dutch baby, which you can top with fruit and powdered sugar.

Chocolate chip cookie cake

What's better than a chocolate chip cookie? A chocolate chip cookie the size of a cake, of course. And it can be all yours, thanks to our chocolate chip cookie cake recipe. 

Instead of making cookie batter in a separate bowl, you can whip up your cookie cake batter right in your cast iron skillet. Once the dough is spread evenly in skillet, let it bake for 17-20 minutes. When the time is up and the cookie is cooling, make your chocolate sauce by combining semisweet chocolate, heavy cream, and light corn syrup. Drizzle that on your cake, top with some whip cream, and enjoy dessert!