You Shouldn't Cook Tilapia In A Cast Iron Skillet. Here's Why

When you arrive home from the fish market with your fresh tilapia, you might have your favorite cast iron pan already seasoned and ready to go on the stovetop. It's convenient and dependable, so it might be a habit to just toss whatever you're cooking right in and call it a day.

Wait! Cooking your tilapia that way, in a cast iron pan, could destroy the dish and ruin your perspective of tilapia forever. You should never cook tilapia in a cast iron pan.

When prepared correctly, tilapia is the perfect fish for an easy, nutritious, cheap, and delectable meal. It isn't very fishy, and with its mild flavor and soft texture, it often satisfies tastes that don't typically indulge in seafood. The low-fat dish is loaded up with lots of protein, as well as minerals and nutrients like potassium, niacin, phosphorous, and selenium (via Healthline). However, it is very delicate compared to other popular types of fish, and must be handled and cooked correctly to ensure the best tilapia experience.

Why you should never cook tilapia in a cast iron pan

A cast iron pan is a versatile tool in the kitchen that comes in handy when cooking many meals. However, it should not be used when cooking tilapia. Many of us know the basics of caring for a cast iron pan: no washing with soap or detergent, seasoning properly with a layer of fat, and never scouring with a wire pad. But sometimes we forget that a cast iron pan isn't a catch-all cooking implement that is perfect for every situation. These skillets are great at holding heat when used to cook thick cuts of meat and hearty veggies, but that heat will overwhelm more delicate foods.

According to Epicurious, the heat of a cast iron skillet will cause a delicate cut of fish like tilapia to fall apart. It will be very difficult to flip, and likely will fall to pieces when you try. The skin of the fish may also stick to the hot skillet, exacerbating these problems. Other sources, like Bon Appétit, also advise against cooking tilapia in cast iron.

Instead, use a nonstick stainless steel pan to properly cook tilapia. This will ensure the fish stays in one piece and you won't run into as many problems with the tilapia sticking to the hot pan. If you want a fish to cook in a cast iron skillet, thicker cuts of fish like salmon are a better choice, as long as you cook with the skin face-down.