Cast-Iron Cooking: 7 Scrumptious Skillet Recipes

In the cookware world, the cast-iron skillet is renowned for its versatility. Every meal between breakfast and dessert can be prepared in one, and it lasts for ages when properly cared for. It is a nonstick pan, and unlike traditional cookware options, the older it is, the better it gets. You can use your skillet in the oven, on the stovetop, and even over an open fire. There are no recipes calling for fire pits here, but we do have seven skillet worthy dishes for you to create at home.

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1. Indoor S’mores

Dessert for Two made s’mores indoors in a six-inch cast-iron skillet. How many servings and the total amount of ingredients needed will vary based on skillet size. You’ll want to fill the bottom of the skillet with chocolate chips.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 8 large marshmallows
  • Graham crackers for dipping

Directions: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. In a cast iron skillet, add the chocolate chips. Snip the large marshmallows in half and top the chocolate chips with them. (You could also use a scoop of mini marshmallows alternatively.) Once the oven is up to temperature, add the skillet to the oven. Bake for 7-9 minutes or until the marshmallows turn golden brown. Serve with graham crackers for scooping.

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2. Pan Grilled Pork Chops

This recipe for pork chops from Food.com has the pork chops sit with the seasoning for 30 minutes as they approach room temperature before cooking. However the longer you season the chops, the stronger the flavors. If seasoning for longer than 30 minutes, you may need to leave them in the fridge. Be as generous or as stingy with the seasonings as you like.

Ingredients:

  • 4 pork chops, 1/2 to 1 inch thick
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons oil

Directions: Sprinkle the salt, thyme, and pepper on the pork chops. Let sit on counter top for 30 minutes. Place oil in large cast iron skillet and heat until medium hot. Place chops in the pan, arranging them so they don’t touch each other. Cook each side slowly (lower heat if necessary) until nice and golden brown on each side. This will take about 4 minutes per side.

Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid. Turn off the heat, and let the chops sit for about 8-10 minutes, depending on thickness of chops. After removing chops, you can de-glaze the pan with a little water, wine, or broth and a touch of butter and serve as a sauce.

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3. Seared Scallops With Summer Vegetables and Beurre Blanc

For a sizzling scallop entrée that serves four, turn to Cooking Light. Scallops cooked to perfection in your skillet with a creamy sauce, will make you feel like you’re dining out while in the comfort of your own home. You’ll want the skillet to be “screaming-hot” before you add the scallops.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallots
  • 3 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 5/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium yellow squash
  • 1 orange bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 small red onion, cut into wedges
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds sea scallops
  • 1/4 cup small basil leaves

Directions: Place a jelly-roll pan in oven. Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit (leave pan in oven as it preheats.) Combine wine and shallots in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 6 minutes or until mixture is reduced to 2 tablespoons. Strain through a sieve into a bowl; discard solids. Return mixture to pan. Gradually add butter, stirring with a whisk until smooth and emulsified. Stir in rind and 1/8 teaspoon salt; keep warm.

Cut zucchini and yellow squash in half lengthwise. Cut each half crosswise into 3 pieces; cut each piece lengthwise into 4 strips. Combine zucchini, squash, bell pepper, onion, and 1 tablespoon oil in a large bowl; toss to coat. Arrange vegetable mixture carefully onto preheated jelly-roll pan. Bake for 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and garlic; toss gently. Bake for 4 minutes or until vegetables are lightly browned. Remove from oven; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

While vegetables cook, heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Pat scallops dry with paper towels; sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add scallops to pan; cook 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until scallops are seared and desired degree of doneness. Serve scallops with vegetable mixture and sauce; garnish with basil leaves.

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4. Sunny Skillet Breakfast

Southern Living has a basic recipe for breakfast that you can customize to your tastes. Add any variety of vegetables or meats you’d like. If you plan on using frozen potatoes, preheat the oven and move directly on to melting the butter in the skillet. It yields six servings.

Ingredients:

  • 3 (8-ounces) baking potatoes, peeled and shredded (about 3 cups firmly packed)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place shredded potatoes in a large bowl; add cold water to cover. Let stand 5 minutes; drain and pat dry. Melt butter with oil in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add bell pepper and onion, and sauté 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Stir in shredded potatoes and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring often, 10 minutes or until potatoes are golden and tender.

Remove from heat. Make 6 indentations in potato mixture, using back of a spoon. Break 1 egg into each indentation. Sprinkle eggs with pepper and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until eggs are set. Serve immediately.

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5. Lemon and Garlic Roasted Chicken

“Not only is this Lemon and Garlic Roasted Chicken recipe the perfect healthy weeknight meal, it’s also elegant enough to serve to guests,” The Oven Feelin’ states. “Excluding the salt and pepper, this 5-Ingredient meal is a cinch to make! Just brown the chicken, lemons, and garlic, then place them in the oven to finish cooking.” Pair your easy and elegant roasted chicken with anything from potatoes to a simple salad.

Ingredients:

  • 4 whole chicken breasts
  • 3 lemons, medium
  • 3 bulbs garlic
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the lemons into thick slices and cut the tops off of the garlic bulbs. Prepare the chicken by rinsing under cold water and patting dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the lemon slices and garlic, cut side down. Cook until browned, about 4 minutes. Remove the lemons and garlic from the skillet and set aside on a plate.

Place the chicken into the hot cast iron skillet, skin side down. When the skin has turned a golden brown, flip the chicken over and cook an additional 3 to 4 minutes until both sides are brown. Remove from heat. Lay the lemon slices over the chicken. Place the garlic bulbs and rosemary sprigs in between the chicken pieces. Place the skillet into the preheated oven and bake uncovered for about 30 minutes, or until cooked through. The juices should run clear. Serve immediately.

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6. Cornbread

Alex Guarnaschelli chose to make a sweetened cornbread in a cast iron skillet, and then shared the recipe with the Food Network. She enjoys it served warm, and finds it is a fantastic accompaniment to fried chicken, but is equally tasty with jam or butter. The recipe comes together in just under an hour, and yields 8 to 10 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups coarsely ground cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Directions: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and place a 9-inch cast iron skillet inside to heat while you make the batter. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Whisk in the milk, buttermilk, and eggs. Whisk in almost all of the melted butter, reserving about 1 tablespoon for the skillet later on.

Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat the bottom and sides of the hot skillet with the remaining butter. Pour the batter into the skillet and place it in the center of the oven. Bake until the center is firm and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes and serve.

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7. Strawberry Cake

Cookistry used a cast-iron skillet to make a lovely strawberry cake–and since it can pull double-duty, you may want to make two. “This cake isn’t overly sweet, so it works as a breakfast item, and it’s just as appropriate for dessert,” Donna Currie, the blogger behind the recipe explained. Possible toppings for serving include: extra strawberries, whipped cream, a side of ice cream, or a dusting of powdered sugar.

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks butter, divided
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup creme fraiche, sour cream, or Greek-style yogurt
  • 1/2 pound frozen whole strawberries (medium and small)

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt 1/2 stick of  butter in a 10-inch cast iron frying pan. Cook on medium heat until the butter just barely begins to brown. The pan will stay hot enough for the butter to brown a bit more — you don’t want it to burn. Add 1/4 cup of sugar to the pan, spreading it evenly. Meanwhile, prepare the cake batter. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In another bowl, cream the remaining 1 1/2 sticks of butter and the remaining 1 cup of sugar. Add the vanilla and continue beating until it is incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until they are thoroughly incorporated. Add the flour in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions of the creme fraiche/sour cream/yogurt. Mix until well combined. Pour the batter into the pan. Spread it so it’s fairly even. You’ll be messing it up again, so you don’t need to be precise. If the berries are large, you’ll want to cut them in half or in quarters they should be small enough to submerge into the batter.

Arrange the strawberries over the top of the cake evenly. Once they’re all arranged, press them into the batter, then spread the batter over the berries as best you can. If the batter is a little thin or there’s a little bit of the berry peeking out, that’s fine. Bake until the cake springs back when touched, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes (because you’ve added frozen strawberries, this recipe will take longer to bake than the original.)

Remove the cake from the oven, let it rest for five minutes or so, then invert onto a wire rack or plate. You could also let it cool in the pan and serve it from there if you prefer.

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