We love our cast-iron pans: They’re cheap, versatile, and, aside from a few Dishes You Should NEVER Cook In A Cast-Iron Pan, they’re good for making just about anything. You probably already use your cast iron for searing steak and making fantastic cornbread, but did you know you can also use it to make great pizza, soufflés, or mac and cheese? Read on for eight unexpected dishes you can make in your cast-iron skillet—because the more you use it, the better that seasoning gets.
Cast iron gets, and stays, searing hot, so it makes a great substitute for a pizza stone. Heat the skillet over an open flame for about ten minutes or until it’s nice and hot; add your circle of dough, and cook it until lightly browned on one side. Flip the dough before adding toppings—this will help the pizza cook evenly—and then return it to the heat. You can use this method to make pizza while camping, too—just bring your already-mixed dough and toppings with you. Pro tip: Day-old pizza is also better reheated in a cast-iron skillet. Add a small amount of oil for an extra-crispy crust.
See Recipe: Crispy Kale Pizza, from A Beautiful Mess
Cinnamon buns and other yeasted rolls bake up beautifully in a cast-iron pan. (Grab a pan that hasn’t been used for a lot of savory recipes.) Nestle your prepared raw rolls into a large skillet, and let them rise, covered, in a warm place; when they’re ready to go, pop the cast-iron pan directly into the oven, and bake the rolls according to your recipe.
Use two cast-iron skillets to make a spatch-cocked chicken, so it’s tender and evenly cooked, with an irresistible crispy skin all over. Heat the bottom skillet until hot, add your seasoned, flattened chicken, and then top it with another skillet (weighted with canned goods if necessary). Cook it on the stovetop for about five minutes. Then, removing the cans if you’ve used them, finish the whole thing in the oven.
Cook veggies and meat separately, and set them aside. Make a béchamel sauce directly in the skillet, and then layer the lasagna noodles and other ingredients in just as you would a baking pan. Toss the whole thing into the oven, and bake according to your recipe.
See Recipe: Cheesy Lasagna Bolognese, from Brown-Eyed Baker
Make a roux in your skillet, add milk and cheese, and whisk to blend. Stir in your cooked pasta and any other add-ins, top with breadcrumbs or panko, and bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes.
Try Our Recipe: Butternut Squash Macaroni + Cheese
Sauté some chorizo or sausage in the skillet until cooked through; set aside. Add onions and peppers and cook until softened, and then return the meat to the pan along with the cheese, and toss in the oven until bubbly.
See Recipe: Queso Fundido, from The Pioneer Woman
Related: Two Ways To Clean Cast Iron
For a pie with a beautifully crispy, golden crust, a deep cast-iron skillet works brilliantly. Choose a skillet the same size as the pie plate your recipe calls for (this should be a pan that hasn’t been used for a lot of savory recipes), and fit your crust into it just as you would into a glass or metal baking dish. If your recipe calls for a glass pie plate, you might need to raise the temperature of your oven 20 to 25 degrees to compensate.
Try Our Recipes: Easy Free-Form Pies