Can you put a cast iron skillet or pan in your oven?
Using cast iron cookware in your kitchen is one of the more classic ways of cooking. Cast iron cookware has been in use since around 220AD, and it may have even been earlier. This type of cookware continues to be loved and used by many people worldwide.
For those that are just getting started, one of the first cast iron pieces they will generally buy is a skillet. A skillet sits on the stove top and is used for frying foods, cooking eggs, creating stirfrys and so on.
But what about the oven? Can you put your cast iron skillet or pan in the oven?
The simple answer to this is Yes, you can. A cast iron skillet can safely be placed in your oven. In fact, when you are seasoning your skillet, you need to place it in the oven for the seasoning process to work.
Being able to put a cast iron skillet in the oven makes it ideal for finishing off steak that you have initially browned on the stove top.
You simply sear your steak first on the stove top. Then using oven mitts, transfer the skillet to the oven to finish cooking. Do make sure to use oven mitts as you will be handling a very hot cooking surface and you don’t want to burn yourself.
You can also do this in the opposite way by using the reverse sear method. this means that you place the steak in the skillet and cook it in the oven on a low heat. Then you remove the skillet – using oven mitts – to finish searing your steak quickly on high heat on the stove top.
This gives a nice caramelized sear to the top of the meat while ensuring the inside of the steak is nicely cooked and juicy. Reverse searing is the method I personally use when cooking thick steaks that I want to ensure are cooked in the middle but still have that lovely sear on the surface.
The only time I can think of that you wouldn’t be able to place a cast iron skillet in the oven, is if it had some sort of handle that wasn’t oven-proof. But it would be pretty unusual for this to happen. The whole point of cast iron is that you can use it on most heat sources – stovetops, in the oven, on a campfire, on the BBQ. So adding extras that aren’t heatproof would be counterproductive.
Can cast iron skillets or pans go under the broiler or grill?
Cast iron skillets can not only go in the oven but also under a broiler or grill. This makes them ideal for finishing off meals that require browning in the oven.
Especially those yummy cheese or potato topped dishes. It’s so convenient to be able to finish off the dish under the grill without having to change pans.
Just remember that the heat of the broiler can be quite intense. So it’s a good idea to check with the manufacturer first to see if they have specific requirements for broiler use.
How long can a cast iron skillet go in the oven?
The beauty of a cast iron skillet is that it can be placed in the oven at high heat for a reasonable amount of time. Certainly long enough to cook any recipe that needs to be cooked entirely in the oven. Cast iron melts above 2200° F and doesn’t show metal fatigue until it reaches around 700° F, so it can withstand way more heat than the average home oven provides.
If you are wanting to season your cast iron cookware, then you can place the skillet into the oven for about an hour.
Most recipes call for around an hour’s cooking , some more, some slightly less, and that is fine, your skillet will certainly withstand being in the oven for an hour or two.
Can You Put Cold Cast Iron in the Oven?
Cast iron is pretty sturdy but it’s not indestructible. It can break if you drop it and it can break if you subject it to extreme changes in temperature. DON’T put a hot skillet into cold water. It will crack. Always let the skillet cool down before washing it.
If your skillet has been in the fridge and you place it into a hot oven then there is definitely a potential for it to crack. The reverse will also apply – if you go from oven to fridge, you are also likely to see problems (and it’s not good for your refrigerator either).
If you place your cast iron that has been sitting at room temperature into a hot oven, you should be fine.
Or, you can heat the pan on the stove top for a few minutes to heat it up and then place it in the oven.
But better yet, if you place the skillet in a cold oven and then turn on the heat, the pan will heat up slowly as the oven heats. If you do this, you should never have a problem with the cast iron cracking.
What about an enameled cast iron skillet? Can it go in the oven?
The answer to this is yes. Enameled cast iron skillets can definitely go in the oven but you just have to be a little more gentle with it than you would with your regular cast iron cookware. This is because enameled cast iron has the potential to crack or chip if not used correctly.
I personally have a generic branded enamel skillet that I bought at a thrift store and have used it in the oven in the past. As of yet, I have not had any problems with it.
The one in the image below is a Le Creuset enamel skillet which you can get on Amazon here. (Mine doesn’t look this good, plus it is more of a grill type skillet hence why you are seeing this pic and not mine.)
Here’s some tips for using enamel cast iron skillets in the oven:
- Be careful about using the correct heat with your enamel skillet. This is something you will want to check with the manufacturer as enamel won’t tolerate as high a temperature as regular cast iron.
- Remember that added handles and knobs may not be oven proof – again, check with the manufacturer
- Don’t place an empty enamel cast iron skillet in the oven to heat up. Always use oil or fat or have some food sitting in the pan before heating.
- Avoid extreme temperature changes. For example, don’t place a hot skillet directly from the oven directly into water – even hot water. Let the pan cool first.
Highly Rated Cast Iron Skillets
#1 Lodge Skillet – Pre-Seasoned
Lodge are well known for their cast iron cookware and their skillet is hugely popular. It has over 60,000 reviews on Amazon with a 4.5 star rating.
You can view this cast iron skillet on Amazon here.
Watch the Lodge Skillet in Action
In this video, you can watch a steak being seared on the stove top and then placed in the oven to finish cooking.
#2 Victoria Cast Iron Skillet – Pre-Seasoned
Victoria is a company that was founded in 1939 in Colombia. They claim that their skillet as a longer handle, a wider helper handle and wider side lip spouts compared to the competition.
You can view this skillet on Amazon here.
#3 Utopia Kitchen Pre Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet
The Utopia Kitchen skillet is an Amazon Choice product. It comes pre-seasoned and has excellent ratings.
You can view this skillet on Amazon here.