30 Recipes to Make In Your Cast-Iron Skillet
Don't get hung up on cornbread—when it comes down to it, the sky's the limit with a cast-iron skillet.
Skillet PB&J Monkey Bread
Ooey gooey peanut butter and jelly goodness! Kids and adults alike will go nuts for this sweet and decadent treat, which gets its chewy, light-as-air feeling from store-bought pizza dough.
Skillet Fajita Pitas
Cooking over high heat without stirring gives the chicken and peppers a smoky, charred crust.
Single-Skillet Crispy Chicken Caprese Dinner
Building incredible flavor in a single skillet is one of the smart tricks pro cooks use to get food on the table fast. That said, you’ll actually need 2 skillets—a 12-inch nonstick for cooking and a 10-inch cast-iron for weight—to make this fabulous chicken-under-a-brick inspired dinner. The heavy cast-iron acts as your “brick,” which is essential to getting glorious crispy skin and helps speed up the cooking. You could also use a large brick or tile wrapped in aluminum foil for the same effect. The result is super juicy chicken, with ridiculously crisp skin, ready in a fraction of the time it would typically take to cook whole chicken breasts on the stovetop. And once you throw marinara saucy and melty mozzarella into the mix… well, you’ve got a weeknight recipe the family is going to beg for again and again. Serve the completed saucy-cheesy chicken over pasta or on toasted hoagie rolls.
Cast-Iron Breakfast Pizza
Pizza for breakfast is always a delicious possibility. This cast-iron pizza develops a warm, fluffy crust that surrounds a cheesy and bacon-topped interior. Using a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet eliminates the need for using extra oil which keeps this recipe as light as possible. As a tip, placing the pan over high heat on the cooktop before transferring it to the oven helps heat it up quickly and yields a perfectly crisp crust.
Sausage and Kale Pesto Pizza
Switch things up for family pizza night and enjoy a healthy pesto based option. Instead of the usual tomato sauce, this tasty deep-dish pizza is topped with a vibrant green pesto made with fresh basil and kale. This deep-dish pizza is made in your favorite cast-iron skillet. Don’t skip preheating the cast-iron skillet, which helps create a nice crisp crust.
Easy Skillet Apple Pie
Broccoli-Bacon Skillet Pizza
Microwave-in-bag fresh vegetables help this meal come together lickety-split. A hot cast-iron skillet helps to crisp the bottom of the crust while the surface gets golden brown under the broiler--no baking required.
Caramel Apple Blondie Pie
Buttery rich layers of tender cake and caramelized apples add up to one sweet combo. The secret to the crisp, flaky crust? Baking in a cast-iron skillet on a lower oven rack.
Mediterranean Chicken and Bulgur Skillet
You’ll be delighted by the incredible results from this one-pot wonder: tender bulgur, creamy feta, and moist chicken. You don’t even need a sauce since there’s so much flavor in the pan. It’s a complete meal, though you could serve with a side salad if you’d like. Though you can swap dried oregano for fresh if you don’t have fresh on hand, we strongly urge you to stick with the fresh dill flourish at the end; it adds a burst of herbal goodness that you just won’t get from dried. If you don’t have a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, you can use any other medium-sized ovenproof skillet.
To scoop up every bit of this spicy egg and tomato dish, popular in North Africa and Israel, we brushed slices of pain au levain with oil, then toasted them on a grill pan set on a camp stove. After breakfast, we cleaned the cast-iron skillet by scrubbing it with hot water and a nylon wash pad (no soap). We set it back on the stove to dry and wipe with a thin film of oil. For more: sunset.com/cleancastiron.
Chicken Potpie Skillet Pizza
Try this quick, playful spin to turn pizza night on its head—in a good way. You get all the creamy goodness of chicken potpie, in a fun, eat-with-your-hands way that kids will love. Grown-ups will dig it, too, especially if you offer hot sauce at the table. Cooking the pizza in a preheated cast-iron skillet makes the crust wonderfully crispy so that it doesn’t sog out when the creamy sauce goes on. Be sure to use only 10 ounces of dough (though you’ll likely have to purchase in a 1-pound or larger ball); save the remaining dough to make breadsticks the next night.
Make Bialys at Home in a Skillet
Once sold at eastern European bakeries or delicatessens in Jewish neighborhoods like Manhattan’s Lower East Side, bialys have become scarce. I grew up eating the round Polish bread whose dimpled center is topped with onions and, sometimes, poppy seeds, and was excited when New York City pastry chef and baker Melissa Weller told me she wanted to bring it back. She gave me her recipe for this book, but not before adapting it for a cast-iron skillet to yield a large, sharable bialy. Her instructions for kneading the dough were specific—she found that splitting it and putting each half in the food processor for a quick, intense spin, four times on and off, with one resting while the other whirls in the machine, results in the best-possible bialy a home kitchen can produce. She cooked down the onions—lots of them!—with great care, sweating them slowly on the stove at a low temperature before moving them to the oven and baking them, covered, for a half hour.
I did everything she instructed until, as my crispy, brown-crusted, chewy bialys cooled, I decided to leave off the poppy seeds. My brain had jumped from deli to Delhi, and I wanted to make a tempering—a fried blend of assorted spices used in Indian cuisine. I grabbed nigella, mustard, coriander, and cumin seeds from my spice cabinet and quickly toasted them in sizzling ghee until they popped and crackled. I threw in caraway seeds as well, to bring a hint of the Jewish bakery to my mix. At the last minute, I put some curry leaves in the pan. Then I spooned the hot aromatics and their golden cooking liquid over the bialys, letting the crunchy bits and unctuous fat settle into the onions.
Note: The second and third bialys can be made right away, or, as noted above, the dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Reprinted from Stir, Sizzle, Bake: Recipes for Your Cast-Iron Skillet. Copyright © 2016 by Charlotte Druckman. Photographs copyright © 2016 by Aubrie Pick. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.
Kale and Mushroom Frittata
Half the pleasure of a frittata is just saying it. Go ahead. Free-tah-tah. For molto fun, say it Italian-style: Stress the first syllable and roll the r. Fr-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-ee-tah-tah. Brava, bella. A cast-iron or carbon-steel pan is best here because it goes under the broiler, and high heat could damage nonstick skillets. Handy advice: If you set out to make an omelet but your pan won’t release the eggs and they stick to the bottom, just spread out the fillings, pop it under the broiler, and presto! Frittata. You can easily make this dish for 2 or 4 people using a larger pan and multiplying ingredients accordingly.
Pan-Seared Skirt Steak + Chimichurri
Traditionally used as fajita meat, skirt steak is gaining popularity these days as a stand-alone meat. It’s my preferred cut of beef because it offers great flavor, tenderness, and affordability.
I like to pan-sear this all-in-one cut over really high heat in my cast-iron skillet to create a nice char on the outside of the meat (open a window or turn on the fan in the kitchen). Instead of wasting time on a marinade, I prefer to reverse the process by slicing the meat thin and pouring all of the chimichurri sauce over the meat prior to serving. Trust me, it’s a real showstopper when it comes to entertaining. Even better, this chimichurri sauce is super versatile. It also goes well on pork, chicken, and firm cuts of fish, such as shark and swordfish.
Master This Frittata Formula Before Your Next Brunch Party
Frittatas are one of the smartest edible inventions of all time. They can be eaten without fuss or reservation at any time of day. They are tasty hot, cold, or at room temperature. Sliced just so, they can be fashioned into a sandwich, or cut into bite-sized pieces and passed off as an hors d’oeuvre. But, most satisfyingly for anyone who’s ever gotten a little too excited at the farmers' market, by a sausage selection, or at the cheese shop, they’re a super smart way to clean out the fridge. With certain ratios in mind you can whip up one of these crowd-friendly meals with little to no stress. And shouldn’t that be the point?
A few things to keep in mind as you master the frittata:
The better the raw product, the more delicious your final result. This is another case when you really want to buy the best eggs you have access to. I like to start with 10 to 12 eggs (for 4 to 6 adults). Why a range? Because I rarely have a whole dozen laying around. Twelve eggs are great, but you don’t have to make a special trip for a new carton. I’ve squeezed by with nine eggs in a 10-inch skillet but that one was kinda skinny. The rule is pretty simple though: same number of eggs to diameter (in inches) or your skillet. 10 to 12 in a 10- to 12-inch skillet; 6 to 8 in an 8-inch, and so on.
I generally recommend nonstick for egg cookery because breakfast should not be stressful or scary. However, frittatas get finished in the oven, which means the skillet has to go in there too. And while a lot of advancements have been made in the non-stick department, I still feel funny about sticking a coated skillet in any oven hotter than 350°F. Instead, I like a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet. I know, I know, I’m always recommending cast iron. But it really is the best bet here, and so many other times and places. So start checking yard sales for used ones (best prices!) and take care of it. You’ll thank me in 50 years.
Full-fat dairy—whether it’s milk, yogurt, sour cream, crème fraîche or even softened cream cheese—is one of the keys to a tender, unctuous (rather than bouncy and dry) frittata. For a standard size frittata (that’s a 10- to 12-egger) you’ll want to whisk about ½ cup of dairy into the eggs until the mixture is homogenous. This is just enough to add silkiness without making the frittata too wet. Which brings us to the interesting question: Aren’t we just making a crustless quiche? No, friends, we’re not. A quiche has a much higher dairy-to-egg ratio (and sometimes just egg yolks) than a frittata. The result is more like a savory custard baked inside a crust than a large-format omelet. Which come to think of it, is a great way to describe a frittata.
If you want to skip the cheese in a frittata, I might suggest that you just make scrambled eggs. Cheese adds great flavor to the egg base, helps to season the thing, and adds body. Oh, and fat is important for providing moisture and tenderness in a skillet full of relatively lean protein. For a standard size frittata, start with about a cup (roughly 4 ounces) of cheese, shredded or crumbled. Fontina, cheddar, and Gruyère are all good melty options, but goat cheese and feta make nice additions as well. Whatever cheese you choose, whisk it well with the eggs and dairy. Most frittatas can handle about ½ cup more cheese on top of that. Literally. Sprinkle the excess fromage over the top, where it helps with browning and forms a protective cheese shield that prevents the eggs from overcooking during their last minute or two under the broiler. You could swap that extra ½ cup for something more pungent (Parmesan or Pecorino) or go the other route and dollop generous spoonfuls of fresh ricotta over top. Or, for extra credit, do both.
Let’s back up a little bit. Eggs are the bulk of the business, we covered that. Cheese, check; dairy, check. But we’ve got to build a flavor foundation. Alliums—onions and onion-like things—are ideal and I think all frittatas need them. Depending on what you use and how you cook them, they can add heat, sweetness, a little texture, a lot of texture, etc. You’ve got options: chopped or sliced yellow or red onion, a bunch of scallions, a crap-ton of chives. Cooked in the skillet before adding the eggs or mixed raw into the base (in the case of the more herbal varieties), onions infuse the eggs with big flavor, which is important for a thing that only takes 20 minutes to cook.
Additions Part 1: Meat
Chopped rendered bacon and or breakfast sausage are obvious choices for tucking inside eggs but frittatas can support a lot of different flavor profiles. Try sweet or hot Italian sausage with provolone and Pecorino, fresh chorizo and queso fresco, or dried sliced chorizo with shredded manchego. Figure about 8 ounces of meat for a standard size frittata. Remove any casings and don’t pour off those drippings. If you want crispy bits, reserve some of the cooked meat and sprinkle on top before the final broil.
Additions Part 2: Vegetables
But meat is not essential. In fact, the frittata is a vegetarian dream dinner. Full of protein and an excellent way to use up the rest of those greens, roasted potatoes, carrots, caramelized onions, borderline too-ripe tomatoes, excess fresh herbs, etc. Almost the same rules apply for adding vegetables to frittatas as they do for scrambled eggs—that is, generally you want to cook them first so they don’t water down your interior. That goes for mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini, or yellow squash. You’ll obviously want to cook any roots or winter squashes before you add those, but don’t go to any extra trouble. Just toss any leftovers in if you’ve got ‘em). Greens like spinach, chard, kale, and the like I used to pre-wilt in the skillet before adding the eggs. But one lazy day I just threw a big handful of Bloomsdale spinach in there and poured the eggs on top. What came out of the oven was a puffed golden beauty in a frilly green skirt. The greens had softened just enough but held their shape for an extra-pretty presentation.
So, you’ve got a lot of options. But don’t worry, I made you a formula with some ideas to get you started. Use it as a road map to frittata greatness. But remember, ultimately you won’t rely on this. Soon, only your creativity and experience will guide you.
Italian-Style Semolina Pancakes That’ll Make Your Nonna Proud
“There’s no such thing as a real Italian brunch,” says Albert Di Meglio, chef and partner of Brooklyn's Barano. While many restaurants in New York City opt for lemon-ricotta pancakes, Di Meglio took a different approach with his semolina pancakes. Unlike baghrir, the thin and savory Moroccan semolina pancake with lots of tiny holes, this Italian-style pancake is thick and hearty but not too heavy. It’s also slightly sweet but not too sugary. Semolina, derived from the Italian word semola, meaning bran, resembles the taste and texture of cornbread. With semolina mixed into the pancake batter, these pancakes become something like a Southern-style flapjack—super crispy on the outside and moist on the inside.
While semolina and durum flour—both used in Di Meglio's recipe—are products of durum wheat, their textures differ magnificently. Semolina is a coarse and heavy milled flour with a consistency like breadcrumbs. Durum is the fine powder that’s left after the milling process is over. Semolina is more commonly used in Italian cuisine, especially for pastas, but it can also replace all-purpose flour in pancakes for a heartier and more flavorful breakfast.
Di Meglio admits that substituting semolina for all-purpose flour isn’t all that simple or straightforward. It’s no quick swap. If you’ve sold your soul to one pancake recipe for the rest of your life, you can only substitute about 40 to 35 percent of the all-purpose flour for semolina. And because the semolina is thick and coarse, you have to add a lot more liquid like butter and milk to the batter and let it sit for a few hours to hydrate before cooking.
Semolina pancakes are not meant to be flipped when slightly brown—you want them charred and crisp. The best way to achieve that finish is a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet. At Barano, Di Meglio cooks his semolina pancakes in a wood-fired oven from start to finish, but we know that’s not easy to do at home (unless you have a wood oven in your kitchen, and if that's the case, we’re jealous). If you’re the average home cook, you have two options: finish the pancake on the stovetop or stick it inside your conventional oven. Your choice. Either way, you win.
Skillet Chicken Thighs with Spring Vegetables and Shallot Vinaigrette
This elegant single-skillet meal for two is deceptively easy to make. Ready in under an hour, this skillet chicken dinner includes your protein (perfectly golden-crisp chicken thighs), green veggies (peas and asparagus), a starch (baby Yukon gold potatoes), and a whole lot of vibrant flavor (hello, shallot vinaigrette). A great recipe for anyone cooking for one or two, this easy weeknight chicken dinner is one you’re sure to come back to again and again.
Skillet Chicken Pot Pie with Leeks and Mushrooms
We’ve combined one of our favorite comfort foods with our favorite kitchen staple: a skillet. This Skillet Chicken Pot Pie with Leeks and Mushrooms is creamy and flavorful. The chicken starts out in the slow cooker allowing it to develop rich flavors. Don’t forget reserve the stock from the chicken. It is the perfect addition to the creamy sauce for the pot pie.
Pork Tenderloin and Collards Skillet
The Southern tradition of eating black-eyed peas and collard greens in the New Year is a delicious one, though not remotely quick enough for a weeknight. Until now, that is. Collards fair nicely in a quick sauté; slice into thin ribbons so they wilt quickly and stay tender. Canned black-eyed peas also save time. Pork is a natural pairing for greens and black-eyed peas. Here a lean, perfectly seared pork tenderloin is the star.
Fast Skillet Chicken Cacciatore
Lean chicken breasts cook quickly--in just 15 minutes compared to the hour-long braise in most cacciatore recipes. If you'd like more heat in the sauce, kick up the crushed red pepper to 1/2 teaspoon.
Skillet Nacho Dip
We combined our favorite elements of cheesy queso dip and loaded beef nachos into one epic skillet dish.
Instead of a sauce or side, we serve this Provençal dish as it was originally intended—a simple, humble stew. It’s a great way to use up a bundle of peak summer produce.
Skillet Mushroom Mac and Cheese
Mushrooms and aged Gruyère cheese add heft and depth to this one-pan vegetarian main.
Skillet Red Beans and Rice
Look for trinity blend (a mix of onion, bell pepper, and celery) with the prepared produce. Or make your own with 3/4 cup onion, 3/4 cup celery, and 1/2 cup bell pepper.
Southwestern Salmon Skillet Supper
This simple, single-skillet supper is packed with bold flavor, but is quick enough for a busy weeknight. This foolproof recipe for salmon is brightened up with a little spice and zesty cilantro-lime butter that you're going to want to slather over everything from here on out.
Mississippi Mud Deep-Dish Skillet Cookie
Mississippi Mud, a traditional Southern sheet cake filled with marshmallows and topped with decadent chocolate frosting gets a makeover in this skillet cookie dessert. Traditional Mud cakes sometimes add pecans, which would also make a great addition here for an added crunch throughout the warm, gooey center. Serve with a scoop of chocolate or vanilla ice cream for the ultimate dessert indulgence.
Skillet Mixed Berry Jam
Braving the heat is worth it for this delicious jam.
Skillet Chicken with Seared Avocados
The tiniest bit of sugar helps the avocado halves char in the pan, adding robust toasty flavor.
Saucy Skillet-Poached Eggs
If you've ever had Italian eggs in purgatory, this recipe makes a similar Israeli breakfast dish called shakshuka. If you need to stretch the meal, simply add another egg to the pan. Top with any herb, such as cilantro, chives, or oregano.
Skillet Shrimp Chilaquiles
Crisp, freshly fried tortilla chips are the star of this dish and they are so easy to make at home.