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Why would someone even want to try to make eggs on a cast iron skillet? Yes, these were my thoughts before I learned how magical cast iron pans really are. It all makes sense. After all, people were making eggs sunny side up and scrambled and whatever other way they liked long before we had nonstick pans. And their eggs didn’t stick. So how did they do it? The answer is simple: using a cast iron skillet.
Going back to the original question – is it possible to cook eggs in a cast iron skillet (see also Can I cook bacon in a cast iron skillet?)? The short answer is yes. As long as the pan is properly seasoned and you use the right temperature, the eggs won’t stick to the pan.
Today, we’re going to give you a step-by-step guide on how to cook eggs in a cast iron skillet. If you follow these general guidelines, you can make eggs any way you like in your cast iron skillet. Sunny side up, scrambled, even an omelet – it’s all possible, and you can even do some special tricks with a cast iron pan, like putting it in the oven to make baked eggs.
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How To Cook Eggs In A Cast Iron Skillet?
Cooking eggs in cast iron is actually the way it was done before nonstick pans were invented. Does it take a bit of practice? Yes. But honestly, it’s not that hard. Once you get the hang of it, don’t be surprised if cast iron becomes your favorite medium for making eggs. Just follow these simple steps:
1. Make sure your cast iron skillet is seasoned
Seasoning should be a part of regular maintenance of your cast iron pan. When it’s not seasoned, the surface of a cast iron pan is quite rough and very sticky. However, with seasoning (and this can be done with natural oils), your pan becomes completely nonstick! It really does work like magic.
Most cast iron pans today will come pre-seasoned when you buy them. Every time you use some oil in your pan, it helps maintain the seasoning. However, from time to time you might need to renew it (like if you wash your cast iron pan with soap, for example).
There are many methods that you can use to season a cast iron pan, but all of them come down to the same thing. Heat up the pan with some oil, let it sit for a couple of hours, wipe the excess oil off, and you’re ready! You can use any kind of oil, but it’s best to choose some oil with a high smoking point, like grapeseed oil, for example.
Anyway, before you start cooking eggs in a cast iron pan, make sure that the pan is ready and properly seasoned. If the answer is yes, you are ready to start cooking.
2. Preheat the pan
Cast iron behaves a little differently on the stove than other metals. It heats up slowly, but it also retains heat really well. Once that you reach the temperature you want, you can rest assured it will remain stable, but it takes some time to reach this point. This is why cast iron skillets should always be preheated before adding oil. Put the pan on medium heat and don’t be afraid to give it some time.
3. Add oil, butter, or any kind of fat
Cooking eggs without any kind of fat in a cast iron pan is not really possible. However, you can use any kind of fat you like. Olive oil, butter, lard, sunflower oil – whatever comes to your mind, you can use it. And our advice is, if you are cooking in cast iron, don’t be skimpy on the oil. It’s really not the right time for this. We use at least a tablespoon of our favorite oil for one egg-making session.
Add oil to a preheated cast iron pan, give it a few seconds to warm up, and you’re ready to fry your eggs!
4. Use the right temperature
The easiest way to cook eggs in a cast iron pan is on low to medium heat. It’s a common myth that food will stick to the pan if cooked at a temperature that is too low. Especially with eggs, this is not true. The most foolproof way to cook eggs is to heat the cast iron pan on medium heat, and then turn the heat all the way down once you add the eggs. Cast iron retains a lot of heat, so it can basically cook the eggs on its own once it’s heated.
5. Have some patience
Finally, you have to be patient at the end, otherwise you could ruin perfectly made eggs. Don’t try to move or flip the eggs until they are ready, and you can see the edges getting cooked. If you try to move the eggs too early, they could stick to the pan.
If you’ve never cooked eggs in a cast iron pan before, you might also need some time to get the hang of it. If a cast iron pan is too hot, it’s impossible to cool it down quickly. It’s important to get the temperature just right. Have some patience and don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t work the first time you try. The results will be worth it.
Cooking eggs in a cast iron pan is actually one of the best ways to make eggs. If the pan is well seasoned, and you follow a couple of simple guidelines, you can definitely make perfect eggs this way.
The main alternative to cast iron pans today are nonstick pans, at least when it comes to making eggs. However, nonstick pans can be dangerous if they are heated too much. Even though the eggs slide right off, you can never be sure what’s inside this coating. If you switch to cast iron, you never have to worry about this kind of thing again!