10 Comfort Food Dishes to Make in Your Cast Iron Skillet

Yes, your cast iron skillet is genius for the crispiest fried chicken and baking fluff-tastic biscuits, but don't pigeonhole it. This old-school cooking vessel also works wonders for so many other comfort-food dishes, from pot pie to pizza, adding an extra crispy texture because of the pan's power to conduct heat evenly. Here are brilliant ways to use your cast iron. Pro tip: The new generation of cast iron skillets from made-in-the-USA Lodge do not require seasoning or extra care when washing up.

01 of 10

Puff Pastry Roast Beef Pot Pie

Puff Pastry Roast Beef Pot Pies in a grey bowl

Tough stew meat will turn fork-tender when milk-braised in the skillet. That's right, milk. It's been used as a natural tenderizer for meats for many years in Italy, and those cooks know about how to make some pretty delicious food. Puff pastry as a crust is a brilliant shortcut instead of rolling your own, especially if you follow these easy tips for using this amazing product.

02 of 10

Deep-dish Cast Iron Pizza

Cast Iron Skillet Pizza. Meredith

Move over, Chicago! We've got a massively satisfying pie that's at home from coast to coast. This preparation is loaded with meat, but the crust is substantial enough to hold it all. You might never go back to baking on the pizza stone again! Pro tip: If serving straight from the pan, be sure and slip an oven mitt over the handle so nobody accidentally gets a searing sensation with supper.

03 of 10

Cheesy Bacon Jalapeno Cornbread

Cheesy Bacon Jalapeno Cornbread. ReneePaj

Know what makes cornbread even more satisfying? When you add in the wicked-good combo of cheese, crispy bacon and fiery bits of jalapeno, all showing up like superstars against the contrasting crunchy crust created by the cast iron. Serve alongside your favorite chili or dunk a slice in a bowl of Southern collard greens for a truly memorable meal. Good to know: A cast iron skillet requires very little oil to make its surface non-stick.

04 of 10

Cast Iron Skillet Braised Brussels Sprouts

Cast Iron Skillet-braised Brussels Sprouts. LilSnoo

Don't let the oven have all the fun when it comes to creating cast iron cooking magic. This recipe turns the crazy popular cruciferous veggie into sweet bites because the skillet caramelizes the sugars in those sprouts that look like mini cabbages. If you're a vegetarian, skipping the bacon is not a deal breaker for creating a side your family's going to make disappear.

05 of 10

Chef John's Hot Tamale Pie

Chef John's Tamale Pie. Meredith

A lot like a shepherd's pie, this one-pan meal—which is great for brunch as well as a crowd-pleasing dinner—offers a wham-bam dose of spicy meat topped with a soothing cornmeal crust. Serve this easy casserole with a Michelada, the coolest beer cocktail around, no matter what the season.

06 of 10

Hangtown Fry with Parmesan and Fresh Herbs

Hangtown Fry with Parmesan and Fresh Herbs
Hangtown Fry with Parmesan and Fresh Herbs | Photo by Fava Bean. Fava

Now this is old-school California comfort food. The Hangtown Fry harkens back to the California Gold Rush of the 1850s. This version features grated Parmesan cheese, fresh basil, and oregano. It is also finished under the broiler, which allows the egg and oyster mixture to puff up and brown "like a cross between a frittata and a soufflé," says Cazuela, who submitted the recipe. "I get the best results using a cast iron skillet. It's important that the oven be hot before you place the skillet under the broiler."

07 of 10

Mom's Sweet Buttermilk Corn Bread

Mom's Sweet Buttermilk Corn Bread
Mom's Sweet Buttermilk Corn Bread | Photo by Kim's Cooking Now!.

The cast iron skillet is the best way to make quick corn bread. This old-fashioned buttermilk cornbread features a hint of sweetness. "It's made with white cornmeal, but yellow works, too," says Nandabear. "It is baked in a cast iron skillet. Can be used to make stuffing—or put leftover cornbread in a cup with milk and put it in the fridge overnight for a comforting breakfast."

08 of 10

Smothered Chicken Thighs

chicken thighs with green onions in cast iron skillet
France C

Fried chicken isn't the only comforting chicken dish that cooks up great in the cast iron pan. With this simple recipe, chicken thighs are topped with bacon, mushrooms, green onions, and a creamy sauce. Quick comfort!

09 of 10

Cast Iron Skillet Prime Rib Roast and Gravy

Prime rib from cast iron skillet
Cast-Iron Skillet Prime Rib Roast and Gravy. Meredith

Use your cast iron skillet to sear a juicy beef standing rib roast, cook the roast to perfection in the oven, then make a savory red wine gravy—all in the same pan. Serve the gravy over Chef John's Popovers or creamy mashers.

10 of 10

Loaded Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

Loaded Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

The most comforting cookie cooks in cast iron! "Loaded with chocolate chips, oats, and pecans, this delicious cookie (with a touch of cinnamon!) is baked in a cast iron skillet," says jaybu, who submitted the recipe. "As long as your skillet is well seasoned, the whole cookie will pop right out on a serving platter, making it perfect for serving as a birthday cookie 'cake.' Slice in pie-shaped pieces and eat as-is, or serve with ice cream and chocolate sauce."

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