A little over a year ago, I started cooking with cast iron. As a result, I learned how to use cast iron on an electric stove.
Cast iron has been a cooking pan that has been touted for generations, and for good reason. The flavors and sear that you get with this type of pan can’t be rivaled.
We’ve all heard of families who grew up eating off of “grandma’s pans” and how the food tasted unlike any other. It creates a memory that forever changes the family table.
When I got my Nene’s cast iron, almost two years ago, I wanted to master the art of cooking with them. I must admit that I was nervous about using them since there seemed to be a bit of a learning curve. Plus, I had an electric range. I had heard that you weren’t supposed to use this type of pan on a smooth top stove, but I decided to look a little deeper and see if there was any real reason not to. What I found is that it was fine to use them, as long as you were careful.
I’m going to share with you my tips on using these amazing skillets on glass top stoves so that you can use your own pans with success. First, let’s answer the burning question…
Is it okay to use Cast Iron on an Electric Stove
One of the best qualities of cast iron is that you can use them over an open fire, on a gas stove, and on an electric stove. That quality alone makes them a very versatile pan to have in the homemaker’s kitchen.
You typically see these pans used on a gas stove, but rest assured that if you have a glass top stove, you can still use these pans and skillets. The important point is to know how the pans work and what kind of heat you need to cook with them properly while not damaging your smooth top stove.
I have been cooking on an electric stove with my cast iron pans for over a year and have had no adverse effects.
How to cook with Cast Iron on a Glass Top Stove
When using a gas stove, things heat up instantly. Cooking on a smooth top stove isn’t like that. You must heat your cast iron fully before putting food in it, so as to keep food from sticking, so you must give the electric stove time to heat the pan.
When using these pans on your glass top stove, heat them slowly. This helps to temper both the stove top and the pan. I typically give my skillet several minutes to heat before putting the fat and then the food into it. Starting out with a lower temperature and gently increasing it will give both the stove and pan time to heat in a safe way.
Tips for using Cast Iron Skillets on Smooth Top Stoves
- Don’t Drag– The simplest way to use this type of skillet on an electric stove without scratching the smooth top is to it when moving it and not to drag it. I don’t shake the cast iron on my stove or scooch it across the surface. I pick it up and have had no issues with a scratched cook top.
- Don’t Drop the Pan– This goes along with the first tip, but don’t drop the cast iron on the electric cook top. The cast iron is heavy, so make sure you have a good grip when you’re moving it from place to place.
- Allow the Pan to Heat Slowly- Electric stoves heat slower than gas stoves, so it will take time for the glass-top to heat the cast iron. You want a fully heated cast iron before putting food in it, so make sure you give the stove time to get it nice and hot.
- Start with a Clean Pan- Be sure your pan doesn’t have any food or grit stuck to the bottom of the pan. This will ensure that you don’t accidentally scratch the surface of your range.
Cast Iron Cooking Tips
The versatility of these pans is amazing, so make sure you get started using them the right way so you won’t go back to your other pans. Follow these easy cooking tips and you will be set!
- Preheat your cast iron without anything in it– Remember, it retains its heat, so don’t heat it too much. I like to heat mine to “medium”.
- Add your fat- butter, lard, avocado oil, etc.
- Add your food– Don’t fuss with the food too much. Allow the cast iron to do its work. Tossing the food too much will cause it to stick.
- Tip- I love using stainless spatulas when using these pans. It helps to lift any leftover food bits off of the bottom of the pan and also helps me in the cleaning process.
Tips for Cleaning Cast Iron
- Clean Right Away– If you are cooking and have stuck on food, be sure to clean your pan right away. I like to use my stainless spatula to lift off any stubborn bits of food prior to washing the pan. If you’re pan doesn’t have stuck-on food, then you can simply set it aside until you’re ready to clean.
- Use hot water– Hot water is key for cleaning these pans. Use a steel scrubber or brush if there is stuck on food. Typically, I only use a gentle scrubber and that seems to be enough. If there isn’t stuck on food, simply wipe the pan out with a wet paper towel.
- Do not leave water on/in the pan– If you have washed the pan, dry it thoroughly (with paper towels as it will create a dark residue on whatever towel you use to dry it with) OR set it on a warm burner so the heat can evaporate any remaining water. Leaving water on the pan will cause it to rust.
- Prep pan for next use– If you have washed your pan, then it’s a good idea to oil it for the next use. I will drop a dime sized amount of avocado oil in mine and wipe it around with a paper towel. Do not leave residue oil on the pan. Simply wipe it around and remove the excess oil. Put it away until next time!
If you are going to use your pan right away and it doesn’t have food stuck on it, simply wipe it out with a paper towel and leave it until later. There are many times when I’m going to cook later on and I leave it on the stove waiting for me until later in the day.
Cooking with Cast Iron
Cooking with cast iron has been one of the best changes I’ve made in my kitchen. I pushed past all of my fears and concerns and now I have the best tasting food ever. Cooking with cast iron on an electric stove really isn’t as scary as some people make it out to be. Follow those few tips and you should have no problems.