4 things you should never cook in cast iron

Most people who cook with cast-iron pans love them with the heat of a thousand suns. (Here’s our Test Kitchen’s favorite.)

After all, they’re a must for so many one-skillet meals not to mention they’re handy for everything from breakfast to dessert (really—these cast iron desserts are so so good). However, as good as your skillet can be for making all these favorites, it’s not a tool suited for all foods.

Find out what dishes you should avoid making in your cast iron.

Never cook this in a cast iron skillet
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Never cook this in a cast iron skillet


Smelly things

Garlic, peppers, some fish, stinky cheeses and more tend to leave aromatic memories with your pan that will turn up in the next couple of things you cook in it. Ten minutes in a 400ºF oven will generally get rid the smell, but it’s best to avoid cooking foods that would be ruined by those lingering aromas for the next few cooks. (We’re looking at you, chocolate pecan skillet cookie.)

Eggs and other sticky things (for a while)

Once your pan is well-seasoned, no problem at all. But when your pan is new, even though it’s seasoned, sticky things like eggs still may present a problem. Unless you like brown eggs and a gunky pan, relegate them to a regular nonstick pan for a while.

Delicate fish

The same heat retention that means your steak will get a beautiful brown crust in a cast iron pan will probably be the end of your lovely piece of trout or tilapia. Save the delicate fish for the non-stick pan, too. But salmon and other meaty fish that can stand the heat are fine.

Acidic things (maybe)

There seem to be mixed feelings on this one. Some people say that tomatoes or lemons can react with the metal and cause it to leach into the food and break down the seasoning of the pan. Others believe that’s a myth. And if acidic foods discolor your pan a bit, a baking soda scrub will take care of it


One thing to note: This list is for traditional cast-iron pans. If you’ve got an enamel-coated cast iron pan (like this one), you don’t need to adhere to this list—you can just get cooking!

And if you do make a mistake with your cast iron pan and it gets really dirty—we’ve got the cleaning tips you need plus a step-by-step lesson on how to re-season your pan. Cast iron is tough and can withstand a slip-up or two.

RELATED: Foods you should never microwave 

10 things you should never microwave
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10 things you should never microwave

1. Eggs 

Apparently, there is a new internet trend of making hard boiled eggs in a microwave. Do. not. do. this. I know this sounds like the perfect alternative for all of us lazy college students out there, but it is not as great as it sounds.

As you know, the microwave emits radio waves that channel heat directly to the food. This actually makes a lot of steam come out of the egg. So much steam that it makes the egg explode. The steam has no room to go so it sort of creates its own room. 

2. Styrofoam

You know how everyone always says not to put plastic in a microwave? Well, styrofoam containers are made from polystyrene foam, which is a type of plastic. If you put this in the microwave, the styrofoam will look different, almost as if it were melting. Even though it is not technically melting, it's releasing toxic chemicals that will be harmful to the food inside the container as well as to you. 

3. NothingLife GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

When you run a microwave empty, the radio waves that it emits are absorbed by the microwave itself. Since there is nothing else inside of it, the microwave can't handle receiving all the waves and could either self-destruct or even worse, start a fire

4. Hot peppers

If you try to microwave hot peppers, you'll be evaporating its capsaicin, which is known to be the chemical that makes peppers spicy. The moment you open the microwave door, that vapor will come out and burn your eyes and throat. So for your own good, please don't try this. 

5. Fruits

First of all, I have no idea who could ever crave a microwaved fruit. However, if by any reason this sounds appealing to you; don't try it. Grapes, for instance, will explode and could even result in starting a fire. Another good example of why this is not a good idea: raisins. Raisins will not only smoke but could also break down your microwave by the amount of plasma it will emit.  

6. Aluminum foil

Aluminum foil is a kind of metal, and like all metals, it can catch fire inside the microwave. To prevent this from happening, just take your leftovers out of the aluminum foil and use a microwave-safe container

7. Water

Unless the water has something else to defuse the amount of energy, like a tea bag, it will superheat. When it is superheated the water is not actually boiled so it is likely that once you add something then, like a tea bag, it will cause an upward explosion

8. Yogurt, sour cream, and butter containers

I know reusing these containers might be tempting, but they are really made to be more of a one-time use kind of thing. Since they are not made to survive in these conditions, exposing them to the microwaves will make the plastic material melt and release chemicals into your food.

9. Bread

This one will not ruin your microwave, but it will surely ruin the bread. Microwaving bread leaves it moist and chewy, to the point where no one really wants to try it. But don't worry, if this happens to you, just put the bread in the oven for a few minutes and it will go back to its desired texture and appearance. 

 10. Sauce without a lidSauce GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

If you are in a rush, just put a piece of paper towel on top of it at least. Microwaving any sauce without any type of lid will just end up causing a huge mess that no one really wants to clean up. 

Now, I hope you know that even though the microwave can save you a lot of time, it could also be very dangerous. Save yourself the trouble and don't create a mess, or worse, start a fire in your kitchen. Remember that most importantly, plastic and metal are the two things you should always remember not to microwave no matter how desperate you are. 


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