The Best Spatula
for Cast Iron
You've been told that using a metal spatula in your cast iron skillet will ruin it.
It's often said that metal spatulas should not be used on cast iron skillets. When one has spent days layering thin coats of expensive oil on their skillet and baking it repeatedly, it's no wonder they feel protective of that protective seasoning layer. Spending a weekend filling your home with the smoke of burning oil is not something anyone wants to do twice.
The truth is: The right metal spatula will improve your cast iron skillet.
Cast iron skillets are made by pouring molten iron into molds made of wet sand. This process results in a textured surface with small peaks and valleys. The "seasoning" on a cast iron skillet is a thin layer of polymerized fat that is chemically bonded to the iron. Over time this layer builds up, filling in the "valleys" in the texture of your skillet. The right metal spatula improves your skillet by leveling the high spots. The affect this has on the cooking surface of your cast iron skillet is profound. The polymerized oils are continually filling in the recessed areas, while your spatula slowly lowers the high spots.
What difference does the right spatula make? Look at the three images below:
left: A new skillet with very little wear on the high spots and very little seasoning in the crevices.
Middle: My deep skillet, used far less frequently than my daily driver. High spots are flat, and crevices are filling with seasoning.
Right: My daily driver. The skillet that lives on the stove top. High spots all flattened, nearly level with the deepest crevice seasoning. This skillet has been used daily for years. It used to look more like the skillet on the left.
Skillets don't get that smooth from the gentle caress of bamboo.
They get that smooth in the course of normal use when you use the best spatula ever made for cast iron cooking:
The MK21680 by MÄNNKITCHEN:
What makes the MK21680 the best spatula for cast iron skillets?
Hardened Stainless Steel - Unhardened stainless steel is softer than iron, which means that instead of slowly improving your skillet, you're wearing away the edge of your spatula.
Precision Beveled Edge - A blunt edge will leave the most flavorful bits of your seared steak and smashed burger behind. Don't leave flavor behind.
Flat Scraping Edge - The flat edge of the MK21680 spreads force evenly, ensuring maximum edge contact for exceptional food release and even skillet surface leveling over time.
Hardwood Handle - More comfortable than plastic, and you can rest a hardwood handle on the skillet edge while cooking without it getting too hot to handle or melting.
Versatile Utility - With over 10 inches of usable edge in its 11.5 inch overall length, this spatula is capable of smashing burgers, lifting delicate cookies, or slicing and serving brownies.
Stub-Tang Handle - The shorter tang keeps the spatula front weighted so the blade rests flat (handle raised) when not in use, making it easier to handle.
Heavy Gauge Steel - Eliminates flex, allowing you to apply downward pressure for perfect smash burgers, and scraping force without catapulting hot food out of your skillet.
The Perfect Angle - The MÄNNKITCHEN spatula features an optimal 25° angle between the blade and handle, giving you space to maneuver around the inside of your skillet without searing your hand on the rim.
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In our house, 90% of the cooking is done in cast iron.
The 13.25 inch skillet has replaced our saute pans, our pizza pans, our pizza stone, our pie pans, my cat, and our microwave.
Yes, you read that correctly:
I have not used a microwave for 4 years, and I miss it like I miss my vestigial tail. My skillet and I have spent countless hours together making breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. Here's 7 things to remember in order to get the best results from your cast iron skillet.
7 TIPS to build a healthy relationship with your cast iron skillet:
1. Use it often - The factory seasoning is just the start. Every time you cook with your skillet, you can add another layer of seasoning and improve its performance.
2. Warm it up first - Some things in life you just can't rush, and your skillet is one of them. If your food is sticking, most of the time it's because the skillet isn't preheated. You wouldn't treat your oven like that, would you? It takes a good 4 minutes on med-hi heat before your skillet is ready to cook. Don't forget to reposition your skillet over the heat, as cast iron does not heat evenly without help. It does an excellent job of retaining heat.
3. Use Oil - Your skillet needs oil. When it's good and hot (but not smoking) add your oil. I like Canola. I typically use about 1 tablespoon and then spread it in an even coat with my spatula.
4. Keep acidic ingredients out - Long simmering tomato sauce, vinegar, wine and lemon juice will dissolve your seasoning. Can you do it? The better question is: Why would you? You've worked hard for that seasoning, and recipes with acidic ingredients are one of the very few categories of food that will turn out better when prepared on a different surface.
5. Keep it clean - Hot water, a good metal spatula and a stiff brush are all you need to keep it clean. Do not soak your skillet in water. After cooking, add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. If it's really crusty, scrape it with your flat edged spatula, then give it a thorough brushing. You'll feel if any bits are stuck. Scrape/scrub until they are gone, then dump the water and rinse.
NOTE: A few words on Soap: I don't use it. I mean, I do use it, just not on my skillet. Soap will NOT remove your seasoning. Once polymerized, your seasoning is not water soluble. What soap WILL do is remove oil, and oil is your skillet's third best friend (after you, and your spatula). Soap will also alter the flavor of any oil that does remain in the pan. You like soap with your eggs? Me neither.
6. Make it last - Once clean, get all the water off of your skillet. Return it to your stove top and heat it on medium for a minute to evaporate the water. Often, my skillet is still warm from cooking and a brief wipe with paper towels works just fine. Once it's dry, oil it up again. Just a dab will do you. I put a couple drops on the cooking surface and wipe it around with a paper towel. Finished. Your skillet is ready for breakfast.
7. Use the Best Spatula for Cast Iron: