Welcome to the beauty of cast iron, the pan that gives back like no other. Its thick base means that you can sear and grill to your heart’s delight, and seasoning the pan guarantees food with a strong, umami flavor—the reapings of everything you’ve cooked before. Here’s everything you need to know about your new pan.

First things first: You’ll need to know how to properly care for your new favorite pan. It just needs a little TLC.

How to Season Cast Iron

Before you get started cooking, make sure you know everything you have to do to season the pan. (If you’re lucky, your pan came pre-seasoned, but you’ll still need to know how to do this for maintenance purposes.)

How to Clean Cast Iron

Don’t treat your cast iron cookware like the rest of your pots and pans; learn how to properly clean your cast iron without ruining it.

Is It Safe to Use a Metal Spatula with Cast Iron?

You might be used to cooking with a metal spatula on your regular set of cookware, but it’s important to learn what kinds of utensils you can (and can’t) use on cast iron.

The best part of owning cast iron, of course, is cooking in it!

The Best Recipes to Cook in a Cast Iron Pan

Whether it’s beer pancakes or cornmeal-fried catfish, you can’t go wrong with any of these recipes, designed to be prepared in cast iron.

Best Fried Chicken Recipes

Take advantage of the depth of cast iron by filling it with oil and frying chicken. These are our nine favorite fried chicken recipes.

Breakfast Queso Fundido

Any queso can be made in a skillet, but this version adds eggs so you can eat it first thing in the morning.

Easy Skillet Cornbread

Like those crispy edges? Baking cornbread in a cast iron pan gives you just that.

Skillet Pear Cake

The skillet does sweet bakes too. Not only does this pear cake crisp up in the oven, but you can also serve it straight out the pan—no special plate necessary.

How to Make the Best Seared Chicken Breast

Spoiler: It’s all about the pan.

Steak au Poivre

Impress your next dinner party with this fancy steak recipe, and before you get started, make sure to read up on the many different cuts of steak.

Cast Iron Is the Secret to Burger Perfection

Learn how to make perfectly juicy burgers—and why many chefs swear by cast iron, even on the grill.

Squash Your Beef: A Smashburger Is the Best Indoor Burger Around

Another way to make cast iron + hamburger patties = perfection.

Heat and Sweet: How to Grill Dessert

Employ your cast iron pan on the grill for amazing summer desserts.

What to Do With Mini Cast Iron Skillets

Did you get a precious little skillet instead of a full-size pan and think it’s cute but have no idea how you’ll actually use it? We can help with that too!