Cooking In Cast Iron

Easy Fajita Rice Bake in Cast Iron JENRON DESIGNS

Cooking In Cast Iron

Have you inherited a great set of cast iron cookware, but only use it for cooking bacon, cobblers or cornbread? Today I am sharing my tips for Cooking In Cast Iron and some great recipes you may not have thought about making in your cast iron.

Cooking in Cast Iron may seem like a very old school of thought, reserved for our mothers and grandmothers. Today I am here to tell you its not just for the grannies anymore. Cast Iron cookware is truly a classic cooking style, a true culinary experience for anyone that has never actually used it. Not only can it sear meats perfectly, it also deep fries, and bakes from stove top to oven in a blink of an eye. Such a flexible kitchen piece to have, heck you can even use it on your grill outside as well.Cooking in Cast Iron JENRON DESIGNS

*Please note that  this post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. These links involve no extra cost to you. You can view my full advertising disclosure statement here.

Cast iron does need to be seasoned properly, if you are lucky enough to have inherited a piece from a family member that was passed down over the generations, as mine have been, you will still want to maintain proper care. Make sure that your pans are oiled or seasoned regularly. Lodge makes a great 5 piece set which has a cleaning scrub brush, pan scraper and season spray to make this step super easy for you. Keep in mind to never marinate anything acidic in your cast iron, it will damage the seasoned coating. Then particles of food start to stick, rust appears, and you may start to experience a metallic taste in everything you cook.Easy Fajitas in Cast Iron JENRON DESIGNSThis tasty treat, that you can see me making above, is my Fajita Rice Skillet, but you can just as easily make a loaded queso dip, or a hot taco dip which are both perfect options for serving up in a fun cast iron serving dish. Just make sure that you use a trivet or hot mat to protect any of your delicate surfaces before you place the screaming hot cast iron on them. Easy Fajitas Rice Bake JENRON DESIGNS

Easy Fajita Rice Bake in Cast Iron JENRON DESIGNS
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5 from 6 votes

Fajita Rice Skillet

Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Mexican, Tex Mex
Keyword beef, Rice, Taco
Prep Time 7 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
5 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 580kcal
Author Jennifer Gainer


  • Cast Iron Skillet
  • Instant Pot 3 Qt. Mini ( can be doubled for a larger 6 Qt. Pot)


  • 1 lb Steak Cubed, Diced
  • 2 medium Poblano Peppers Sliced
  • 1 medium Red Onion Sliced
  • 2 Limes
  • 2 Roma Tomatoes
  • 1 cup Jasmine Rice
  • 2 tbsp Adobo Paste
  • 2 tbsp Taco Seasoning
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 bunch Cilantro fresh
  • 1 pint Sour Cream
  • 1 cup Nacho Taco Cheese


  • For Instant Pot combine rice, 1 1/2 cup water, and a pinch of salt cover and cook on Rice Setting is tender, 15-18 minutes. Keep covered on keep warm setting off heat until ready to stir in
  • In a small bowl, combine diced tomato, minced onion, zest and juice from half the lime; season with salt for pico topping.
  • Heat olive oil in cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Add poblano and onions, try to obtain a charr 7-9 minutes.
  • Add steak and taco seasoning. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Stir in adobo paste and ¼ cup water until combined. Bring to a simmer and cook until mixture is saucy and steak is cooked thoroughly, 1-2 minutes.
  • Stir rice with 1 TBSP butter, lime zest, and half the cilantro add to skillet and lightly mix. Top with cheese, veggies, pico, sour cream, and remaining cilantro.

I also love the rustic serving piece quality it lends to meals when you serve directly from the oven in the skillet. For example, my Zesty Mozzarella Spaghetti Bake seen below, has a very downhome but rustic serving feel. Which adds to the ambiance of any dining experience, even if it is just a simple weeknight family dinner, it should be special too. Not to mention the convenience factor of going straight from the oven to the table.Zesty Mozzarella Spaghetti Bake in Cast Iron JENRON DESIGNS

Zesty Mozzarella Spaghetti Bake JENRON DESIGNS
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5 from 6 votes

Zesty Mozzarella Spaghetti Bake

Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Pasta, Sauce, Vegan
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 850kcal
Author Jennifer Gainer


  • Cast Iron Skillet
  • 6 quart saucepan
  • Pasta strainer


  • 12 oz Pasta (Spaghetti, Ziti, or Penne) cooked al dente
  • 1 medium Onion Diced
  • 2 medium Zucchini Diced
  • 28 oz Tomato or Marinara Sauce to save time you can also use my- Hearty Veggie Spaghetti Sauce recipe (link here)
  • 8 oz Fresh Mozzarella Cheese Sliced
  • 2 tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 2 cloved Garlic Minced
  • 10 tbsp Tuscan Herb or Basil Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 lb Italian Sausage (optional) if you must have meat in it


  • While pasta cooks, heat a large drizzle of olive oil in cast iron pan. Add zucchini, onion, garlic, and Italian Seasoning. Cook, until just browned, 4-6 minutes, season with salt and pepper. (This is where you would add this meat if you going that route)
  • Add sauce, cooked pasta, and reserved 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water to pan with veggies; lightly stir to combine.
  • Stir in half the Parmesan, season with plenty of salt and pepper. Remove pan from heat.
  • In a small bowl, stir together panko, remaining Parmesan, and a drizzle of olive oil. Top pasta with disks of mozzarella slices, then top with the panko mixture.
  • Place Cast Iron pan on top rack of oven on Broil until panko is golden brown, sauce is bubbly, and cheese has melted,approximately 5-7 minutes. You will want to watch carefully to avoid burning. Serve directly from pan and drizzle with remaining basil oil.

Another one of our favorites that lends itself to cooking in cast iron is my Couscous Stuffed Peppers. Oh my goodness these are probably our favorite way to eat stuffed peppers now. I remember when we were first married,  I would do the more traditional meatloaf based stuffed pepper, but now I am here to tell this is how you stuff a pepper people! Nothing else will really ever do once you have tried these, and impress your diners with the cast iron serving platter, it just adds to the show.

Stuffed Peppers with Couscous JENRON DESIGNS

Couscous Stuffed Peppers JENRON DESIGNS
Print Pin
5 from 6 votes

Couscous Stuffed Peppers

Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Italian, Mediterranean
Keyword couscous, squash, Vegetarian, Vegtables
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
10 minutes
Servings 4 People
Calories 800kcal
Author Jennifer


  • Cast Iron Skillet
  • Ninja Air Fryer
  • 3 quart Saucepan


  • 4 Large Green Bell Peppers
  • 2 medium Onions, Vidalia Diced
  • 2 cloved Garlic Minced
  • 1 lb Lean Ground Beef
  • 1 cup Israeli Couscous
  • 1 1/2 cup Beef Stock
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1 1/2 oz Tomato Paste
  • 2 medium Roma Tomatoes Diced
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp Italian Seasoning


  • Split peppers lengthwise in half remove all seeds and discard. LIghtly coat with olive oil place in Air Fryer at 390 degrees for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, melt 1 2 tbsp over medium-high heat. Add couscous and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toast couscous, 2-3 minutes. Add stock bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a low simmer. Cook 6-8 minutes until couscous is tender. Turn off heat and keep covered.
  • While couscous cooks, dice onion and tomato. Heat olive oil in cast iron pan. Add onion and cook until softened, 4-5 minutes. Add ground beef, Italian Seasoning, salt and pepper. Cook, 4-5 minutes, then drain excess grease from your pan, by carefully pouring it out.
  • Stir tomato paste and diced tomato with beef mixture until thoroughly combined. Add stock and simmer until slightly thickened, 1-2 minutes. Stir in couscous until thoroughly combined and turn off heat.
  • Once bell peppers are done, remove from Air Fryer with tongs and stuff each half with as much filling as will fit. Place in cast iron skillet with remaining filling, nestling each stuffed pepper half into the mixture. Sprinkle evenly with mozzarella.
  • Bake stuffed peppers on middle rack on broil, until cheese has melted, 3-4 minutes. Serve hot from the cast iron skillet, oven to table.

Another great treat you can do with your cast iron is dessert. There are so many great options like homemade cobblers, and crustless apple pies, which are all perfect for the fall season. Basically any kind of stone fruit does really well in cast iron and makes a delicious skillet dessert topped with a scoop of ice cream. Even versions of dump cakes do very well too, considering the amount of butter you pour over the top, LOL!

*For those of you not familiar with the “Southern Dump Cake” it is any box cake dumped into a pan topped with a canned fruit pie filling (usually cherry), a can of crushed pineapple- juice and all, and topped with an entire stick of melted butter pour over the top the baked in the oven by directions of the box cake mix. It is delicious, no matter how many coronaries and diabetus it causes and staple at every southern church function ever held. 

Easy Brookies in Cast Iron JENRON DESIGNSAnother great dessert treat that is really becoming popular and is super easy to make is a Pizookie which is baking your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe inside a cast iron skillet and topping it with ice cream and chocolate syrup. My time saving tasty take is to make it a “Break Bake Brookie” using chocolate chip cookies and brownies!  Same basic idea, just intermix your brownies and cookie dough into your skillet. It will take a bit longer to bake in the skillet than the package directions. Mine took about 25-30 minutes total.

Easy Brookie Bake Cast Iron JENRON DESIGNSOnce it is done, you can cut it up like a pie and serve with a scoop of ice cream and if you had a few extra cookies, like I did, use them as a cute decorative topper. If they last that long…My Easy Brookies Dessert JENRON DESIGNS

*Please note that  this post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. These links involve no extra cost to you. You can view my full advertising disclosure statement here.

My Favorite Cast Iron Kitchen Picks:

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Cooking In Cast Iron JENRON DESIGN


  1. I never knew you cn cook thisvin a cast iron I love the Spaghetti bake will try it out

  2. Great post! I have one cast iron pan and use it not that often. Thanks for giving some ideas. Love stuffed pepper and will try your recipe

  3. I love my cast iron, it makes the food just taste better. That couscous stuffed peppers look amazing! I can’t wait to try it.

  4. I love using cast iron pots’n’pans – they feel like the real thing 😉 So thank you so much for your tips how to use and maintain them. Even after years of using them, I’ve learned something new 😀

  5. Ohhh these are great tips! I have always wanted to try a cast iron!

  6. Thank you for this !ive been eager to use my cast iron but don’t really know how to use them

  7. Wow. I’m speechless at the variety and creativity you’ve included here. I’d love to try making stuffed peppers this way.

  8. I love fajitas I need to try cookies and fudge with ice-cream. Sounds gorgeous.

  9. Digitaldaybook

    I’m hoping to get a caste iron skillet in our next place. Looks like such a must along with an air fryer haha

  10. We love our Air Fryer too, in fact my husband uses the Air Fryer more than I do, which is a total win win for dinner time!

  11. Kumar

    5 stars
    I’m really impressed with your writing talents and also with the layout to your weblog. Is this a paid subject or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice high quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one nowadays..

  12. This is looking so tasty and delicious dish. thanks for sharing this article.

  13. 5 stars
    I’m asking Santa for a deeper cast-iron skillet for Christmas. I can’t wait to try some of these recipes.

  14. Oh my, that Spaghetti bake looks great! Might give a dessert a try as well. Thank you for the helpful tips and recipes!

  15. I got a cast-iron skillet for Christmas this year and LOVE IT!!!! Thanks for sharing some new tips and recipes I can use in my skillet!

  16. We literally use our cast iron pans every day. It’s been a total game changer! No more chucking pans after a year or two when the non-stick enamel wears off has been awesome. I’ve never tried a cookie/brownie mix, but I just whipped up/ froze a batch of cookie dough so I’ll have to try it soon!

    But question for you- I find that using any acidic ingredients like tomatoes totally ruins my seasoning. Do you not have that problem? How do you prevent the breakdown of the seasoning?

  17. The fajita looks so yummy, I definitely need a cast iron

  18. Amber Myers

    Ooo yum. I need to start doing this more often. Everything looks delish!

  19. Hillary good catch and this is a such true statement, when using any type of citrus based items I am very cautious of this happening to my precious cast iron. You may have noticed that in my Fajita recipe the limes are used only in a fresh pico de gallo topping used at the end, and as zest for flavoring the rice which is stirred in while cooking in a separate pot then added after. These cooking methods save my cast iron from the harsh and abrasive wear that the limes would normally have during cooking. I do find that if I have to add a citrus juice when cooking, if I have a fair amount of oil in the pan it does help with lessening the amount ofstripping of the seasoning, but I do have to re season the pan after.

  20. I love a good one-pan dish! Easy clean-up and delicious food are a win-win!

  21. My husband is a great cook and he insists on cooking in cast iron. Food tastes good and different also.

  22. Monica Simpson

    I have been wanting to invest in cast iron. I heard you actually can boost your iron intake from the cookware itself.

  23. Bella

    This looks so tasty!! I use my cast iron pan often!! its so awesome and super easy to use and clean!!

  24. Yes! I love cast Iron. I will admit, I was terrified of it at first but once I learned how to properly care for it I was fine. I’m totally gonna have to make a few of these awesome recipes. My husband would love the cookie one!

  25. 5 stars
    I think it’s time for to get a cast iron! These are really great and I love all the different kinds of meal you can make from it!

  26. 5 stars
    I’ve never used a cast iron before, I love the recipes you made so I definitely need one now.

  27. Tisha

    5 stars
    Love cooking in a cast iron. I have all different sizes

  28. Amber S Battishill

    5 stars
    I LOVE my cast iron pans and use them for all sorts of cooking! They are truly so versatile! Once you get over the fear of cleaning them properly and get them seasoned, they’re priceless.

  29. Amber I completely agree, the seasoning process is so important. I would never trade my cast iron ever!

  30. Mimi you will love cast iron once you cook in it, I promise, just make sure your clean it properly that is the key.

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