If you’re a home cook, chances are you have a trusty cast iron pan in your kitchen arsenal.
But when it comes to cleaning and maintenance, there are a few rules to follow to keep it in tip-top shape.
One question that often arises is whether it’s safe to use a metal spatula on cast iron.
In this post, we’ll explore the answer and provide some tips for keeping your cast iron cookware in excellent condition.
Can You Use Metal Spatula On Cast Iron?
Yes, you can use a metal spatula on cast iron. It’s a durable material that can handle scraping and scrubbing without damage. Just be sure to avoid scratching the surface, as this can cause it to rust over time.
Benefits of Using Metal Spatula on Cast Iron
Here’s why using a metal spatula on cast iron can take your cooking to the next level.
Efficient Heat Transfer
Cast iron is known for its ability to retain and distribute heat evenly.
Using a plastic or silicone spatula reduces the heat’s benefits.
Metal spatulas conduct heat much better, allowing you to easily scrape up those delicious brown bits and distribute the heat evenly throughout your food.
Skillets made of cast iron can be hefty and strong, but they can also be rather fragile.
Over time, using a plastic or silicone spatula can create scratches and other surface damage to a skillet.
In contrast, metal spatulas are sturdy and durable enough to withstand the rigors of cast iron cooking without sustaining damage.
A metal spatula can be used for a wide variety of cooking tasks, from flipping pancakes to scraping up fond for a pan sauce.
With a metal spatula, you can easily maneuver your food around the skillet without worrying about it sticking or falling apart.
Easy to Clean
Hygienic metal spatulas are easy to clean and sterilize.
Unlike silicone or plastic spatulas, metal spatulas can be cleaned at high temperatures, ensuring that any bacteria or other contaminants are eliminated.
Drawbacks Of Using A Metal Spatula On Cast Iron
Here are some of the hazards you need to watch out for:
Scratching and Wearing Down the Seasoning
Cast iron cookware is usually seasoned with oil or fat to create a natural non-stick coating that prevents food from sticking to the surface.
However, using a metal spatula can scratch and chip the seasoning layer, exposing the bare metal underneath.
This can lead to rust, discoloration, and a rough surface that is prone to food sticking.
Contaminating Your Food with Metal Particles
When you use a metal spatula on cast iron, the friction between the two surfaces can cause tiny metal particles to flake off and mix with your food.
While small amounts of metal ingestion are not harmful, consistent exposure can accumulate in your body and cause health problems over time.
Damaging the Non-Stick Coating
Besides the seasoning layer, some cast iron cookware is coated with enamel or ceramic to enhance its non-stick properties and make it easier to clean.
Using a metal spatula on such surfaces can scratch and damage the coating, making it less effective and prone to chipping and cracking.
Scratching Your Cooktop or Glass Stovetop
If you use cast iron cookware on a glass or ceramic cooktop, using a metal spatula can scratch and damage the surface, leading to costly repairs or replacement.
Even on other surfaces, using a metal spatula can create a loud and unpleasant scraping noise that can be disturbing to your ears and those around you.
How To Properly Use A Metal Spatula On Cast Iron
Here is how to properly use a metal spatula on cast iron:
Choosing the Right Metal Spatula
When using a metal spatula on a cast iron pan, it’s important to choose the right type of spatula.
Look for a flat metal spatula with a straight edge.
Avoid using a spatula with a sharp edge or a serrated edge, as these can scratch the surface of the pan.
The flat surface of the spatula allows you to gently lift the food off the surface of the pan without scraping the seasoning.
Properly Seasoning Your Cast Iron Pan
Before using your cast iron pan, make sure it’s properly seasoned.
Seasoning is the process of adding a layer of oil to the surface of the pan to create a non-stick coating.
A well-seasoned pan will prevent food from sticking and make it easier to clean.
To season your pan, first clean it thoroughly with hot water and a stiff brush.
After drying, oil the pan. Vegetable or flaxseed oil are popular choices.
Bake the pan for 1 hour at 375°F. Let the pan cool in the oven before removing it.
Using the Metal Spatula to Lift Food
To use the metal spatula on your cast iron pan, start by gently placing the spatula under the edge of the food.
Use a gentle lifting motion to lift the food off the surface of the pan.
Don’t scrape or drag the spatula along the bottom of the pan, as this can damage the seasoning.
If the food is sticking to the pan, gently loosen it with the spatula before lifting it off the surface.
Avoid Using the Metal Spatula to Stir or Toss Food
While a metal spatula can be great for lifting food off the surface of a cast iron pan, it’s not the best tool for stirring or tossing food.
When you use a metal spatula to stir or toss food, it can scratch the surface of the pan and damage the seasoning.
Instead, use a wooden spoon or a silicone spatula to stir or toss food in your cast iron pan.
Cleaning Your Cast Iron Pan After Using a Metal Spatula
After using a metal spatula on your cast iron pan, it’s important to clean the pan thoroughly to remove any food residue.
First, let the pan cool completely. Then, use a stiff brush and hot water to scrub the surface of the pan.
Don’t use soap or abrasive scrubbers, as these can damage the seasoning.
Rinse the pan thoroughly with hot water, then dry it completely.
Before storing the pan, apply a thin layer of oil to prevent corrosion.
Common Misconceptions About Using A Metal Spatula On Cast Iron
Let’s examine several cast iron spatula myths:
Myth #1: A metal spatula will scratch or damage the surface of the pan
One of the most common misconceptions about using a metal spatula on cast iron is that it will scratch or damage the surface of the pan.
However, when your cast iron is properly seasoned, the surface is incredibly durable and can handle the use of metal utensils without any harm.
So go ahead and use your metal spatula to scrape up those crispy bits of food stuck to the bottom of your pan. Your cast iron can handle it!
Myth #2: A metal spatula will remove the seasoning from the pan
Another common concern about using a metal spatula on cast iron is that it will remove the seasoning, causing food to stick to the pan.
While it’s true that over time, the seasoning on your pan will wear down with use, it’s not something you need to worry about.
In fact, using a metal spatula on your cast iron can even help you build up the seasoning.
As you scrape the spatula across the surface of the pan, you’ll be creating small grooves that help trap and distribute oil, which will help to build up the seasoning over time.
Myth #3: A metal spatula will create hot spots in the pan
Some people believe that using a metal spatula on cast iron will create hot spots or cause the pan to heat unevenly. However, this is not the case.
The heat distribution in a cast iron pan is primarily determined by the thickness and quality of the pan itself, rather than the type of utensil you use to cook with.
So feel free to use your metal spatula to move food around in your cast iron pan without worrying about hot spots.
Can I Use A Metal Spatula On My Cast Iron Skillet?
Yes, you can use a metal spatula on your cast iron skillet without causing any damage to the surface.
Is It Safe To Use A Metal Spatula On A Seasoned Cast Iron Pan?
Yes, it is safe to use a metal spatula on a seasoned cast iron pan as long as you avoid scraping the surface too aggressively.
Can A Metal Spatula Scratch My Cast Iron Skillet?
Yes, a metal spatula can potentially scratch your cast iron skillet if you use excessive force or scrape the surface in a harsh manner.
Will Using A Metal Spatula Ruin The Seasoning Of My Cast Iron Pan?
No, using a metal spatula will not ruin the seasoning of your cast iron pan, as long as you are careful and avoid damaging the surface.
Can I Use A Metal Spatula On A New Cast Iron Skillet?
Yes, you can use a metal spatula on a new cast iron skillet, but it is recommended to avoid using it too aggressively until the seasoning has fully developed.
Using a metal spatula on your cast iron pan is perfectly fine! Contrary to popular belief, it won’t damage the seasoning as long as you use it correctly.
Just be sure to avoid scraping too hard or aggressively, and always use a metal spatula with a thin edge.
With proper care, your cast iron pan and metal spatula can be the perfect duo for cooking up all your favorite dishes. Happy cooking.