The One Piece of Equipment Every Home Cook Needs to Have

This workhorse of the kitchen can cook everything from stir-fries to roast chicken to stews

Kevin Lee
6 min readOct 27, 2020


Photo by Blake Carpenter on Unsplash

The cast iron skillet. Nothing else can compare to its versatility and durability. This simple piece of equipment can cost you as little as $15 and last you multiple generations, all while being able to cook almost any dish you want.

Pizza, cinnamon rolls, pies. These are a few more things that can be cooked in a cast iron skillet.

Does this sound too good to be true? Then you’re in for a surprise, because the cast iron skillet really is that good. The only downside is that they can be pretty heavy, but a little exercise never hurts.

For home cooking, if you’re only cooking for yourself or one other, a 10-inch cast iron skillet is a perfect size. If you’re cooking for a family, a 12-inch skillet will serve you better. Either way, there are enough recipes out there for one-pan cast iron meals that you’ll be set for the rest of your life.

What’s so special about cast iron?

There are two main qualities of cast iron that make it ideal for cookware: it has exceptional heat retention, and it takes on a seasoning that protects it from rust and gives it nonstick properties.

Heat retention

Cast iron pans are known for their incredible ability to hold a constant high temperature. Even 30 minutes after you’ve turned the stove off, your cast iron will still be warm, whereas a nonstick or stainless steel pan would’ve cooled off in less than 10 minutes.

What does this mean for cooking? It means that in a cast iron pan, your food will cook evenly. In thinner and lighter aluminum nonstick or stainless steel pans, the metal loses heat a lot quicker, resulting in temperature fluctuations across the cooking surface.

The heat retention makes cast iron perfect for so many different cooking styles. For searing meat, consistent high heat is required to develop a beautiful crust through the Maillard reaction. For roasting and baking, the even distribution of heat allows for the food to be heated consistently throughout. This results in tender…



Kevin Lee

Software engineer by day, food enthusiast by night. Co-founder of The Mini Chef (