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Can You Put Butter in Cast Iron?

Can You Put Butter in Cast Iron?

Cooking in a cast iron pan can be tricky for beginners. With a little patience and a few new techniques, you can get a handle of it pretty quickly.

There are some ingredients you can not cook on a cast iron pan, but is butter one of those ingredients? Can you put butter in a cast iron pan?

You can cook with butter on a cast iron pan. The flavor of the butter will seep into the cast iron pan and improve the overall flavor of the current and future dish.

Use either cold or hot butter. In order to fry something in butter in a cast iron pan, give the cast iron pan time to warm up.

Can You Put Butter In Cast Iron?

Absolutely! Butter and cast iron pan have gone together since the invention of the cast iron. As long as the heat isn’t too high and the cast iron pan doesn’t have any cracks in it, it’s perfectly safe to cook butter in a cast iron pan.

When frying butter, lower the flame so the pan doesn’t overheat and burn the butter.

Cooking Butter In A Cast Iron Pan

Butter can absolutely go in a cast iron pan. Use butter to fry foods or as an ingredient in pancakes, cookies, or an omelet.

Plenty of cowboys, rail and train workers, travelers, woodsman, and miners have used butter to fry their meals in a cast iron pan. But there are a few tips to know about cooking butter in a metal pan such as a cast iron pan.

Beware of High Heat

Cast iron pans hold heat well, as the iron is thicker than other types of pan. And unless a pack of bulls trample over it, a cast iron pan will not break. Because cast iron pans hold heat, these pans take a while to cool.

When frying food in butter in a cast iron pan, keep the temperature and flame in mind. It is easy to burn butter in a cast iron pan.

And since cast iron pans retain heat, you cannot lower the flame to cool the pan down to stop the burning process.

When cooking with butter, or any delicate ingredient, adjust the flame to low. Raise the temperature back up to medium if you need some extra heat for crispiness.

But if the butter turns brown, that does not yet mean that it is burnt. Frying butter for a short amount of time will start the butter’s browning process.

As the butter browns, the flavor of the butter changes to a nutty flavor.

However, if the brown butter continues to cook, then it will burn. Once the butter turns brown, add your first ingredient immediately. Also, reduce the amount of heat too.

The butter Will Absorb the Flavor of the Last Meal.

Cast iron pans are renowned for the excellent flavor they imbue into every meal. So any food fried in a cast iron pan will leave a bit of its flavor behind in the metal.

The flavors from last night’s dinner will absorb into the butter. So always try to coordinate your meals so the next meals can have a complimenting flavor.

Did the flavors of last night’s meal and the butter go together? For example, if you cooked steaks, and now you’re making a butter fried tilapia, the tilapia will fry with a light beefy undertone.

This seasoning issue is why some chefs designate different cast-iron pans for different flavors. You definitely don’t want beef hamburgers and tilapia to mix.

Cast Iron skillet  with melted butter

Never Cook These Ingredients On A Cast Iron Pan!

Butter and oil may be perfectly safe to cook in a cast iron pan, but not all ingredients and dishes are cast iron pan safe.

There are several ingredients and dishes you should never cook in a cast iron pan. The ingredients can either ruin the flavor of the pan or the dish itself will taste terrible.

Here’s what you can’t cook in a cast iron pan:

Tomato Sauce

If you want to chop up and add some tomatoes to your omelet, that’s perfectly fine. What you don’t want to do is cook a tomato-based food for over 15 minutes in a cast iron pan.

The tomato sauce will absorb very minute amounts of cast iron metal into the dish and you will taste metal with every bite.

Fish Skin, Like Salmon

Nothing’s better than biting into the crispy skin of a pan fried salmon. But your crispy salmon skin dreams will have to stay dreams.

If you try to cook salmon with skin in a cast iron pan, the skin will not crisp like it would in a steel pan or a non-stick pan. The skin will stick to the pan and require a metal scrub brush to dig it out.

Fruit-Based Syrups, Jellies, and Jams

Sticky congealed food does not do well in cast iron pans. The stickiness will seep into the metal and you’ll have to scrub and scrub and scrub in order to get the flavor of strawberry out of the pan.

If the flavor of strawberries does not come out, any burger and steak cooked in the cast iron pan will have an essence of strawberry.

Conclusion to Putting Butter in Cast Iron

Butter and cast iron pans go together well. Just be aware that butter can burn faster, since cast iron pans retain heat better than other pans.

Also, when the cast iron pan reaches a high temperature, reduce the flame to avoid burning the butter and any other ingredients.

Lindsay Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! I created this website to be a resource for everyone who wants to make the best home possible.