Pull out your family heirlooms for these 61 fried, crisped and golden brown cast iron skillet recipes

Southern Kitchen
Cast Iron Fried Chicken Pizza

A well-seasoned cast iron skillet is the mark of a great Southern cook. Don’t have one? One of the best ways to whip a perhaps not-so-well-seasoned skillet into shape is to cook in it, daily. These 61 Southern cast iron skillet recipes will help you do just that.

Cast Iron Fried Chicken Pizza

There are quite a few recipes for fried chicken pizzas that basically amount to glorified chicken Parmesan. While there’s nothing wrong with chicken parm, we feel an obligation to bring you the most Southern version of a fried chicken pizza we could conceive — all in a cast iron skillet, of course. Get all of your toppings ready to go before heating the skillet; the process moves quickly once you add the dough to the skillet.

Cast Iron Fried Chicken

Fried chicken is the benchmark of Southern cuisine. For the best results, shallow-fry the chicken in a cast iron skillet for crisp skin and tender, buttermilk-marinated chicken.

Spice Rubbed Chicken Thigh With Alabama Bbq Sauce

Cast Iron Chicken Thighs with Alabama White Barbecue Sauce

Made popular by Big Bob Gibson’s barbecue restaurant in Decatur, Alabama, white barbecue sauce has a mayonnaise base that is enhanced by the acidity of apple cider vinegar and lemon juice. It can practically double as a coleslaw dressing. While it may be a bit of an unusual pairing with meats like brisket and pork shoulder, white BBQ sauce works beautifully with chicken and turkey. The key is to use the sauce as a finishing component, rather than a part of the cooking process.

Cast Iron Chicken Confit

Literally meaning “cooked in fat,” confit is a preservation method that works by curing food in salt, then cooking it low and slow until tender. It can be a great way to infuse added flavors, such as citrus, garlic and herbs, into foods. And while duck legs are most traditional, we really like to confit whole, bone-in chicken thighs, using our cast iron skillet, of course. This ultra-tender and flavorful meat makes a great topping to an arugula salad.

Lemon-Roasted Chicken

Lemon-Roasted Chicken

With minimal ingredients and just a little bit of prep time, this is the perfect recipe for easy weeknight cooking. While the chicken could benefit from a more lengthy marinade, one hour is plenty of time to impart the flavors of lemon, rosemary and garlic into the chicken. If you decide to marinate the chicken longer than one hour, transfer it to the refrigerator.

Cast Iron Seared Rib-Eye Steak

Cast Iron Seared Rib-Eye Steak

Once you try cooking a steak in a cast iron pan, you’ll never cook one one the grill again. The deep flavor and caramelization provided by cast iron translates to big flavor in your steak.

Cast Iron Pork Chop with Red-Eye Gravy

Known for its sharp notes of black coffee, red eye gravy is traditionally served alongside country ham. This recipe captures the flavors of red eye gravy, but also combines both fresh and cured pork. Instead of serving the gravy atop the country ham, the ham is becomes part of the gravy, which we serve on top of a pork chop. The whole dish is best served with a side of grits or biscuits — or both.

Chicken Fried Steak

Classic Chicken-Fried Steak

A round steak, pounded, then dredged in flour and fried, chicken-fried steak is typically served with milk gravy, mashed potatoes and green beans. It truly, deeply, satisfies. If you intend to fry the steaks ahead of time, it’s best to keep them hot in a warm oven. 

Cast Iron Smash Burgers

Cooking burgers (or any meat for that matter) in a cast iron skillet gives the meat a wonderful caramelized crust. We’re upping that burger crust even more by giving each patty a good smash with our spatula as they cook in the skillet. Another trick? We’re adding mustard directly into the patty, letting the savory condiment cook its way into the crust of the meat itself.

Lamb Rack

Seared Lamb Rack with Cucumber Slaw

Want a dish that’ll truly impress? This cast iron-seared lamb rack with cucumber slaw is easy fine dining at its best. Just remember that when cooking a rack of lamb, it’s crucial to start searing the fat side first so it has time to render. While you can clearly cook the meat to your preferred level of doneness, bear in mind that lamb becomes very grainy and gamey when cooked beyond medium.

Pan-Roasted Fish with Herb Compound Butter

While you can certainly use any skillet you’d like for this recipe, a cast iron skillet practically guarantees a crisp skin on your fish fillets. The easy-to-make compound butter is a simple way to add flavor and moisture to delicately cooked fish. Save extra for serving on toast, more fish or on steaks.

Fontina Chutney Grilled Cheese Bites

Fontina and Fig Chutney Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Whether you’re just hosting a cocktail party or having a sit down dinner, these instantly familiar grilled cheese bites with chutney and prosciutto go great with beer, wine and just about any other libation. They’re a crispy, oozy morsel that’s both sweet and salty, tangy and a bit spicy, and so addictively good, you’ll want to reserve some cheese, ham and chutney to make a full on sandwich later.

Skillet Corn

Chadwick Boyd’s Skillet Corn

Skillet corn is a Southern tradition made even better by cooking it in a cast iron pan. We love how a hot skillet chars and toasts the corn in just a few minutes, which is the secret to this very simple dish. The most fun thing about this dish is that you know when it’s ready when it starts to “pop” in the pan — just like popcorn. If you want to lighten this up, omit the cream. The corn is delicious in its own natural way.

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried green tomatoes should be in every Southern cook’s repertoire, and we all know that fried delicacies such as these deserve to be cooked in a deep cast iron skillet. Even better — deep frying only adds seasoning to your skillet, so feel free to try out this recipe on a slightly newer skillet.

Cast Iron Seared Asparagus

Cast Iron Seared Asparagus

Between the light char from the skillet and the easy lemon mayonnaise on the side, this simple recipe really highlights the subtle flavor of seasonal asparagus.

Corn Johnnycakes

Corn Johnnycakes

These flat griddle cakes are so versatile. They can be eaten with a drizzle of maple syrup or honey for breakfast or topped with barbecued pork shoulder as a starch component for dinner. The key is not to overwork the batter — you don’t want to make them tough.

Breakfast casserole

Southern Kitchen’s Breakfast Casserole

What could be better come brunch-time than a skillet full of all your favorite breakfast foods? Yep, everything from grits to scrambled eggs and even sausage make an appearance in this dish, all balanced out with a tangy, bright tomato and scallion topping. 

Shrimp and Grits with Cast Iron Andouille Gravy

Slightly spicy andouille sausage brings a smoky depth to this dish, playing well off the sweet, succulent shrimp. And while you can certainly cook this gravy in any skillet you choose, we love to whip it up in cast iron to keep the gravy warm while we finish up a pot of creamy grits.

Baked Eggs

Individual Baked Eggs

This is a perfect use for individual four-inch cast iron skillets, or any other small individual baking vessel. Though they are poured in separately, the eggs and cream bake together to form an almost custard-like finished dish.

Bacon Cornbread Dressing

This Southern Thanksgiving classic works best when baked in cast iron — it’ll stay warm for just about as long as you need it to while you finish up all the rest of your sides, and you’ll end up with plenty of crispy edges to fight over.

Cast Iron Pound Cake

Cast Iron Pound Cake

Baking pound cake in a cast iron skillet lends a tender, moist crumb to the cake and gives the exterior a beautifully crisp crust. This ultra-classic recipe from contributor Anne Byrn truly shines when baked in this method, but you can also adapt most single-layer cakes to bake in cast iron.

Cast Iron Apple Cobbler

Fewer dishes are more comforting in fall than a warm apple cobbler. The tartness of Granny Smith apples provides a nice contrast to the sugar in the filling, which is cooked until ultra ooey-gooey in a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. The biscuit topping forms deliciously crisp edges thanks to the skillet’s heat-trapping abilities.

Apple Clafoutis

Apple Clafoutis with Bourbon Caramel Sauce

A clafoutis is a French dessert that almost tastes like a hybrid of a cake and a flan. It’s so easy and you can swap out fruits, depending on the season. We like it with vanilla ice cream and a rich bourbon caramel sauce.

White Chocolate Cranberry Blondies

Tart cranberries help to break up the sweetness in classic, white chocolate-studded blondies. While you can certainly cook these blondies in a traditional baking pan, we love to bake them in a cast iron skillet, such as a 10-inch Finex. Cast iron helps to form a crisp, caramelized crust around the blondies while leaving the center slightly gooey — blondie nirvana.

Skillet Smores

Cast Iron Skillet S’mores

Instead of making individual s’mores around the campfire, make one large skillet dip and have everyone scoop their graham crackers through the communal pan. The butter helps the chocolate remain smooth while warm and the heat from the fire softens the marshmallows. If you prefer your marshmallows more toasted, you can hold a piece of burning firewood a few inches from the marshmallows to help them turn brown (or even black).