It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to [email protected] and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.

Please note that the Ask Dr. Gourmet feature is restricted to questions regarding food and nutrition. Due to the many questions we receive, not all questions may be answered. For more specific questions about your individual health, please contact your doctor. About Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy

Read More Questions About Cookware

Does cooking in a cast iron skillet raise the amount of iron in the food?
What temperatures should be used with non-stick skillets for cooking eggs?
What do you like or dislike about the following cookware choices?
Read all questions about cooking»


Ask Dr. Gourmet

Does it matter what brand of cast iron skillet I choose?

How important is the brand when it comes to buying a cast iron skillet? I know Lodge is probably the best out there, but I figure that since cast iron isn't exactly high tech stuff, its perfections shouldn't be too hard to duplicate. Are the cheaper brands such as Texsport just as good or almost just as good when it comes to cast iron skillets?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

a cast-iron skillet

I agree with you that the quality of a cast iron skillet is likely to be of little difference between brands. Certainly casting iron is a lower tech manufacturing process than a copper and stainless steel skillet, for instance. Lodge is a good brand and I try to recommend brands that will be widely available to my readers. There's not much difference in the cost, and I recall that when I bought it my 10 inch Lodge cast iron skillet was about $15.00.

When you buy a cast iron pan you need to cure it to keep food from sticking. Here's how to cure your cast iron pan:

1. Use an oil without much flavor, like canola oil.

2. Place about 4 tablespoons oil in the bottom of the pan, then put the pan in an oven that has been preheated to 400°F.

3. After about 3 minutes, reduce the temperature to 300°F and leave the pan in the oven for 45 minutes.

4. Turn the oven off and let the pan cool inside the oven.

5. When the pan is cool enough to touch, wipe the excess oil out with a paper towel.

After use, is best to clean any porous skillet (such as cast iron or aluminum) without detergent or soap because soaps strip the oils (and thus your "cure") from the pan. Simply rinse the pan with hot water and wipe clean. For food that is stuck to the pan, scrub gently with salt or a plastic scrub pad.

Thanks for writing.

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS
Dr. Gourmet