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One popular question on the internet about enamel cast iron skillet and regular cast iron skillet is: Enamel cast iron skillet vs regular. If you have been searching and looking for answers to this question, then this is the right article for you.
I love enamel cast iron skillet because it comes in variety of stylish colors. I also love the fact that it has lovely features. Enamel cast iron is a great heat conductor, can cook anything a standard cast iron pan can, washes easily, and won’t rust.
The enamel cast iron skillet does not retain strong aromas (like onions and garlic) in the seasoning like regular cast iron is known to do. If you own a regular cast iron and you don’t care for it, it will get rust.
ENAMELED CAST IRON COOKWARE PROS AND CONS
Enameled cast iron cookware is easy to maintain. One of the disadvantages of Enameled cast iron is that it contains lead and cadmium. We recommend you subject your enameled cast iron to a lead and cadmium test, making sure it’s at the safe level recommended by the food and Nutrition organization.
While the regular raw cast iron skillet needs attention and careful use as it can rust if not properly maintained.
Enameled cast iron cookware allows for flexibility of use. According to some professional chefs and Personal preference, using regular cast iron cookware allows for perfect browning of food recipes over the Enamel cast iron skillet.
One of the Cons of Enameled cast iron is that it is expensive though it is easy to maintain. With Enameled cast iron cookware, you can cook freely sauces containing acids without interfering with iron if properly seasoned.
Enameled cast iron cookware is perfect for cooking liquids and other types of food for an extended period of time. While a disadvantage of the Enameled cast iron cookware is not to use excessive heat on them.
ENAMEL CAST IRON SKILLET VS REGULAR
People always ask the difference between the enamel cast iron skillet vs regular raw cast iron skillet and why you need to choose one over the other.
One thing to point out first is that the Enamel cast iron skillet cookware has an enameled coating all over the pan. The enameled coating is a rock-hard glass based application to the finish.
The Enameled coating of the enamel cast iron skillet can be chipped and damaged as it has a certain amount of stress it can handle. However, it takes time to wear and tear.
The Enamel cast iron skillet needs less maintenance than the regular natural, raw cast iron which needs heavy maintenance.
Enamel cast iron skillet creates dishes with more delicate aroma and flavor, it is because of the ceramic porcelain enamel which separates the food from the cast iron base.
While when you fry, simmer or bake in the regular and natural cast iron skillet, we achieve much enhanced distinct flavor. The flavors are deeper and more prime using the regular cast iron skillet because food is filled with spices and herbs aroma and cast iron helps in enhancing the flavors of our food.
Most regular or natural cast iron skillets are made by Swedish brand; Skeppshult while most Enameled cast iron skillet is made by French cast iron cookware brand; Staub, LeCreuset or Chasseur.
Concerning the regular cast iron brand especially Skeppshult to fry, you need to add a little bit more oil than if you were to use the Enameled cast iron skillet.
The Regular cast iron skillet cookware doesn’t have a protective layer, adding a bit more oil is essential for preventing the food from sticking to the pan. While when using the Enamel cast iron skillet, you only need to add 2 to 3 spoons of oil (grapeseed oil) as frying without oil is a myth created by amateurs.
The basic rule of cleaning the regular or natural cast iron is to wash under running water and then dried with few drops of cooking oil.
When food starts to stick to the regular cast iron pan, you must throw some salt on it. Once a year when your regular cast iron pan or skillet is becoming grey, you must warm the oil on it.
While the Enamel cast iron skillet that is covered with porcelain non-stick enameled, can be washed with liquid soup and once every week, it is a good practice to wipe them clean with a few drops of cooking oil.
If anything stick to your enamel cast iron, simply soak and wash later. Though dishwasher is good but we highly recommend hand wash for all Enamel cast iron skillets.
Finally, when trying to choose between the Enamel cast iron skillet vs regular raw cast iron skillet, always put “maintenance” at the back of your mind. Their durability will largely depend on your maintenance culture.
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HOW TO PICK THE BEST ENAMELED CAST IRON SKILLET COOKWARE
When selecting the best enameled cast iron skillet, it is important that we consider a variety of factors. First, you have to consider your budget as the Enameled cast iron cookware or skillet is pretty expensive than the regular natural cast iron skillet.
Secondly, you have to consider cooking temperatures of the enamel cast iron skillet vs regular cast iron skillet. Some Enameled cast iron skillet cookware can’t withstand high temperature above 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Traditional or regular cast iron skillet cookware can go into very hot ovens and boiler. While because of the coating of the Enameled cast iron, the cooking or baking temperature will make the enameled cast iron develop “cracks” what we call “crazing.”
Thirdly, depending on the kind of food recipe you prepare with either the enameled cast iron skillet or regular (natural or traditional) cast iron pan, you need to consider the ability of stickiness and easy release when it comes to cooking or frying with these pans.
Most likely, some food will easily stick and hardly release from the regular cast iron skillet pans while some will not stick and will easily be removed from the enameled cast iron skillet cookware.
Finally, you have to ask yourself how much do you cook daily and need the support of a cast iron pan. Because, a traditional or regular cast iron pan requires more attention, cleaning and maintenance than the enameled caste iron skillet cookware.
Below are the best regular cast iron skillet and the best enameled coated cast iron skillet for your choice;
BEST REGULAR CAST IRON SKILLETS
The 4 best regular cast iron skillets are;
- Geoffrey Zakarian Cast Iron Dutch oven
2) Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron regular Skillet
3) Legend Cast Iron Skillet
4) Mario Batali regular Light Cast Iron skillet
GEOFFREY ZAKARIAN REGULAR CAST IRON DUTCH OVEN WITH LOOP HANDLES
The Geoffrey Zakarian regular cast iron skillet and Dutch oven is designed by the famous Professional chef and is ideal for making stew, roasts, soups, bread, and more.
The Geoffrey Zakarian regular cast iron skillet is the overall best regular cast iron skillet according to customer’s reviews and reports.
Perfect for making potatoes gratin, ratatouille, apple crumble, and more, while the lid of the Dutch oven also as a skillet for enhanced functionality.
The cast iron is designed to deliver even heating with unparalleled heat retention. Easy to clean, PFOA AND PTFE, non-stick cast iron coating that allows food to easily release for quick cleaning and easy serving.
This is a high-end product, not the usual cast-iron quality. Works perfectly in the oven or on the stovetop as a shallow skillet. It’s also pretty big and can fit an elevated grill platform inside. It is advisable not to heat empty. Highly recommend!!
LODGE SEASONED CAST IRON
The Lodge regular seasoned cast iron skillet is perfect for searing, sautéing, baking, braising, and frying. It is seasoned for a natural, easy to release finish that improves with constant use.
You can easily use the Lodge regular seasoned cast iron skillet at home in the oven, on the stove, on the grill, or over the campfire.
The Lodge cast iron skillet is designed with tempered glass with thermal shock resistant technology.
One distinct quality that makes the Lodge regular seasoned cast iron stands out as being one of the best regular cast iron skillets is that the Lodge cast iron skillets are seasoned with vegetable oil before it leaves the foundry, so all you have to do is give it a quick rinse and you’re ready to cook.
LEGEND REGULAR CAST IRON SKILLET
The Legend cast iron skillet is pre-seasoned with foundational vegetable oil and is perfect for sautéing, grilling, cooking, and frying.
The Legend traditional cast iron skillet is famous for its durability and versatility. Longer handle for easy lifting, heat resistant handle for oven and induction cooking.
Finally, this cast iron is from solid, pure, premium steel and iron, this healthy nonstick skillet is the master of heat distribution.
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MARIO BATALI PRE-SEASONED LIGHT CAST IRON SKILLET
The Mario Batali pre-seasoned cast iron skillet is produced in light cast iron, has quick and even heat distribution.
Hand washing is recommended only. The Mario Batali regular cast iron skillet is 1/3 lighter than the regular cast iron.
BEST ENAMELED CAST IRON SKILLET
The best enameled cast iron skillets are;
LE CREUSET ENAMELED CAST IRON SIGNATURE SKILLET
The Le Creuset enameled cast iron skillet is a very popular heavyweight cast iron fry pan that requires very little oil which makes it excellent for low-fat cooking.
The Le Creuset enameled cast iron provides superior heat retention, fast clean-up, and dishwasher safe but hand wash recommended.
The Le Creuset enameled cast iron is suitable for all stovetops, including induction, Oven safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Finally, it is optimized for steady, even heat, Le Creuset’s improved enamel interior resists staining, dulling, and wear and tear.
STAUB CAST IRON ENAMELED FRYING PAN
The Staub cast iron enameled skillet is made in France. They can work on all stovetops, including gas, electric, glass, ceramic, induction, and halogen.
Always preheat the pan before use by adding oil or butter and keep the temperature to a medium-low to medium-high heat. The pan must be preheated before adding any food to it.
The Staub enameled cast iron skillet is oven safe up to 900F/482C and has to pour spouts for easy fat removal.
The Staub fry pan browns foods beautifully, be it chicken breasts, potatoes, or bacon. The enameled Black Matte interior imparts Texture, promoting exceptional browning.
Cast iron offers steady, even heat distribution, so the temperature of the pan won’t drop as you cook. Low, curved sides make it easy to flip the food, which releases easily.
Staub enameled cast iron cookware is the choice of the world’s best chefs. With exceptional durability, it is perfect for day-to-day use in both gourmet home kitchens and prestigious restaurants around the world.
10.25-INCH ENAMELED CAST IRON SKILLET FRYING PAN
This is the best affordable enameled cast iron skillet in the market. This enameled 10.25 inch cast iron skillet cookware can be used on gas, electric, ceramic, and induction cooktops.
Easily bake, broil, and roast in the oven up to 540 degrees Fahrenheit (280 degrees Celsius). With enameled cast iron you don’t have to worry about rust and less maintenance.
It also has a helper handle, but surprisingly not it’s not heavy. Highly recommend it, you won’t be disappointed.
MERTEN AND STORCK GERMAN ENAMELED IRON DUTCH OVEN
The Merten and Storck German enameled cast iron has a thinner and less brittle material than cast iron that heats fast and evenly.
It has a glaze guard that fuses high-quality enamel with the base material, creating a bond that’s more chip-resistant than enameled cast iron.
Oven safe up to 600°F. Metal utensil safe. Works for all stovetops including induction and safe for outdoor cooking. Hand wash only and easy to clean.
Very lightweight compared to Le Creuset but sturdy quality and everything heats up very quickly. Definitely recommend!!!
ENAMELED CAST IRON SKILLET DEEP SAUTÉ PAN
This 12 inches enameled cast iron round skillet deep sauté pan can distribute and retain heat evenly. It can be used to stir fry, braise, sear, deep fry, bake, and more.
It works on all cooking ranges such as gas, electric, ceramic, and induction so which makes it an important part of your cookware set.
Furthermore, it is shallow enough for high-heat searing and sautéing yet deep enough for slow-cooking. It can handle the heat up to 500 Degrees Fahrenheit so that you can cook/bake without any fear.
The unique design and material make it very easy to clean. Just use a light soap and warm water. It’s quite convenient to use and easily washable.
ENAMELED CAST IRON VS STAINLESS STEEL
Let’s begin our comparison by stating that the Enameled cast iron cookware is much heavier than the normal stainless steel cookware brand. It means that the stainless steel cookware will heat up fast and retain heat than the Enameled cast iron cookware.
Stainless steel pans or cookware easily absorbs heat and distributes it equally to the entire food than the Enameled cast iron. Stainless steel cookware have aluminum layers in-between that fosters heat distribution unlike the Enameled cast iron cookware.
Enameled cast iron can weigh up to like 5 to 10 pounds and won’t be advisable for arthritic hands or sufferers. While stainless steel weighs about half of the cast iron.
When searing with stainless steel cookware at the right temperature like “meat”, it wouldn’t stick to the pan but with regular cast iron if not properly pre-heated and seasoned, your food does stick and have crust.
As I mentioned above, you can comfortably use cast iron for anything, as long as you properly season it. It is also advisable you pre-heat enameled cast iron pan before use to allow it perform perfectly.
You can cook anything with stainless steel from sautéing veggies, cooking steaks, sautéing pasta and cooking sauce. While cooking certain kinds of food in the Enameled cat iron cookware might change the color of the sauce by taking the color of the cast iron off the pan if not properly seasoned.
Cooking acidic foods like tomato sauce or lemon juice with regular cast iron, there is the danger of ingredients leaching into the cast iron giving your food a weird taste. To be safe, we recommend using stainless steel daily as it doesn’t react to food. Others believed that new stainless steel cookware might deposit leach into your food. *(This is highly debatable)*
Finally, for day to day cleaning and maintenance, stainless steel cookware (pots and pans) is easier to maintain than the regular cast iron skillet. Although I have mentioned above that the Enameled cast iron skillet is easier to maintain than the Regular or Natural cast iron skillet.
Final Verdict; If you need a cookware pot or pan that can do multiple things, we recommend you go with the Stainless steel cookware for various food recipes. Stainless steel cookware is durable, versatile, and has low maintenance. You can easily find high-quality affordable options with Stainless steel cookware.
PORCELAIN ENAMELED CAST IRON
Porcelain enameled cast iron cookware refers to a cookware which material is made up of aluminum, steel, stainless steel or iron and it is further coated with porcelain enamel which is a type of glass.
Porcelain itself is also a ceramic material made from a type of white clay called kaolin, plus feldspars, quartz, steatite, and other rocks. To make regular porcelain, the whole mixture is baked at 1300-1400 degrees.
Porcelain enamel is made when the porcelain is melted together with a stronger metal. This makes porcelain enamel cookware both light and strong, with low porosity, so it is naturally non-stick.
We recommend you pay attention to porcelain coatings, according to customers report porcelain enameled red colored cast iron have tested positive for lead and cadmium.
Good and high quality porcelain enamel cookware has a thick enamel coating that makes it hardwearing and easy to cook with. It is easy to clean, naturally non-stick, and resistant to stains and scratches, as long as it is treated well.
The best option is either porcelain enamel with a cast iron or stainless-steel interior, or enamelware, which is a type of cookware with a porcelain enamel coating inside and outside.
This coating creates a seamless, non-porous interior that is resistant to acidic food, heat, and humidity. This makes enamelware an excellent choice for baking and roasting, serving, and storing foods.
Avoid using enamelware over high heat for long periods of time as this can melt the coating. Also, be careful to never let the pot boil dry as this can crack the finish.
Finally, to take care of porcelain enamel cast iron, avoid using steel wool scrubbers or other abrasive cleaning items on porcelain enamel. Since porcelain enamel is partly metal, it isn’t microwave safe.
Porcelain-enameled cast iron may be used on induction cooktops, but in case you are looking for eco-friendly cookware, you are much better off with ceramic, carbon steel, or stainless steel than porcelain enamel cast iron cookware.
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ENAMEL CAST IRON HEALTH RISK
Enameled cast iron is a beauty in the kitchen and come in handy for various food recipes. When the regular or enameled cast iron is properly seasoned with oil, it prevents food from sticking to the pan from frying, sautéing and cooking of various food items.
However, there are ways in which you use the regular or Enamel cast iron making it not a very good choice for your kitchen needs. Cast iron may cause “iron toxicity” for most individuals.
For children and menstruating women this might not be a problem as children area still growing and menstruating women are shedding blood. So the amount of ion from the cast iron can help them replace depleted amount of iron in the body.
While for men and post menopause women, there might be a large deposit of iron in the blood stream. Excess iron in the body might lead to fatigue, excess weight loss, muscle weakness, loss of sex drive, blood and sugar related issues.
To avoid excess iron, we recommend you properly season your cast iron pan with oil and bake it in a hot oven, baking the oil pass the smoke point. A good seasoning prevents acidic reaction to your food leading to less iron. We also recommend do not cook for a very long time with the regular cast iron pan to avoid excess iron.
While the Enameled cast iron is coated with porcelain making cooking easy and non-stick tendency. With the Enameled cast iron, you can avoid the transference of iron into your food because of the coating.
However, one of the health risk of using the Enameled cast iron is the transfer of lead and cadmium into your food. Lead and cadmium are both metals. They are both toxic and can lead to brain damage, settles in your bones in place of calcium and not good for pregnant women.
The unborn baby draws calcium from the bones of the mother but instead what the baby gets are lead and cadmium.