Congratulations! After watching show after cooking show where rugged, bearded chefs showcase their sexy cast iron cookware, you have finally given in to the temptation and got yourself your very own Lodge skillet. And, eager to sear your first juicy New York strip, you find yourself asking what some of the best utensils for cast iron you need to be on the lookout for are.
Answering this question is not as easy as it first appears. After all, you will find out that cast iron cookware can be flimsy and capricious to care for. Compared to most other types of cookware, it is much tougher, keeps hot for a lot longer, and its cooking surface will need to be seasoned to maintain its nonstick film called patina.
All of these will have to figure out into the kind of utensils you will need to pair up nicely with your new cast iron skillet. Based on the above considerations, these are the common features that your utensils should have at the very minimum:
The material will need to be approximately as hard as cast iron itself, or at least one that would not break easily. Hardened stainless steel is a good candidate because it is much harder than regular stainless steel. Sturdy wood is another good choice for spatulas and scrapers. Wood is also excellent because it would not damage the patina. Otherwise, seasoning cast iron is another skill you will have to learn.
Beveled edges is a good design option. These edges will work great because they slip between the food and the rough, uneven cooking surface much easier than regular rectangular edges because they won’t get stuck on cast iron surface bumps as much.
Plastic and silicon are terrible because they have much higher chance of melting during prolonged contact with cast iron cookware that retains higher amounts of heat for longer. These plastics are hardly heat resistant, so no silicone spatula for you.
Utensils with long handles are much better than utensils with shorter handles. Since cast iron perform best at very hot temperatures, you will want to put as much distance as you can between the cookware and your bare skin. Hence longer handles.
After having used and abused a plethora of utensils on our cast iron pans, we have come up with the following recommendations organized along several categories, for your convenience of course.
What are the best Utensil Sets for Cast Iron Cookware?
Ultimate Spatula Kit
Anmarko Professional Stainless Steel Spatula Set
This professional spatula set from Anmarko comes in three: pancake flipper, hamburger turner and a griddle scraper. These metal utensils are made very solid, so they are great for both outdoor grilling and at home use on cast iron cookware. In fact, these are also used in professional kitchen setting, so using them could bring a little bit of a chef in you by default.
Glad Stainless Steel Cooking Utensils for Cast Iron, 5 Piece
This 5-piece stainless steel utensil set from Glad was customized to meet your various cast iron cookware needs. It includes slotted turner, spoon, ladle and a spaghetti server, all of which have an extra durable body and a long handle. They are also dishwasher safe.
The 11 piece metal utensil set by Maphyton will satisfy all your grilling, sautéing, as well as soup and pasta needs. These pieces are made using high-grade stainless steel and also feature long handles, so they are perfect for your cast iron skillet as well as enameled pots.
What are the Best Spatulas for Smashing Burgers on Cast Iron?
Made for Burger Smashing
Mercer Culinary Hell’s Handle Heavy Duty Turner
This Mercer’s heavy-duty spatula classic is a perfect spatula for cast iron cookware’s needs. The handle is made to resist the intense heat generated by cast iron, so that you won’t burn your hand. It is made from real Japanese steel, so you can feel like a real Samurai practicing kendo while flipping your burgers. And, speaking of burgers, this turner is great not only for flipping but also for smashing them which nowadays can land you the burger master of the year award.
Mannkitchen Professional Grade Stainless Steel Spatula
Made by the properly spelled MÄNNKITCHEN (revealing its origins from the Nordic lands), this professional stainless steel spatula is another solid choice for your average smash burger loving Joe (or Ivar?). Arguably, the stiffness on this one is such that it virtually eliminates the flex, which is perfect for smashing anything on a cast iron skillet. And it comes with a one-piece wooden handle too. A kitchen tool perfect for a true Viking, indeed.
What are the Best Spatulas for Turning Delicate Foods?
High Quality Name brand
OXO Good Grip Stainless Steel Fish Turner
One of my personal favorite, a fish turner – especially a high-quality fish turner made by OXO – is a must-have in every kitchen. Different from a true spatula or a regular burger turner, a fish turner is much more flexible and thinner. This is because flipping delicate fish requires a gentler touch, a thinner tool with an even more beveled edge. However, because it has wholes throughout the surface, no smashing anything with this one.
The only wooden spatula on our list, this Moonwood natural walnut spatula is fantastic. It is robust, yet delicate on your cast iron cookware, including on much more scratch-susceptible enameled cast iron. A very comfortable and versatile spatula, it is however not dishwasher safe. It requires a bit of soap and water and elbow grease to last you a lifetime.
What are the Best Tongs for Your Cast Iron Cookware?
Classic Quality Stainless Steel
Hotec Stainless Steel Tongs, Set of 2
As far as tongs go, the Holtec stainless steel ones with steel ends are as good as they ever get. A lot of other tongs come with silicone head, but you do remember what we said about those in the beginning of the article in relation to cast iron and high heat? Yes: silicone does not like high temperatures, so metal head on this product is ideal. Additionally, the Hotec tongs have a great locking mechanism for when you don’t use them. This will help prolong their life in your kitchen making it one of the longer lasting metal utensils you will have.
While not technically tongs, these Rivotean tweezer tongs are great tools to have in your kitchen. We included them onto the list to up your cooking game a bit, and you can own them in addition to – rather than as an alternative to – the more traditional tongs. They allow you to pick up more delicate and smaller pieces of food, such as pieces of bacon, thin slices of beef and vegetables. Thus, they give you an extra level of control that will really widen your chef repertoire.