You've heard of oven-fried chicken or skillet cornbread. These dishes are actually baked, often in oven-safe skillets. Baking in a frying pan is possible if your pan is made of the proper materials.
Use an oven-safe skillet if you want to bake in a pan. These are typically made of cast iron, stainless steel or oven-safe aluminum — just make sure the handle is oven-safe too.
Baking in a Frying Pan
The first thing you want to do when baking in a frying pan is to make sure the pan is oven safe. Nonstick Teflon pans, for example, should only be used at low or medium heat, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Many cooks prefer cast iron. Consumer Reports states that this material will withstand oven temperatures well above those considered safe for nonstick pans. Stainless steel skillets can also be used in the oven, according to Utah State University Extension.
Putting a frying pan in the oven with a plastic handle, however, may not be safe. When baking in a nonstick frying pan or other skillets, consider what the handle is made of.
If you want to bake cornbread, fruit cobbler, pie or other goodies, a cast-iron skillet can give you the flavor you may not find when using an ordinary baking dish, according to Lincoln Land Community College Culinary Institute. Cast-iron pans can last a lifetime, reports the North Carolina Cooperative Extension (NCCE), which makes them ideal for baking old family favorites as well as for trying out something new.
Skillet Baking: Techniques and Recipes
You may have some experience with baking in a skillet pan if you've ever spent some time in the great outdoors. The nonprofit National Outdoor Leadership School suggests using a skillet to bake yeast cinnamon rolls, either on a camp stove or hot coals.
When baking, it's not necessary to preheat a cast-iron skillet before using it, according to Michigan State University Extension. Simply mix the ingredients as the recipe directs and then bake, although you may need to grease the pan.
You can try our recipe for High-Protein Gluten-Free Cornbread in your skillet, which calls for honey, not sugar. Although honey isn't more nutritious than sugar, it can make your cornbread taste better.
Frittatas are also quick and easy to bake in a skillet. Combine the ingredients for this LIVESTRONG.com recipe for Spring Frittata With Artichokes, Peas, Green Onions and Goat Cheese, which calls for grass-fed butter and organic eggs and milk, among other healthy ingredients, and bake in the oven.
If you want to make something for dinner, try a steak recipe that guides you through baking a piece of sirloin in a skillet. Using olive oil or butter, sear it on the stove first for two and a half minutes on each side. Then place it in the oven for eight to 10 minutes, or until the internal temperature is at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit, the minimum temperature required for food safety, according to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.
Caring for Your Skillet
The NCCE recommends seasoning your pan before using it. An heirloom pan is likely already seasoned. For a new pan, even one that is labeled seasoned, it's a good idea to rinse the pan and dry it, heat it on the stovetop, put a spot of oil on it and rub it in with a paper towel. Cool until the pan is dry and repeat the whole process. The more you use it, the smoother its surface becomes.
Cast iron isn't nonstick, so if you see black flakes coming off your cast-iron skillet, you've probably over-oiled it, points out the NCCE. The flakes are bits of fat, not metal.
When cleaning the pan, use a soft vegetable scrubber or soft scrub pad, but don't use anything too abrasive. And never put your cast-iron skillet in the dishwasher. Also, do not use bleach. You can use a mild soap to clean cast iron.
- Consumer Reports: "Cookware Buying Guide"
- North Carolina Cooperative Extension: "Cast Iron Cooking"
- North Carolina Cooperative Extension: "Cooking With a Cast Iron Skillet"
- National Outdoor Leadership School: "How to Make Cinnamon Rolls When You're Camping"
- Mayo Clinic: "Added Sugars: Don't Get Sabotaged by Sweeteners"
- USDA Food Safety and Inspection SERvice: "Safe Minimum Internal Temperature Chart"
- Utah State University Extension: "Skillet Cooking"
- Lincoln Land Community College: "The Resurgence of Cast Iron Cooking"
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: "Cooking Utensils and Nutrition:
- Michigan State University Extension: "The Many Benefits of Using Cast Iron Pans"