High Quality Cooking with Low Maintenance Cast Iron Skillet

High Quality Cooking with Low Maintenance Cast Iron Skillet
Photo: Jennifer Hunt, RDN, LD

Product reviewed: Kitchen HQ Elite 12” Nonstick Cast Iron Frypan

As a cast-iron skillet newbie, I asked my friends and social media community what recipes I should try to test my new piece of kitchen equipment. But once I began using it, I realized what makes it special isn’t that it’s limited to certain recipes, but that it can be used on a daily basis with a wide range of recipes. This cast-iron skillet not only could take the place of my go-to nonstick pan, but also has a few added benefits including even cooking and heat retention.

The Kitchen HQ Elite 12” Nonstick Cast Iron Frypan is a large, family-sized pan perfect for everything from roasting a chicken to scrambling eggs. The side pour spouts make it easy to remove fat and drippings or pour a sauce on top of roasted meats.

This pan will test your strength. To be frank, it’s very heavy. But the skillet’s helper handle makes it much easier to move from one place to another.

Because of the nonstick coating, this frypan doesn’t offer a dose of iron, one reason why some people use a cast-iron skillet in the first place. It’s not necessary to keep up with a schedule to season this pan, either. As with any nonstick pan, the coating can eventually wear off and the nonstick layer probably won’t last the lifetime of the pan. For this reason, it’s still beneficial to care for the pan and avoid using metal or abrasive kitchen tools that could scratch its surface; silicone, nylon and wooden tools are recommended. However, big selling features include being able to easily wipe out the pan, use dish soap or put it in the dishwasher.

Using the nonstick cast-iron frypan is easy and intuitive. Whenever I was going to reach for my traditional nonstick pan, I used the Kitchen HQ Elite instead. I noticed that it took considerably longer to heat up on the stove top, which added time to some reasonably quick recipes such as scrambled eggs or quesadillas. However, this pan was perfect for making pan-seared chicken with roasted garlic gravy. I was able to easily brown chicken breasts on the stove top, then transfer the pan to the oven to finish cooking the chicken until moist and a head of garlic until sweet and nutty. After removing the pan from the oven, I smashed the garlic cloves in the skillet along with some low-sodium broth to make a loose “gravy,” then allowed it to simmer until it reached my preferred thickness.

The large size of the pan was great for roasting a hefty 5-pound chicken, an excellent meal prep ingredient that can be used in a variety of meals throughout the week. I sliced the chicken to top green dinner salads one night, tossed it with pasta (or zoodles) and pesto another night and chopped some of the chicken to make quesadillas with beans and veggies for a 10-minute dinner.

In theory, the nonstick surface would make it easy to fry an egg without butter or added fats, but I did not have such luck and found a little bit of avocado oil helped the egg release and maintain a perfectly runny yolk.

The Kitchen HQ Elite 12” Nonstick Cast Iron Frypan is a good choice for cast-iron newbies like myself who want even cooking and easy transfer from stove top to oven. How long its nonstick cooking surface can last is yet to be determined, but I doubt it will have the life of grandma’s cast-iron skillet. Regardless, this large pan is great for recipes with many servings, requires minimal use of added oils and fats, and has easy care instructions for anyone uncertain about cast-iron maintenance.

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Jennifer Hunt
Jennifer Hunt, RDN, LD, is a nutrition communications dietitian whose joy and passion is to empower women to live healthy, vibrant lives. She loves sharing real-life strategies to choosing nourishing foods, making delicious, easy recipes and loving the woman in the mirror. Read her blog, Healthy Inspiration, and connect with her on Facebook.