tamale pie

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Cooking in a cast-iron skillet has a number of benefits, including lasting heat retention, non-stick properties when it’s properly seasoned, and being able to withstand high temperatures and the oven. A lot of the food that’s best in a cast-iron skillet also happens to be cozy and comforting, which means fall is one of the best times of the year to use it. From breakfast to dessert and snacks in between, try these cast-iron skillet recipes this fall.

Related: 20 Comfort Food Recipes That Freeze Well

A home baked chicken pot pie or casserole in a cast iron skillet

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There are few dishes more comforting than chicken pot pie, but it can be a long process to get dinner on the table. This cast-iron skillet version uses fast shortcuts such as store-bought rotisserie chicken and frozen puff pastry to simplify things. And since it’s all in one pan, there’s fewer dishes to wash.

Recipe: Bon Appetit

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Bowl of chili with cheddar cheese and jalapeno and a beer. Please see my portfolio for other food and drink images.

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One of the biggest advantages of cast-iron skillets is that they can be used directly on your grill, so they’re great for cooking side dishes while you grill burgers and sausages. These pinto beans are cooked Mexican-style with bacon, jalapeño and cumin, and take on a smoky flavor from the grill. (Love beans? Here are 30 Creative Rice and Bean Dishes From Around the World.)

Recipe: Southern Living

Apple Dutch Baby

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Dutch babies are big, billowing oven-baked pancakes. Like British popovers, you heat the skillet they’re cooked in so it’s piping hot when you put the batter in, which helps it puff. A classic topping for these is simply lemon juice and sugar, but berries, Nutella, and even ham and cheese are tasty. (For variations on pancakes, check out these 45 Best Homemade Pancake Recipes.)

Recipe: Smitten Kitchen

Cornbread stuffing with turkey and celery in a cast iron skillet

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If you are a fan of the crusty, browned bits on the edges of your stuffing, you’ll love baking it in a cast-iron skillet. A mix of white bread cubes and cornbread give this stuffing the flavor of cornbread but the structure of a sturdier bread. Apples, pork sausage, and sage are a classic combo of additions. (Walk on the wild side with these Unexpected Stuffing Recipes to Shake Up Thanksgiving Dinner.)

Recipe: Taste of Home

sausages on grill

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This recipe takes full advantage of fall produce such as red cabbage and apples and combines them with sweet Italian sausages for a one-skillet meal. Deglazing with apple cider and apple cider vinegar adds a sweet and sour touch that’s classic with red cabbage.

Recipe: Country Living

Grilled Chicken Fajitas with Peppers in a Cast Iron Skillet

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Fajitas are fantastic to cook in a cast-iron pan because it gets super hot and holds heat well, giving you a great sear and charred flavor just as a grill would. Marinate the chicken in a simple combination of lime, garlic, and spices, then cook the peppers and onions in the same pan as the chicken to take on some of that flavor.

Recipe: Cafe Delights

Spoon bread or corn casserole

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Everyone has had cornbread out of a cast-iron skillet, but what about spoon bread? It’s similar to cornbread because it’s made from cornmeal, but it’s creamier and more custardy, and that requires using a spoon to scoop it out. Garlic and fontina cheese add savory flavor.

Recipe: Epicurious

Apple Crumble (or Apple Crisp) baked in a cast iron skillet

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Apple crisp is a traditional fall dessert, but did you ever think to make it in a cast-iron skillet? It helps the edges get nice and caramelized, and makes a great presentation if you bring the skillet right to the table. You can easily swap out the apples for frozen berries or peaches. (Hungry for more? Here are 20 Things You Didn’t Know About Apples.)

Recipe: Smack of Flavor

Skillet Shepherd's Pie, british casserole in cast iron pan, with minced meat, mashed potatoes and vegetables, on dark rusty background, copy space top view

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Unlike other pies, shepherd’s pie doesn’t have a pastry crust. Instead, the ground meat, gravy and vegetable filling is topped with a thick layer of mashed potatoes before baking. This recipe includes plenty of butter and some parmesan cheese in the spuds.

Recipe: Jo Cooks

Steak

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Steaks benefit from the heat retention of cast iron to get a deep sear. For this recipe, a thick rib-eye steak is cooked in the skillet; steamed and smashed Yukon old potatoes are browned in the beef fat rendered in the pan while the steak rests. A simple shallot and herb vinaigrette makes a refreshing sauce.

Recipe: Epicurious

Related: 17 Places to Order Steaks, Pork and Other Meats Online

Small 8" Thin Crust Roast Chicken Pizza with Alfredo Sauce, Mushrooms and Red Peppers on Pita Bread

LauriPatterson/istockphoto

If you think good homemade pizza has to be time consuming, try this smart recipe using a flour tortilla as the crust. A cast-iron skillet is essential since you’ll be using it on the stove and under the broiler, and it’ll make the cheesy edge crisp and caramelized. For the little amount of effort needed, these pizzas turn out amazing. (For inspiration, here are 25 Yummy Pizza Recipes: From Plain Cheese to Peking Duck.)

Recipe: Serious Eats

Homemade S'mores Dip with Graham Crackers Marshmallow and Chocolate

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Who says s’mores are only for summer? You can enjoy them year-round without a bonfire as long as you have a cast-iron skillet. Just heat the skillet in the oven, add chocolate and butterscotch chips and some cream, and top with marshmallows. Bake until they’re toasted and use graham crackers to dip.

Recipe: Food Network

Lasagna

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An oven-safe skillet is essential for this shortcut lasagna that is so quick it can be a weeknight meal. Making the meat sauce is the most complicated part. But then all you do is mix in some broken dry lasagna noodles, cottage or ricotta cheese, and bake it until the noodles are cooked and it’s browned and bubbly.

Recipe: Kylee Cooks

Homemade Skillet Bread with Artichoke Dip Ready to Eat

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Baked spinach and artichoke dip is a crowd pleaser. Its ingredients list is short so it comes together fast, and you can keep frozen spinach and canned artichoke hearts on hand all the time. Serve it with an assortment of dippers such as tortilla chips, pita chips, carrot coins, and baguette.

Recipe: Princess Pinky Girl

Related: 33 Holiday Slow Cooker Recipes to Feed a Crowd

Pork Tamale Pie

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Tamale pie is a Southwestern dish of chili baked with cornbread on top for a full meal in one skillet. This version includes lots of spices in the chili for a deep flavor, plus browned butter in the cornbread topping for nuttiness. A layer of cheddar cheese between the chili and cornbread makes everything a little gooey.

Recipe: Serious Eats

Related: 19 Savory Pies From Around The World

Gingerbread Bars

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Individual skillet cookies are a fun and cozy treat. Instead of chocolate chip, try gingerbread, which is full of fall spices such as cloves, nutmeg, and allspice. A little bit of orange zest gives the flavor a boost. (Check out these 30 Thanksgiving Desserts That Aren’t Pies.)

Recipe: Dessert for Two

Roast Chicken in a Cast Iron Dutch Oven

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One of the best reasons to roast a chicken in a cast-iron skillet is how caramelized and delicious the vegetables get in the same pan. This recipe uses that to full advantage by layering thinly sliced potatoes around the chicken in the pan. As the chicken cooks, the fat and juices coat the potatoes, and they brown and crisp. (Are you addicted to spuds? Here are 27 Tasty Ways to Cook Potatoes.)

Recipe: Bon Appetit

frittata in metal skillet, wooden spoon

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Frittata, an egg dish that’s like a crustless quiche, is perfect for cooking in a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet because it starts on the stovetop, then gets transferred to the oven to finish cooking. This is a basic recipe that includes five variations for mix-ins, including mushroom and tarragon and broccoli feta.

Recipe: Love and Lemons

Fresh Cornbread in a Cast Iron Skillet.

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The benefit of making cornbread in a cast-iron skillet is the deep, crunchy crust that it forms. With this recipe, you arrange fresh whole sage leaves in the skillet before the batter goes in, so when you turn it out, you see the beautiful leaves. Honey adds a little bit of sweetness.

Recipe: Epicurious

close up authentic home cooked meal

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Enchiladas are not usually a quick dish to put together. But this skillet version includes canned enchilada sauce and precooked chicken — use a rotisserie chicken — to make it a lot faster. Tearing up the tortillas and mixing them in instead of rolling them also cuts the effort. Go wild with favorite toppings such as avocado, sliced radishes, corn salsa, or hot sauce. (Get a leg up on dinner with these easy rotisserie-chicken recipes.)

Recipe: Buns in My Oven

Homemade bread, baked in the cast iron pot

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There’s not much better than the smell of baking bread, especially when it’s cold and blustery outside. Fresh bread doesn’t always require tons of effort, though. This bread is no-knead, so you mix it into a wet dough, let it rise, place it in the skillet you’re baking it in, let it rise a second time, and that’s it. You can mix in any herbs or other seasonings you like.

Recipe: Baker Bettie

Related: Top Bread Makers and Other Bread-Making Supplies for Baking at Home

Gently frying chopped sweet potato and carrots in a cast iron pot on a stove.

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Swapping out russet potatoes for sweet potatoes in a fall hash is a no-brainer. They give you more flavor and more nutrients. Cook them in a skillet with diced peppers, ham, and garlic, then nestle some eggs in there for a complete brunch or light supper.

Recipe: Taste of Home

Catfish fillets coated with cajun spice (salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne pepper) frying in a cast-iron skillet.

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Cast iron skillets are essential for making Cajun blackened catfish since they hold a high heat so well. Blackening doesn’t mean burning: It refers to a heavy coating of spices on the catfish that gets deeply browned in the blazing hot pan. Use a pre-made blackening seasoning as this recipe calls for, or you can put your own blend together.

Recipe: Went Here 8 This

Crustless Pumpkin Pie

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Cakes with old-fashioned broiled toppings are ideal for cast-iron skillets because you can’t use glass cake pans under the broiler. This version adds an autumn twist with a buttermilk-and-spice sweet potato cake, which is topped with a coconut, pecan, and brown sugar icing that becomes gooey and toasted under the broiler. (Sweet potatoes are cheap vitamin powerhouses. Find out about these 25 Fall ‘Superfoods’.)

Recipe: Spicy Southern Kitchen

A tray of freshly baked garlic knots on parchment paper

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Family game night just got way better with a big batch of these pizzalike pepperoni garlic knots. Using a cast-iron skillet ensures that all the pepperoni and garlic goodness stays in the pan and on the rolls. You can use homemade or store-bought pizza dough and pizza sauce, depending how much time you have.

Recipe: Serious Eats

A high angle close up shot of a holiday upside down cranberry cake on a green plate.

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Upside-down cakes are a classic cast-iron pan favorite, but try this variation with fall cranberries instead of retro canned pineapple. They make for a festive, jewel-toned topping that looks great on a holiday table. Add some orange zest to the cake or topping for an extra punch.

Recipe: Allrecipes

African cuisine grilled chicken legs with jollof rice with orzo and black eyed peas

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Skin-on chicken thighs get nice and crispy in a cast-iron skillet. Once they’re browned, make a fennel and leek-studded orzo with white wine and lemon to nestle them in. Though the recipe doesn’t call for it, a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top wouldn’t hurt.

Recipe: Bon Appetit

Related: 40 Cheap and Easy One-Pot Meals

Homemade Baked Chicken Vesuvio with Peas and Potatoes

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Chicken vesuvio is an Italian-American dish popular in the Chicago area. Bone-in chicken is browned in a skillet with potato wedges, then braised in a simple pan sauce of white wine, garlic, and oregano. When it’s finished, peas and fresh lemon juice give it color and freshness.

Recipe: OMG Chocolate Desserts

Stuffed butternut squash

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This vegetarian recipe has a Mediterranean flair. Chickpeas are coated in spices and sauteed until they’re brown and crunchy; roasted squash is caramelized for extra sweetness. It’s topped with all kinds of contrasting light and fresh ingredients, including a lemon and garlic yogurt sauce, radishes, and pomegranate seeds.

Recipe: Epicurious

Chorizo Cheese Dip

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Cast iron is great for keeping hot dips warm for a while without having to use a slow cooker. A smooth, flowing cheese dip is easier to make than you think, and requires only a few ingredients. The cornstarch and evaporated milk are essential to creating a smooth sauce, so don’t substitute them. (Love your slow cooker? Here are 52 Recipes to Keep Your Slow Cooker Bubbling While You’re Busy.)

Recipe: Lodge Cast Iron