With non-stick pans containing chemicals that people are leery of, more and more people are leaning towards using the more natural option—enameled cast iron pans. However, what kinds of foods can you cook in an enameled cast iron pan, and is it possible to cook breakfast foods like eggs in this pan?
You can cook eggs in an enameled cast iron just like any other pan. However, this is not a beginner-friendly pan to cook eggs because it requires specific techniques like seasoning the pan and observing the heat.
If you want to learn how to stop burning your eggs or have them stop sticking to your enameled cast iron, this article is for you.
Besides just learning to cook eggs, you will also learn great techniques to take care of and clean your pan in this article so that it will become easier to use in the future.
Why Do Eggs Stick to an Enameled Cast Iron Pan?
Eggs are composed mostly of proteins. When you fry or scramble an egg, you will notice a change in the egg’s texture, consistency, and color.
This transformation is caused by the denaturation of heat-sensitive proteins in an egg where protein strands unfold and detangle in a reaction caused by heat from the stove.
This means that to cook eggs, you need a surface that is a very good conductor of heat, a surface that will not react with the egg proteins to stick, and a smooth surface that will let any food items be cooked evenly on it and hence prevent sticking. An enameled cast iron is none of these things.
Enamel Does Not Equal Non-Stick
When eggs are done on a smooth surface like a non-stick pan, they will be cooked perfectly, provided the temperature is right.
Although it is true that an enamel coating added to the cast iron creates a smooth surface and will cause food items to stick less than bare cast iron, that does not mean that it is non-stick.
This enamel coating is only partially non-stick, and you will still need to season your pan to prevent substances like eggs from sticking to it.
Eggs React With Metals
An enamel coating does not mean your skillet is immune to cracks, nicks, and dents.
Egg protein will bond with the iron surface of a cast iron in any nicked spots, resulting in sticking.
These nicks also have the added side effect of making the egg white and yolk cook unevenly, resulting in sticking.
Improper Heat Conduction
Another reason for your eggs sticking is either retention of heat or a lack of heat.
Cast iron needs to be preheated before adding any food on the pan; otherwise, it will stick. If you add your eggs too early when the pan is still cold, they will also likely cling to the skillet.
On the flip side, once you preheat your cast iron, if you put the heat on too high, this heat will be retained and take a long time to leave because cast iron skillets are not very good conductors of heat, unlike stainless steel pans.
This will result in your eggs burning and thus sticking to the pan.
The novelty of your newly bought enameled cast-iron skillet wears off fast when you’re unable to cook any eggs properly.
However, with patience and practice, you might be able to create perfectly cooked eggs in your enameled cast iron one day.
How to Prevent Eggs From Sticking to Your Pan
Preventing eggs from sticking to your pan consists of two important parts—pre-egg making preparation and things to do while you’re actually cooking your eggs.
Let’s go through them step by step.
Proper pan maintenance is essential to the well-rounded egg. It would be best if you treated your pan with respect and care, and it will reward you with many years of usability.
Here’s what to do for a good skillet:
1. Season Your Pan
Seasoning a pan does not mean sprinkling it with spices of various kinds. Instead, it means coating your skillet with a layer of hardened oil.
To season a pan, coat the interior with oil and heat it up until the fat inside polymerizes.
Polymerized oil acts as a hard, plastic protective layer for enameled cast iron, preventing damage from acidic foods, reducing the likelihood of the enamel getting scratched, and creating a smoother surface.
Follow these steps to season a pan:
1. Wash your pan and ensure there are no crumbs clinging to it.
2. Dry it.
3. Coat your pan evenly with an oil that has a high smoke point like canola oil.
4. Heat it in the oven at 450℉ upside down for 30 minutes.
5. Let the oil cool to harden properly.
6. Repeat steps 3-5 a few more times.
With your pan now well-seasoned containing a glossy patina, you can create magnificently cooked eggs on them.
2. Wash Properly
Use non-citrus based dish soaps to wash your enameled pan and avoid any soaps that contain lye. Over time, these ingredients corrode the exterior gloss and enameled surface away.
When washing your pan, use nylon-based scrubbers instead of metal ones as metal scrubbers will create dents and nicks in the pan’s surface.
If you absolutely cannot remove certain stubborn stains, try soaking them using a baking soda or vinegar solution.
3. Do Not Use Metal Utensils
If your cast iron is your only pan, it is likely that you will be cooking multiple forms of food items on it. When cooking, never use any sort of metal utensil as it will leave scratches.
These utensils will not only scratch the glossy patina or seasoning off, but it can create dents in the enamel as well, which is harder to fix. Instead, use a wooden or plastic spatula or spoon when cooking.
4. Do Not Switch Between Extreme Temperatures
Enamel is a coating made of glass, and it will reflect this in its innate properties.
Like glass, if you decide to immediately move a cast iron from the hot stove to running it under cold water, the enamel layer will crack, and you will have to get your cast iron re-enameled.
5. Use Enough Fat
Given the non-stick nature of an enameled cast iron, you should be using a sufficient amount of oil or fat to grease the pan before making eggs.
I’m not talking about bacon grease to fry your eggs shortly afterward here. Coat your pan with vegetable oil or shortening liberally when you cook for a smooth ride.
6. Use the Correct Temperature
Preheat the pan at medium heat before adding your eggs. If the oil starts bubbling, it means that your pan is too hot, and you need to wait for it to cool down before restarting.
Turn the heat down once you put your eggs in.
7. Maintain Patience
A cast-iron pan is not a stainless steel pan and will not yield the same results as one. Do not try to move the egg solution only a few seconds in as it will not be cooked, and it will stick to the pan.
Although a few seconds might have been enough for the eggs to be semi-cooked on non-stick or other pans, a cast-iron will require a bit more time, so you must maintain patience.
– Enameled Cast Iron Sticking? Learn how to stop your cast iron sticking here.
– Can you fry in enameled cast iron? Learn all about frying in cast iron here.
Conclusion – Can You Cook Eggs in Enameled Cast Iron?
An enameled cast iron is just like any other pan. It comes with its upsides, like durability and ease of use, and downsides, like not being the easiest pan to use to cook certain foods.
However, enameled pans are some of the most sought after pans in the market, creating beautiful sears of meat and being some of the best pans for fried food recipes.
Although not naturally instinctive, it is possible to use this enameled cast iron to cook any manner of food that you want—it just takes a bit of time, patience, and experience.
If you keep pressing on, you’ll be cooking eggs like a professional in your enameled cast iron in no time.
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