cast-iron frying pan

In our educational materials, we advise that one:

Cook only in cast iron, stainless steel, glass or good quality enamel  … and I would now add ceramic cookware to the list.

Please note that I’ll discuss exactly what kind of stainless steel is recommend later in this article! Meanwhile, heavy, old-fashioned cast-iron frying pan such as those made my Lodge are great for all sautéing and stir-frys. These pans should not be washed with soap but merely rinsed in hot water and dried with towels.

Note: Lodge Manufacturing, the oldest U.S. maker of cast-iron cookware still in business today, only sells theirs pre-seasoned with soy oil now, however some would argue that it is irrelevant. On a paleo based site  I read one commenter asserts that “The type of oil used to season is irrelevant. A season is made up mostly of burnt oil turned to carbon, and there’s no paleo/non-paleo carbon. The oil burns off, leaving carbon in the uneven parts of the surface making it smooth. Adding to the season that comes from the factory will only get “more paleo” (and much better) as you cook on it with healthy fats.”  Dr. Kaayla Daniels, author of The Whole Soy Story, reflects about cast iron pre-seasoned with soy: “It’s certainly no problem for most of us. For severely allergic people, it’s a risk they can’t afford to take.”

Others recommend that you scrub your pre-seasoned Lodge in the sink with hot soapy water a couple of times and re-season anew. “Once the seasoning is off, use flax oil to re-season it, unless you have a known sensitivity which may be an issue. This is not for any Paleo reason (being a seed oil and all, I’m not advocating eating it in quantity), but because it creates a nigh-indestructible base coat. From there, build up your normal polymerized layers of clarified butter, tallow, and coconut oil.”  Read another article in favor of using flax oil to season a cast iron pan. Seasoning with flax oil is not without controversy however, as is mentioned in this article in the last paragraph.

Others advocate that you season cast iron with lard, tallow or coconut oil. Olive oil and butter is not advised by some because of the low smoke point.

Dr. Kaayla Daniels advises us not to use tomato sauce in cast iron so as not to pull the iron from the pan.

Stainless Steel Magnet Test

How do we know what kind of stainless steel is safe? Please read this article I wrote on the subject to get an overview. Meanwhile, there are two main types of stainless steel, magnetic and nonmagnetic. The nonmagnetic form has a very high nickel content, and nickel is described as allergenic and carcinogenic. It is much more toxic than iron or aluminum. This study revealed that nickel as well as chromium in stainless steel leaches into food. You can use a little “refrigerator magnet” to test your pans. The magnet will stick firmly to the safer type of pan.

It is wise to use the magnet all over the pan – inside and outside since some have found that the pan contains mixed ingredients and sticks firmly in some places and not in others.

Sources: Magnet and Stainless Steel Cookware, Magnetically Attractive Stainless Steel Cookware


A community member asked about titanium. Dr. Kaayla Daniel answers, in short, “I think titanium is fine.” Update September 28, 2017: I called Saladmaster today and spoke to a representative. She confirmed Saladmaster does contain 16% to 18% chromium and 10% to 14% nickel, and is more stainless steel than titanium. Titanium content is typically only around 0.5%, as you’ll see in this document she emailed me.


Not recommended due to copper toxicity concerns.

Cookware Recommendations 

Via our Amazon affiliation:

Lodge 5-Piece Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Cookware Set
Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven,  6-Quart
Lodge Cast Iron Cookware

Visions 5-pc Glass Cookware Set
Pyrex 2 quart  Glass Casserole with cover

Pyrex glassware for storage and cooking

Le CreusetStaub and Split Enameled Cookware

Xtrema ceramic cookware

Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker, 6-Quart
VitaClay Slow Cookers

Jarhill, Homichef and Faberware are all nickel free stainless steel options. Gunter Wilhelm cookware is made from type 430 stainless steel. This kind of stainless steel material contains a minute amount of nickel (0.50 percent or less).

How do you season your cast iron?!

See our public discussion about this topic on Facebook.