I can’t live without my collection of cast iron skillets. I am especially fond of making sweet desserts in this versatile cooking vessel.
You can cook desserts in a cast iron skillet in the oven, on the stove-top, in a smoker, and over a hot grill. This pan is nearly indestructible.
Cast iron is perfect for providing the even heat that desserts require. And, cleanup is a breeze because cast iron doesn’t require soap and becomes well- seasoned with time.
If you haven’t yet made dessert in an iron skillet, try some of these recipes the next time you feel the urge to make a delicious dessert that will impress your friends and family.
1. Rustic Cast Iron Skillet Apple Pie Recipe
I have a soft spot for apple pie, especially in the fall when I have picked more apples than I know what to do with at the local orchard.
What I like most about this apple pie recipe is the top and bottom layers of flaky pastry. The bottom layer bakes over a layer of caramelized butter and sugar. A generous helping of apples is seasoned with cinnamon.
The top crust is a great platform for a big scoop of vanilla ice cream or a slice of cheddar cheese.
2. Warm Chocolate Skillet Cake
Who doesn’t like chocolate? This easy skillet cake is soft and fudgy in the center. The recipe is for making in either a 6-inch skillet for 2 to share right out of the pan or an 8-inch skillet for scooping into bowls for more people.
The best part about this cake is that you are encouraged to serve the cake warm while the center is still gooey. It is terrific with ice cream or whipped cream on top.
3. Skillet Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
If you are in the mood for something retro, try this pineapple upside-down cake. The recipe is pretty classic and not difficult at all.
The bottom layer of pineapples and pecans gets nicely browned and sticky. Just flip the cake over before serving and top with maraschino cherries for a pop of color.
You can also make this using peaches or mangoes to change things up.
4. Utterly Deadly Southern Pecan Pie Recipe
Thanksgiving dinner isn’t complete without a rich pecan pie. Once you’ve made a pecan pie in a cast-iron skillet, you may never go back to a pie plate.
This authentic pecan pie recipe is sticky sweet and a bit crunchy. It is quintessentially southern and only takes 10 minutes to prepare for the oven. Serve it right in the skillet for a unique presentation.
5. Million Dollar Skillet S’mores
If you want to take S’mores to the next level, try this decadent recipe for million dollar skillet s’mores.
The Stay at Home Chef starts with a layer of Reece’s peanut butter cups. She tops that with Oreo cookie bits and balls of frozen cookie dough. The final layer is marshmallows. Yum!
You eat these s’mores hot out of the oven with graham crackers for scooping.
6. Skillet Berry Cobbler
If it is summertime, head to the farmer’s market for some fresh berries and make a colorful skillet cobbler. You can also use frozen berries if it is wintertime and you are craving a warm fruit dessert.
Blackberries and tart raspberries are combined with sugar and cornstarch for a rich filling. The crunchy topping is made with rolled oats and butter. This cobbler doesn’t disappoint.
7. Tillie’s Ginger Crumb Cake
I am a big fan of using spices in desserts. This skillet crumb cake is infused with ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
This is a perfect cake to make on a snowy day. It is terrific when served with a hot cup of tea for an afternoon snack. Or, have it with a steaming cup of coffee for a breakfast that will get you moving.
8. Ina Garten’s Skillet Brownies
These brownies are super chocolatey with the addition of whole chocolate chips. You could also add chopped nuts for more texture.
What I like best about this recipe is that the brownies are baked in individual mini cast iron skillets. That way, there is no need to wait for them to cool so you can slice them. You can eat them while warm and gooey.
9. Bisquick Topped Blueberry Cobbler
Remember biscuits made with Bisquick? They made the kitchen smell great and were so good hot out of the oven. Well, Bisquick is still around and is the perfect and easy topping for this cobbler recipe.
Juicy blueberries offer the perfect level of sweetness, while vanilla extract and lemon zest add a depth of flavor and aroma that is hard to pass up.
10. Pizookie (Skillet Cookie)
This pizza-like giant chocolate chip cookie has crispy edges from the cast iron and a soft center. The ingredients are the same as a classic chocolate cookie recipe. The author encourages you to feel free to add macadamia nuts and white chocolate chips for a twist on the classic.
11. Grilled Cranberry Pear Crumble
This crumble recipe is filled with fall flavors. It has cranberries, pears, and cinnamon and is topped with crunchy granola. You cook it over a fire on your charcoal or gas grill.
12. Dutch Baby Pancake
A Dutch baby is a buttery pancake made from a thin batter that bakes in a cast iron skillet in the oven. This is a blank canvas that you can top with fresh fruit, whipped cream, or maple syrup.
The batter is a simple mixture of eggs, milk, flour, and sugar that is poured into a hot cast iron skillet with plenty of melted butter. It is baked until it rises and the edges climb the sides of the pan and become crisp.
13. Martha Stewart’s Cast Iron Skillet Fruit Cake
Martha uses an enameled cast iron skillet to bake this fluffy cake with plums. The fruit sinks down into the batter as the cake rises up around it. You can make this simple cake with whatever fruit is in seasons, such as peaches, cherries, apples, pears, or berries.
14. Caramel-Apple Skillet Buckle
There is a lot going on in this cast iron buckle. It is worth the effort. I love the combination of apples, pecans, and caramel. It is complex in flavors and textures.
This is a perfect dessert to make at the height of apple picking season.
15. Old-Fashioned Skillet Cake
It doesn’t get much simpler or easier than this skillet cake. There are only six ingredients and hardly any cleanup.
While the cake is fairly basic, it is delicious on its own and even better when topped with hot fudge or warmed butterscotch sauce. Enjoy it with a glass of milk or an after-dinner liqueur.
16. Skillet Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Carrot cake is one of my favorite desserts. This particular recipe includes crushed pineapple for natural sweetness and added moisture. After baking, it is topped with a cream cheese frosting that has tangy and silky sour cream blended into it.
17. The Big Cinnamon Roll Recipe
Do you love those yummy little cinnamon rolls that are packaged in a can that you pop open on the edge of your countertop? Well, this cinnamon roll recipe is the real deal.
This is a yeast-risen dough. The cast iron skillet browns the bottom of the bread. After icing the hot bun, serve it warm right out of the skillet for brunch or dessert.
18. Tarte Tatin
Tarte Tatin is a lovely fruit-filled puff pastry tart. It might sound difficult to make the pastry, but this recipe takes the work out of making your own pastry dough. Just use pre-made puff pastry that you can find in the frozen food aisle.
Place the pastry in a cast iron skillet and fill it with thinly sliced apples. Once baked, turn out the warm tart carefully onto a nice serving platter. No one will know you didn’t labor over the pastry.
19. Skillet Rhubarb Cobbler Recipe
When rhubarb is in season and shows up at the farmer’s market, grab some and make this classic rhubarb cobbler in an 8-inch skillet. Rhubarb season doesn’t last long and it is best early on and when just harvested.
Rhubarb is not naturally sweet. This recipe uses a combination of brown and white sugar to sweeten up this somewhat bitter vegetable.
20. Shoofly Chocolate Pie
Shoofly pie is a sinfully rich and dense chocolate dessert. If you haven’t ever had or made shoofly pie, this recipe is the one to try.
The crust is browned in the iron skillet. The filling is dark and creamy with a mixture of chocolate chips, brown sugar, and molasses. This pie is traditionally served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
21. Cast Iron Peach Crostata
If making a pie intimidates you, this Cast Iron Peach Crostata Recipe is a good place to start honing your skills. The brown sugar laced crust is rustic as it is loosely rapped up around the fruit filling.
This recipe uses peaches when they are in season. If it isn’t peach season, any stone fruit or other tree fruit will do.
22. Cast-Iron Skillet Strawberry Cheesecake
Creamy cheesecake is always better with a layer of fresh strawberries baked into the top, in my opinion. It is even tastier when cooked in a cast-iron skillet.
The cheesecake recipe is pretty traditional and doesn’t take long to prepare and bake. Just be sure to use some freshly picked strawberries when they are available for best results.
23. Two Ingredient Pumpkin Gingerbread
When I am pressed for time, I will reach for packaged cake mixes in my pantry to make a “homemade” dessert. This happens when I have last-minute house guests arriving. No one has to know how easy the recipe is as long as the house smells good when something is baking in the oven.
This pumpkin gingerbread skillet cake has 2 ingredients: gingerbread mix and pumpkin purée. Bake it in a cast iron skillet for a great presentation. Serve with whipped cream.
24. Skillet Blondie for Two
A blondie is basically a butterscotch brownie. This blondie recipe is made deep-dish style in an iron skillet. It is perfect for you and a friend to share right out of the pan.
To make the recipe a little more fun, add some chocolate chips and macadamia nuts to the batter before baking. I like to drizzle chocolate syrup over the top and maybe add a couple of scoops of peanut butter ice cream.
25. Pound Cake and Berry Campfire Skillet Dessert
The best piece of equipment for camping has to be a cast-iron skillet. You can place it right on hot coals or over a grill and make pretty much anything in it, including dessert.
This campfire recipe calls for pre-made pound cake, berries, sugar, butter, and Rolo candies. You really can’t go wrong with chocolate and caramel with berries and cake cooking on an open fire on a starry night.
I started this post out with a nod to my cast iron skillet collection. It is true, I have a lot. Some are small, some are large, and some are unique. I even have a cast iron mini-corn muffin pan.
If you are new to cast iron cooking, I think it is important to mention that you do need to break in the pans and care for them. A new pan should be cleaned well, oiled, and placed in a hot oven to season and seal the surface.
After that, you only need to clean it with water and dry in a warm oven or over a burner. Never use soap to clean your skillets. If you do, re-season them. You can use some coarse salt to clean stubborn messes, such as charred food bits.
A tip for using your cast iron skillet over an open fire is to take a little dish soap or bar soap and rub it on the bottom of the pan. This makes it easy to clean any coal ash from the bottom. Try not to get any soap on the cooking surface of the pan, if possible.
With a little TLC, you will love cooking and baking in your cast iron skillet.
Michael Johnson is the founder of The Pan Handler, Inspired by his blacksmith grandfather’s legacy has a deep appreciation for hand-crafted pots and pans, he provides invaluable guides, reviews, and recipes to enhance your culinary journey.