Why does cornbread stick to cast iron skillet?

  • By: Emma
  • Date: May 19, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Table of Contents

Why does cornbread stick to cast iron skillet?

Cast iron skillets are great because they can last for years, but what happens when you want to take the cornbread out? It sticks! Here’s why. 

The cornbread is sticking because it has not reached a full state of coagulation. The protein in the batter reacts with the metal to create a layer that adheres to both cast iron. This reaction can happen on any skillet if it is heated enough; however, cast-iron cookware heats up more slowly than other types of skillet or surfaces.

What this means is that your cornbread will be less likely to stick if you use a cast-iron skillet instead of another type of pan. But this doesn’t mean that the bread won’t stick on the cast-iron at all. It does and it will if you cook and clean carelessly.

But here is good news: you can do a lot to prevent the cornbread from sticking to cast iron.

Let’s get started!

Reasons why cornbread sticks to cast iron skillet and how to prevent it

There are many reasons why you are facing this issue. You are either overheating the cast iron skillet or the cornbread batter is too moist or soggy (if you are making cornbread in skillet).

This blog post covers the most common reasons for this issue and how you can prevent it. Not only this but also covers steps to remove the bread crust from your skillet so as not to leave undesirable marks.

1. Overheated skillet

One reason why cornbread sticks to cast iron skillet is due to the way it is cooked. If the skillet is overheated, then the bread tends to stick due to the sticking properties of proteins in both cast iron and cornbread. It is recommended that you heat your pan for no more than 5 minutes before cooking so that it doesn’t get too hot.

2. No oil in the skillet

Cornbread contains oil. If you don’t add cooking oil to your skillet, the bread will stick to it. For best results, lightly coat your skillet with cooking spray before putting in your batter and heating it for a minute or two.

If you don’t want to use too much oil or butter, no worries. Non-stick sprays are made for you. Use the non-stick oil spray so that the cornbread won’t stick to your cast iron skillet.

3. Not enough batter in the skillet

This is for all those who make cornbread at home. When you pour your cornbread batter into your preheated cast iron, make sure it is enough for what you are cooking. If the pan is not full enough with batter, then the center will cook too quickly and stick to the bottom of your skillet.

4. Excess moisture in the batter

Again, if you are making cornbread at home, make sure the batter of cornbread has enough moisture. That is to say, neither too much nor too less. If you add too much milk or water, then the cornbread will be a bit soggy and will end up sticking to your skillet.

5. Cold skillet

The final reason why cornbread sticks to cast iron is because of how you cook it. If you put the batter in a cold pan and heat it, then there is a chance that your batter will stick to the skillet.

6. Insufficient cooking

Another reason why the cornbread sticks to cast iron skillet is that you didn’t give it enough time to properly cook. Allow your bread to cook on the skillet for about 5 minutes before flipping if you want even browning. This means you must make sure that the bread is cooked before you flip it over.

Steps to remove the cornbread crust properly from cast iron skillet

If you’ve cooked your cornbread properly, removed it from the skillet, and now want to remove any crust left on your cast iron skillet, then there are a few things you can do. Here is a step by step guide:

  1. You need to heat your cast iron skillet for a minimum of 10 minutes before attempting to remove any stuck bread from it. This is because heating it increases the binding power between the cornbread and the pan so that they can be separated more easily.
  2. If you have a dishwasher, then put your skillet in and allow it to wash and dry itself. This will prevent any crust from sticking on the outside of the pan and leave it as good as new.
  3. You can also use salt to remove bread stuck on a cast-iron skillet. Just sprinkle some salt on the crust and let it sit for a few minutes to loosen the cornbread. Then, use soap and water to clean out the dirt before drying.
  4. You can also use vinegar to clean your cast iron skillet after removing the crust from your cornbread. Pour some distilled white vinegar into your pan, swish it around so the vinegar touches every spot, and then pour the entire mixture down the drain. Boil water in it to keep your skillet clean and rust-free.
  5. Try baking soda. Just add a few teaspoons of baking soda in your pan, add water until it is about an inch deep, and then heat the mixture on your stove. When it starts boiling, turn off the heat and allow it to cool before rinsing with water and wiping dry. This should remove any crust left from your cornbread.
  6. You can also use salt to remove the crust from your pan. Just sprinkle some salt on it and let it sit for a few minutes before washing with soap.
  7. It’s always a good idea to use a spatula or other cooking utensils that won’t scrape off any of the seasonings on your cast iron pan as you remove crust from it.


To summarise, what causes the cornbread to stick to the cast iron skillet depends upon how you set the skillet for cooking and heat level. Make sure to keep all the above-mentioned precautions and you’ll never face this problem again.

And if your cast-iron skillet is already messed up with cornbread, the above steps to remove and clean the surface should do the trick.

Have a good one!

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