You have a cast iron pan but not a handle holder. Do you need one? What are cast iron handle holders anyway? Why can’t I use my oven mitt? If I decide to get one, which type would be best? Can I leave it on my pan when it’s in the oven? What if I want to make my own? These are great questions and ones I want to answer today.
I couldn’t find anything on how long handle holders have been around. Still, I am sure whenever it was, people who used cast iron for cooking were happy to finally have a cover designed specifically for their cast iron handles.
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So, What is a Cast Iron Handle Holder?
A cast iron handle holder also called a handle cover, is like an oven mitt for the handle of your cast iron pan. And it generally is more fitted, so it doesn’t slide around when you pick up your pan.
Handle holders come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. There are handle covers for the longer handles and ones for the shorter helper or loop handles. There is a holder for every cast iron handle out there.
Some people like decorative ones because it makes their pan look pretty, and others want something that will just get the job done. Whatever you need, you will be able to find.
Can You Touch the Handle of a Cast Iron Skillet?
The answer may seem obvious if you know anything about cast iron. The handle gets hot; too hot to pick up with your bare hands. So you need a cover of some sort.
People want to have a handle holder specifically for their pan because, as long as the cover isn’t directly over the fire, it can stay on your pan while your food is cooking. Many people are either afraid of or have been a victim of grabbing the handle by accident while it’s hot.
Getting burned is not fun…ever!
I would say it is true that you can keep the handle holder on while cooking for the longer handles, but not the loop handles. My personal experience with leaving our silicone handle covers on the pan while cooking was that one of them melted a bit and got too hot to handle.
I read a few reviews from people who had the same issue. Some even with the longer handle. One person said it was essential to use the correct size burner so your handle wouldn’t be too near the fire or heat. I thought that was good advice. Most people loved their handle holders, though.
I Have Oven Mitts; Is That Good Enough?
Yes, oven mitts will work, but you can’t leave it on the handle while cooking. At least, I have never tried it; keeping the cover on while cooking is one of the reasons people like having handle holders rather than relying on remembering to use their oven mitt.
But, maybe you can leave the oven mitt on the handle, as long as it’s a longer handle. Have you ever tried it? I know without thinking that keeping oven mitts on loop handles wouldn’t work. That’s pretty obvious.
Since the pan we use every morning to make our breakfast has loop handles, and the one time I left the silicone handles on during cooking, and one of them started melting, I have continued to use oven mitts. But, I now own skillets with longer handles and recently purchased two Lodge 6.5 inch skillets that came with a silicone handle cover, so I have a handle holder for each kind of handle now. My husband prefers the handle holders, so I’m glad we have them. I am still using oven mitts, but I can see myself using the one for the longer handle. Only time will tell.
I do like the idea of leaving the holder on while the food is cooking and not having to be concerned with possibly getting burned because I grabbed the handle without protection by mistake.
Another thing to consider is, they do make silicone or other high heat resistant oven mitts, so that is always an option if you are looking for something with a little more protection than the handle holders seem to give.
What About Leaving a Silicone Handle Holder On in the Oven?
The oven is hot, but it’s not over direct fire, so this question seems legitimate. I remember reading about a woman who said she always left on her silicone handles while in the oven and didn’t have any problem. So I was thinking, “How does that help? Don’t the handle covers get hot, and you still need an oven mitt, potholder, or towel to pull it out? Well, that question was not asked or answered, so I don’t know.
I know I didn’t find anyone who would recommend silicone handle holders for use in the oven.
- Taste of Home recommends sliding the cover on when you take the food out of the oven.
- Cook’s Illustrated says temperatures over 350 degrees will damage silicone handles.
- Lodge Cast Iron says their handle holders will keep your hands safe from 350 degrees up to 600 degrees, depending on which type you buy. But they don’t recommend any of them for oven use.
The Top 3 Types of Handle Holders
- Silicone is the most common and widespread. I’ve mostly talked about silicone handle holders in this article because that seems to be what most people use. Silicone accessories are a more recent addition to the kitchen and include handle covers for your cast iron handles. Many people like the fact that silicone can handle higher temperatures without your hand feeling too much heat. They enjoy that the cover fits the handle and that it can add some color if desired. Silicone has a lot of strengths but also a couple of weaknesses. One weakness is the fact it may be hard to find the perfect cover. In some of the reviews I read, people complained that the cover didn’t fit properly, wasn’t long enough, or was too slippery, and they couldn’t get a good grip. For the most part, though, people were happy with using silicone.
- Leather is the most stylish and best heat resistant. Leather handle holders are also something you can make yourself if you are so inclined. They look nice sitting on the handle and tend to be able to protect your hand with a bit higher temperatures than silicone; one brand sells a handle holder that protects hands from heat up to 600 degrees. So if you cook with temperatures higher than 450 degrees, leather might be a good option for you. The leather handle holders got high reviews, just like the silicone. But a few people said it didn’t fit their pan handle or didn’t like it because they couldn’t leave it on when they cooked because the leather got too hot.
- Fabric holders have the most patterns and designs from which to choose. Fabric handle holders are like tiny fitted oven mitts. You can get them in a regular heat-resistant fabric that resists temperatures up to 350 degrees or heavy-duty pyrotex outer material, which can withstand 450-degree temperatures. Besides being able to get a cute or fun design, fabric handle holders are machine washable. One downside is you probably wouldn’t want to leave it on the handle while you are cooking if you are using a higher heat or flame. The reviews are high, and as always, some people were unhappy that it didn’t fit their handle. Others said it fit their handle perfectly.
Can I Make My Own?
Yes. If you like to sew or work with leather, making your own handle holder is a great idea. Here are two videos that will show you how to make a handle holder. The first video is for leather, and the second video for fabric. Enjoy!
Well, that’s about it for today. I wanted to answer some questions you might ask when considering whether you need a cast iron handle holder for your pans. As you know, the handles get extremely hot, and a handle holder is an excellent addition as well as a way to protect your hands. Yes, oven mitts work fine, and some people prefer the added protection of the glove.
The top three types of handle holders are silicone, leather, and fabric. They each have strengths and weaknesses. It mostly comes down to preference and what you think is best for you.
I also know some crafty people out there might find making a handle holder not only enjoyable but relaxing. That’s why I included a couple of videos showing you how to make your own.
I hope you have found this article helpful. Please feel free to share any comments or ask questions in the comment section below.