Several people have asked, “Why do frittatas stick to my cast iron skillet?”
They feel like they have done everything right, yet their frittata stuck.
Has this also happened to you?
Let’s look at three possible reasons why frittatas stick and what you can do about it.
I’ve also added a recipe and shared my experience making it.
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Why Do Frittatas Stick to My Cast Iron Skillet?
The main reason is you aren’t using enough fat. Unless your skillet is well-seasoned, you may need more fat to keep it nonstick. Two other reasons include over-cleaning your skillet or not getting the pan hot enough before adding the eggs. However, the solutions are simple. By making a few adjustments, you can make a frittata without having it stick.
What is a Frittata?
A frittata is an egg dish similar to an omelet or quiche. It generally includes vegetables, meat, cheese, and sometimes milk or cream in addition to the eggs. To make the dish more hearty, other ingredients you might add are bread, pasta, or potatoes.
Frittata means “fried” in Italian.
Interestingly, Italians tend to think of a frittata as a snack you throw together rather than something you make as a meal. Therefore, you won’t find it on many menus in Italian restaurants. Nor have they created formal recipes.
But in the United States, a frittata is a meal and is most often served for breakfast or brunch. And we have lots of recipes.
Adding milk or cream for fluffiness came later. In other words, you don’t have to make it with milk or cream to call it a frittata.
For more history, see The History of the Frittata.
But as for why it sometimes sticks, let’s look more closely at three possible reasons.
1. You Need to Add More Fat
Cast iron isn’t necessarily nonstick without some type of fat.
So, it makes sense that when something is sticking, such as a frittata, the most common reason is you have skimped on the fat. Whether it’s bacon fat, butter, or oil, you need to have enough to make your pan nonstick.
Another thing that might help is to setting out your eggs beforehand and getting them up to room temperature. The cold hitting a hot pan seems to cause food to stick more.
2. The Skillet is Being Over-Cleaned
All cast iron cookware needs to be seasoned.
A new pan will not have as many layers of seasoning built up as vintage or one you’ve been using for a while.
As I already mentioned, even a new skillet can be nonstick with enough fat.
However, washing your pan with soap after every use and not seasoning it in the oven gives your skillet little chance of building new layers of seasoning.
Or, if you repeatedly cook things that weaken your seasoning, such as acidic foods, you will struggle to get a well-seasoned pan.
And the third way to over-clean your skillet is by always cooking things that stick to the pan and require scraping and additional maintenance to get it clean.
On the other hand, making a frittata with enough fat can make your skillet easy to clean. And it won’t stick. You will add to your seasoning rather than remove it.
RELATED > > > > > What Does a Well-Seasoned Skillet Look Like? – Here’s 6 Qualities
3. Your Pan Isn’t Hot Enough
Eggs are notorious for sticking to cast iron.
So, starting with a hot pan is always best.
By heating your skillet and the fat before cooking your meat and vegetables, you ensure your pan is plenty hot before the eggs are added.
It may also help with sticking to finish your frittata in the oven.
Vegetable Frittata Recipe
- 6 eggs
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 onion, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp from a jar)
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced thin (or 8-10 baby carrots)
- 1/2 zucchini, sliced thin
- 1/2 red pepper, seeded and sliced thin
- 1/3 cup parsley, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
- Preheat broiler to low.
- In a bowl, whisk the eggs until combined (do not over whisk).
- Heat a 10.25-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat, and melt the butter.
- Add the onion and garlic. Cook and stir until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes (or less).
- Add the carrot and zucchini. Cook and occasionally stir until tender, about 5 minutes (or less).
- Add the red pepper. Cook another 5 minutes or less until tender.
- Add the parsley, then pour the eggs evenly over the vegetables.
- Salt and pepper. Add the red pepper flakes if desired.
- Cover and cook until eggs are done, about 10 minutes (or less).
- Finish by putting the skillet in the oven for a few minutes to brown the top of the frittata.
I had never made a frittata before. This was my first one.
Overall, it was a good experience, and both my husband and I thought it turned out pretty well.
However, I did forget a couple of things. And I know the next time I make it, I will make a few changes.
For example, I didn’t have zucchini, so I added more carrots and red pepper.
I also forgot the salt and pepper completely. But we added it after the fact.
And the parsley. You’re supposed to add it before the eggs, and I didn’t put it in until after. It didn’t affect the final product, though.
I expected it to be fluffier. But learned that without milk or cream, it won’t be fluffy. All of a sudden, it made sense.
I never add milk to scrambled eggs because I don’t like the taste or fluffiness of the eggs.
I also don’t care for quiche for the same reason.
Therefore, less fluffy made me quite happy.
The only thing I didn’t like is the bottom was a bit burned. I want it browned, but I’d rather it not have the burnt flavor.
However, it didn’t stick at all. I must have used enough fat, and I know I got my pan hot enough. My eggs sat out while I was chopping vegetables. And my skillet is sufficiently seasoned because I’ve learned not to over-clean it.
And, I daresay, after I washed the pan, it looked a bit darker and smoother. I am on my way to a well-seasoned skillet.
It might even be something you cook first when your skillet is new.
RELATED > > > > > What Should I Cook First in My New Cast Iron Skillet?
What I Will Do Differently
- Try a variety of vegetables such as mushrooms, zucchini, or broccoli
- Add cheese
- Add bacon or other meat (maybe cook in bacon fat instead of butter)
- Cook for less than 10 minutes
- Not forget the salt and pepper
- Add sweet (or regular) potatoes
Watch the following video if you would like an easy recipe that includes cream.
Easy Breakfast Frittata
If you wanted to know, “Why do frittatas stick to my cast iron skillet?” I hope you have a better understanding of why it happens.
And what you can do differently.
Make sure you use enough fat when cooking the frittata because cast iron isn’t naturally nonstick. Eventually, it can become that way, I’m told, but not for a while.
Plus, always get your pan (and fat) hot before you start cooking. Not preheating tends to cause more problems with sticking.
Finally, clean your pan, but don’t go overboard. Cast iron doesn’t need to be scrubbed or washed with soap after every use. Preheating the pan will disinfect it. And too much cleaning will hurt your seasoning.
I would love to hear about your experience with making a frittata in the comments below. Has it ever stuck? What ingredients do you use? Do you make it with milk or cream? Or, like me, prefer not to add either.