Pie iron: What it is, top picks to buy & 15 best recipes

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With all the pie-inspired foods in existence, it’s hard to beat a pie iron – a nifty little gadget that lets you make all kinds of delicious sandwiches and pies over an open flame. 

In this blog post, we’ll tell you all about pie irons – how they work, the best options to buy, and give you 15 tasty recipes to try out with your pie iron – from classic grilled cheese sandwiches to sweet and savory dessert pies.

So whether you’re a campfire cooking pro or just want to mix up your sandwich game while outdoors, get ready to discover endless possibilities this camp kitchen add-on can offer.

What’s a pie iron?

A pie iron (also known as a pudgy pie iron, mountain pies maker, or campfire sandwich maker) is a kitchen tool that consists of two hinged sections that fit together, each with handles and a cooking surface. 

When opened up, you can place fillings between the hinged parts and close them so that they are contained within these two parts. 

It’s a popular tool among campers and outdoor enthusiasts, as pie irons are portable, easy to use, and can be used over a campfire, fireplace, or even a stovetop or grill. 

The pie iron is not only an easy way to make delicious snacks. The fun lies in experimenting with various fillings and creating new, interesting combinations. Pie irons offer a unique opportunity to build memorable outdoor culinary moments and are a fantastic addition to your campfire cooking kit.

Pie irons come in many shapes and sizes – a rectangular pie maker or round pie iron are just two common examples. You can also find cast iron pie irons or ones made of aluminum or stainless steel.

How do you season a pie iron?

Pie irons typically come pre-seasoned; however, if you’d like to give your pie iron an additional layer of protection, it’s best to season it yourself. Like any other cast iron cookware, pie irons need an extra layer of protection before they can be used to cook.

Seasoning helps build up a layer of non-stick coating against the pie iron’s metal surface, which ensures the pie iron is always ready to use and keeps food from sticking.

You can season your pie iron by following these five simple steps:

  1. Start by wiping your pie iron down with a damp cloth to remove any dust or debris.
  2. Next, heat it over an open flame or another heat source until it gets hot. 
  3. Brush a thin layer of oil, such as vegetable or olive oil, onto the surface of the pie iron with a pastry brush.
  4. Let the pie iron cool. Then, wipe off any excess oil with a paper towel. 
  5. Although it should be good to go, for a maximum result, you can repeat this process a few times to ensure your pie iron is well-seasoned. 

Do this occasionally to increase your pie iron’s lifespan and enjoy mouth-watering treats. Before each use, oil it lightly to keep a decent condition.

How to cook with a pie iron?

Cooking with a pie iron is a straightforward process. Here are some tips to get started with your pie iron: 

  1. Preheat your pie iron: Before you start cooking, heat the pie iron over your heat source until it’s hot. Doing so, you’ll make sure your food cooks evenly and doesn’t stick. 
  2. Assemble your ingredients: Depending on the recipe, place your ingredients between two slices of bread or other types of dough. Leave some space around the edges so the dough can seal properly when you close the pie iron.
  3. Place it over the heat source: Carefully put the pie iron over the heat source and make sure it’s positioned evenly and securely. And has no chance of falling into a campfire, for example (been there, done that).
  4. Cook the food: Close your pie iron and cook your food for the recommended time, which can vary based on your heat source and recipe. Usually, it might take 5-7 minutes until your meal gets golden brown. You’ll want to pay attention to ensure you don’t overcook, as pie irons heat very quickly. The goal is for the dough to be toasted and the filling to get hot.
  5. Remove the pie iron from the heat: Use oven mitts or tongs to carefully remove the pie iron from the heat source and allow it to cool for a few minutes before serving.

How to clean a pie iron?

Cleaning a pie iron is vital for ensuring that it stays in good condition and is ready for your next cooking adventure. Use these tips to clean your pie iron properly:

  1. Allow the pie iron to cool: Wait until your pie iron cools entirely before cleaning it.
  2. Scrape off any excess food: Gently scrape off any leftover food stuck to the surface of the pie iron with a spoon or spatula. 
  3. Wipe down the pie iron: Wipe it down with a damp cloth or sponge to remove any remaining food or debris.
  4. Dry the pie iron: Once the pie iron is clean, dry it thoroughly with a cloth or paper towel to prevent rusting.
  5. Store the pie iron properly: Find a dry place to store your pie iron. If your pie iron will live in damp conditions like a garage or shed, wrap it in a plastic bag to keep it dry. 
Note to keep in mind

Never wash your pie iron with soap, as it’ll de-season it and decrease the lifespan.

Best pie irons to buy

With so many pie irons on the market, it can take time to decide which one to choose. We’ve rounded up some of our top picks below so that you can make your selection with confidence:

1. Rome Industries Double Pie Iron

This cast iron sandwich maker comes with a wooden handle and is ideal for making individual pies or sandwiches. It also has a dual-sided design, making it easy to flip over mid-cooking.

rome industries double pie iron

2. Toas-Tite Sandwich Grill

The Toas-Tite pie iron is a classic! This aluminum pie maker is the perfect size for making sandwiches or desserts. It has a hinged handle that makes flipping and serving your pie easy and a non-stick coating to ensure smooth cooking every time.

toas-tite sandwich grill

3. Coghlan’s Cast Iron Double Cooker

The Coghlan’s pie iron is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a traditional pie maker with an extra-large cooking surface. This cast iron pie iron has two pie pans to cook two pies at once and comes with wooden handles to make flipping your pie even easier. You can also use it over an open fire or in the oven.

coghlan's cast iron double cooker

15 quick & delicious pie iron recipes

Now that you’ve got your pie iron, let’s get cooking. Here are some of our favorite campfire pie iron recipes that you’ll definitely enjoy:

1. Grilled cheese sandwich

Let’s start with something old but gold. Just put lots of your favorite cheese between two slices of bread and spread a thin layer of butter on the outside. Wait until the cheese melts, and voila! 

2. Mountain monkey bread

Mix sugar with cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut a tube of refrigerated biscuits into quarters and roll each piece in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Place the coated biscuit pieces in the pie iron and pour some melted butter. Cook until brown and taste. 

3. Apple pie

Core two apple halves and fill them with brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter. Put everything between the dough and close the pie iron to cook until golden brown. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a decadent treat.

4. S’mores pie

Butter two slices of pie dough and place them in the pie iron. Add marshmallows, chocolate chips, and graham crackers to one side before closing up the pie iron. Grill until golden brown, and enjoy.

5. Mexican quesadilla

Flatten your favorite tortillas with a rolling pin, then stuff them with cheese, peppers, onions, and tomatoes. Place it in the pie iron and grill until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with guacamole or salsa for dipping.

6. Peanut butter & jelly pie

Smear peanut butter on one slice of bread before topping it with jelly or jam (your choice!). Close up the pie iron and cook until golden brown. Enjoy with a glass of cold milk!

7. French toast pie

Spread cream cheese between two slices of bread, then put it in the pie iron. Grill until golden brown, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and syrup for an extra-special treat.

8. Calzone pie

Roll out pizza dough on a lightly floured surface and cut it into pie-iron-sized circles. Place your favorite fillings between two dough circles and close the pie iron to cook until golden brown.

9. Veggie & cheese pie

Slice up mushrooms, bell peppers, and onions before sautéing them in a pan with a bit of oil. Once cooked through, stuff the veggies inside pie iron-sized slices of bread with cheese, then grill until golden and melty.

10. Marshmallow & chocolate pie

Spread melted chocolate onto one slice of bread before topping it with marshmallows and mini chocolate chips. Grill in the pie iron until everything is nice and gooey.

11. BBQ chicken pie

Top pie-iron-sized slices of bread with cooked chicken breast, BBQ sauce, and cheese. Place in the pie iron to cook until golden brown, and enjoy.

12. Ham & cheese pie

Layer pie-iron-sized slices of bread, ham, and cheese inside the pie maker before grilling until everything is nice and melty. Enjoy with a side of mustard for dipping.

13. Nutella pie

Spread Nutella onto one slice of bread before topping it with banana slices. Place it in the pie iron to cook until golden brown, then drizzle with honey or maple syrup for added sweetness.

14. Peaches & cream pie

Core out two halves of fresh peaches before stuffing them with cream cheese and pie-iron-sized slices of bread. Close the pie iron and cook until golden brown and bubbly.

15. Spinach & artichoke pie

Sauté spinach and artichoke hearts in a pan with a bit of oil before stuffing them into pie-iron-sized slices of bread with cheese. Grill until everything is melty, then serve with your favorite dip.

Bottom line

We hope this article has inspired you to explore pie iron cooking. There are so many delicious recipes out there that can be cooked in a pie iron. So put on your chef hat and get creative – we can’t wait to see what you come up with (don’t hesitate to share in the comments). 

On a hunt for more camp cookware advice?

We’ve got your back. Check out our detailed reviews on the best campfire cooking gear:

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