Cornbread gets lots of (well-deserved) praise as a recipe that helps to build your cast iron skillet’s seasoning, but focaccia deserves at least as much attention, thanks to the abundance of oil you use throughout the bread-making process.

This recipe is almost identical to our favorite foolproof focaccia recipe, with the addition of tomatoes, onion, and herbs to show how easy it is to dress up this leavened loaf. You don’t need to replicate our choice of add-ons, either; there are nearly endless options for ingredients you can sprinkle over the dough just before (or after) baking.

Photo: Lauren V. Allen

Recipe: Skillet Focaccia with Tomatoes, Onions, and Herbs

Yield: 8 to 12 servings



In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar into 1¼ cups lukewarm (not hot) water. Sprinkle the yeast over and let sit for at least 10 minutes, until the yeast is visibly bubbling and foamy. If no bubbles form your yeast might be dead—try again with another packet!


In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the bloomed yeast and mix until a wet, shaggy dough forms and no dry spots remain.


Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl and toss a few times to thoroughly coat in the olive oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 3 hours.


Coat the inside of a No.12 Field Skillet with 2 tablespoons of cold butter. Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the center of the pan. Transfer your dough to the skillet and toss it in the olive oil several times, roughly shaping it into a ball as you go, and deflating some of the air that’s inside.


Very loosely cover dough with plastic wrap and leave the skillet in a warm, dry place to rise (if it’s the summer, outside works well; if it’s winter, preheat your oven and leave the skillet on the stovetop). Let it rise for about 1 to 2 hours, until the dough has just reached the sides of the pan.


When the dough has almost finished rising, preheat the oven to 425°F.


Once the dough has just reached the edges of the skillet, rub a little bit of olive oil on your hands and begin dimpling the dough with your fingers. You want to create divots all across the top of the bread, and press your fingers down until they just touch the bottom of the pan. If your dough didn’t quite reach the edges of the skillet in some spots, you can stretch it a bit here; but be careful not to deflate it too much.


Gently press the cherry tomatoes, cut side up, into some of the dimples. Sprinkle the onion and rosemary over the top of the dough. Drizzle the focaccia with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with flaky salt.


Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the focaccia is golden brown around the edges. Remove the focaccia from the skillet a few minutes after it comes out of the oven and transfer to a wire rack or cutting board. Sprinkle with the basil, if using, and serve warm or at room temperature.

Seasoning Rating: Best

Though olive oil isn’t the best oil for seasoning a skillet, it still is great at helping you develop a baseline of seasoning, especially in newer cookware.

Seasoning Ratings:

Best—These dishes are the best options for building resilient seasoning, and surefire choices for getting tricky pans back on track.

Better—The best way to keep your skillet in great shape is to cook frequently, and cast iron-friendly dishes like these are your bread and butter.

Safe—These recipes won't strip seasoning away from your pan, but won't really add any, either.

OK—Be sure to clean up promptly. Recipes with this rating might feature acidic ingredients which can affect seasoning if not washed soon after cooking.