A Cast iron skillet is a versatile and durable kitchen essential. It is one of the best cookware in a kitchen that can be used for almost anything.
It is perfect for various cooking tasks, including searing, frying, sautéing, and baking.
Cast iron pans are comprised of a strong steel-carbon alloy that heats up quickly and retains heat. However, most cast iron pans behaved equally when searing steaks and making cornbread.
You can use Cast Iron Skillet on the stovetop, in the oven, or even over an open fire, so you can cook anything you want, no matter the temperature.
In this article, we will review some of the best cast iron skillets on the market to help you choose the right one for your cooking needs.
Best cast iron Skillets
Lodge has made durable cast iron skillets for over a century. They deliver great performance at a great price.
This skillet has high sides for frying. The 10.25″ size suits most stovetops. It weighs 5.4 lbs and has robust side walls that retain heat.
This robust, made-in-America pan, which is thicker cast iron than the Blacklock, is slow to heat but keeps its temperature well—perfect for searing steaks and other foods.
A Lodge cast iron dish that has been seasoned will last a long time. Due to its affordability, outstanding seasoning, and generational durability, the Lodge cast iron skillet is great for beginners and pros.
It's tough, heat-resistant, and reliable. Its silicone handle cover made switching from oven to stove easy. It's heavier than some alternatives, but it performs well and costs a fair price.
Lodge's most expensive skillet is the Lodge Blacklock Triple-Seasoned Cast Iron Pan. The design evokes the brand's roots while preserving the Lodge look.
Even though it's costly for Lodge cast iron, testers said this skillet is reliable and lightweight.
The Blacklock line is lighter than Lodge's other cast iron but not smoother. Nevertheless, it performed similarly to its heavier counterpart. Thus, this skillet makes kitchen movement easier if you can afford it.
Additionally, the skillet has a unique, shallow, and wide design that allows for even heating and better browning of foods. Overall, Lodge Blacklock Triple-Seasoned is a great choice for any home cook who wants a versatile and durable cast iron skillet.
The Lodge pan is superior, but the Victoria skillet performed just as well and was more attractive.
The pan is lighter than the Lodge. In addition, The pour spouts were wider and deeper than the Lodge; we poured oil from the pan without spilling.
The Victoria skillet can deep-fry, and its long handle makes basting steaks and flipping eggs easy. However, this pan heated well.
Victoria makes Colombian cast iron and kitchenware. Unfortunately, its finish is rougher than Amazon's.
Amazon Basics Pre-seasoned Cast Iron Skillet is the most affordable one.
It can endure 500 degrees; the Basics skillet is reliable for most cooking. In addition, the skillet's flared side edges drain excess liquid while cooking in cast iron and “manageable size.
AmazonBasics are less reliable than Lodge for raw cast iron, but this will endure forever. This skillet was inexpensive and durable, although its surface was rough.
Many owners have claimed that Basics factory seasoning is weaker than other brands.
Le Creuset invented enameled cast iron. France has made their luxury cast iron goods for over a century.
The Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Skillet is great because of its superior design, color options, and enamel exterior durability.
One of this skillet's advantages is that its enamel coating acts like seasoning on raw cast iron.
Le Creuset skillets last generations. If you pay this much for a dish, it will last. In addition, it's more durable and dishwasher-safe.
If you have more money and want to stand out, try this. The product's strength and heat retention make it a long-term investment despite its high initial cost.
It is Ideal for traditional and slow cooking. It heats evenly and retains heat, so food stays warm. In addition, this cast iron pan has large handles for easy lifting.
This Cast Iron skillet is sturdy and weighty. They ensure even heat dispersion and cooking. You won't need to reheat food in this skillet.
This cast iron skillet is pre-seasoned. This nonstick surface makes cooking and cleaning easier.
The skillet's large handles make lifting safe and easy. You can grip the pan with the extended edge or the large handle.
Finally, this Calphalon pan is quite durable and will endure forever. It also has a lifetime warranty.
After preheating, the Cuisinel Cast Iron Skillet, 10-inch, was hard to move around the stovetop with its two smaller handles.
This cast iron skillet has a heat-resistant, non-slip handle cover for cooking and serving.
It can be used on the stovetop, in the oven, or over a campfire, making it a versatile and convenient option for cooking a variety of meals.
The skillet is also dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. It comes with a lifetime warranty, so you can be confident in its quality and performance.
This particular skillet has deep sides, which makes it great for cooking large cuts of meat, stews, and soups. The included lid helps to lock in heat and moisture, making it perfect for slow cooking.
It cools evenly and retains heat. The deep skillet works on open stovetops and ovens.
The deep skillet's 6.5-pound weight is a drawback. In addition, some owners say the meal is difficult to move from the stovetop to the oven.
A small second handle helps carry the heavy, hot deep skillet. Keep hot mitts handy.
Lodge Chef Collection is modernized like Lodge Classic. We recommend their Chef Collection shallow skillet.
Lodge's Chef Collection has superior pre-seasoning and durability. In addition, the shallow pan sides make it easy to use a spatula or spoon.
The lighter pan distributes heat well but retains less heat because it uses less cast iron. It is ideal for roasting and baking. Its shallow sides let you prepare thin meats or flatbreads.
Chef Collection skillets are 30% lighter than normal skillets, making them easier to handle.
This skillet will enhance any kitchen. Its lightweight and rounded sides make it suitable for most small kitchens. For versatility, use this skillet with a cast iron Dutch oven.
The 12″ Camp Chef seasoned cast iron skillet was the best camping option.
Cast iron can withstand high and frequent temperatures. It can also cook multiple campers' dinners.
This skillet's diameter can also protect your hand from wood-burning fire embers. Two easy-to-hold handles, two pour spouts, and a seasoned finish makes it ready to use.
The Camp Chef is a good choice if you want a large, affordable skillet. It's basic but fireproof and easy to clean. Camping skillets weigh nine pounds.
Who doesn't like saving by buying three skillets instead of one? Utopia cast iron skillet set includes 6-, 8-, and 10-inch skillets.
Utopia Kitchen Skillet Set is our best beginner set. It's a cheap way for beginners to try different-sized cast iron dishes.
Utopia's pan was heavy and hard to carry due to the helper handle's proximity to the heated pan. In addition, the skillet heated too quickly, with the oil shimmering after a minute.
The three skillets weigh around nine pounds, yet each is light and portable. After each use, wash with a bristle brush and warm water, towel dry, and coat with cooking oil.
This Finex octagonal skillet is the most unusual design. The cast iron's eight corners become steam vents and spouts for draining liquid when the lid is attached.
Steam from the lid's underside seeps into your food. It locks in flavor and distributes moisture evenly.
The main handle differs from the others. 300-series stainless steel wound. This makes it easier to hold and cooler than other cast iron skillets.
The Finex cast iron skillet is pre-seasoned and nonstick.
Lodge again provides the greatest dual-handle pan if you want an easy-to-carry cast iron pan.
Unlike our other cookware, this Lodge skillet has two little, grabbable loops instead of one long handle. Space-saving and safe, some kitchens employ this style.
This compact pan works nicely on smaller burners and induction cooktops. The short twin handles allow for complete skillet control. You'll effortlessly lift five pounds.
Removing the long handle off most cast iron skillets in a tiny kitchen makes it safer to stack more pots and pans. If storage is limited, the condensed handles may help.
This Lodge skillet is pre-seasoned for grilling, baking, braising, and frying like others. In addition, lodge pans maintain heat retention.
The twin-handle skillet is suitable for small spaces. It works in small kitchens, portable stovetops, and flats.
Factors to Consider while Purchasing Cast Iron Skillet
There are several factors to consider while purchasing a cast iron skillet. These include:
Pre-seasoned or unseasoned
Most cast iron skillets will need to be seasoned before they are used for the first time, which involves coating the skillet with a layer of fat and then heating it in the oven.
Some skillets are pre-seasoned, which means they are ready to use right out of the box, while others are unseasoned and require seasoning before they are used. Consider your experience with cast iron skillets and your willingness to season the skillet when choosing the right one for your needs.
Cast iron skillets are available in a range of sizes, from small skillets that are perfect for cooking eggs and pancakes, to large skillets that are great for searing steaks and roasts. Consider the size of your cooking space and the types of foods you typically cook when choosing the right size skillet for your needs.
Cast iron skillets are known for their durability and ability to retain heat, but they can also be quite heavy. Consider the weight of the skillet and whether you will be comfortable lifting and maneuvering it when choosing the right one for your needs.
There are many different brands of cast iron skillets on the market, and each brand has its own unique features and benefits. Consider the reputation and customer satisfaction of the brand when choosing the right skillet for your needs.
Cast iron skillets can vary in price, depending on the size, quality, and brand. Consider your budget and the value that the skillet will provide when choosing the right one for your needs.
What to cook in a Cast iron skillet?
Cast iron skillets are versatile and can be used for various cooking tasks, including searing, frying, sautéing, baking, and more.
Cast iron holds heat well. They are naturally nonstick without Teflon when seasoned and maintained.
Cast iron skillets cook practically anything. Common cast iron skillet recipes:
- Meats like steak and chicken
- Flatbreads and baked items
- thick-crust pizza
They are also great for cooking at high heat and especially useful for searing a steak or blackening fish. Additionally, cast iron skillets are durable and can last for many years with proper care, making them a good investment for any home cook.
How Does Cast Iron Compare with a Nonstick Skillet?
Cast iron skillets are durable and versatile, while nonstick skillets are easy to use and cook food without sticking.
Cast iron skillets are better at retaining heat and can be used on the stovetop, in the oven, or over a campfire.
On the other hand, Nonstick skillets are not as good at retaining heat and are not suitable for use over high heat, such as on the stovetop or in the oven. They are also not as durable as cast iron skillets and need to be replaced more often.
Cast iron, properly seasoned and utilized, may release food like nonstick cookware. Standard nonstick cookware releases food better than cast iron since PTFE is one of the slickest materials. However, nonstick cookware lasts much less.
Most nonstick cookware lasts fewer than five years, whereas cast iron lasts forever. Seasoning it regularly restores its nonstick properties.
What are the Drawbacks of Cast Iron?
Cast iron skillets have drawbacks.
- The material's heat retention makes cast iron skillets less sensitive to temperature variations.
- If you overcook a recipe and it burns, you can't quickly repair it.
- Cast iron pan handles can grow very hot when used in the oven or for long periods on the stovetop.
- Cast iron skillets are very heavy. Instead, consider a quality nonstick set over a heavy-duty daily fryer.
- Finally, a real nonstick pan must be re-seasoned regularly to prevent corrosion and food sticking.
How to Season a Cast Iron Skillet?
Seasoning a cast iron skillet involves coating the skillet with a layer of fat and then heating it in the oven, which helps to create a nonstick surface on the skillet. To season a cast iron skillet, you will need the following items:
- A cast iron skillet
- A small amount of vegetable oil
- A paper towel or clean cloth
To season a cast iron skillet, follow these steps:
- Preheat your oven to 300-350°F (150-175°C).
- Apply a thin layer of vegetable oil or melted shortening to the inside of the skillet using a paper towel or clean cloth. Make sure the edges and bottom of the pan are coated as well.
- Place the skillet upside down on the middle rack of the oven.
- Bake the skillet for one hour, then turn off the oven and allow the skillet to cool inside.
- Once the skillet has cooled, use a paper towel or clean cloth to wipe away any excess oil or fat.
- Your cast iron skillet is now ready to use.
It's important to note that you will need to season your cast iron skillet every few months or so, depending on how often you use it. This will help to maintain the nonstick surface and prevent the skillet from rusting.
How to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet?
The cast iron skillet can be cleaned in the following ways:
- After cooking, allow the skillet to cool down before washing it.
- Use warm water and a sponge or stiff brush to scrub the skillet clean, being sure to remove any stuck-on food or grease. Avoid using soaps or detergents, as these can strip the seasoning from the skillet and cause it to rust.
- After washing the skillet, wipe it down with a dry towel.
- If the skillet is still wet, heat it on the stovetop over medium heat until it is completely dry. This will help to prevent the skillet from rusting.
- Once the skillet is dry, apply a light coating of vegetable oil or melted shortening to the inside surface of the skillet. Use a paper towel or clean cloth to spread the oil evenly and remove any excess.
- Your cast iron skillet is now ready to be stored or used again.
It's important to season your cast iron skillet every few months or so, depending on how often you use it. This will help to maintain the nonstick surface and prevent the skillet from rusting.
Also, avoid using metal utensils or abrasive scrubbers on your cast iron skillet, as these can damage the skillet's surface and cause it to rust.
Making The Final Decision
The Lodge 10.25″ Pre-seasoned Cast Iron Pan is our best all-around pan. It's cheap and has everything most kitchens need.
Also, Lodge has been trusted for almost a century, as you can see from all our alternatives. They have good customer service and are American-made.
We also love the Le Creuset Signature skillet's beautiful design and color options. However, we prefer raw-seasoned cast iron to enameled options for our kitchen since it has better nonstick properties at a lower cost.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, most cast iron skillets will need to be seasoned before they are used for the first time.
Seasoning a cast iron skillet involves coating the skillet with a layer of fat and then heating it in the oven, which helps to create a nonstick surface on the skillet.
This is important because it prevents the skillet from rusting and helps ensure that food does not stick to the skillet's surface when it is being cooked.
It is safe to use acidic ingredients in a cast iron skillet, but it is important to avoid cooking acidic foods in the skillet for extended periods of time.
Acidic foods can react with the iron in the skillet and cause it to rust. To prevent this, be sure to rinse and dry the skillet thoroughly after cooking acidic foods, and season the skillet again to maintain the nonstick surface.
Food can stick to a cast iron skillet if it is not properly seasoned or if it is not heated properly before cooking. To prevent food from sticking, season the skillet before using it for the first time and re-season it every few months.
Additionally, heat the skillet over medium heat for a few minutes before adding food to it. If food sticks, use a plastic or silicone spatula to gently loosen it, and avoid using metal utensils.