Best Cast Iron Skillets


Comments Off on Best Cast Iron Skillets | Last Update: October 18, 2018

Nothing quite compares to food prepared in a cast iron skillet. Not only does it taste delicious, it’s also higher in iron than food prepared using other methods. Although you’ll be seasoning your cast iron skillet with oil, you won’t have to use a lot of extra fat for cooking – even potatoes will turn out crisp and delicious with just a drizzle once your skillet has been well broken in. Before we jump into the review portion, let’s take a look at some tips for choosing the best cast iron skillet.

With these considerations in mind, you’ll find it easier to select the best cast iron skillet for your needs.

Quick Look at Our Top Picks

Bayou Classic 16 Inch Cast Iron Skillet

 

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The Bayou Classic 16-inch Cast Iron Skillet is suitable for baking, frying, and sautéing a wide variety of foods. Pre-seasoned for convenience, it offers double handles and pour spouts. The bottom of the skillet is etched with an alligator, providing a whimsical touch of Cajun charm.

Pros

  • Large size, suitable for big families and large gatherings
  • Can double as a serving dish
  • Inexpensive; great for occasional use and perfect for camping

Cons

  • A few reports of manufacturing flaws
  • Large size tends to cook unevenly on stovetop at high heat

This Cast Iron Skillet is Ideal For:

If you’re looking for a big cast iron skillet that will easily fit in the oven, this one is likely to do the trick. Big enough to make large batches of food, fairly easy to handle thanks to the double grips, it offers plenty of versatility. It’s among our top picks for big, cheap cast iron skillets: Despite some complaints of quality control issues, most consumers are thrilled with the skillet’s size and performance.

 

Le Creuset 11 ¾ Inch Cast Iron Skillet

 

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Offering a beautiful cherry red finish, a large loop helper handle for easier gripping, and pour spouts on both sides, the Le Creuset 11 ¾” cast iron skillet features a black enamel interior for easier maintenance. Sized to fit on your stovetop or in the oven, this skillet provides plenty of versatility and is designed with longevity in mind. The exterior enamel resists cracking and chipping – and it makes this skillet so pretty that you might want to keep it on display instead of hiding it in a cupboard. Each Le Creuset skillet is hand-cast and inspected to assure best quality.

Pros

  • Cooks evenly and retains heat well
  • Matches other Le Creuset cookware
  • Beautiful appearance

Cons

  • Much more expensive than some other cast iron skillets

This Cast Iron Skillet is Ideal For:

If you’re a serious cook with a penchant for all things red, then you’re going to love this pan. It’s perfect for frying, sautéing, and baking, and clean up is easy too, particularly if you take the additional step of seasoning with a little olive oil after every wash. Many users note that it performs better on gas stoves than it does on electric cooktops.

 

Lodge 12 Inch Cast Iron Skillet with Red Silicone Hot Handle Holder

 

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An excellent all-around pan that’s suitable for baking, frying, sautéing, and much more, the Lodge 12” Cast Iron Skillet has been pre-seasoned for added convenience. With a red silicone hot handle holder to minimize the risk of accidental burns, it also features handy pour spouts on each side, plus an assist handle at the opposite end.

Pros

  • Reliable, good-quality product from a trusted, well-known brand
  • Large enough to make robust skillet meals such as paella

Cons

  • Some reports of the handle holder wiggling or even coming off, particularly at high heat; must grip tightly when lifting.
  • Often requires additional seasoning to develop a reliable nonstick finish inside

This Cast Iron Skillet is Ideal For:

If you’re looking for a versatile and affordable piece of cookware that performs reliably under  variety of conditions, then this may be the best cast iron skillet for your needs. While it’s not the largest one available, it’s big enough to fry a few fish at once or even roast an entire chicken.

 

Lodge 10 ¼ Inch Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet

 

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This Lodge 10 ¼” cast iron skillet offers a helper handle as well as a standard handle fitted with a hole for easy hanging. Side spouts make for easy pouring with less risk of splattering. Suitable for baking, stir-frying, and so much more, this medium-sized cast iron skillet makes a versatile addition to any kitchen.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Versatile size; easier to handle than a larger cast iron skillet
  • Great size for baking

Cons

  • A few reports of rough surface inside
  • Many users report problems with pre-seasoning, noting that the pan needs attention before being used for the first time.

This Cast Iron Skillet is Ideal For:

If you’re looking for an inexpensive cast iron skillet sized to handle a variety of common kitchen tasks, then this one may be just right. While there is a good likelihood that you will have to re-season the pan before use, it does manage to offer good quality for the price. After you’ve invested a little time and effort, you’re likely to enjoy this reliable skillet for years to come.

 

Lodge 15 Inch Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet

 

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At 15 inches, this deep cast iron skillet is among Lodge’s most impressive offerings. With two handles that make lifting easier, it’s designed to go from stovetop to table, and it is oven-safe, as well. Whether you’d like to make deep-dish pizza, blueberry cobbler, or a big batch of stew, you can do so easily with this skillet. Pre-seasoned for convenience, it comes with a hole in the handle for easy hanging.

Pros

  • Ideal for large cooking tasks
  • Great for slow-cooking on the stovetop or a low-heat campfire
  • Good for hearth-style bread baking

Cons

  • So large that some cooks find it difficult to store
  • Very heavy, particularly when full of food
  • Some users discovered rough patches in the bottom; remedied by sanding off and re-seasoning

This Cast Iron Skillet is Ideal For:

If you’re looking for a huge cast iron skillet that holds enough to feed a crowd, then this one is well-worth a peek. While there is a known issue with the pan’s interior surface (the pebbling is a result of the casting process – Lodge tells its customers to sand the inside if they dislike it) it does develop an excellent patina after some additional seasoning and use. The deep interior is great for slow cooking and many reviewers note that they love using this pan to make deep dish pizza.

 

Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet Bundle

 

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With an 8” skillet, a 10.25” skillet, a 10.5” round griddle, and a 5-quart Dutch oven, this cast iron cookware bundle includes a 10.25” lid that fits the large skillet as well as the Dutch oven. Suitable for making a variety of foods ranging from deep dish casseroles and pizzas to breads to stews, the set is pre-seasoned and has been built to stand the test of time.

Pros

  • Excellent value for a complete set of cast iron cookware
  • Sturdier than most other comparably priced cookware
  • Different-sized skillets, griddle, and Dutch oven allow for a wide range of cooking activities

Cons

  • Not well-suited for ranges with glass cooktops; dragging the pans can leave scratches
  • Cast iron cookware requires a little extra care compared to other types of cookware, particularly when it’s brand-new

This Cast Iron Skillet Set is Ideal For:

Anyone who wants to enjoy a variety of cast iron cooking recipes will appreciate this set! With a griddle for making pancakes, French toast, and grilled cheese sandwiches, plus a deep Dutch oven and two of the best cast iron skillets available, it represents a good value and will stand the test of time. At under $100 for the bundle, this cast iron skillet set is best for those who want to stick to their budgets while trying a variety of pans.

 

T-Fal 12 Inch Cast Iron Skillet

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With a long handle and side helper handle plus pour spouts on each side, the T-Fal 12” Cast Iron Skillet is sized for ease of use, versatility, and convenience. This cast iron skillet is pre-seasoned, and is oven safe to 600 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pros

  • Traditional appearance
  • Very low price for this size

Cons

  • Difficult to find a compatible lid
  • A few reviewers report that their pans have convex bottoms that cause uneven cooking

This Cast Iron Skillet is Ideal For:

While this isn’t the best cast iron skillet for everyone, it’s a great budget choice – and it’s an excellent option for family campouts, particularly if you’re into making breakfast over the campfire. Many reviewers are thrilled with the product and use it daily, while a handful report manufacturing flaws that lead to challenges when cooking. As with many other pre-seasoned cast iron skillets, this one often requires additional seasoning before developing a reliable nonstick interior.

 

Tramontina 12 Inch Cast Iron Skillet with Lid

 

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The Tramontina 12” Cast Iron Skillet offers a beautiful red exterior. Its lid features self-basting condensation ridges that help keep food moist. This versatile skillet features a long handle with a hole for hanging, a side helper handle, and side spouts for easy, mess-free pouring. It is oven-safe to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, and it comes with a lifetime warranty.

Pros

  • Comes with a matching lid
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Versatile size is well-suited to a variety of cooking and baking tasks

Cons

  • Must be hand-washed
  • Must be seasoned before first use

This Cast Iron Skillet is Ideal For:

If you’ve been on the lookout for a red cast iron skillet, you’ll find that this one is well worth considering. Sized for versatility and convenience, it comes with lots of desirable features and is among just a few cast iron skillets to come with a lid. The low price is pretty astonishing, and if you’re into red cookware, you’ll be glad to discover that there are lots of matching pieces available so you can build an entire set over time.

 

Utopia Kitchen Pre-Seasoned 12.5 Inch Cast Iron Skillet

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The Utopia Kitchen Pre-Seasoned 12.5” Cast Iron Skillet offers an appealing combination of features for easy handling including a side assist handle, a long handle with a hole for hanging, and side spouts to prevent food from dripping when being transferred to a serving dish. Suitable for a wide range of cooking activities, this large skillet is priced for affordability.

Pros

  • Pre-seasoned cast iron skillet is ready to use right out of the box
  • Holds a lot of food at once; i.e. 3 grilled cheese sandwiches or several eggs

Cons

  • One report of cracking on the hot stove
  • Pre-seasoning sometimes flakes off so entire pan must be re-seasoned

This Cast Iron Skillet is Ideal For:

If you’re on a budget and you want to give cast iron cooking a try, or if you’re looking for a big pan to add to your camping gear, then this make be the best cast iron skillet for your needs. It’s worth noting that some users were happy with the seasoning right out of the box, while others found it lacking. We recommend seasoning your skillet before using it, so that foods are less likely to stick. This pan has a reputation for improving over time, so treat it well and like other quality cast iron cookware, it’s likely to return the favor.

 

Victoria Pre-Seasoned 12 Inch Cast Iron Skillet with Helper Handle

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The Victoria Large Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet offers a substantial helper handle on one side and a long, traditional handle with a sizeable hanging hole on the other. The side spouts make for easier pouring. This pan is seasoned with 100 percent Non-GMO Flaxseed oil. A lifetime warranty is included.

Pros

  • Long handle is curved for good leverage
  • Side spouts are larger than on some comparable pans; good for transferring chunkier foods like chili or stew

Cons

  • Some reports of manufacturing flaws that cause issues like wobbling and spinning
  • A little thinner than cast iron skillets from some other brands

This Cast Iron Skillet is Ideal For:

With better ergonomics than some of the other pans we’ve reviewed, this cast iron skillet is a great choice for anyone who’s hoping for easier handling. It’s nearly as heavy as others in its size range, and you’ll still need to use a pot holder to grip it, however the handle is designed to position your hand further away from the center and give you better leverage. Care instructions are included, making the seasoning and maintenance processes a touch less challenging for those who are new to the world of cast iron cooking. Additionally, this skillet offers budget-friendly pricing.

Key Considerations:

We’ve spent hours researching, saving you time and effort with your search for the perfect pan. Unlike many popular cooking tools, these pans have been popular for over a century – and the factors for choosing the best cast iron skillet are the same now as they were more than 100 years ago.

  • Weight – Cast iron skillets are supposed to be heavy! If you’re not interested in cooking in a pan that weighs about eight pounds on average, then you may want to consider a ceramic skillet instead.
  • Handle Length or Position – Many of the best cast iron skillets have long handles for better leverage. Some have double handles, so that you can maneuver them with both hands. Always use a pot holder when handling a hot cast iron skillet, or consider adding some handle holders for increased safety.
  • Price – While cheap cast iron pans are available, it’s better to get the best cast iron skillet you can afford. Consider it an investment: A good-quality cast iron skillet will last longer than a lifetime if it’s properly cared for. We agree with millions of consumers in stating that Lodge is a great brand that offers a good blend of quality and affordability. Do look at other brands though, since some have special features that you might find appealing.
  • Frequency of Use – What if you’re planning to use your cast iron skillet just a few times per month or less? In this case, quality might not matter quite so much! Get a pan in a size that appeals to you and enjoy it!
  • Coated or Bare – Many of the best cast iron skillets are bare or uncoated, while a few come with ceramic coatings that help food cook more evenly and help with rust resistance. Enamel-coated skillets cost quite a bit more than the bare versions, but they’re definitely a nice investment for your kitchen. With proper care, a good enamel-coated cast iron skillet from a top brand such as Le Creuset or Staub will last for generations. Lodge has begun manufacturing enamel-coated cast iron cookware too, however it has yet to gain a great reputation.
  • Where Is It From? – Careful! If you’re on the lookout for the best cast iron skillet and other cast iron cookware, it’s a good idea to choose brands that are made in Europe or the USA. There are quite a few knockoffs from China. While these are cheap, they aren’t ideal, and they tend to be poorly rated. On the other hand, cheap cast iron cookware can be a good choice for someone who’s on a budget, and who doesn’t plan to use it on a daily basis, year after year. The bottom line? Get the best you can afford and you’re more likely to be happy with your purchase.

 

How to Season Your New Cast Iron Skillet

You’ve taken a lot of time to select the best cast iron skillet for your purposes; now, it’s time to use it to its full potential. Use these quick tips for seasoning your new favorite pan and you’ll soon find yourself enjoying great results while impressing your family and guests with delicious meals.

  • Season Your Cast Iron Skillet First: We know that you’re eager to get started with cast iron cooking, but even if it was pre-seasoned by the manufacturer, your new skillet will benefit if you take time to season it before you use it. Seasoning takes a little time – but your efforts will pay off! Use the following steps to season your cast iron skillet:
    • Use a stiff brush to scrub the entire skillet with hot, soapy water. You won’t be using soap in future washes, unless you need to re-season your skillet.
    • Rinse the skillet and then use a soft, lint-free towel or paper towels to dry it completely.
    • Coat the entire inside and outside of the skillet with a thin layer of cooking oil or the fat of your choice. Don’t allow the oil to pool – it’ll create a sticky, gunky feel instead of the non-stick surface you’re aiming for.
    • Place a large baking pan or a layer of aluminum foil on the bottom rack of your oven, and then set the temperature to 350 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • Position the skillet upside down on the oven’s upper rack. Leave it in place for an hour, and then turn the oven off. Leave the skillet in the oven until it cools.
    • Store your seasoned cast iron skillet in a dry place with good air circulation. If you can, hang it up on a rack.
    • Re-season your pan if you notice any rust. Simply scrub the rust away before seasoning.
  • Heat Slowly: Avoid damage by starting with a cold pan and a cold stove. Don’t put a cold cast iron skillet on a hot surface. Damage won’t be visible but it can happen!
  • Avoid Dropping and Sliding your Cast Iron Skillet: Both actions can damage the finish, and the heavy pan can damage stovetops and countertops.
  • Use Olive Oil Frequently: Treat your skillet to a light coating of olive oil (or another high-temperature cooking oil) before cooking.
  • Wash Carefully: Most people wonder how to clean a cast iron skillet without soap or abrasives. It’s easy – just follow these steps:
    • Wash your cast iron skillet while it’s still hot. Don’t let it soak, since this can harm the seasoning and lead to rust.
    • Using hot water and a stiff brush or a sponge, wash the skillet. If you encounter any stuck-on bits, you can use a little bit of kosher salt to scrub them away. Rinse the salt off when you’re finished, and then use paper towels or a lint-free cloth to dry the skillet completely.
    • If you’ve burnt something badly and there’s a lot of residue in the pan, fill it with about half an inch of water and bring the water to a boil. Use a brush with a long handle to test the residue – it should come off easily. Repeat the process until the pan is clean.
    • Oil the skillet after each wash. Wipe away any excess oil, warm the skillet, and then allow it to cool before storing.

Paired with one of the best cast iron skillets, good techniques make food taste amazing, so you get as many benefits as possible from the time and effort you’ve put into your recipes. We wish you success in your next culinary adventure!