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Your grandmother probably loved it, your parents likely shunned it in favor of Teflon and your peers buy as much of it as they can. What are we talking about? Cast iron, of course. Nowadays, it really is hard to ignore. From the best cast iron skillets to the best cast iron pots, there’s something to appeal to every level and kind of home chef.
Although cast iron cookware has been on the market for over 100 years, it has experienced a bit of a resurgence in the last decade. In fact, sales of cast iron have experienced more than a 225% increase in the last 10 years, with particular focus on the cast iron skillets, according to the Cookware Manufacturer’s Association.
This is due in part to the revelation that the chemicals in non-stick skillets have raised some health concerns (most non-stick skillet manufacturers have moved away from using a PFOA-based coating). Cast iron is also tremendously popular for its durability. Properly taken care of, it can last forever. Cast iron is a natural non-stick alternative, and the material also has the ability to go from stove to oven to grill without a problem. Additionally, it requires less oil to cook with, making it a healthier type of cookware all around.
Of course, the biggest drawback with cast iron is maintenance. It’s famously durable, but since it’s iron, it’s not impervious to rust. In short, you wouldn’t wash your cast iron skillet the same way you would other types of cookware. Lodge recommends gently washing by hand and using a small amount of soap or a non-abrasive scrubber and promptly drying with a lint-free cloth or paper towel. You can also season your pan, but as Lodge points out, simply cooking with your cast iron skillet actually helps to season it.
How to Season a Cast Iron Skillet
If you’re ready to switch to cast iron cookware, buying one of the best cast iron skillets is a good place to start. It’s worth noting that a lot of these versatile cookware pieces arrive pre-seasoned, meaning you’ll be ready to cook everything from cornbread to fried chicken as soon as your order comes through your door.
However, if your skillet is one of the few which isn’t pre-seasoned, or if you want to give your existing iron skillet a refresh. Not only does pre-seasoning enhance the skillet’s cooking abilities, but it also often gives a sleek black finish to the surface, too. Here’s a handy five-step guide to seasoning a cast iron skillet at home.
- 1. Start by grabbing a metal scrubber or steel wool and give your skillet a good once-over with hot soapy water.
- 2. Immediately dry the skillet completely to remove all the moisture.
- 3. Use a brush to cover the inside surface of the skillet with your choice of oil, such as vegetable oil, melted shortening, or canola oil. It should cover the base and walls in a thin layer but not leave any excess puddles.
- 4. Heat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn your skillet upside down and place it inside. It’s a good idea to put a sheet of foil on a lower shelf to catch any oil drips.
- 5. Leave the skillet to bake for one hour. Once complete, let it cool down inside the oven.
We have rounded up the best cast iron skillets available to order online. We’ve split them into Cast Iron Pans and Cast Iron Pans so you can easily jump to the section which is best suited to your culinary requirements. If you think you already enjoy cooking, wait until you try it with one of the best cast iron skillets.
The Best Cast Iron Pans
Most traditional iron skillets fall into the pan category. They usually have shallower walls than cast iron pots, open top and feature a singular handle. Pans are most handy when frying, sautéing or searing, so if eggs or steak are on the menu, this is the best type of cast iron skillet to choose.
1. Lodge Cast Iron Skillet
Since the modern resurgence of cast iron, Lodge has become a giant in the skillet business. This specialized company makes a range of affordable, pre-seasoned cast iron cookware that both beginners and experts will enjoy. In particular, their 10″ and 12″ cast iron skillets get tons of praise as they are heavy enough to take on searing and braising and boast a natural, easy-release finish.
2. Le Creuset Signature Cast Iron Skillet
Le Creuset is known for its beautiful (albeit expensive) Dutch ovens, but they also make other great cookware like this cast iron skillet. These skillets are enameled on the inside and outside, adding extra durability and rust resistance. Like all Le Creuset products, these skillets are available in a variety of vibrant colors, such as “flame orange” and “Caribbean light blue.” They’re available in a versatile 10.25-inch size.
3. Lodge Cast Iron Mini Skillet
BEST EGG SKILLET
Buying a pan this small might seem ridiculous, but if you fry an egg for breakfast every morning, there’s no reason to use a giant pan. The 6.5-inch size is perfect for a single egg, but it can also be used for mini baking projects. Like all of Lodge’s cast iron products, this skillet is pre-seasoned, so you can use it right away. The handle has a loop if you want to hang it from a pot rack.
4. Pit Boss Non-Stick Cast Iron Skillet
The Pit Boss Non-Stick Cast Iron Skillet is well suited to a range of different cooking styles, delivering an enjoyable cooking experience no matter what’s on the menu. This deep-walled, eight-inch wide pan has a generous capacity that could happily accommodate two rib-eye steaks. Its cast iron construction makes it ideal for both cooking on the stove and in the oven or moving between the two. Plus, it features an extra-wide lip on either side to help avoid unwanted drips and spills when pouring.
5. Artisanal Kitchen Supply Cast Iron Skillet
There are plenty of premium, expensive cast iron skillets with rich histories and charming branding. But if you just want a reliable, basic and affordable cast iron skillet, this option from Artisanal Kitchen will get the job done. It has draining spouts on either side, a traditional handle with a hanging loop, and a loop handle on the opposite side. It comes in 8″, 10″ or 12″, and the price shown is for the 12″. It’s also pre-seasoned twice, making using it easier.
6. Amazon Basics Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet
The Amazon Basics Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet has over 6,000 five-star customer reviews, making it one of the most popular cast iron skillets available. In addition to being backed by a large number of existing customers, this skillet also features an extra-large capacity which is very well suited to meal times in larger family homes. The skillet also comes pre-seasoned and has a sleek black patina finish. So if you really care about the quality of your cookware and have a house full of hungry mouths to feed, this could be the best cast iron skillet for you.
7. Utopia Kitchen Pre Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet
A quality cast iron skillet doesn’t need to be expensive, and this Utopia Kitchen Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet proves just that. The sturdy, 12.5″ skillet arrives pre-seasoned and ready to cook out of the box. With superior heat retention, this piece of cookware can be used on stovetops, in ovens and even on the grill. Keep in mind that the factory pre-seasoning will need to be supplemented by additional seasonings at home to create a nearly 100% non-stick surface.
8. Lodge Cast Iron Griddle
Turn your stove into a grill with this griddle from Lodge, which conveniently fits over two burners so you can quickly grill delicious kebabs and sandwiches for the whole party. Best of all, this griddle is reversible; you can use the ribbed side for grilling meats and the smooth side for pancakes. It’s also oven-safe, and it comes pre-seasoned.
9. Cuisinel Cast Iron Skillet
BEST SILICONE HANDLE
To avoid having to find the kitchen towel which always seems to disappear or pulling your sleeves out of shape, the Cuisinel Cast Iron Skillet comes with a handy red silicone cover for the handle. Not only is the cover removable, meaning you can put it on or take it off when you choose, it also includes a cut-out so it doesn’t prevent you from hanging your pan when it’s on. Furthermore, if the 12-inch diameter is more than you need, this skillet is also available in a 6,8 or 10-inch version.
10. Utopia Kitchen Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet Set
The Utopia Kitchen Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet Set includes three skillets in various sizes ranging from six to 10 inches across. They’re all pre-seasoned with a soy-based oil and follow the same general design. This makes them handily stackable. They also have hanging loops built into the handles for easy wall-mounting. We’re confident that once you’ve cooked with a cast iron skillet, you won’t want to cook with any other cookware, so this three-piece set is a handy way to fill your cupboards from the word go.
11. Staub Mini Cast Iron Fry Pan
We promise the Staub Mini Cast Iron Fry Pan isn’t just on this list because it’s so darn cute. This piece of cookware might be small, but it packs a punch thanks to its enameled bottom, which means it can be used on any stovetop. What’s more, it boasts the ability to withstand temperatures up to 500 degrees F. Plus, it’s already seasoned and has a slightly rough surface to create an ideal cooking environment. From the oven to the stove, this is a little pan that could.
12. BergHOFF Ron Cast Iron Fry Pan
EASY TO GRIP HANDLE
This cast iron pan has a contrasting wooden handle, which not only makes it a more stylish and interesting option, it also makes it easier to use. Regular cast iron users will know that the handles can get quite hot, but the wood handle on this option makes it easier to grab, since wood is a poor conductor of heat. The 10.25″ pan size is a good medium size for daily use.
13. Smithey Ironware Company Double Handled Cast Iron Skillet
BEST DOUBLE HANDLED
Do you cook for a crowd? The Smithey Ironware Company Double Handled Cast Iron Skillet was designed to do just that with its 14″ diameter and double-handled design. It can help you fix up a delicious paella, roast a whole chicken or braise enough meat for a small dinner party. In addition, this gorgeous piece of cookware comes pre-seasoned and is nearly non-stick out of the box. The almost too shiny exterior means this is a pan in which you’ll be happy to serve your dishes on the table, too.
14. Wayfair Basics Cast Iron Frying Pan Set
The Wayfair Basics Cast Iron Frying Pan Set includes one square skillet, complete with grill lines, and one traditional circular pan. This set is available in red or blue and is made to a noticeably high-quality standard. You can use both pans with either gas or electric and also place them inside an oven which can be up to 400 degrees F. Furthermore, as well as having holes cut out of the handle for easier hanging, this duo of cast iron skillets are also stackable, saving you space on a shelf or in a cupboard.
15. Staub Cast Iron Traditional Skillet
BEST COLOR RANGE
The Staub Cast Iron 11-inch Traditional Skillet is available with a matte black finish as well as a range of other eye-catching colors such as dark blue, grenadine red and graphite gray. It boasts all the great features you would expect in a traditional frying pan but it sports higher and straighter sides to help avoid splatter and give you a more enclosed cooking area. The premium quality of this cast iron skillet means it will likely last you a lifetime, being passed from generation to generation along with your secret family recipes.
Best Cast Iron Pots
The debate over when a pan becomes a pot is not going to be answered here. However, our position says that when a cast iron skillet has a deeper-than-usual wall, it’s acceptable to consider it to be a pot. For the most part, these high-walled kitchenware pieces are a better option when it comes to boiling, stir-frying and baking. Lots of the options also include double handles for greater security when carrying them or moving from the stove to the oven.
1. Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron Double-Handled Skillet
EASIEST TO CARRY
Cast iron skillets are notoriously heavy, which is why this option from Lodge is a good pick. It has loop handles on opposite sides of the skillet, instead of a regular panhandle, so you can more easily carry it with both hands to move it from the burner to the dinner table. Lodge’s skillets are pre-seasoned and ready to use, and they are suitable for induction cooktops, ovens and broilers. It’s available in 10″, 12″ and 17″ sizes — the price shown is for the 10″.
2. Lodge Logic Cast Iron Mini Wok
If you’re a fan of cooking Asian-inspired cuisine and often find your noodles or curries spilling out of your existing pan, it could be time to upgrade to this Lodge Logic Cast Iron Mini Wok. The deep, rounded walls of this pot distribute heat evenly across every inch to help food cook at the same rate. Additionally, the wok features double loop handles for greater portability along with a flattened base to provide greater security when placed on a raised or metal hob.
3. Legend Cast Iron Skillet with Lid
BEST WITH LID
Most cast iron skillets are a one-piece purchase. But the Legend Cast Iron Skillet gives consumers a few extras, like a lid and a silicone handle cover. These extras make a huge difference when cooking with cast iron, as many recipes require covering during the cooking process. In addition, moving a cast iron skillet without a handle cover can be dangerous. As the pan is entirely made of iron, the handle gets hot too! Together with the pre-seasoned skillet itself, this three-piece set means you’re ready to cook the minute you receive your order.
4. Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Cast Iron Chicken Fryer
BEST FOR CHICKEN
The Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Enameled Cast Iron Chicken Fryer is particularly handy when it comes to preparing chicken dishes. Thanks to the deep walls and included lid, you can fill the pot with oil and fry your choice of chicken, fish or other foods. It’s also possible to stew or simply pan fry food as well if you prefer. The pot’s porcelain-enameled finish adds a dose of style to any kitchen interior and is also available in a range of colors so your kitchenware matches your decor. As an added bonus, this cast iron pot is also dishwasher safe, unlike many of the other available options.
5. FINEX Cast Iron Skillet with Lid
May we also present the FINEX 12-inch Cast Iron Skillet with Lid, which is something unique in the world of cast iron cookware. Its octagonal design and matching lid are certainly more eye-catching than the average skillet. Add to that the coiled handle, and you’ve got a skillet that’s worthy of display. In addition, this piece of cookware is made to be heirloom quality thanks to the high-quality production process used by FINEX. It takes eight hands-on people and a tumbler full of river rocks to produce this gorgeous skillet and its ultra-smooth cooking surface.
6. Berghoff Cast Iron Casserole Dish
BEST BAKING DISH
Cast iron isn’t just good for skillets. If you’re a casserole obsessive (or know someone who is), this dish would make a stylish addition to any home and makes a great gift. It comes in black, but we particularly like this retro mint color. The cast iron is enameled, adding to the durability and preventing rust. The dish has curved handles for carrying.