Everything seems to be cyclical in the world of chefs and gastronomy. By tomorrow, a popular menu item will be judged antiquated and unimaginative. Maybe a long-forgotten ingredient is suddenly rediscovered by chefs all around the globe. Yet there is one practice that has survived the years and does not seem to be going away anytime soon.
Cooking with cast iron is a transformative experience. The greatest cast iron skillets retain heat longer, have more taste, and cook more evenly than pans made of steel or other metals. Its smooth, well-seasoned surface provides unquestionably the greatest nonstick coating money can purchase. Moreover, with proper care and regular maintenance, your cast iron may last a lifetime.
Although cooking with cast-iron skillets is a science in and of itself, it is a science that is shockingly simple, and dare we say, enjoyable, to master.
The first step is to purchase a new cast iron skillet. We’re here to assist you with this section. We examined the specifications of hundreds of the most popular skillets on the market to compile this list of the top 10 cast iron skillets. Stick around because we’ll be delving a bit further into the realm of cast iron cooking further down.
- Lodge Cast Iron 12-Inch Skillet
- Backcountry Cast Iron Skillet
- GreaterGoods Cast Iron Skillet 10 Inch
- AUS-ION Skillet, 12.5″
- Utopia Kitchen Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet
- Victoria 12 Inch Cast Iron Skillet
- Bayou Classic 7445 Cast Iron Covered Skillet, 5 Quart
- Ayesha Collection Cast Iron Enamel Skillet with Pour Spouts
- Legend Cast Iron Skillet 12 Inch
- Cuisinel Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet (12-Inch)
- Choosing a Cast-Iron Skillet: Buyer’s Guide
- Pre-seasoned Skillets vs. As-Cast Skillets
- Q: How do I cook in a cast iron pan?
- Q: Is it true that soap is bad for cast iron?
- The Verdict: The Best Cast Iron Skillet of the Year
- What is the best cast iron skillet you can buy?
- How do I know which cast iron skillet is best?
- What is the number 1 cast iron skillet?
- Is there a difference in quality of cast iron skillets?
- What cast iron do chefs use?
- What brand cast iron skillet does Gordon Ramsay use?
- Should I get a smooth or rough cast iron pan?
- Which type of cast iron has the best highest strengths?
- Why is Griswold cast iron so expensive?
- What not to cook on cast iron?
Lodge Cast Iron 12-Inch Skillet
The first item on our list is one of the most inexpensive and commonly accessible cast-iron skillets on the market. LODGE has been in the skillet game for quite some time (since 1896), so you can bet they must have something going for them. How else could a corporation have survived for nearly 120 years?
This classic model skillet is Lodge’s signature product, and it is available in a bewildering array of sizes. It is available in a variety of sizes, ranging from a little 3.5 (ideal for a personal-sized fresh baked brownie) to a 15 large boy (a good size if youre cooking eggs for the whole family). But, for the sake of this review, we’ve focused on the 12 model, which we believe is the most adaptable size for a pan like this.
All Lodge cast iron skillets are pre-seasoned, so you can start cooking right away. Serious cooks would definitely want to re-season it to their taste, since several consumers have complained about these pans coming somewhat under seasoned.
Size: 12 (Additional sizes are available) (More sizes are available)
Yes, it has been pre-seasoned.
Top Feature: A low-cost and conveniently accessible skillet.
Backcountry Cast Iron Skillet
The new kid on the block Backcountry Iron is hoping to make a big impression with its latest collection of iron cookware. Although they sell a variety of high-quality iron cookware items such as woks, grill pans, and even iron mortar and pestles, it is fair to say that their most popular item is the basic skillet. This is a tough frying pan that is a little thicker than some of its rivals.
It’s substantial, much heavier than you would expect from a business named Backcountry, but as long as you don’t intend on carrying it about in your lightweight backpack, you should be OK.
The bottom surface of the Backcountry Iron Skillet is a little rougher than Grandpa’s old Griswold or Wagner skillets. However, finding a new cast iron pan with a correctly machined cooking surface is no longer frequent. Nonetheless, this pan may perform better with light frying than with finer items such as scrambled eggs.
Sizing options include 6, 8, 10, and 12.
Yes, it has been pre-seasoned.
Top feature: Made in the United States by a small company.
GreaterGoods Cast Iron Skillet 10 Inch
One of the characteristics that distinguished vintage cast iron skillets was that their whole interiors were machine brushed, a procedure that smooths the generally gritty surface of iron, decreasing irregularities and producing a more pure cooking surface. Scrambled eggs and pancakes can be cooked on a completely nonstick surface, as opposed to some of the lesser cast-iron pans on the market, which have a difficult time releasing food that has been cooked on them.
Although Better Goods, the company behind this pan, manufactures and distributes a wide range of items, they did an excellent job with this skillet. All too frequently, it seems that one of these all-purpose gear and home supply firms is attempting to offer everything under the sun. Some are better at it than others.
Given the price, we believe this is one of the greatest deals on our list. We’re simply waiting for them to release a 15 version so we can get some more cooking done. The 10 is just a little bit small for our liking.
Yes, it has been pre-seasoned.
The cooking surface is properly machine-smoothed, including the side walls.
AUS-ION Skillet, 12.5″
When it comes to prosumer cast iron skillets, the AUS-ION skillet is unrivaled. This baby is fashioned from a single piece of 3mm Australian iron, resulting in a robust yet surprisingly lightweight pan. When combined with the ergonomic handle, you have one of the most comfortable skillets available. Some individuals may not believe that ergonomics apply to pots and pans, but just ask the line cook. Possessing a light and easy-to-maneuver pan allows you to cook massive volumes of food without creating hand and arm strain.
Take a look at that handle now. The openings where the handle meets the main body of the skillet are heat transfer vents. They are great for reducing the amount of heat that may go up the handle and cause inadvertent hand burns.
It is worth noting that AUS-ION is one of the most costly manufacturers of superior skillets on the market. They brag that their cookware is excellent enough to compete with any French kitchen, and we don’t believe them. Many individuals believe that the higher price is worth it for the increased durability and unique features, but if you’re searching for a budget choice skillet, keep reading.
Yes, it has been pre-seasoned.
Revolutionary handle design for fatigue reduction and heat dispersion
Utopia Kitchen Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet
One of the main reasons why most individuals do not possess a cast iron skillet is because they are more costly than standard stainless steel cookware. Although this has been true for some time, there is now a slew of inexpensive iron skillets on the market that are no more costly than the pans found in the kitchen section of your local supermarket.
Of course, there are certain trade-offs that come with the territory. For example, skillets and pans in this price category are often more prone to warping, as is the case with the Utopia Skillet. But, by paying close attention to the procedure, warping damage may be avoided. For example, instead of blasting the pan with heat, we suggest carefully warming it up. This will enable it to operate at greater temperatures than it would ordinarily, and all it needs is a little extra patience.
The Utopia skillet, like the majority of the goods on our list, arrives pre-seasoned and ready to use right away.
Yes, it has been pre-seasoned.
Top Feature: Low-cost budget-pick cast iron skillet
Victoria 12 Inch Cast Iron Skillet
The Victoria 12 skillet exudes an elegance that is uncommon in this price range. It has a lot of flair for an entry-level cast iron pan, and when examined alongside some of the other goods in this series, the result is an excellent collection that will make any kitchen that much more stylish.
Of course, we don’t adore cast iron skillets because they make our kitchen appear so nice. It simply happens to be one of the perks. Actually, we adore cast iron because of how well it works, so we had to put the Victoria skillet through the same analytical wringer as the other skillets on our list. So, how did it do against the competition?
Victoria cookware incorporates a few fundamental modifications into all of their pans that are not immediately visible, but once you have them, you won’t want to cook with anything else. The first feature is the slightly enlarged handle, which is an inch longer than conventional 12 skillet handles. The secondary handle is significantly broader than we’ve seen on comparable goods, providing a very secure grasp.
The fourth and most important change is a slightly altered pair of pour spouts, which greatly reduces liquid leakage.
Yes, it has been pre-seasoned.
Top feature: Well-designed pour spouts prevent liquids from spilling.
Bayou Classic 7445 Cast Iron Covered Skillet, 5 Quart
Finding decent American-made cast iron cookware has become more difficult over the years. Homegrown iron industries have been dying one by one as many firms have migrated elsewhere. Thankfully, the fry-masters at Bayou Classic have chosen to join the market with their own skillet, and by the looks of it, they are not messing around.
The first thing you’ll notice is the extra-deep 3.5-inch skillet base. Because of the increased space, you can prepare everything from deep dish pan pizzas to giant fluffy cinnamon buns. For perspective, most of the skillets on our list are roughly 2 deep. That also means you may use it as a deep fryer by filling it with oil (5qt capacity).
Bayou Classic gets bonus points for having a cover with the skillet. That’s a significant advantage in this game, as lids are often offered separately. As a result, not nearly as many individuals as should be utilizing cast iron lids for appropriate moisture retention.
Top Feature: The extra-deep skillet allows you to prepare a variety of foods.
Ayesha Collection Cast Iron Enamel Skillet with Pour Spouts
The pans in the Ayesha Collection reflect the Food Network presenter and celebrity chef’s easygoing flair as well as her creative spirit. This skillet, unlike the others on our list, has a gorgeous metal-enamel french vanilla finish. Its modest color accent ensures that this pan may be placed immediately on the stove top, rather than in a drawer with the other less-appealing cookware. This aesthetic style has contributed to the popularity of ceramic cookware, but you can now have the same look with the performance of iron.
The skillet’s fundamental concept is rather uncomplicated. It’s a little little at 10 diameter and 2 depth, but bigger versions may be bought at other web merchants. The two pour spouts function well, although they are a little tiny in contrast, so pour gently and cautiously. The side walls are quite steep.
The Ayesha line as a whole reminds us of the Creuset Signature series, which isn’t a terrible thing.
The pan is incredibly lightweight and has a gorgeous French-vanilla enamel covering.
Legend Cast Iron Skillet 12 Inch
Whether you’re looking for the high-quality pans and skillets of yesteryear (they don’t manufacture them like they used to) or the simple joy of cooking in anything made of cast iron, the Legend 12-Inch skillet should do the job. This skillet is designed for speed and comfort, with an upgraded smooth frying surface and an extra long handle with detachable silicon heat grip. Similar to an antique vintage automobile with a new engine repair. So to say, the best of all worlds.
Surprisingly, there isn’t much information available about Legend, the people allegedly behind this specific skillet. They also seem to produce a wide range of cast iron cookware, from reversible griddle pans to cast iron dutch ovens. All of their items have a little orange silicone heat pad, which seems to be a hallmark for this unusually private firm.
There doesn’t seem to be any type of warranty on this skillet, but we’re not sure whether one is really required. Since this is formed from a single piece of metal, the construction is strong and there are no visible break places to be concerned about.
Top feature: a removable silicone heat grip that works nicely.
Cuisinel Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet (12-Inch)
The last skillet on our list adds incredible value to both the metaphorical and physical tables. It is not only one of the most economical cast iron skillets on the market today, but it is also one of the most dependable in terms of durability and heat distribution.
Although the cooking surface may not be as smooth as with some of the more expensive models, the actual grind is fairly adequate. This skillet is especially well suited for frying and grilling. The Cuisinel, like the Legend skillet we examined before, has a detachable silicone heat handle. It’s a little extra that many manufacturers are beginning to give, and we’re perfectly OK with it. Unlike oven mitts and hot pads, this silicone handle may be washed in the dishwasher for a quick and simple clean.
Unlike many other companies, Cuisinel provides a one-year no-hassle warranty on all of their items. This isnt something you often see on cookware priced around $40, thus it says volumes about the company’s trust in their own product.
Yes, it has been pre-seasoned.
Cuisinel provides a one-year no-hassle warranty.
Choosing a Cast-Iron Skillet: Buyer’s Guide
That’s all there is to it. We have 10 brands and ten pans, and we have no clue how to pick amongst them. The simplest option would be to just purchase one of each, but chances are you don’t have the necessary kitchen space. Not to mention that the mismatch would be a major culinary gaffe.
Choosing a cast iron skillet isn’t as difficult as it may seem. There are just a few elements to consider while selecting the best pan for your needs.
Anatomy of a Cast Iron Skillet
Although the greatest skillets are formed from a single piece of iron, decreasing stress points and enhancing pan lifetime, it is still beneficial to get acquainted with the many anatomical features of a superb skillet.
This is the longer, projecting handle at the pan’s rear. In general, the longer this handle is, the more heat will be diffused on its route to the grip region. Nonetheless, due to the iron’s outstanding ability to transmit heat uniformly and effectively, the handle frequently becomes rather hot anyway. Many manufacturers, like Cuisinel and Legend, have begun to include little silicone handle grips. In addition to preventing burning, they are dishwasher safe, unlike your usual hot pad or oven mitt.
Vents for Heat Transfer
Do not be alarmed if you detect any holes in your skillet handle. There are most likely heat transfer vents, which are basically little heat windows that enable more heat to escape into the surrounding air before reaching the tip of the handle, where the majority of the grip and control happens.
The usefulness of heat transfer vents is somewhat debatable owing to the vents’ potential to reduce overall handle durability.
Front Grip Assist Handle
A tiny protrusion opposite the main handle enables the operator to hold the other side of the pan. And when you’re attempting to transfer a chicken meal for four from the stovetop to the oven, this function is a must. The size of the assist handle will vary depending on the total weight of the pan.
This is another another basic characteristic that varies greatly from pan to pan. Pour spouts exist in a variety of angles, widths, and lengths since each manufacturer utilizes their own unique mold. As a consequence, one pan will pour substantially differently than another from the same manufacturer. There isn’t much you can do about the difference, except maybe practice with cold water before moving on to hot gravy.
The Wall Slope
This refers to the angle of the skillet’s side or wall. Steeper walls give a more restricted cooking experience, whilst less steep walls are significantly more accommodating for tossing stir fries and the like.
If you like using nonstick cookware, you’ll undoubtedly want to learn more about seasoning. This is undoubtedly the most crucial component of any cast iron skillet, since it is responsible for the distinctive taste and nonstick cooking experience that cast iron has become famous for. Simply described, seasoning is a coating of oils and fats that have dried into the cast iron, acting as a barrier between the food and the bare iron.
It’s worth noting that the word “dry” isn’t always the most accurate. What is really occurring, in ideal instances, is known as polymerization, and it is worth researching.
Skillet Size (& Weight)
Skillets and other cookware are simply measured by the length of the straight line that goes from one edge to the other, right through the center of the pan.
You may have noticed that the bulk of the skillets we looked at today were of the 12 size, which is correct since this is the most common size skillet in terms of total sales volume. Nevertheless, several sizes are popular, each of which performs somewhat better for certain tasks and less well for others.
Throughout your purchasing experience, you may also note that most, if not all, cast iron manufacturers provide different sizes of their skillets, so be sure to check the order page for all the available alternatives.
Skillets with a diameter of 3 inches
This is most likely the most recent size of skillet, and it is still a novelty in most kitchens. It is much too little to prepare a substantial quantity of food. But, in recent years, these little skillets have been utilized for individually serving sweets such as skillet brownies and chocolate chip cookies with ice cream.
Skillets with a diameter of 8 inches
The 8-inch skillet is great for preparing a small meal or sauce. It’s big enough to cook four eggs at once, or two chicken thighs side by side. One of the advantages of a skillet this size is that it is lighter on average. A lightweight skillet might be a lifesaver for meals that need scorching or tossing. But, since it cannot accommodate a dinner for two, which is the gold standard recipe for a cast iron skillet, we do not advocate using an 8-inch skillet as your main pan.
Skillets with a diameter of 10 inches
It is crucial to notice straight away that 10 inches is the size of your ordinary pie pan, so if you want to create some excellent cast iron desserts, you won’t have to do any converting. The additional two inches of area allows for an extra big steak or three huge chicken breasts. It can also manage a simple dinner for two, like as your favorite steak and fingerling potatoes.
12 and 12.5 inch skillets
Apart from a few specialized items, the 12 skillet (and the somewhat less frequent 12.5 variation) is likely to be the biggest size available at your local cooking supply shop or internet seller. This is a lavish size that enables for the preparation of meals for up to four persons in certain circumstances. Alternately, you may utilize the additional room to make a large batch of scrambled eggs. Naturally, the larger the pan, the heavier it will be, and 12 models are substantially heavier than their smaller equivalents.
Pre-seasoned Skillets vs. As-Cast Skillets
Pre-seasoning is becoming more prevalent on new cast iron skillets and cookware. This is most likely due to manufacturers realizing that they would notice a decrease in returned, defective pans when, in reality, they merely started to rust because they were never properly seasoned in the first place.
or seasoning procedure, although it is not advised for the amateur chef. Unless, of course, you’re an expert with a belt grinder, which is somewhat beside the point. If you are casually looking for fresh cast iron, you are unlikely to come across As-Cast. This choice refers to a pan that has been directly removed from the manufacturing line and has not been processed through the grinders or seasoning ovens. This might be a popular choice for cooks looking for a more tailored grind.
Although the pre-seasoning procedure is undeniably beneficial to the community, it is still critical to know how to care for your pan, which includes learning how to re-season a pan when the time comes.
Sheryl Canter created one of the greatest science-based how-tos on cast iron seasoning, and we highly suggest it: The Chemistry of Cast Iron Seasoning: A Scientific Guide.
The Health Benefits of an Unseasoned Iron Pan
Not everyone uses iron to cook for the same reasons. In reality, a big number of individuals prefer to cook with unseasoned iron because it enables the iron to react with the food in a more direct manner. Moreover, given that iron deficiency may be an issue for children, teens, and women up to menopause, we can see why these folks would want to pursue this path.
or rust accumulation. Yet, it is worth noting that an unseasoned pan is 1.) more difficult to clean and 2.) more vulnerable to acid-based damage. and
Cooking in a well-seasoned iron skillet will still incorporate iron into the meal, particularly with low and slow cooking and frequent stirring. Nonetheless, it will be less than with an unseasoned pan.
Q: How do I cook in a cast iron pan?
A: The flexibility of cast iron cookware is unrivaled. A decent cast iron pan or skillet may be utilized in a variety of ways, including some that you would use a standard pan.
After seasoning, you may wish to cook a couple fried dinners to let the seasoning layer grow a little more. The higher the percentage of polymerized fats, the better.
If there is one golden rule of cast iron cooking, it is to always warm your cast iron before adding oil or food. This will assist to avoid warping, particularly with some of the more cheap models or thinner pans. Just throw it in the oven for 20 or 30 minutes to warm.
Q: Is it true that soap is bad for cast iron?
The argument has been around for over a century: you should never wash your cast iron with soap since washing is supposed to remove oil. As a result, soap will dissolve the seasoning layer.
Although not a horrible hypothesis, it is not entirely correct. This is due to the fact that the seasoning layer is more than just dried oil. There is a distinction between polymerized oil and conventional oil. As you recall from our mini-lesson, polymerized oil is no longer the thin and viscous fluid it once was. Seasoning a pan with heat transforms the oil into a slick plastic-like texture. This is what gives iron cookware its distinctive nonstick properties.
The problem is that conventional dish soap isn’t powerful enough to dissolve polymerized oil. This may have been the case earlier in the century when soaps had stronger components (such as lye, for example).
Yet, there is one guideline that must be obeyed. Cast iron should never be soaked. Prolonged immersion in water will deteriorate the pan or skillet, so try to keep cleaning to a minimum and ensure that the pan dries fully.
The Verdict: The Best Cast Iron Skillet of the Year
So you’ve decided to make the investment in a new cast-iron skillet. We surely don’t blame you. These skillets are not only more inexpensive than ever before, but modern manufacturing processes and advancements in global metal infrastructures mean that in most instances, you are receiving a pan that can compete with the cast-iron pans that your grandmother used to have.
It was difficult to choose only one item from our list. The lightweight handle and incredibly efficient heat vents of the AUS-ION 12.5 Skillet particularly surprised us. It is also little lighter than its main rivals.
Yet, the AUS-ION is more expensive than many people are prepared to spend (and for good reason). The Cuisinel 12 Skillet is an excellent choice for the price-conscious customer. There is no better alternative for the price, and it is a terrific way to get started with cast iron cooking. Trust us when we say that this is a place you want to be.
What is the best cast iron skillet you can buy?
Our Favorite Cast Iron Skillets
Overall winner: Victoria Skillet (cast iron) 10″
Runner-up for Best Overall: Lodge 10-Inch Cast Iron Skillet, Seasoned.
Ideal for camping: 3-Piece Cast Iron Skillet Set from Ozark.
Most easily maintained: 10-Inch Cast Iron Skillet by Le Creuset.
More to come…
•Aug 3, 2022
How do I know which cast iron skillet is best?
And you can notice the difference right away. A newish cast iron pan has a rough feel to it. A well-seasoned one is so slippery that eggs glide around on it like they’re in a nonstick skillet. Because most new cast iron arrives pre-seasoned, it usually has just one or two levels of seasoning on it.
What is the number 1 cast iron skillet?
Direct and to the point. The Lodge 10.25-Inch Skillet is our favorite cast iron pan. It’s simple, long-lasting, low-cost, and effective. We also enjoy the Lodge Blacklock 10.25-Inch Skillet, which is a little more expensive but lightweight and portable.
Is there a difference in quality of cast iron skillets?
The pre-seasoning included is the essential distinction between inexpensive and costly cast-iron cookware. The surface of cheap cast iron is often rough and porous. A quality cast-flawless iron’s surface necessitates a time-consuming production procedure, therefore inexpensive ones avoid it.
What cast iron do chefs use?
Le Creuset, the French company best known for its enameled cast-iron range, is at the top of many chefs’ wish lists.
What brand cast iron skillet does Gordon Ramsay use?
HexClad, the hybrid cookware brand, certainly does. And they’re the same pans that celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay uses at home. HexClad may have been discussed on Gordon Ramsay’s FOX program Next Level Chef. He became a partner of the business after using and appreciating them.
Should I get a smooth or rough cast iron pan?
Modern cast iron enthusiasts understand that the coarser, pebbly surface is simpler to season. While smooth cast iron cookware requires more effort to season, both kinds of pans may be well seasoned. There is no agreement on this issue. Everything seems to come down to personal choice.
Which type of cast iron has the best highest strengths?
Because of its great tensile strength and flexibility, ductile continuous cast iron has created a name for itself in the machining sector. Its pliability makes it ideal for shaping into wires and other uses that need some elasticity.
Why is Griswold cast iron so expensive?
Griswold cast iron is quite valuable.
This makes collecting ironware enjoyable for collectors and hobbyists. When a rare piece or size becomes available for sale, it attracts the attention of numerous purchasers, driving up the price.
What not to cook on cast iron?
5 items to avoid cooking in a cast iron pan
Any other foods with a high acidity level.
Fish that is delicate.
Treats that are sticky (Unless your pan is really well-seasoned)
Aug 17, 2021