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Boasts the brand's enameled finish that gives it a stylish appearance, releases food, and makes it simple to clean. Doesn't require seasoning. Dishwasher-safe. Available in three sizes and 22 colors. Lifetime warranty.
It doesn't happen often, but quality control has missed a few damaged skillets.
The 12-inch size provides plenty of surface area for large meals, especially for searing and frying without overcrowding. Stores or hangs flat. Convenient helper handle and pour spouts make lifting and pouring easier. Comes at an affordable price point.
At 8 pounds, it may be a little heavy for frequent use.
Pre-seasoned with kosher flaxseed oil. A long curved handle provides leverage. Large pour spouts minimize drips when draining grease or pouring sauces. Smoother texture than some competitors. Pocket-friendly price.
Curved handles don't allow for flat stacking.
Enameled cast iron skillet with lid. Finish makes it simple to cook and clean. Ideal for braising, grilling, searing, broiling, and more. No seasoning is necessary for outstanding results. You can choose from seven attractive colors.
Rare reports of chipped pans, but customer service is attentive when such issues arise.
The 10.25-inch size can cook generously sized meals. The 5.3-pound weight is not too heavy for frequent use. Loop handle allows for storing flat or hanging. Performed well in the oven, stovetop, and grill in testing. Made in a historic foundry. Excellent price.
Needs more seasoning or frequent use to be really nonstick.
After going through an intensive research process to narrow down our short list of top products in this space, we tested Lodge Pre-Seasoned Skillet to be sure that it’s worthy of our recommendation. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter and test to verify manufacturer claims.
Are you thinking about getting a cast-iron skillet? You’re not alone. People love this kitchen workhorse for its performance, durability and history. Cast-iron skillets require a bit of special care, but the results are obvious. Nothing cooks like a cast-iron skillet.
Cast iron is formed by pouring molten metal into a mold made of sand. The metal is renowned for holding heat and withstanding high temperatures. Cast iron can take the heat of a gas flame, charcoal grill or roaring campfire, but it also works with electric ranges and induction cooktops. With a little care, a cast-iron skillet can go from stovetop to oven to table. You can fry, broil, roast or bake in it.
Cast iron does have drawbacks. The density that makes cast iron hold heat so well also makes it slow to heat up. Cast iron is heavy. It reacts to acids in food and can rust without proper care. You can’t wash it in the dishwasher, and it must be dried immediately.
One term you see a lot when considering cast iron is “seasoning.” Seasoning is the process of cooking a protective layer of fat or oil on the metal. Over time, this buildup creates a smooth, nonstick surface. Most cast-iron skillets come pre-seasoned, but it’s a good idea to add some of your own. Until the metal is properly seasoned, food is going to stick.
We researched some of the most popular cast-iron skillets available, from well-known models to hand-polished entries from newer manufacturers. We think the classic Lodge 10.25-inch cast-iron skillet, which we tested, remains the best option for most people, while the bigger Lodge 12-inch skillet offers the best bang for your buck.
The classic Lodge 10.25-inch cast-iron skillet is the ideal size and weight for everyday use. Its 53.45 square inches of cooking surface is big enough to sear a steak or fry three pieces of chicken without overcrowding, while its iconic loop handle lets you hang the pan for storage.
At 5.3 pounds, it isn’t excessively heavy. It’s made at the Lodge foundries in South Pittsburg, Tennessee. We tested the 10.25-inch Lodge skillet in our Testing Lab and agree with other reviewers who say it cooks exceptionally well and comes at an affordable price.
The Lodge 12-inch cast-iron skillet costs a bit more than our top pick but gives you an additional 30.5 square inches of cooking surface.This allows you to cook meals for a household, such as six fried eggs, two strip steaks or several pieces of fried chicken without crowding.
The downside of this skillet is it weighs 3 pounds more than the smaller model, which might be too much to heft for some folks. The helper handle is more of a necessity than a bonus for this skillet, and don’t forget to protect your hand. This skillet comes with a silicone sleeve for the long handle.
Based in Medellín, Colombia, where its foundry is still located, Victoria makes excellent cast-iron cookware and equipment at affordable prices, including presses and comal pans for tortillas. Victoria seasons its cast iron with kosher-certified flaxseed oil.
Victoria’s 12-inch cast-iron skillet boasts a smoother texture than the Lodge skillets, which can be appealing for beginners who want good results right away. Two generously sized pour spouts are designed to reduce the chance of dripping. This 6.7-pound skillet has a long arched handle for extra leverage, but the arch means it won’t store as flat as a Lodge skillet.
Camp Chef, known for its portable camp stoves, makes cast-iron skillets that work as well on an induction cooktop as a campfire. Their 8-inch cast-iron skillet weighs 4 pounds, has a helper handle and pour spouts and comes pre-seasoned.
An 8-inch cast-iron skillet is perfect if you don’t need to cook for several people at once. This Camp Chef skillet can fry two eggs, a couple of strips of bacon and one 6-inch pancake at a time. You can even use it as a roasting pan for a small chicken or pork loin.
Stargazer is one example of a new cast-iron company creating artisanal high-quality cookware in smaller batches. They cast, machine and finish their products entirely in the United States. The 10.5-inch cast-iron skillet has an attractive bronze color that stands out from the crowd. Its smooth cooking surface, seasoned with its own oil blend, keeps food from sticking. You can also buy the skillet “bare,” or unseasoned.
Other notable features of this 5.2-pound skillet include a flared rim instead of pour spouts and a lighter, forked handle designed to be cooler to the touch.
Le Creuset is famous for its expensive heirloom enameled Dutch ovens, but the company also makes enameled cast-iron skillets. The Le Creuset 11.5-inch Signature cast-iron skillet does not need to be seasoned. The cooking surface is coated in a black satin enamel that resists rust and acid just as well as the brightly colored enamel exterior. That means you can cook with tomatoes or citrus in the Le Creuset, something you can’t do in other cast-iron skillets without stripping away the seasoning. A helper handle and two pour spouts assist in maneuvering the 6.8-pound skillet.
Field Company is another manufacturer dedicated to reinvigorating the tradition of cast iron, producing skillets that are thinner and lighter, with smoother cooking surfaces. For a 10.25-inch cast-iron skillet, the Field Company No. 8 is notably light. At 4.5 pounds, it is nearly a pound lighter than the Lodge skillet of the same size.
Field Company also worked on the ergonomics of the handle to make the pan convenient enough to use frequently. It has a small helper handle but no pour spouts. This skillet comes with a brush, steel chain mail scrubber and a jar of the company’s own seasoning blend.
If you’ve been on social media in the past few years, you’ve probably seen the Our Place Always Pan gracing the feeds of influencers and celebrities. The pan replicates the original’s pastel aesthetic but in enameled cast iron. With a black matte coating on the cooking surface and crave-worthy colors on the exterior, the 9.5-inch, 7-pound Cast Iron Always Pan looks great on your vlog and performs well on your stove. The cooking surface resists acidic foods and retains plenty of heat. It comes with color-matched silicone grips for the handles, a wooden spatula, and unlike other skillets, a glass lid that can withstand 425 degrees in the oven.
Another celebrity-endorsed brand, Cravings by Chrissy Teigen offers a 12-inch enameled cast-iron skillet with a PFOA-free nonstick coating like that in other nonstick pans. The pan has rounded sides, pour spouts and a helper handle and comes in black or gray.
Note that an artificial nonstick coating only lasts a few years, can be scratched by metal utensils and can’t be used at a higher heat than 450 degrees. However, with no seasoning required, this pan is ready to use right out of the box and can be washed in the dishwasher.
We put our top pick, the Lodge 10.25-inch cast-iron skillet, to the test in real world conditions in a home kitchen. We prepared a number of foods on the stove, in the oven and on a grill, and noted the results in the following categories.
It should be easy and fun to cook with a cast-iron skillet. Here are some features to look for when shopping.
The most common cast-iron skillet sizes are 8, 10 and 12 inches. While all are useful, if you’re only going to choose one, you’ll probably find a 10-inch skillet to be the most versatile.
An empty cast-iron skillet can weigh anywhere from 4 to 12 pounds depending on the size. Pay attention to the weight if you have weakness or limited mobility in your arms, wrists or hands.
Enamel is a type of nonstick coating that’s nonreactive to acidic foods. It also comes in a rainbow of colors. You might want to consider an enameled cast-iron skillet if you don’t want to be bothered with seasoning your cookware or you want a brightly colored addition to your kitchen.
Many cast-iron skillets have one or two pour spouts on the side to make pouring sauces or hot oil easier. The bigger the spout, the cleaner the pour.
Most cast-iron skillets larger than 8 inches have a small helper handle opposite the long handle. This handle helps you lift the heavy skillet, especially when it contains food, liquid or hot cooking grease.
A cast-iron skillet gets and stays very hot. You’ll need a pot holder or two to comfortably touch the skillet’s handles during and after cooking. Some models come with silicone handle sleeves or pot holders.
A well-seasoned cast-iron skillet looks and feels smoother than a new skillet. Although most cast-iron cookware comes pre-seasoned, it’s a good idea to season it yourself to really develop the pan’s nonstick properties. Season your skillet whenever you notice food starting to stick, roughness on the pan or bare metal showing. Avoid cooking acidic foods (tomato or citrus) in a new cast-iron skillet.
A. Big manufacturers like Lodge and Victoria price their skillets in the $20 to $50 range, with smaller or larger sizes costing a little less or a little more. High-end skillets from the Field Company, Stargazer and Butter Pat cost $100 to $300, and some models cost nearly $500.
The Lodge Chef’s Collection and Blacklock lines cost more than their classic skillets, in the $40 to $80 range, and have some features in common with premium brands. Our top pick, the classic Lodge 10.25-inch cast-iron skillet, costs less than $25. Avoid cast-iron skillets that cost less than $20. They could be made of low-quality cast iron that might crack or shatter during use.
A. A cast-iron skillet can only really be ruined if it’s cracked, warped, broken or punctured. Heating a cast-iron pan too quickly can damage it, as can a hard blow. Rust and corrosion left unchecked will eventually eat through any cast iron, but surface rust can be scoured off and the skillet can be reseasoned as long as the physical integrity of the metal hasn’t been compromised. Frequent use, prompt cleaning and immediate drying are the best ways to keep a cast-iron skillet in tip-top shape.
A. There’s no real difference between a skillet and frying pan except terminology. “Skillet” is often used for cast-iron pans. Saute pans, on the other hand, have straight sides, are typically deeper than skillets or frying pans and usually include a lid. Saute pans are useful for any cooking that involves liquids, such as frying or sauteing.
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