You want to make the most of your family mealtimes, so you need cookware that will work hard for you. Flimsy pots and pans that chip and crack after a few uses or leave half your dinner burned and stuck to the bottom every other meal are not the kind of helpers we want in our kitchens. Good pots and pans are investment items. One essential you need in your kitchen is a cast iron skillet, which can cook almost anything you can think of (we’re craving Dutch Baby Pancakes), but with the proper care, can also last for decades.
Cast iron skillets are made of, as their name implies, cast iron, which make them extremely durable. They also provide excellent heat retention, which is useful for cooking food at high temperatures, and can be easily used on stovetops, placed in ovens, or move between both within one cooking session. They’re versatile, so you can fry eggs, sear steaks, or make cornbread with just one pan. And unlike most things in your kitchen, cast iron skillets actually improve with use. Many come pre-seasoned with oil, and the seasoning naturally builds over time, which provides a non-stick surface for cooking and prevents the pan from rusting.
Here are eight cast iron skillets that you’ll be able to count on for many, many meals to come.
Lodge is an American cookware brand that has been around since 1896. The 12” skillet is pre-seasoned with 100 percent natural vegetable oil. It comes with a silicone handle holder and also has an assist handle to help when you need to move a full pan of food around. With the proper care, this skillet will be your go-to, everyday kitchen staple. There are also various other sizes of skillets available, ranging from 3.5”-15”.
This Amazon best-selling cast iron skillet has over 16,000 five-star reviews, with one reviewer saying, “I love this skillet! I’ve used it on the stove: gas and electric (on glass tops do not drag this skillet on it, it will scratch the glass) as well as over fire outdoors. I’ve owned it for 8 months now and it still looks as new as it did 8 months ago. Make sure to research how to clean your cast iron cookware and always heat them up to evaporate any surface moisture after cleaning before oiling. I’ve made many different foods in this, Utica Greens, bacon, eggs, steak, pizza…etc. All have come out perfect.”
If you already have some Le Creuset in your kitchen, you know the brand is synonymous with high quality cookware. This cast iron skillet has a long-lasting matte black enamel interior that is designed for higher surface temperature cooking, and makes it so that the skillet requires no additional seasoning. There’s a large loop handle to assist with lifting the pan and it comes in a number of bright colors. And it’s dishwasher-safe, to make post-meal cleanups easier.
One reviewer said, “I was reading a review about this pan, and couldn’t believe the price. Who pays this much for a cast iron pan? Well, add me to the converts. First of all, it’s gorgeous to look at. Love the enamel outside, in ‘flame’ coloring. It is easy to handle with a nice grip, and a good weight balance. The cast-iron itself is just smooth and beautiful. Super easy to clean (I bought the nylon brush by Le Creuset). I use it for all sorts of jobs, from searing steak, cooking pork chops or frying dover sole. For example, when I make my pork chops, I cook them 4 minutes either side in the pan, and then transfer the whole thing into the oven at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. This thing is beast mode. You can do almost anything with it. The price tag? I get it. Honestly, I wish it was cheaper, but it’s like buying the Rolls Royce of skillets. I expect I will be using this for the next 30 years, as long as I maintain the seasoning.”
If you love to grill food but don’t own an outdoor grill or have the space to own one, this Lodge cast iron pan is the next best thing. It’s pre-seasoned and safe to use on all cooking surfaces, and it gives you the ability to grill your food indoors (and give it those nice grill lines). The grill surface also lets the oil and grease drain away from your food while cooking.
One reviewer said, “This is something I wish I had bought YEARS ago. I was already familiar with cast iron cooking and cleaning (this isn’t something to put in the dishwasher) and I recently decided to make the change and try it indoors. I basically use the same cooking method indoors as I do out using my barbecue. I am able to perfectly grill meat shrimp hot dogs (basically anything as outdoors) and the flavor and texture is excellent and comparable to grilling outdoors . The only thing I suggest is you do it using an over head fan otherwise the house might smell like a barbecue. I sincerely love this pan and wish I had tried using one indoors vs buying multiple indoor grilling options that never worked. I definitely recommend this pan if you are considering grilling indoors and from all of the cleaning methods I’ve been recommended washing under hot water then wiping and adding an oil then heating has worked best for me. Zero issues.”
This Cuisinart pan has cast iron construction to provide heat retention and even heat distribution. Both the exterior and interior are porcelain enamel for durability. The enamel on the interior doesn’t absorb odors or affect the flavor of the food and is easy to clean. The pan can be used on the stove, or in the oven or broiler, and it’s dishwasher-safe. It comes in black, red, and blue colors.
One reviewer said, “This is the third enameled iron pan I’ve purchased, and the combination of functionality, weight and price are very hard to beat… I really like cooking on enamel iron pans because of durability, ease of cleaning, and not having to worry about the chemicals in non-stick pans. But to prevent sticking, one should use lower flames than one might be used to with other kinds of pans. Iron retains heat and gets hotter than other types of pans, which causes burning and sticking. And one must coat with oil after heating and before putting the food in the pan.”
The Victoria cast iron skillet comes in four different sizes: 6.5”, 8”, 10”, and 12”. The handle is long and curved, making it more ergonomic for holding and moving the pan between cooking surfaces. The 12” pan also has a wide helper handle, has contoured pour spouts, and has a wide cooking surface. All the pans are pre-seasoned with 100 percent non-GMO flaxseed oil so they’re ready to get cooking right out of the box.
One reviewer said, “I own just about every make of cast iron out there and this is the BEST piece I have ever used. Pretty well seasoned from the factory, nice smooth cooking surface. I love the longer curved handle and oversized pour spouts (they actually pour the liquid not spill it out of the pan). This has quickly become my favorite piece of cast iron and will be buying more.”
While most cast iron skillets are round, the Finex ones are octagon shaped, creating multiple spots for pouring liquids out of the pan. It has an ultra smooth, polished surface to prevent food from sticking to it, and the pan is also pre-seasoned with organic flaxseed oil. The unique handle is made of a coiled stainless steel spring, which allows it to stay cool longer. The Finex skillets come in 8”, 10”, and 12” sizes, and you can add a lid to the 10” and 12” sizes to increase your cooking options.
One happy reviewer said, “I will sum up my love for this skillet this way …post AMAZING dinner clean up, my husband asked “is there anything in the house you love more than that skillet?”. I have seasoned it twice since purchasing and it has the most amazing non-stick surface. It cooks beautifully…everything is evenly cooked to perfection. I preheat the pan in the oven prior to using on the stovetop and I am at a point where most of my meals are done in my skillet and air fryer combined! Love the Finex – it is pre-seasoned with organic flaxseed oil which was why I chose this pan over a cheaper option. Ultimately, what I’m eating is exposed to whatever the pan is seasoned with …so the money spent was well worth it to me!”
If you’re looking for a big, like a really big, cast iron skillet to feed your hungry family, this AmazonBasics one has you covered and then some. It has a 15-inch diameter cooking surface and can serve 6-7 people. It’s pre-seasoned with vegetable oil and has flared side edges as well as an assist handle to help with maneuverability. The pan is suitable for all cooking surfaces and oven-safe up to 500 degrees. In addition to the 15-inch diameter skillet, there are also ones that are 12” or 10.25”.
One reviewer said, “I laughed so hard when I took this pan from the box. I’ve never seen such a large skillet!!! It’s great to be able to cut up a whole chicken, and roast it quickly, and evenly. Every piece crispy!!! This is a very practical thing to have in your kitchen.”
Ayesha Curry, cookbook author and Food Network TV personality (and wife of NBA superstar Stephen Curry), knows her way around a kitchen. Her cookware line includes an enameled cast iron skillet, which comes in four different metallic colors and two sizes (10” and 12”). The pans have cast iron construction for even heating and a porcelain enamel cooking surface for easy cooking and cleanup. Plus, purchases of the pan go to help support No Kid Hungry, which helps provide meals to children in need.
One reviewer said, “It’s cast iron so it’s naturally heavy. Again it’s cast iron! The heat distribution once warmed all the way is amazing. I cooked on medium low the whole time. Also remember to warm your oil or butter in the pan and this should keep your food from sticking. Cooking with cast iron requires patience. I believe this is going to be one of my go to pans because it does not require seasoning! I love my raw cast iron but this beauty worked great on my egg so I’m excited to sear some steaks, brown ground, meat etc. It’s beautiful and no flaws were found. I’m tempted to get the 10 inch lol!”
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