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The best cast iron skillets 2023

Cast iron can seem a bit intimidating to newbies, but there’s a reason it’s often the go-to material for many chefs and home cooks. Not only is it one of the best cookware materials for heat retention and distribution, but cast iron is also incredibly durable – it can last for generations, if cared for properly. Whether you’re cooking meat or baking cakes, the best cast iron skillets provide consistent, reliable results. Our overall top pick is the Lodge 8-inch skillet, though we stand behind every skillet on this list.

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When shopping for your ideal cast iron skillet, be sure to look closely at the size. Eight- or 10-inch pans are often better for everyday use, while those cooking for larger households may want up to a 12- or 14-inch pan (just make sure your stove can accommodate the larger cookware). ). You’ll also want to consider the depth of your pan, as a pan with shallow sides isn’t ideal for making sauces.

As you cook with your pan, the metal will develop a natural patina often referred to as “seasoning.” Basically, it’s numerous layers of oil that have been baked onto the metal and will protect the pan from rust and create a naturally non-stick surface that will make cooking eggs or sticky sauces a breeze. Just make sure you’re careful with your cast-iron skillet when cleaning it—you want to keep the seasoning intact, so avoid harsh soaps and abrasive brushes. (These are our favorite tools for cleaning cast iron.)

Whether you’re new to cast iron or looking to grow your collection, here are some of the best cast iron skillets across the board.

Lodge is an American company beloved for its affordable cast-iron cookware, and many experts agree that its inexpensive skillets perform just as well as those from higher-end brands. The brand has been producing cast iron since 1896, and some of those original pans are probably still cooking. Lodge pans come in a variety of sizes, ranging from 3 1/2-inch diameter to 15-inch, but the 8-inch option is the best choice for everyday use.

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A common complaint about cast iron skillets is that they are extremely heavy. The weight is largely due to the nature of iron and its ability to reach and maintain high temperatures stems from that weight. But if you’re willing to spend a little more to take the load off your forearms, consider Field Company’s frying pans. This direct-to-consumer brand crafts cookware that’s significantly lighter than traditional cast-iron skillets, with a beautiful smooth finish to help you build up perfectly nonstick seasonings over time. Field Company offers several sizes of pans between 6 3/4 inches and 13 3/8 inches, but their #8 pan, which is 10 1/4 inches in diameter, is ideal for everyday use.


Cast iron cookware can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be – many inexpensive cast iron skillets can hold their own against higher-end products. Valor’s Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillets are very popular in the restaurant world as they have some of the best value for money, can be purchased in bulk, and provide excellent heat retention and even heating. Valor skillets come in every size and shape imaginable, but you can’t go wrong with their Classic 10 1/4-Inch Skillet, which features two pour spouts and a helper handle that make cooking with liquids easy.


Unlike traditional cast iron, enameled cast iron has been coated with a durable non-porous enamel, meaning it’s completely non-stick right out of the box. If you’re looking for a skillet that’s as low-maintenance as traditional cast iron, or one that comes in a variety of bright colors, you’ll be pleased with this Le Creuset Classic Enameled Cast Iron Skillet. The French-made 9-inch skillet features a durable, chip-resistant nonstick black enamel finish on the interior (so you can skip the seasoning) and an enamel exterior in 11 color options. It offers the high-temperature performance and superior abrasion capabilities of traditional cast iron, while being easier to care for and clean over the long term.


The sides of regular cast iron skillets are usually between two and three inches high, which is plenty for most functions, but if you plan on frying or making sauces, you’ll want a deeper pan. The Lodge Blacklock Triple Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet is a 10 1/4-inch deep-walled skillet with 4 1/4-inch sides, giving it a spacious 4-quart capacity. A matching lid is included, allowing you to use it similar to a Dutch oven – you can easily braise meat or bake bread in it, thanks to its oven-safe design.


This Lodge set includes the top three cast iron essentials you’ll need in your kitchen. It includes a versatile 10 1/4-inch cast-iron skillet, a standard 12-inch, and a smaller 8-inch, so you can choose the best option to meet your immediate needs, or cook entrees and sides at the same time. .


If you often serve food straight from the pan, the Staub Double Handle Frying Pan makes it easy to transport hot cookware from oven to table. This 13-inch pan, which comes in five colors, would be the perfect pan for deep-dish pizza or party sauce, and its enamel interior requires no seasoning. Its two-loop side handles give you a better grip when moving the pan and also make it easy to store.


Some cheaper cast iron skillets pay less attention to the finer details, but the affordable Victoria Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet is carefully pre-seasoned using a 100% non-GMO flaxseed oil coating, believed by many to be the best material for seasoning. This means that it is totally non-stick from day one. It also offers a superior drip spout with a longer handle and wider auxiliary handle than most other brands in its price range.


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Many cast iron skillets have a rough, pebbly surface, but the Smithey No. 10 Cast Iron Skillet has a satin polished finish that’s a dream to cook with. Handmade and surprisingly lightweight (just over five pounds), this 10-inch pan features pouring spouts on both sides and ergonomic handles with convenient hanging holes.


This classic skillet is a top-rated option on Amazon, with 4.7 out of 5 stars and over 18,000 reviews. Its high rating is due to its versatility and quality at a lower price. Perfectly pre-seasoned with soy-based oil, it’s ready to use right out of the box with a size and weight that works well for the oven, stovetop, grill, or over a campfire. One happy reviewer comments: “The cooktop is spotless. I use this pan 2-3 times a week, it has actually gotten better with time.”


How can you tell if a cast iron skillet is any good?

Some companies try to pass off their pans as cast iron when they really aren’t. In general, you will want to look at the inside of the pan. The best cast iron skillets have a dark, dull surface. They may even have a coating of black seasoning. If the surface is shiny or has a non-stick coating (like Teflon), it’s not cast iron. Also, a cast iron skillet should be heavy, it is cast iron after all.

Are cast iron skillets worth it?

Many people, including chefs, swear by these pans. A cast iron skillet is a workhorse and can do just about anything. These pans hold heat and cook food evenly, whether you’re preparing steak or pancakes. They’re also really durable (they can last for years) and versatile, working on the stovetop as well as in the oven.

Why is cast iron so expensive?

It takes a lot more material and effort to create a cast iron skillet compared to, say, nonstick cookware. Making a cast iron skillet is also time consuming – it requires a lot of polishing to get the finish right. Finally, cast iron skillets last a long time, and the quality doesn’t come cheap. But as we’ve noted above, if you’re willing to do a little work on your own, even an affordable cast iron skillet can become an invaluable part of your kitchen arsenal.