The 10 Best Cast Iron Skillets

Updated May 19, 2018 by Quincy Miller

10 Best Cast Iron Skillets
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. You can feel like a cowboy out on the range when you cook with these cast-iron skillets — but don't be surprised if they help you make meals worthy of a five-star chef. They're fantastic for everything from grilling steaks to making sauces, and a few can even be cleaned in the dishwasher. Just don't use metal utensils on them, as that can strip away the seasoning. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best cast iron skillet on Amazon.

10. Lodge LCS3

The Lodge LCS3 has superior heat retention throughout its build for evenly cooked meals, and it can be used in an oven, on the grill, or on your stove. It features a handy notch good for draining fat or pouring broth or gravy.
  • easy-grip teardrop handle
  • smoothly sloped sides
  • preseasoning is not very good
Brand Lodge
Model LCS3
Weight 4.3 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

9. Calphalon 1873975

The Calphalon 1873975 is perfect for everything from cornbread to omelets to a sizzling steak, and it works well on most induction stovetops. The large base makes it a smart choice for slow cooking, as it dissipates the heat evenly to prevent burning.
  • relatively lightweight design
  • oven and broiler safe
  • surface is rather rough
Brand Calphalon
Model 1873975
Weight 7.1 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

8. T-fal E83407

The T-fal E83407 has a generous, extra-long handle and an easy-to-grip side helper that make carrying and manipulating this heavy, sturdy pan much easier than it might otherwise be. It has dual deep-pour spouts to ensure that you get every last drop of juice on your steak.
  • hole in handle for hanging
  • won't warp over time
  • convex base distributes oil unevenly
Brand T-fal
Model 2100082838
Weight 10 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

7. Staub Fry Pan

The Staub Fry Pan requires no preseasoning at all, as it features a nonstick interior unique among its competition. It is an expensive choice for sure, but it's also an exceedingly easy pan to use, as well as one that you can pass down to future generations someday.
  • has a lifetime warranty
  • dishwasher safe for easy cleaning
  • enamel chips easily
Brand Staub
Model 1223025
Weight 7.6 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

6. Le Creuset Signature Skillet

The heavyweight Le Creuset Signature Skillet resists staining and dulling, and requires only a little oil for frying food. It's available in a variety of attractive colors, making this both a fine piece of cookware and a decor accessory.
  • black enamel interior
  • withstands up to 500 degrees
  • cleaning it is a chore
Brand Le Creuset
Model LS2024-3067
Weight 7.6 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

5. Lodge LCC3 Combo

The Lodge LCC3 Combo ships with both a 10.25-inch skillet and a deep, three-quart Dutch oven, giving you plenty of versatility when it comes to making dinner. You can use the shallow pan as a lid for the other, or you can keep them separate for simultaneous cooking.
  • inexpensive for a pair
  • supremely sturdy handles
  • prone to uneven heating
Brand Lodge
Model LCC3
Weight 14 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

4. Mabua Classic

The biggest downside to cast iron cooking is the possibility of singeing your mitts, but the Mabua Classic takes that danger out of the equation, thanks to the silicone grip that comes with it, making it as convenient to use as any regular cookware.
  • seasoned without synthetic chemicals
  • ships with a scraper
  • helpful assist handle
Model MA-CIS-12 Inches Pan
Weight 8.6 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

3. Elysian Kitchen

The Elysian Kitchen retains heat extremely well, so your food will get cooked evenly — and it will stay warm for a while if you leave it to sit in the pan. This makes it a smart choice for camping, as it can turn an uneven fire into the perfect cooking surface.
  • good budget option
  • completely flat on bottom
  • ideal for baking
Brand Elysian Kitchen
Model EK0002
Weight 8.1 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. Lodge Bundle

You can cook an entire meal with the 3-piece Lodge Bundle. The pans range from 8-12 inches, so you can prepare a New York strip and a couple of sides to go with it at the same time, or you can create a few sauces, if that's your thing.
  • great value for the price
  • all pieces heat foods evenly
  • very little sticks to the surfaces
Brand Lodge
Model pending
Weight 18 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Henley Kitchen 12"

The Henley Kitchen 12" comes with a stainless steel cleaning pad, enabling you to finally dislodge last week's scrambled eggs. It's the perfect size for creating large meals without taking up your entire stove, giving you room to cook other dishes at the same time.
  • ideal for making bacon
  • includes detailed care instructions
  • notched sides for easy pouring
Brand Henley Kitchen
Model SYNCHKG112396
Weight 8.3 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

Takes The Heat And Keeps On Going

Whether you consider yourself the family cook, a professional chef, or even a restaurateur, the kitchen is your castle of creation. The best chefs often have the most durable and modern kitchenware and appliances that are reliable, easy to use, and bring your food to life. No kitchen is complete without dependable ovens, cooking utensils, and various tools for searing, baking, frying, and preparing elaborate meals and dishes. Inexpensive, stick-resistant, and rugged durability are three integral qualities for getting the most out of your cookware. That said, a cast iron skillet is an example of all these qualities.

Unlike a sauté pan with its tall and vertical sides, the cast iron skillet is a flat-bottomed, multipurpose pan with a long handle and shallow sides that flare outward at an angle. One of its biggest advantages is its weight. Cast iron is not a good conductor of heat, which means that it takes longer to warm up and cool down than other types of pans. Its weight allows it to maintain very high temperatures for extended periods of time, making the skillet an excellent tool for searing and frying foods at very high temperatures.

Just the same, the skillet can be used to simmer your foods (i.e. lamb chops or steak) at a consistently low temperature. There is less of a restriction on the maximum temperature that can be reached with a cast iron skillet. It easily withstands temperatures up to five hundred degrees Fahrenheit. Even if you plan to use it over an outdoor campfire, it can take the heat.

Seasoning is an important factor to the quality and maintenance of a cast iron skillet. By seasoning in this context, we don't mean using salt and spices, but rather, some type of animal fat or cooking oil to form a nonstick coating. When oil seeps into the surface of a cast iron skillet, it eliminates any microscopic roughness on the metal that would otherwise cause food to cling to it. This process creates a stick-resistant surface.

Often times, skillets come pre-seasoned from the factory, but it's still a good idea to know how the seasoning process works. Cast iron should not be cleaned with detergents or abrasive steel wool, as this can strip the skillet's seasoning. By contrast, hot water and a non-abrasive sponge will usually do the job. Drying the skillet in a warm oven is also recommended to prevent rusting as well as to bake in the oil or shortening used for the seasoning.

Cast iron skillets are incredibly durable and resilient. Therefore, they can take a lot of abuse. When cared for properly, they will last for many years before needing to be replaced. They can also double as compact grilling sources when you don't have access to a barbecue or gas grill. They also offer the versatility to create meals for practically any time of day, including eggs, french toast, or browned chicken.

A Brief History Of Cast Iron Skillets

Cast iron has been an incredibly dependable cooking source for over two thousand years. Its history dates as far back as the Han Dynasty in China. Such vessels were valued for their strength and ability to retain heat. Prior to the nineteenth century in Europe, most meals were prepared over a hearth or stove, which meant that cooking pots and pans had to be designed with either long handles or legs for suspension and standing over an open flame.

The concept of the dutch oven, for example, represented this early form of cast iron cooking (introduced during the Industrial Revolution), as these vessels typically featured long handles for hanging. With the growing popularity of cooking stoves in more homes during this era, legless, flat-bottomed cast iron cookware also became more common.

By the first half of the twentieth century, most modern homes had at least one cast iron cooking pan. Toward the latter part of the century, enamel-coated cast iron became one of the most highly-regarded forms of cookware, for which companies like Le Creuset have become famous.

Although the popularity of cast iron declined during the 1960s and 1970s in favor of teflon-coated aluminum, it still remains a dependable form of cookware because of its strength and ability to last, making the skillet an integral part of most any home or professional kitchen.

Cook To Your Skillet's Content

Because of a skillet's versatility to sear, fry, and brown a variety of comestibles for most any meal of the day, one must be sure to keep it well-seasoned (or to at least ensure proper pre-seasoning from the factory). Secondly, it should be safe for use in a conventional oven or on a stovetop. Some skillets are also compatible with induction cooktops.

For the restaurateur or professional chef, the skillet is a necessary investment when considering large dinner rushes and the need to use the cookware over and over without wearing out. The heavier a skillet is, the better it can retain and evenly distribute heat for ensuring delicious meals.

Consider the type of handle for your intended skillet. It should be easy to hang and large enough to hold comfortably without overheating.

Many skillets come in a variety of different colors with enamel coating for extra protection. However, if choosing enamel coating, one must also consider the types of utensils (i.e. spoons, forks, or knives) they plan to use.

Very sharp utensils could scratch off some of the coating with regular use, so this is important to take into account. On the upside, enamel surface coating can also minimize one's need to constantly re-season the skillet.

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Last updated on May 19, 2018 by Quincy Miller

Quincy is a writer who was born in Texas, but moved to Los Angeles to pursue his life-long dream of someday writing a second page to one of his screenplays.

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