The 10 Best Pre-Seasoned Skillets
This wiki has been updated 20 times since it was first published in June of 2015. The seasoning on cast-iron pans is a layer of plasticized oil built up on the metal that provides a nonstick cooking surface as well as protection from corrosion. Many skillets come from the factory preseasoned, so you don't have to generate the finish yourself. Here are some of the easiest to cook with straight out of the box, all from quality manufacturers. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best pre-seasoned skillet on Amazon.
Field Company #10 If you're okay with spending over $100 on a single pan, check this one out, as it's of high enough quality to warrant that kind of investment. Plus, it has the type of machined surface that can actually mimic chemical non-stick coatings. It's available in 4 sizes, from #4 to #12, so if you're really into it, you can assemble the entire collection without too much difficulty. fieldcompany.com
Smithey Ironware No. 10 This finely milled 10-inch model is incredibly thick and heavy, so make sure you have a very sturdy hook if you want to take advantage of its hanging holes, which it has two of. It was one of the first skillets produced by this high-end manufacturer, and it continues to sell well today, though it does cost nearly $200. smitheyironware.com
Stargazer Cast Iron This company strikes an excellent balance between performance and affordability. For less than some of our picks, they offer performance nearly on the level of the ancient and venerated Griswold line, with the flat cooking area that most imported products just can't touch. They come in 10.5- and 12-inch versions and are great for pizza, frittas, pan-fried fish, and lots more. stargazercastiron.com
July 21, 2019:
There are a lot of myths about cast iron and the powerful quality known as seasoning. It's not in any way related to the seasoning of the food, and in fact, a good skillet is seasoned without anything like salt and pepper -- it's pure oil, and that's it. Furthermore, you can wash a well-seasoned cast-iron pan with a standard scrub pad and a bit of soap, and as long as you don't put your entire body weight into it, there's no worry of damage to the finish. Plus, a good layer of seasoning offers a nonstick surface that's safe for use if you have any pet birds, as the average non-stick pan can create fumes that are highly toxic to avian life.
You'll never get a cast-iron pan to perform quite on the level of a true nonstick skillet, but with a well-machined surface and thick enough finish, you can come surprisingly close. Lodge is one of the most popular cast-iron manufacturers, and while they have very consistent product quality, their factory finish leaves a bit to be desired, and their cooking surfaces aren't actually very smooth, so to get good results you'll have to do quite a bit of seasoning on your own. Nonetheless, they're worth a look, especially if you're on a tight budget.
If you have plenty to spend and want something that you can really be proud of, Finex and Koch make fantastic cast-iron skillets. Their cooking surfaces are practically glass-quality and their bases are especially thick. The Finex is particularly interesting because of its unconventional shape and handle. And the Nest Egg Pan is another great choice, although it's hard to find anything larger than its 4.5-inch model, which is pretty limited as far as what you can use it for.
But for most people, the Victoria and Greater Goods options are the best places to start looking. In-kitchen tests prove the Victoria to have an easier-releasing finish than almost all of the competition right out of the box, and the Greater Goods is remarkably inexpensive in light of how smooth its finish is -- it's nearly as high-quality as the Finex and Koch mentioned above.