Cast-iron pans or skillets are essential in every kitchen. Aside from being durable as hell (as long as you know how to clean and look after it), they’re super versatile. They can transition from grill to stovetop to oven with ease and cook just about everything from steaks to cakes.
There are many different shapes, styles, and strengths of cast iron skillets, so choosing which one is worth adding to your kitchen can be tricky. While on a fundamental level they all do the same job, you’re going to want to look for one that’s been pre-seasoned to get you started. From there, you’ll need to regularly season it yourself to develop and maintain the non-stick coating.
To season, you simply coat the inside of the pan with a thin layer of neutral oil, like vegetable oil, and heat it in the oven for an hour. Be sure to reapply oil every time you wash the pan (which shouldn’t be too often) to rebuild that precious coating.
Speaking of washing your skillet, it’s best to simply scrub it with a brush or abrasive sponge and hot water while the pan is still warm. Never soak it, and use soap sparingly. Save your skillet from rust by filling it with enough water to cover the bottom and popping it on the stovetop at low heat, and allowing the water to evaporate. Then, wipe it clean with a few drops of oil.
You’re also going to want to buy a skillet that comes with a helper handle. Cast-iron pans heat slowly but thoroughly, meaning they stay hot for a long time, and they’re heavy! Thankfully, they’re designed to have shorter handles, so between that and the helper handle, you should still be able to pick it up easily enough.
Once you find a skillet with those two features, and that is a suitable size for your cooking needs, it’s time to ‘add to cart’. To help you find the one, we’ve rounded up a bunch of the top-reviewed cast-iron pans/skillets you can buy online. Happy cooking!
If you’re looking for a way to take your cooking to the next level, a cast-iron pan like this one from Lodge is the perfect addition to your kitchen. Not only does it come pre-seasoned, but it also comes with an assist handle on the front to make it easier to transfer it from the stovetop to the oven and beyond. Lodge also has a 12-inch one on sale for $89 (was $139.95).
Crafted from professional quality cast iron, this pre-seasoned, non-stick frying pan boasts unbeatable heat retention, which is evenly dispersed across the thick base to ensure even cooking. It’ll be the most versatile pan you own. You can use it for baking, sautéing, grilling, broiling, braising, and searing in the oven, on gas and electric stoves, or even on a BBQ!
This cast-iron skillet from eBay is also 60% off right now. It comes pre-seasoned and has an assist handle on the front to make it easy to use.
If you’re looking for a set of skillets, this one from Cuisinel is a great place to start. It comes with two pans, 8-Inch and 12-Inch, and matching lids and handle-holders. Each pan is also pre-seasoned and ready to go.
Sometimes, cooking requires a big pot — especially if you want to cook one-pan dishes that’ll feed the whole family like pizza, frittatas, and lasagna. This 17-inch skillet from Lodge was made for just that. Of course, like all Lodge cast-iron pans, it comes pre-seasoned and ready for cooking.
You can also get your hands on a cleaning kit for just $62 and it comes with a pan scraper, seasoning spray, a scrub brush and handle-holder.