A Beginner’s Guide to Buying Your First Cast Iron Skillet

A Beginner’s Guide to Buying Your First Cast Iron Skillet
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If you’ve read our write up on some of the top cast iron recipes you probably hadn’t thought of yet, you’ll know that a cast iron skillet is one of the most versatile and worthwhile homewares items you can have on hand in your kitchen.

Now, we know cast iron has a reputation for being difficult to care for, but with the right guidance (which we, of course, have for you here), any reservations you may have will melt away, just like the generous servings of butter your new pan is likely to soon meet.

But which cast iron skillet should you buy?

cast iron skillet

Le Creuset Signature Cast Iron Round Skillet 20cm – $200 via Amazon (currently $50 off)

According to Michelin (as in star), there are a few things to consider when buying a cast iron pan. First, a large difference in choosing an antique cast iron pan compared to a modern one. Notably, the surface is rougher and needs time and seasoning to build up on it to reduce the amount of sticking you’ll experience.

Lodge sells its pans pre-seasoned to help with this. Michelin also pointed to brands like Finex and Butter Pat if you’re after a smoother surface.

If you decide to go for an antique option, Michelin advises that you make sure the surface is even by balancing it on a tabletop or similar and check for excessive rust.

When looking for a modern cast iron pan, know that pricing can range quite considerably with these guys. So you’re going to want to make sure you’re landing a good deal for yourself.

Reviews are your best friend here, and don’t worry, you don’t have to drop hundreds of dollars on a pan for it to do the job.

Here’s a list of solid options we’ve found for you.

Cast iron skillets

Fresh Australian Kitchen Pre-Seasoned Large Cast Iron Skillet – $34.99 via Amazon

Lodge (as recommended by Michelin) 26cm Cast Iron Skillet – $53.80 via Amazon (currently 49% off) 

Le Creuset Signature Cast Iron Round Skillet 20cm – $200 via Amazon (currently $50 off)

Simple Chef Cast Iron Skillet 3-Piece Set, $165.94 via Amazon

Xanten Cast Iron Frypan – Currently $71.99 via Catch.com.au ($108 off)

Chasseur 28cm Fry Pan – $183.99 via Catch.com.au 

Seasoning your pan

Once you’ve chosen your cast iron skillet, your next step is seasoning it (unless you’ve chosen a pre-seasoned option). This will help with the smooth surface we touched on earlier. Michelin suggests you “apply a thin layer of neutral, high smoke point oil like vegetable, canola or soybean across the surface and bake at 400˚F (200 C) for one hour”. Avoid options like olive oil. After this initial coating, any additional cooking you do with oil will help maintain the smooth surface of your pan.

Caring for your pan

The most common misconception when it comes to caring for your cast iron cookware is that it can’t be washed with soap. But, to set the record straight, it’s nothing but a myth. Feel free to soap away! Just be sure to rinse and dry the pan thoroughly after, and then immediately re-season it. If you’re hellbent on not using soap, rest-assured, another alternative is returning the pan to heat and adding some salt and vegetable oil. Once that’s done, scrape the surface with a wadded-up paper towel or ball of foil, then just season again, and you’re ready for the next round of cooking!

Do you have a cast iron pan you love? Let us know your favourite options in the comments below.

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