Now, we know cast iron has a reputation for being difficult to care for, but with the right guidance, 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?
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 upon it to reduce the amount of sticking you’ll experience.
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.
The best cast iron skillets in Australia
Pyrolux Pyrocast Cast Iron Skillet (30cm)
If you’re interested in nabbing a cast iron skillet, but are worried about dropping a chunk of cash on something you might get a lot of use out of, then Pyrolux’s 30cm pan is a solid affordable option. This pan comes pre-seasoned as well, so you can start cooking up meals right out of the box.
Lodge Logic Cast Iron Skillet (30cm)
As far as cast iron brands go, Lodge is pretty damn reliable, with decent prices and quality materials. This 30cm skillet is made from high-quality seasoned cast iron and should give you enough space to cook up plenty of different meals.
Lodge Blacklock Triple-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet (26cm)
Cast iron skillets are quite heavy, so if you’re looking for something that won’t throw out your back while cooking eggs, this Blacklock pan is 25% lighter than Lodge’s standard pans. This pan also comes with three layers of seasoning already baked in.
Le Creuset Signature Cast Iron Skillet (20cm)
Le Creuset is one of the most premium cookware brands out there – but that reputation comes with a premium cost. Don’t get us wrong, the quality of Le Creuset’s more than lives up to its price tag.
This skillet is handcrafted from premium cast iron and comes with Le Creuset’s Lifetime Guarantee. The pan doesn’t come pre-seasoned, but if you follow Le Creuset’s instructions and care for it right, you’ll be cooking delicious meals for years to come.
How do you season a cast iron 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.
How should you clean and care for a cast iron 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, you can use soap but only a small amount. 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 then 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!
What can you make in a cast iron skillet?
What’s a good skillet if you aren’t going to use it? While the obvious answer is to cook up a nice cut of meat – especially as we head into summer BBQ territory – that’s only scratching the surface of what you can do with your skillet. Here are a few of our cast iron favourites:
Do you have a cast iron pan you love or any helpful care tips? Let us know your favourite options in the comments below.
This article has been updated since its original publication.
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