The 9 Best Cast Iron Skillets
Cast Iron Skillets
Our Picks in Detail
If you have any questions regarding an item, please refer to our comments section for this article.
* Last update of prices was on 2019-01-20 10:07:03 via PA API. Prices or conditions may have changed in the meantime.
9 Best Cast Iron Skillet Alternatives
Cast Iron Skillet Buying Guide
While they may seem antiquated and high maintenance, cast iron skillets are making a comeback due to their durability and cooking flexibility. In fact, many people are pleased to discover that these pans are hardy enough to withstand the years and aid future generations in their cooking. To help you choose the right one for your home, we’ve put together this handy buying guide.
Skillet Size and Weight
Skillets come in a variety of sizes that range from small 3.5-inch skillets to large 20-inch pans. Choose yours based on how many people you cook for regularly. Also, consider the kinds of dishes that you prefer to make. A good starter skillet is one that measures 10 inches to 12 inches. This size serves the needs of most two to five person families. To avoid overwhelming the pan, you may need to cook some dishes in batches, but most of the time, a pan this size will be big enough for your needs.
Keep in mind that bigger skillets weigh more. A 20-inch pan might seem like the perfect size until you attempt to pick it up. A skillet this size will weigh about 23 pounds without food in it, which is quite a bit of weight for your hands and wrists to manage. Before investing in a large skillet, make sure that you can lift it out of the oven.
Should You Buy an Unseasoned or a Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet?
Cast iron skillets are a cookery item that require a little extra effort. For instance, when you first get one, you’ll need to make sure it’s properly seasoned. With cast iron, the seasoning is done on the outside. If you buy an unseasoned pan, apply a thin coating of fat to its exterior. With time, the fat layer cooks into the skillet, eventually becoming a nonstick surface that’s free of chemicals.
Companies that sell cast iron skillets usually have pre-seasoned ones available. To pre-season a pan, manufacturers apply a type of oil and heat it before sending it to you. The factory seasoning is equal to about 10 to 15 applications of the at-home kind. If you’re in a hurry to use your new cast iron skillet and want to avoid sticking, get a pre-seasoned one.
Skillets to Consider
Because this is a cookery item that will last for years, consider investing in a quality item. Top cast iron skillet brands include:
- Le Creuset
- Universal Housewares
Le Creuset 11.75-Inch Skillet
Le Creuset is a quality brand, one that frequently winds up on wedding registries. The 11.75-inch skillet is a tasteful and practical kitchen addition. Built for even heat distribution, the cast iron skillet made by Le Creuset also resists wear, dulling and staining.
To reduce weight, the manufacturer formed the pan with a loop handle. With this pan, you'll have almost 12 inches of cooking space with less weight than other skillets offer, making the pan easier for your hands and wrists to manage. The handle also gives you a secure grip when you’re grasping it with a handle cover or oven mitts.
Le Creuset sells this cast iron skillet pre-seasoned, so you can cook with it as soon as you receive it. This skillet made our top selection because it is easy to clean. Unlike most cast iron skillets, this one is dishwasher safe. Because the pan comes in cherry red, Caribbean blue and hibiscus as well as traditional white, it’s one that you can easily match to your other kitchen cookware.
Universal Housewares Three Piece Skillet Set
With this set, you’ll receive a 6.25-, 7.8- and 10-inch skillet, practically ensuring that you’ll have the right size regardless of the dish that you plan to make. Three pans make it possible to cook several dishes at once. In fact, this set may allow you to decrease your current pan set down to just these three skillets. The Universal Housewares set is durable enough for you to use every day, and if you clean them when they’re still warm, you can do so easily.
The 10-inch size is ideal for dinner recipes and large meals while the smaller pans are best for breakfast items like omelets and pancakes. This is a good set for a cabin or an RV. However, they are unlikely to last through several generations.
Universal Housewares is a highly respected manufacturer, so you can trust the quality of its cookware. These three pans are pre-seasoned with vegetable oil and heated to a high temperature to seal in the protective layer, giving you a surface that’s durable and non-stick.
Utopia Kitchen 12.5-Inch Cast Iron Skillet
Affordable and professionally crafted, the Utopia cast iron skillet can go from your oven to your stove and even a campfire. It keeps your food heated throughout every meal, and it is pre-seasoned for immediate use. Utopia seasons its pans with a soy-based oil. The company then heats the skillet to a high temperature to create the non-stick surface.
If you’re searching for your first cast iron skillet, then this is a good starter pan. Utopia includes detailed care and seasoning instructions with its skillets. The company even provides details about how to manage rust if it should form on your pan.
You can use your Utopia cast iron skillet on electric, induction and gas stoves as well as on ceramic glass top stoves. Be cautious with your pan when you’re using it on stovetops because it weighs more than pans made with other materials, so the weight of this one could cause scratching or damage to your stove if you slide it along the surface. Utopia’s 12.25-inch cast iron skillet weighs 8 pounds.
Lodge 12-Inch Cast Iron Pan
The Lodge cast iron skillet features a reasonable price while offering plenty of flexibility. You can use it for oven, campfire, stove and grill cooking. It is durable and pre-seasoned. To improve the cooking surface, you can always add your own seasoning. This step just makes it better. A lid is available with the Lodge skillet, and because it measures 12 inches, it offers a large cooking surface. The skillet is made in America, and it comes with sloped sides. This feature makes cooking easy since you can move a cooking utensil around the food with limited interference.
T-Fal 12.5-Inch Cast Iron Skillet
With its 12.5-inch size, the T-Fal cast iron skillet is a good choice if your family has from four to six members in it. The skillet’s handle is longer on this pan than it is on others, increasing its safety. In addition, the handle’s shape and detailing ensures that you'll be able to gain a firm grip. T-Fal included a keyhole in the handle for better weight distribution. This feature also gives you a more secure grip.
With two small spouts, the T-Fal skillet offers controlled pouring. When you’re cooking with hot grease, it’s safer to pour the liquid off. By doing so, you’ll decrease spattering. Like the other cast iron skillets on our list, this one is pre-seasoned. It can also safely reach temperatures that are as high as 600 degrees Fahrenheit. The T-Fal skillet is free of PFOA and cadmium.
Use the T-Fal skillet on your stovetop, grill or even your fire pit. It holds heat especially well, so you can keep food warm during your meal, which is a nice feature if your family tends to enjoy seconds.
Cookware to Last
By investing in a cast iron skillet, you’ll have a cookware item that will be usable for years. In fact, if you buy one manufactured for longevity, then your grandchildren could wind up cooking their favorite dishes in it. With cast iron, you’ll not only have a piece that will last, but you will also have a pan that offers flexibility and easy maintenance.
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