There’s a lot to love about cast iron skillets. They not only distribute the heat evenly but they’re also extremely durable. In fact, they’re so durable that many of these pans have lasted for generations if they’re treated with care and respect. Anyone who’s serious about their cookware should consider buying at least one of these pans for their kitchen.
Although these cast iron frying pans do require a little bit of extra care and have to be maintained on a regular basis, they are about as versatile as any other type of pan and can be used for making everything from pancakes to eggs to steaks. And there are quite a few cooks who won’t use any other type of skillet to make fried chicken. That’s why we’ve decided to investigate these pans and find the top ten models currently out there.
Best Cast Iron Skillets Of 2018
10Victoria SKL-212 Pre-Seasoned 12-Inch Round Pan
This pan has a number of features which makes it quite useful in both professional and amateur kitchens. It’s round and has a 12-inch size that gives the cook plenty of space to cook their favorite foods, regardless if its bacon and eggs, rib eye steaks or fried chicken. This model also has a pour spout that makes it easier to pour off excess fat and a long handle which gives the cook extra leverage and makes this heavy pan easier to move. And it’s sold already pre-seasoned with flaxseed oil so the buyer can spend less time preparing it for use and more time using it.
9Bruntmor Ultimate 2-In-1 Combo Cooker
This 2-in-1 combo cooker set has two of the more popular pans that people use in the kitchen today. It comes with a 3-quart cast-iron cooking pan that can be used either as a Dutch oven and also comes with a shallow skillet that can be used either as a lid for the Dutch oven or used as a frying pan in its own right. Both of these pans are made from high-quality cast-iron and should provide the cook with many years of use. Since the 3-quart has an enameled surface as well, it’s also 100% non-stick, so cleanup is always a breeze.
8Utopia Kitchen 12.5-Inch Pan & Handle Holder
The manufacturer of this skillet pan knows that holding on to the hot handle of a cast iron frypan while it’s in use can be difficult, which is why they’ve designed to include a silicone hot handle holder that allows the cook to hold onto and move the skillet after it’s been heated up on the burner. That isn’t the only exciting feature about this pan, however. It’s made from durable and quality cast-iron that distributes heats well and is extremely durable. All things considered, it’s a good pan for cooking everything from burgers to fish and should last a lifetime.
7Lodge H5SK Heat-Enhanced 8-Inch
While a lot of cast iron cookware is shipped already seasoned for the buyer’s convenience, few brands take the time to also heat-treat their products. Fortunately, this Lodge 8-inch skillet is not afraid to take the extra step of heat-treating their pans so that they have a nice surface that resists rust better than other cast iron products sold by other manufacturers. Its cast-iron construction is designed to heat slowly and evenly and has two pouring lips for draining excess fats. And when the cook is done with it, it’s easily cleaned up with soap and water.
6Lodge Logic Square Skillet
Manufactured in the U.S using individual sand molds and pre-seasoned with vegetable oil so that it has a beautiful black patina, this square cast iron pan is designed to be durable, useful and to last a lifetime. Because of its purposeful design and high-quality construction, this pan has heat retention that’s superior to some of the inferior pans on the market and allow for even cooking. Which means that just about anything can be made in this pan, including foods such as fried potatoes, slices of thick cut ham, steaks, and fried chicken.
5Lodge Seasoned 17-Inch Pan With 2 Loop Handles
This 17-inch Lodge skillet is just the right size to handle large family meals. It’s made from heavy-duty cast iron, so it can be used on top of the stove, in the oven or used on a camping fire and in each situation the cook can rest assured that it’s going to perform very well. Manufactured by Lodge, a company which has been making skillets in South Pittsburg, Tennessee for over 120-years, this product meets or exceeds many cooks expectations. This model has 2 loop handles and is a great skillet for roasting vegetables over a campfire or to saute onions.
4Lodge L10CF3 5-Quart Deep Skillet
This Lodge 5-quart cast iron deep-skillet has a large 12-inch diameter and is about 3.25-inches deep. This makes it useful for all different kinds of different food items and can be used with a variety of different cooking methods. It can be used to cook country-fried steaks, to saute onions or other vegetables or to put a sear on a nice thick hunk of beef. And it comes with a lid that allows the built up steam turn back into a liquid and baste the food being cooked. This product not only cooks food well, however. It also has a very stylish look that allows it to fit in with the decor of just about any kitchen.
3Lodge 12-Inch Frying Pan With Assist Handle
This 12-inch skillet is proudly made in the U.S from high-quality cast iron that’s been pretreated with a soy-based vegetable oil, so it has a beautiful and extremely durable patina. This pan not only has a large surface area that makes preparing large quantities of food a whole lot easier, but it also has two different handles which make it easier to handle. It has a standard panhandle, and it has a small assist handle which allows the cook to use both hands while moving the pan. All of which is quite useful since the pan itself weighs approximately 8-pounds.
2Lodge L10SK3ASH41B 12-Inch Pan
With a deep, rich black patina that’s a result of an intensive seasoning process done at the Lodge factory, this skillet is not only durable but beautiful as well. It’s made with a high-quality cast-iron that can be used on gas, electric or induction cooktops and can also be placed in the oven or right on the grill. This makes it the ideal pan to sear, saute, fry, grill, bake or broil and is great for cooking meats and veggies. And it can be easily hand washed and treated with oil for storage and comes with a silicone hot handle that protects the cook’s hand from temperatures up to 450-degrees.
1Lodge Seasoned 3-Skilled Bundle
Lodge understands that cast iron cooking gear isn’t inexpensive and that’s probably why they’ve decided to introduce this cookware set. It comes with three great frying pans, all at a price that is cheaper than if they were all bought individually. It comes with a 12-inch, a 10.25-inch an 8-inch skillet. And all of these skillets have been seasoned at the factory using 100% vegetable oil, so they have a beautiful patina and are ready to be immediately put to work. This pan set is the ideal cookware set for making entrees, sauces, and desserts, or to be given as a gift to that special someone.
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Buying Cast Iron Cooking Products
Some people never need to buy a cast iron dutch oven or skillet because they’ve received one as an heirloom from their parents or grandparents. Which actually says a lot about these pans. While Teflon frying pans will probably only last a few years, if the cook is lucky, a cast iron one can last for generations. I’ve seen people use cast iron products that were a hundred years old, and they were still going strong. That makes these pans not only cookware but also heirlooms that can be passed down to future generations.
Of course, not everyone is blessed with a pan that’s been passed down through the generations. Some of us actually need to purchase this cookware for our kitchen. Buying one of these pans isn’t as simple as just running out and buying the first one you see, however. There are a few things that need to be considered before buying. Below are a few things to think about.
Weight – One of the first things anyone should consider when buying a prospective skillet is its weight. Ideally, when purchasing one of these skillets, a cook is going to want to find one that’s a little on the heavy side. This will ensure a high-quality product that will hold a substantial amount of heat and ensure a more authentic cast iron cooking experience.
Handles – Another thing that needs to be considered is the handle of the skillet. You are going to want to buy a model that has a good strong handle to move the skillet around the grill. The size of the handle should be long enough to give you the leverage you need to move the pan from the stove to the handle. If the pan is especially large, an additional handle is also usually a good idea so the pan can be moved with two hands.
Cost – Cost can be another important thing to think about. As with any other product, there are expensive models and cheaper models available. In the past, the more expensive models were the desirable ones, but that is no longer the case. Companies such as Lodge have been making high-quality products that are also fairly inexpensive.
Taking Care of Cast Iron Kitchen Products
Skillets that are made from cast iron need to be properly prepared before they’re used and they have to be taken care of while they’re being used. That means taking the time to season the pan before it’s even used to ensure that perfect patina and then taking care of it in a way that ensures that surface remains intact.
When you receive your pan, you’re going to want to make sure that it’s properly seasoned. If it’s a pan that’s pre-seasoned by the company that manufactures it, then it’s pretty easy to prepare it for first use. All you have to do with a pre-seasoned pan is to rinse it out with water, dry it completely, and then coat it with oil. After that, all that has to be done is to put it on the stove over high heat. Do this two times and the pan is ready to go.
Seasoning Bare Cast Iron for the First Time
If your pan hasn’t been seasoned by the manufacturer, then you’re going to have to season it yourself. Don’t worry, this process isn’t complicated, but it does take a little bit of time. Here is the step-by-step procedure for seasoning a pan.
Wash the Pan – Get a 1/4-cup of kosher salt and pour it into the pan. Next, take a paper towel and use it to scrub the salt into the pan. The salt will scrub away any surface dust that is invisible to the naked eye. After a few moments of this, then wash the pan using hot water and dish soap. When finished, hand dry it with a towel and make sure it’s completely dry before proceeding to the next step.
Oil the Pan – The next thing that has to be done is to put a layer of oil or animal fat over every square inch of the pan, inside and out. It doesn’t matter if you use vegetable oil, corn oil, or lard, just make sure that it has a smooth, even layer of it all over.
Bake the Skillet – Set your oven to 450-degrees and let it warm up. Once it’s preheated, place the oiled skillet in it and let it sit in there for 30-minutes. While it’s baking it’s going to smoke, just make sure your home is ventilated and don’t panic. After the 30-minutes, the pan can be removed from the oven and placed on a suitable safe surface to cool.
Repeat – Once it has cooled, oil it again and place it in the oven again at 450-degrees for 30-minutes. Once this has been done a total of three or four times, the pan is now seasoned and ready to be used for the first time.
Keeping Cast Iron in Good Shape
Keeping the pan in tip-top shape is as important as it is seasoning it in the first place. This can be done by following the manufacturer’s instructions and the tips below.
- Washing It – After use, make sure that it’s washed out with soap and water and a soft sponge. Don’t use abrasives on it or steel wool pads on it either.
- Oiling It – Once it’s washed, be sure that it’s properly dried and a new layer of oil is added to it each time.
- Use Often – Make sure that the skillet is used on a regular basis. The longer it’s used, the thicker its patina will grow. This will result in an even better cooking surface over time.
- Avoid Acids – While occasionally using vinegar, wine or other acidic products won’t hurt the pan short-term, it can begin to corrode the surface over time.
As can be clearly seen, it’s not difficult to buy or take care of cast iron products. A little bit of thought and a little bit of time goes a long way with these products and results in a skillet that will stand the test of time.