Way before we got to use nonstick cookware, our parents and grandparents relied on cast iron skillets in cooking different dishes. Cast-iron skillets, in particular, were known for their superior heat retention making them very suited for searing and shallow frying.
Cast iron cookware such as cauldrons, skillets, and pans has been used in cooking for more than two thousand years. Europeans cooked their meals using cast iron pots and pans in the hearth until the introduction of the kitchen stove sometime in the 19th century.
For a time, cast iron cookware was overshadowed by Teflon and other non-stick cookware like omelet pans. But many homemakers now realize that there’s a reason why these old school cooking vessels have lasted this long—they’re very durable and unlike re ular pans, allow cooking at much higher temperatures.
Cast iron skillets, for one, are in demand again. Manufacturers have tweaked the designs of this kind of cookware, particularly the shape and handle, to match up well to lightweight pots and pans.
**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
Advantages of cast iron skillets
Sure, you may know that cast iron skillets are durable and can last a lifetime. But aside from its unparalleled durability, there are three other good reasons why you should invest in a cast iron skillet:
- It’s a great alternative to nonstick pans. And when I say great, I mean that you are practically avoiding consuming all those harmful chemicals found in nonstick pans. If you haven’t heard, the repellent coating responsible for preventing food from sticking to pots and pans have perfluorocarbon (PFC) chemicals that have been linked to cancer and liver damage.
- Using cast iron skillets mean you don’t need a lot of oil. Unless you’ve been living a rock, you probably know that seasoning cast iron is the only way to make the vessel virtually non-stick. Another bonus of seasoning cast iron skillets is that you won’t be needing lots of oil when cooking – whether you are searing chicken or browning crispy potatoes.
- Cast iron can fortify your food with the mineral iron. Finally, using cast iron skillets can fortify your food with iron. This mineral is something many people are lacking, which can cause dizziness, migraine, restless leg syndrome, among other symptoms. Cooking acidic food in a cast iron skillet may improve your iron intake by as much as 20 percent.
- It can adapt to various cooking types. You can use cast iron skillets in a wide range of cooking methods, from roasting, grilling, sautéing, broiling and shallow frying. You can also use them for poaching and boiling. You can also use them in steaming, so there’s no need to invest in a steamer. Cast iron skillets are so versatile you’ll get your money’s worth with them!
- Maintenance is as easy as A-B-C. Finally, cast iron skillets can last a long time because they’re pretty tough. Maintenance is also pretty easy. Normal scrubs and soap should be enough to remove food residue.
Factors to consider in shopping for a cast iron skillet
In choosing a cast iron skillet, you should consider the weight. Yes, cast iron skillets are notoriously heavier compared to their newer counterparts. As such, a one or two-pound difference may affect your buying decision when made to choose between two skillets of equal size.
You must also consider the number of and the length of the handle. I suggest you get a skillet with dual handles. This can help you in lifting the skillet. The handle should not only be long but also sturdily made.
Top 5 Best Cast Iron Skillets Available On The Market Today
#1. Lodge Cast Iron Skillet
This 10.25-inch cast iron skillet is from Lodge, a name that has been around for quite some time. Lodge has been in the cookware industry since the turn of the 20th century. It’s a brand that your grandparents and great grandparents have trusted during their time. Lodge cookware is known to be sturdy and well made.
This cast iron skillet is no exception. It is very well made that you can be assured it will last a long time. It is also big enough to cook 3-4 eggs or one large T-bone steak at a time.
Sure, it is quite heavy, but that’s something that is to be expected from a cast iron skillet. However, it does have two handles so lifting it should be a bit easier. There are also two subtle lips designed for pouring.
- Comes from a very reputable brand known for high-quality cookware
- With two handles for easier lifting
- Two lips for easy pouring
- Large enough to cook one T-bone steak at a time
- It is so heavy that you’ll need two hands to move it
- Has limited seasoning instructions
#2. Utopia Kitchen Pre Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet
This skillet measures 17 inches long, 12.5 inches wide and 2.3 inches deep. With a width of 12.5 inches, this skillet has enough room for cooking different foods. I can cook three grilled cheese and one whole chicken in it.
As you would expect from a large cookware like this one, it is quite heavy at 8 pounds. While it is heavy, the unit does have two handles. There’s a shorter handle opposite the long handle to help users in lifting it.
This cast iron skillet is ready for use right out of the box. There’s no initial seasoning needed thus you can cook your favorite meals right away using this skillet. However, the manufacturer recommends that the cast iron is seasoned from time to time to maintain its long life.
- Wide enough to cook many food items in one sitting
- It has two handles for easier lifting
- No need for initial seasoning
- It is easy to clean
- Heavy at 8 pounds
- While there are seasoning instructions included in the unit, it is not clear to most users
#3. T-fal E83407 Pre-Seasoned Nonstick Durable Cast Iron Skillet, 12 inches
This cast iron skillet is slightly heavier than the preceding item. It is 12 inches wide, but it weighs 9 pounds. The one pound difference may not be that significant, but it can be a deal maker for some seniors.
Despite the heft of this cast iron skillet, it’s one durable and sturdy cookware. I’ve had the opportunity to use this once, and I tell you that it can cook everything evenly. I also like the thermal red dot located in the center that indicates that the right cooking temperature has been achieved.
It may also be large, but this skillet can also be used on a stove or an oven. And because it is pre-seasoned, this skillet is ready for use right out of the box.
- It is ready for use right out of the box
- It is durable
- It can cook food evenly
- Thermal red dot indicates right cooking temperature
- Very heavy at 9 pounds
- The handle may be long, but it is not fully cast
#4. Simple Chef Cast Iron Skillet 3-Piece Set
This three-piece set features cast irons of varying sizes—10 inches, 8 inches and 6 inches wide. All the skillets are pre-seasoned which means you can use them right away.
Because this set features skillets of different sizes, you can practically choose a skillet that’s appropriately sized for whatever cooking you have in mind. For example, you can use the smallest skillet in scrambling eggs in the morning. I believe it can handle two eggs at a time. The largest one, on the other hand, can be used in cooking cornbread.
All skillets are well made and should last for a long time. The handle of the largest skillet is approximately 4 inches long while those of the other units are about 3.5 inches. I find the length of the handles good enough although a common complaint is that they tend to get hot rather easily.
- This set features three skillets of different sizes
- You can choose a skillet according to your cooking needs
- The skillets are well made and durable
- The handles of the skillets are quite long
- The handles of the skillets tends to get hot easily
- Can easily get rusty
#5. Lodge LCC3 Cast Iron Combo Cooker
As I have mentioned earlier, Lodge is a reputable brand, and its proud heritage is once again in a display with this pan set.
This pan set features a 10.25-inch shallow skillet plus a 3.2 quartz Dutch oven. The skillet gets a lot of rave reviews for being able to retain heat in the food for an extended period without transferring the heat to the handle. It is also very versatile. You can use them on a stove or pop in the oven. It has a very vintage and old world charm that adds to its appeal.
The Dutch oven, on the other hand, is deep and wide enough for roasting one whole chicken.
The two skillets are pre-seasoned, so you can use them right away.
- Set features a 10.2-inch shallow skillet and a 3.2 qt. Dutch oven
- Both skillets can retain heat very well
- Dutch oven is spacious enough for cooking one whole chicken
- Both skillets are pre-seasoned, so you can use them right out of the box
- Both skillets are heavy
- Can easily rust even with minimal moisture
Before I end, let me state my favorite in this list. In my mind, the 10.25 inch Lodge Cast Iron Skillet is the best pick because it is big, sturdy and well designed. Sure, it is heavy, but that’s already a given. The presence of two handles should help in lifting this skillet.
How about you? What’s your favorite in this list? Sound off in the comments section below! Better yet, share this article with someone you know.