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We assembled a list of the best-cast iron skillets available, preferring highly durable items made from actual cast iron that should last you for years to come, with designs that evenly distribute and maintain heat. We also liked products that excelled both on the stovetop and inside of the oven, with the ability to retain and withstand the heat of a maxed-out broiler. We also made sure to populate the below list with a nice mix of different-sized pans to suit the needs of solo chefs or large families. Our best cookware guide can also provide you with a list of kitchen items that can enable you to have an enjoyable cooking experience.
Of the seven we put through rigorous testing, the Lodge L14SK3 15″ emerged as the best-cast iron skillet thanks to its lightweight, great versatility, and overall value, and features like silicone easy-grip handles didn’t hurt. The fact that two of our seven picks come from Lodge also speaks well of that company’s high standards. Keep reading to learn more about the Lodge L14SK3 15″ and the other models on this list.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: This cast iron skillet outperformed others when it came to searing, comes with a high-quality factory seasoning, and features easy-grip silicon-sleeved handles that are rated oven safe for up to 400 degrees. It’s affordable enough for consumers but performs well enough for a pro.
The Lodge arrives pre-seasoned at the foundry with soy-based vegetable oil, meaning it’s ready to use right out of the box, with a maximum cooking temperature of 500 degrees F. We found during testing that it holds heat well all the way up through its sides and maintains cooking temperatures perfectly after heating, and the two lips on either side for pouring makes it especially handy for dealing with sauces, roux, and the like with minimal mess.
While the factory seasoning is more than adequate, further seasoning will render the surface virtually nonstick, making it usable even for omelets and other dishes that cast iron normally can’t handle. We did, however, find the handle to be somewhat on the shorter side compared to other models on this list, so take that into consideration before you purchase. All in all, it’s a fantastic pan that’s also a great value, which is why it’s a perennial favorite of chefs and reviewers alike. For the rest of your kitchen needs, take a look at the best stainless steel cookware too.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: It excels on stovetops, grills, and in ovens of all kinds – including induction ovens. It’s a great cast-iron skillet for a novice or vet alike, but its lower price point and pre-seasoning make it an especially good choice for beginners.
Amazon’s foray into kitchen tools has yielded compelling results. The Amazon Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet 15″ is in many ways a very good copy of the Lodge L14SK3, with an almost identical gripping handle, lips for pouring liquids, a maximum cooking temperature of 500 degrees F, and a factory seasoning included.
Despite its high quality of build, this skillet’s cooking surface is noticeably rougher than the Lodge. This may be a turnoff to cooks using it infrequently, but with regular use and re-seasoning, any roughness will be eliminated eventually. Despite some of these imperfections, this pan will be added to your best cookware before you know it.
Award: BEST FOR DIETARY RESTRICTIONS
WHY WE LIKE IT: The skillets are manufactured in a practically zero-waste factory with commercial-grade recycled iron and are pre-seasoned with non-GMO Flaxseed oil, making it a great choice for health-conscious chefs.
The Victoria has long been a popular choice for a good reason- it’s a solidly and beautifully constructed skillet, pre-seasoned with 100% non-GMO, heart-healthy flaxseed oil, certified to adhere to some religious dietary restrictions, and has a maximum cooking temperature of 500 degrees F. It’s also made by a family-owned company with strong eco-credentials.
In terms of ergonomics, the Victoria features a 7″ long handle- an inch and a half longer than most- which greatly improves balance when moving it around a hectic kitchen and extra-wide pour lips on the sides, potentially reducing mess and mishap. If you can’t get enough kitchen equipment, grab an extra best nonstick pan while you’re at it.
Award: BEST FOR OMELETTES
WHY WE LIKE IT: An extremely pronounced curve could give it the edge in performing some tasks like egg dishes, including omelets, which most cast iron skillets aren’t purpose-built for.
A somewhat more bare bones offering than some, this skillet is slightly heavier than average and has a noticeably shorter main handle than average, which could make it harder to safely maneuver with. It comes pre-seasoned and has a maximum cooking temperature of 500 degrees F.
It does have one interesting feature which makes it stand out, however- where the cooking surface meets the sides, the curve is far more pronounced than average- which could give it an advantage with certain dishes not offered by other models, namely cooking egg dishes, which can be difficult with many cast iron pans unless they’ve been seasoned and regularly used for long periods of time. For a pan to make the perfect stir fry, consider the best nonstick frying ball too.
Award: BEST ON A BUDGET
WHY WE LIKE IT: Minor design tweaks in size and depth and a larger alternate side handle make it stand out on our list. This may be a good option as a backup or alternate to your main cast iron pan if you’re looking for something a little bigger than your main skillet but in the same general size range.
The Utopia Kitchen 12.5″ has a similar build quality to the Calphalon, but some design choices that distinguish it, including the 12.5″ diameter as opposed to the more typical 12″, a deeper cooking area than many in its range, and a large alternate side handle to aid maneuverability. It’s also a good performer in all tasks, especially liquid-heavy recipes, and has a maximum cooking temperature of 500 degrees F.
Like the Calphalon, it’s not the prettiest of the lot or of the highest build quality compared to our top two, but the minor tweaks in size and shape make it a good choice as an alternate or extra pan to keep in your cooking arsenal.
Award: BEST DISHWASHER SAFE
WHY WE LIKE IT: It’s pleasing to the eye, and it’s the only dishwasher-safe model on our list, a great feature for people who want a slightly lower-maintenance option that still performs well.
The Cuisinart CI22-24CR 10″ comes with a choice of three different attractive colored enamels, has a larger-than-average main handle, and most notably, is dishwasher safe- something no other pan in our list can boast. It has a maximum cooking temperature of 500 degrees F.
While the porcelain enamel won’t be damaged in the dishwasher, however, we found that it could chip easily if banged around carelessly during cooking. Additionally, the added enamel and dishwasher-safe capabilities give it a slightly higher price point than other models- closer to the cost of some 15″ models on our list, despite being a 12″ skillet.
Award: BEST FOR STEAKS
WHY WE LIKE IT: It’s got the build quality and performance we’re used to seeing from Lodge but it’s specialized for grilling meat- making it an additional must-have for some who may already have a conventional cast iron pan and want the best skillet for steaks.
Although it performs well for most uses, the Lodge L8SGP3ASHH41B’s grilling surface is purpose-built for grilling and slow-cooking, and it excels at that task. Like all of Lodge’s cast iron products, it comes with a high-quality foundry pre-seasoning that should, with further seasoning and use, render the pan virtually nonstick and has a maximum cooking temperature of 500 degrees F.
This is a great pan for slow-cooking and meat grilling, but buyers should be aware that the actual cooking surface is about 2″ smaller than 10″, which could be an issue for cooking whole fish, some whole poultry, and larger steaks.
Picking a cast iron pan from an incredibly oversaturated market can be a serious consumer headache, especially to the casual chef who’s looking to level up with their first purchase of one.
For the purposes of the list, we looked at high-rated but inexpensive models which were at least 10″ in size, could be used at a maximum safe temperature of no less than 450 degrees (few recipes would require higher temperatures in the average kitchen), and had a built-in handle.
Given the extra care that cast iron skillets require, we also kept our list to models that were easy to clean and came with some factory pre-seasoning for immediate use out of the box, though further seasoning is generally advised over the life of your skillet and can vastly improve its performance and nonstick capabilities.