10 Best

Cast Iron Pans

of December 2023

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A Guide to Selecting a Cast Iron Pan

Yehudah Posnick

If you’re looking for durable cookware that’s also good for cooking on the stovetop, in the oven, on a grill, or even on an open flame when camping, a cast iron pan can fit the bill. Besides frying, cast iron frying pans can be used to sear meat, poultry, or fish, as well as saute, broil, braise, and even bake!

But, there are still a few things to be aware of before selecting a cast iron pan. They tend to be thicker and heavier than what you might be used to when using aluminum or copper cookware. So, cast iron pans have features to make them easier to handle. If it’s bare cast iron, without any sort of enamel coating, it should also be seasoned with oil. And even if you buy a seasoned frying pan, you should take special care of it so as not to ruin the seasoning when washing it.

We’ll go through the features of some of the best cast iron pans on the market. You’ll see that they’ll make a useful addition to your kitchen!


What’s so special about cast iron cookware in general?

Cast iron pots have been used for cooking for 1400 years, if not more. They have advantages such as:

  • Even heat distribution: Cast iron cookware distributes the heat more evenly, and retains its heat for a long time. That means that the food will continue cooking, even if you have removed the pot or frying pan from the fire.

  • Works on all types of stovetops: Cast iron skillets can be used on gas or electric stovetops. And since it is magnetic, it can also be used on induction stovetops.

  • Deposits iron into your food: Usually metal cookware leaching into your food is undesirable. But, in the case of cast iron cookware, it could actually provide you with extra dietary iron!

  • Not just for frying: Cast iron cookware can withstand high temperatures, as high as 500 ℉. If the handle is also made of cast iron or some other suitable material, you may be able to cook with a cast iron skillet inside the oven, on a grill, or an open fire.

Why does a cast iron skillet need to be seasoned?

Many of the cast iron pans in the Best Reviews Guide list are already seasoned with vegetable oil. Seasoning involves applying a layer of oil to the surface of bare cast metal and then heating it. It will create a non-stick surface on the pan. This is preferable to typical non-stick cookware, which uses a Teflon coating to be non-stick because the Teflon coating tends to wear down over time. Cast iron, on the other hand, will retain its non-stick abilities as long as you keep it seasoned. Also, being practically non-stick already, a seasoned cast iron skillet won’t require a lot of additional oil when cooking.

Types of Cast Iron Pans

Looking at the Best Reviews Guide’s list of cast iron pans, we see a few different geometries:

  • Round pans: Most cast iron pans are round, such as the Fresh Australian Kitchen Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet. It has two pouring lips so that you can pour out a liquid from the skillet with ease, whether you’re right- or left-handed. It has a total capacity of 4 liters and is suitable for all types of stove tops, including induction stoves.

Fresh Australian Kitchen Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet

  • Square pans: The Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Enameled Cast Iron Square Grill Pan is square-shaped, and has a ridged surface, which gives your food distinctive grill marks, even if it was prepared in a frying pan. One disadvantage is that it doesn’t have a square lid, to prevent spattering, or to concentrate heat inside the pan while cooking.

Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Enameled Cast Iron Square Grill Pan

  • Octagonal pans: Finex makes a very unique 10” cast iron pan in an octagonal shape. This shape gives you the ability to pour from the skillet from a number of locations, whichever is the most convenient!

Finex 10” Cast Iron Pan

  • Enameled pans: There are cast iron pans with a black satin enamel coating on the inside, which improves the pan’s heat distribution and retention even more. It doesn’t require seasoning to become non-stick as cast iron usually does, and it develops a patina just with standard use. An example is the Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Iron Handle Skillet.

Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Iron Handle Skillet

  • Dutch ovens: “Dutch ovens”, despite the name, are actually deep, thick-walled pots that can be used for cooking inside an oven, on a stovetop, or on an open flame. They’re typically used for slow cooking. An example is the Lodge Cast Iron 5-Qt. Serving Pot. This item is quite unique because the lid itself can be used as a cast iron frying pan!

Lodge Cast Iron 5-Qt. Serving Pot

What reviewers say

Here are some customers’ impressions about the cast iron pan that they bought:

  • Deep pan: Customers noted that these cast iron pans can fit a lot of food because they are deep and have a wide bottom. You’ll typically find that they’re around 2 inches deep.

  • Cleaning an enamel cast iron pan: Customers say that cleaning a cast iron pan will be more work than a Teflon-coated pan. If you have an enamel-coated cast iron pan, it’s recommended that you boil some water in the pan after use. That should loosen up and food residue that has collected, so that you can clean it with a typical dishwashing sponge.

  • Cleaning a regular cast iron pan: Since you don’t want to ruin the pan’s seasoning, it’s recommended that you wash the pan after use either with mild soap or even without soap. Dry it with a paper towel or lint-free cloth right after washing, so that it doesn’t rust. Apply some vegetable oil to the surface, so that it retains its seasoning.

Important Features

Here are some features and options to look for when choosing a cast iron pan:

  • Two handles: One drawback of cast iron pans is that they tend to be heavy. If they’re also hot, that may make it hard to lift the pan. But most pans have another “helper handle” opposite the long handle. This makes it more manageable.

  • May need silicone pot holder: If your cast iron pan is made from a single piece, where the handle is also cast iron, it may get hot during use. The Lodge Cast Iron Skillet comes with a silicone hot handle holder that slips onto the handle when you want to move the pan. You should remove the silicone handle if you use the pan inside an oven.

Lodge Cast Iron Skillet

  • Restoring a rusty cast iron pan: If your cast iron pan ever becomes rusty, it can be restored.

    1. First, use an abrasive pad to scrape off any rust.

    2. Then wash it with soap and water, and dry it thoroughly.

    3. Apply a small amount of cooking oil to all sides of the pan.

    4. Place it in the oven with a sheet of aluminum foil underneath, to collect any excess oil.

    5. Bake it in an oven at 350 F for an hour.

    6. Let it cool in the oven, and the pan will be as good as new!

Final Verdict

We went over some of the best and most popular cast iron pans nowadays. A cast iron pan can be used for all types of cooking, whether it’s for preparing a steak or even baking a cake! And cast iron is tremendously durable. With proper care, it’s not uncommon for people to use them for decades, to the point where they can hand them down to their children! Look over the options, and select a cast iron pan today!

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