Best cast iron skillet

The best cast iron skillet and griddle review 2017

Looking for the best cast iron skillet but not sure what to get?

If you are looking for cookware that offers value for money, long lasting and robust use then you are in the right place.

A good iron skillet will make a wonderful addition to any kitchen. They are the toughest cookware that you will use and with the right care will most likely outlast you.

For this reason, it is very important that you make sure that you get the right cast iron skillet to suit your cooking style and kitchen.

As with most cookware, not all cast iron is made equal…

Reasons for looking into buying cast iron.

  • Cast iron Lasts and lasts.
  • For the price you pay for cast iron skillets, they really deliver great performance and value for money.
  • If used and maintained properly it is nonstick and you can cook pretty much cook anything on them.
  • They are brilliant for cooking things like steaks where a high temperature is needed for searing the surface.
  • The thick cast iron ensures that there is an even and long lasting transfer of heat
  • For the time that they last they are awesome value for money – even for the most expensive ones
  • They Just look cool.

The advantages of cooking with cast iron

  • The main reason people love cast iron is because it is chemical free. Some just can’t get with modern day non-stick even if they make life easier, it’s not worth getting sick.
  • Iron dishes are nearly indestructible and weigh a ton so they can take more trauma. There is no need to limit the type of utensils you use because cast iron won’t peel like non-stick. Even the best non-stick skillet will chip after a while.
  • Cast iron holds heat correctly so there is no need to worry about food being overcooked in certain spots.
  • They can stand high heat, unlike other cookware.

What can you do with cast iron?

    • You can use cast iron pans for everything, they are great for frying and you can even make pizza in them.
    • Contrary to some of the dribble that you read online about cast iron, you n can wash them with soap, it’s not going to remove the seasoning.
    • They totally oven proof and they will not lose their nonstick coating if you heat them too much.
    • There are people that just use cast iron because they love it so much
    • Whatever you want to cook, you can pretty much do it with cast iron

You can pretty much use any utensil in to cook with

  • You can even take them camping and use them on a fire.


What can’t you do with cast iron?

There are some foods that are very acidic and this can have an effect on the seasoning. This will not damage the cast iron just remove the seasoning if anything.

You can not leave them with water on them or in a damp place as this will invite rust. Again this is not the end of the pan, just will need to be cleaned and re-seasoned.

The disadvantages of cooking with cast iron

  • Cast iron is heavy, very heavy
  • They can be heavy for people that have weak wrists
  • They might be ideal for glass or ceramic topped stoves as they may crack the glass is dropped. This is the same with most pots and pans but more so with cast iron.
  • Cast iron is very brittle.
  • Cast iron does not buckle, it cracks or shatters on occasion. To be fair if you are putting very hot pans of any sort into cold water you are asking for trouble
  • You are required to do some maintenance when using cast iron. They will need to be stored properly and cleaned, dried and oiled after every use.
  • Cast iron is unforgiving on fools, hot handles need to be treated with respect, pick up one with the incorrect protection will leave you with blisters and possibly food on the floor

While none of these are a big deal it is something that will you will need to be taken into account when you are using them.

Features to look for when choosing good cast iron pan

Here are some of the features that you should be looking for when you are looking to buy your cast iron skillet or Griddle:

  • The size of the pan – Make sure the one that you want is the right size, too big can be too heavy and too small, well you can’t cook in it. The Skillet should have enough surface area so that you don’t crowd the food. If you are cooking steaks on it you don’t want them to be squashed.
  • A good thick bottom – This will help ensure a good spread and release of heat.
  • Comfortable well-designed handles – They are heavy so a good handle will go a long way. Don’t forget they also very hot so you want something that you can easily hold with oven gloves.

Skillet vs Griddle : what is the difference?

A skillet is usually round and has sides that come out at an angle. The sides are also usually a lot thinner than the diameter of the cookware. Skillets are also known as pans or frying pans.

Griddles are usually square in shape and flat. Some have a small lip to keep juices and oils etc on. They are often much larger than skillets and may have a flat base or a ridge base.

Many people prefer the ridged base as this is great for cooking and searing meat as it does not sit in the water that comes off rather on the ridges which then give it that grilled look

Myths surrounding cast iron

There are a number of myths about using cast iron that need to be dispelled as they not true and not serve anyone when making an informed decision when buying cast iron cookware:

  • #1 You can’t use soap to wash cast iron – Please ignore this, you can and you should when the pan is dirty. You don’t have to wash it every time but if it is dirty then do so.
  • #2 You can soak a skillet in water – This one is actually more damaging than soap. Water makes the iron oxidizes and forms rust if you have food that is burned on there try using salt to loosen it up.
  • #3 Seasoning a pan is a lot of hard work – There are times when you will have to follow a process to do this but for the most part it is just a case of heating the pan on the stove so that it is very hot and all of the water has evaporated off and then rubbing the whole pan down with oil on something like a paper towel.
  • #4 Cooking with cast iron will give you your daily amount of iron – This is not true, it will give you some but do not rely on this, if you need iron get it some other way through diet or supplements.
  • #5 Cast iron is ruined if it rusts – This is not true at all, it just needs a little bit if cleaning with a wire brush or something and to be re-seasoned and you are good to go.Cast iron is tough and durable, it will most likely outlast anything else you have. It has a few weakness such as being brittle but it other than that you can pretty much expect it to weather metal utensils and the occasion scrub with steel wool or bout of rust. In short, they are something that you want in your kitchen, you will get amazing value from them.

What cast iron skillet brands should you be looking at?

Lodge cast iron skillets are one of the more popular one on the market at the moment, they make a range of them (we have a number of them reviewed in this article.) they are American made and are good quality.

Le Creuset is also good but this is quite an expensive option and many of their products have an enamel coating, we have only looked at traditional ones here as there are just too many to include these too.

Other cookware brands also dabble with cast iron but cast iron is not their main focus, they may still produce good cookware so look around, there is Calphalon, Simple Che and Utopian Kitchen to name a few.

Recommended:Our best cast iron Skillet reviews

lodge cast iron skillet reviews

Lodge L8SK3 Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Skillet, 10.25-inch review

This is the number #1 Best Seller skillet
This is a great little 10.25-inch skillet made by Lodge. Again this has a pleasing design and is practical as well coming with two handles for easy handling. Be sure to check out the other sizes that come with this model. There is one there for everyone and with over 9000 happy reviews at the time of writing this.

What we like

  • This comes pre-seasoned so is ready for use.
  • Comes with two handles for easy handling. This will be needed for the bigger pans.
  • Has a range from 6.25 to 17 inches.
  • Made in USA.
  • Looks cool 🙂

What we don’t like

  • You might have to redo the seasoning as sometimes they don’t have the greatest seasoning when bought

Is it worth the money?

What can I say, well priced and lasts maybe longer than you – bargain! A cooking pan and a family heirloom all in one.

Our Rating: 

Lodge L10SK3 Pre-Seasoned Skillet, 12-Inch review

This is a great Skillet from Lodge. It comes ready to use and has a good design that is pleasing to the eye and practical. They come in a range of sizes so be sure to check those out to make sure you get the right size for you.

What we like

  • This is pre-seasoned so is ready for use.
  • Comes with two handles for easy handling.
  • Has a 12-inch base.
  • Is lodge which = excellent quality.
  • Have a range from 6.25 to 15-inch skillets.
  • Made in the USA.
  • Looks cool 🙂

What we don’t like

  • Some people find that the seasoning that it comes with needs to be improved on. To be fair the non stick seasoning will always get better over time with the correct care.

Is it worth the money?

This pan really offers great value for money.

Our Rating: 

Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet (12.5 inch) by Utopia Kitchen review

This is a good little skillet that will give you a lot of use and is reasonably priced at the time of writing this. It has been pre-seasoned so is ready for use when you receive it. This is a good starter if you are looking to start using cast iron pans

What we like

  • This is a great little skillet and it comes in at a decent price as well.
  • It is Is oven safe.
  • Comes with a second handle for easier handling.
  • Has a 12.5-inch base.

What we don’t like

  • Made in China
  • Not the smoothest finish

Is it worth the money?

This is definitely worth the money.

Our Rating: 

Lodge Pre-seasoned Cast-Iron Skillet L10SK3ASHH41B, 12-Inch review

This is another great skillet from our friends at Lodge. This comes with a silicon handle to help you when you need to handle when hot. All of lodge’s cast iron pans are made in sand molds and so have that slightly rough finish that comes with cast iron. It is the seasoning that smooths this out and makes it non-stick.

What we like

  • This comes pre-seasoned so is ready for use.
  • Comes with two handles for easy handling. This will be needed for the bigger pans.
  • Has a range from8 to 13 inches.
  • Made in USA.
  • Comes with a heat proof silicone handle ( please test this to make sure i don’t want you burning yourself).
  • Can be used on induction cooktops

What we don’t like

  • There is nothing really not to like about this, maybe as with most pre-seasoned cast iron the initial seasoning is not great.

Is it worth the money?

This pan really offers great value for money and will be long lasting – what more can you ask for?

Our Rating: 
Buy Now from Amazon

Lodge L10CF3 5 Quart Cast Iron covered deep skillet review

This is a little bigger and comes in a 3 qt or 5 qt. This is a little different from the tradition skillets and has higher sides and a lid so can be used for a bigger range of cooking. Use this for all the traditional skillet uses plus you can casserole or make stews. It is kind of like a dutch oven and skillet combined into one.

What we like

  • It comes pre-seasoned and ready to use.
  • 3q or 5q skillet with a self-basting lid to help preserve the moisture while cooking.
  • Is 3.25 inch deep for the 5qt.
  • Made in the USA.
  • Can be used for almost anything.
  • Comes with a helper handle to make handling easier.
  • You can use the lid on other 12 inch cast iron skillets if you have.

What we don’t like

  • There is nothing really not to like about this, maybe as with most pre-seasoned cast iron, the initial seasoning is not great.

Is it worth the money?

This pan really offers great value for money and will be long lasting – what more can you ask for?

Our Rating: 
Buy Now from Amazon

Best Cast iron Grill Pan

Best Grill Pan

Lodge L8SGP3 Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Square Grill Pan, 10.5-inch review

This is the #1 Best Seller Grill Pan

There is a lot to like about this grill. These are the perfect pan for cooking steaks or anything where you don’t want too much fat or liquids building up as the grill drains it all away. When you cook the steak, chicken or veg you get those cool grill marks on it. You can use this anywhere.

What we like

  • Comes pre-seasoned and ready for you.
  • Perfect for steaks and frying meat.
  • Drains away fat while you are cooking for a healthy option.
  • Can use this on the stove, campfires and even oven safe.
  • Made in the USA.
  • Comes with a helper handle.
  • Will look seriously cool in your kitchen 🙂
  • Robust.

What we don’t like

  • There is very little not to like about this.

Is it worth the money?

More than worth it in our opinion. We have also looked at some of the accessories that you might consider getting that we think are useful.
Check out our accessories section to see what we think are useful additions.

Our Rating: 
Buy Now from Amazon

3 Piece skillet sets

Best Cast iron Skillets 3 piece sets

Simple Chef Cast Iron Skillet 3-Piece Set Pre-Seasoned Pan Cookware Set – 10″, 8″, 6″ pans review

This is a great set and will do well in any kitchen. The three sizes are 10 inches, 8 inches, and 6 inches so you have a lot of choice and versatility. These are good heavy duty skillets that come pre-seasoned and will just last for ages if looked after.

What we like

  • Three piece set gives greater choice and versatility.
  • Comes pre-seasoned.
  • This a good brand for cast iron.
  • Can use these pretty much anywhere – stove top. Oven and even camping.

What we don’t like

  • There is nothing really to not like about this set, maybe the fact that they don’t come with helper handles?

Is it worth the money?

Really for what you are paying, this is a great buy and a very good investment.

Check out our accessories section to see what we think are useful additions.

Our Rating: 
Buy Now from Amazon

Universal Housewares Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron 3 Piece Skillet Set

This is a great three piece set that comes with a 10-inch, 7.8-inch and a 6.25-inch pan. it also comes pre-seasoned which is handy.

What we like

  • Three piece set gives greater choice and versatility.
  • Comes pre-seasoned.
  • Universal is an old and trusted name in cast iron cookware.
  • Can use these pretty much anywhere – stove top. Oven and even camping.

What we don’t like

  • Like a lot of these the pre-seasoning is not that great you will have to build on what is there.

Is it worth the money?

The set is very reasonably priced and will make a great addition to the home – very practical and well worth the money.
Check out our accessories section to see what we think are useful additions.

Our Rating: 
Buy Now from Amazon

best cast iron griddles

Recommended: Our choices for the best cast iron Griddle

Lodge Cast-Iron Reversible Grill/Griddle, 20-Inch x 10.44-Inch review

This is our most recommended cast iron griddle. It is one of the most popular in terms of the number of good reviews we have seen
It is reversible coming with a smooth side as well as a grill side and will fit easily over two burners or even a camp fire.

What we like

  • Brilliantly versatile, can be used at home or while camping
  • Comes pre-seasoned so ready to use.
  • Measures in at 19.25 inches long and 8.5 inches wide.
  • Smooth side comes with a slight slope and a grease gutter so that the fat and oils can drain off.
  • Made in America. 🙂
  • Can make a whole meal all at the same time on this.

What we don’t like

  • There is really nothing that we don’t like about this. A point to note that it may not be compatible with some induction cooktops

Is it worth the money?

It is such a practical item to have in the house and we think that this is very much worth the money.

Our Rating: 

Cooking with cast iron

Making a meal using an iron skillet isn’t the same as when you’re using non-stick cookware; it may take some getting used to. Here are a few things you should be aware of before making your first meal in cast iron, they could make or break your experience:

  • your list item
  • Cast iron will not get hot as fast as other cookware so be patient. Once it acquires heat it will hold it and most likely heat very evenly.
  • To test the heat of your skillet try sprinkling water on its surface. Your skillet will be ready when your water droplets bead up and roll around in the pan. If the water droplets disappear, your dish is too hot.
  • Try to purchase a skillet that is pre-seasoned, if you don’t food may stick to your cookware it will become more susceptible to rust.
  • Use vegetable oil or shortening when cooking.
  • Always preheat your pan before placing food into it.
  • Some things may appear darker than normal after cooking, this is only because the iron leaches out, don’t worry you need iron to survive!
  • Never use cast iron to boil water it could cause the cookware to rust.
  • You can use cast iron to bake if needed.

How to clean rusted cast iron

Castiron-skillets a little rusted

Though cast iron is excellent for making delicious meals for your family, it can be very sensitive. As you may already know, when iron is exposed to moisture it could rust; this holds true with cast iron cookware. If your skillet starts to rust, don’t cook with it as the rust will spoil the taste of your food. Unlike most cookware iron can be salvaged as long as the rust only occurs on the surface. Those with pots and pans that are covered in rust should throw them in the dumpster, they aren’t even thrift store worthy. Do you want to save a little money? Here is a do-it-yourself project that will help refurbish your rusted skillet. Gather your materials, you’ll need:

  • Steel wool
  • A scrubbing brush/sponge
  • Dish soap
  • Paper towels
  • Vegetable oil
  • Aluminum foil

  • First, you’ll want to remove all of the rust from your dish. Those who have a tremendous amount, have the option to take it to a professional to get it sandblasted to skip this step altogether. If you want to scrub the rust yourself, take a piece of steel wool and scrub like your life depends on it! If your piece is salvageable, you’ll begin to see cast iron reappear. The most efficient way to remove the rust is to manipulate the steel wool in circular motions as you would if you were waxing a car.
  • Next, wash your skillet. You must make sure all of the rust is gone before continuing. Use warm water and a mild dish soap like Dawn. If there are a few spots of rust leftover, you are welcome to use a bristle brush for reinforcement. Mesh sponges are also excellent tools for removing rust from your pan.
  • Immediately after you’ve finished washing your dish, grab some paper towels and dry it thoroughly. You want to be sure you absorb all of the water so that you don’t create new rust. Only use clean towels to do this, you don’t want to contaminate your piece!
  • Now grab your vegetable oil and coat the entire pan, this includes the handle and bottom surface. You don’t want to use too much oil because it could create a sticky film that is almost impossible to remove!
  • Open the oven and place a few pieces of foil on the bottom so you catch any dripping oil. Then, heat your stove to 350 degrees.
  • Place your skillet upside down on your top rack and let it marinade for about an hour.
  • Once the time has elapsed let your cast iron cool, and then it will be ready to perform!