We Tested 22 Cast Iron Skillets – Here’s What We Found
When it comes to cooking, there’s nothing quite like a cast iron skillet. These kitchen classics are revered for their durability, heat retention, and ability to last for generations. With so many options on the market, we set out to test 22 of the most popular cast iron skillets, putting them through their paces in a variety of kitchen scenarios.
The Testing Criteria:
We subjected each skillet to the following tests:
1. Heat distribution: Ensuring even cooking across the surface of the pan
2. Heat retention: Measuring how long the skillet stays hot after lengthy cooking sessions
3. Seasoning: Evaluating the non-stick capabilities of each skillet’s surface
4. Handle comfort and maneuverability: Assessing ergonomics and ease of use in various kitchen settings
5. Cleaning and maintenance: Gauging how simple it was to clean and care for each skillet
After thorough testing, we were able to narrow down our top picks in four categories:
1. Best Overall: Lodge 12 Inch Cast Iron Skillet
With exceptional heat distribution, superb heat retention, and a comfortable handle for easy maneuverability, this American-made skillet impressed us on all fronts. Its pre-seasoned surface only improved with use, making it our top pick for best overall cast iron skillet.
2. Best Value: Victoria 10 Inch Cast Iron Skillet
Featuring impressive cooking performance at an affordable price point, the Victoria skillet demonstrated solid heat distribution and retention with a well-seasoned surface that made for easy food release. Its ergonomic handle made handling a breeze, securing its spot as our best value choice.
3. Best Enameled Cast Iron Skillet: Le Creuset 11-¾ Inch Signature Iron Handle Skillet
For those who prefer an enameled cast iron skillet, the Le Creuset shines in both functionality and design. Its smooth enameled surface delivered even heat distribution and food release, while the signature handle offered excellent balance and control during cooking.
4. Best Lightweight: Field Company No. 10 Cast Iron Skillet
Weighing significantly less than traditional cast iron skillets, the Field Company No. 10 still managed to provide remarkably even heat distribution and retention. Its smooth seasoning improved with use, making this a great option for those who prefer a more manageable weight.
Our quest to find the best cast iron skillet proved one thing – there is a perfect cast iron skillet for everyone, depending on personal preferences and cooking needs. From our best overall pick, Lodge 12 Inch Cast Iron Skillet, to the lightweight Field Company No. 10 Cast Iron Skillet, these kitchen staples demonstrated their value time and time again throughout our rigorous testing process. Happy cooking!