Standing out from the crowd of round skillets, the Finex features an octagonal design with each corner able to act as a pour spout. | Height: 2 in. Don’t let that scare you off—a cast iron skillet can last a lifetime (or longer!) Cast iron can be a serious investment, so we had cookbook author David Joachim test these 10 skillets to help you select the best one for your kitchen. If you buy from a link, we may earn a commission. Your new everyday pan: smoother & lighter cast iron … And since that signature sear comes from a sizzling hot pan, a cast-iron skillet is the way to go. It’s the at-home work you do to turn a cast iron pan into an heirloom, and it’s as important for your cooking as the iron your pan is made from. —Renee Schettler Rossi, New York, New York | Diameter: 12 in. Popular Mechanics participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites. How to Season a New Cast Iron Pan. 2 Your kitchen deserves it. The skillet heated up relatively quickly and browned meat consistently. Whether you inherited vintage cast iron covered in rust or forgot to dry your skillet after washing, we'll show you a few simple steps that will restore your cookware to like-new condition. Apply a thin coat of vegetable oil, or vegetable shortening with a paper towel on all surfaces, inside and out. ... "Best cast iron skillet for the purist." Some premium manufacturers are even going back to time-tested manufacturing and polishing methods. Others need to be seasoned first to ensure foods don't stick to the surface. We tested a sample of skillets in our Test Kitchen using eggs and steak. It has a total diameter of 10 inches, but just eight inches of cooking surface, which was sticky despite feeling very smooth. | Handle length: 7.5 in. | Helper handle: 4 x 1.5 in. The other key to a delicious steak is heat. The Lodge 12 inch skillet will be your go-to skillet for years to come, and features an assist handle for easier handling. Don't plan on cooking anything else in the oven while you season the cast iron, since the process can be affected by steam created by cooking other food. It also manages to keep its prices lower relative to some of its high-minded competition. Bake for 1 hour. | Helper handle: 3 x 1 in. We also noticed some hotspots during our heat distribution tests, which resulted in slightly uneven, but still dark, searing. | dBa: 78.7 | Stickiness: 6 | Searing: 8 | Heat distribution: 6 | Pouring: 4. Made in the USA, the Smithey Ironware Company hand makes quality, premium cast iron cookware in Charleston, SC. Rust: Also known as ferric oxide, a toxic result of the oxidation of bare cast-iron; avoided by a layer of seasoning, but easily fixable.Smoke Point: The heat at which fats begins to break down and smoke; also the point you need to reach to properly season a pan. They’re cheap, rough to the touch and you don’t need to treat them preciously. With such a high heat capacity, you’ll have to ensure you regulate the temperature to avoid burning. $100 OFF (18%) + $75 worth of tools with purchase. Now I can make healthier foods for my family in my seasoned cast iron skillet. The trademark corners are absolutely ripe to wedge spatulas into to lift your hard work out of the pan. Cooking in a cast-iron skillet has a number of benefits, including lasting heat retention, non-stick properties when it's properly seasoned, and being able to withstand high temperatures and the oven. Where to start? Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Iron Handle Skillet, 10.25" (1-3/4 qt. Le Creuset lives up to its reputation as the maker of the finest French enameled cast-iron cookware. This new line of cast iron cookware from Lodge is clearly trying to capitalize on the renewed interest in vintage-style cast iron, especially now that the market has become crowded with startups attempting to revive the old cast iron standards of lighter weight and smoother surfaces. Weight: 8 lb. | dBa: 80.5 | Stickiness: 3 | Searing: 9 | Heat Distribution: 8 | Pouring: 9. | Helper handle: 4 x 1.25 in. Add a thin coat of more oil, but make sure the oil doesn’t pool anywhere — one teaspoon wiped across the entire cooking surface is just right for most pans. We may earn commission if you buy from a link. Experts Weigh In, This Might Be the Lightest Cast-Iron Skillet You Can Buy. Inspired by vintage cast iron, Smithey’s polished skillet performed the best overall in our testing. Using Your New Cast-Iron Skillet That being said, not all preseasoned pans are created equal. And since that signature sear comes from a sizzling hot pan, a cast-iron skillet is the way to go. In close competition with the Le Creuset, the Staub is another great enameled skillet made in France. | Height: 2.25 in. Place the pan upside down in the oven, heated to 500ºF, and bake for one hour. With the right skillet and skills, you can build up the seasoning on your new pan to rival those you’d find at the flea market. This builds up a nonstick coating, called the "seasoning," that keeps the skillet from rusting and creates the perfect surface for cooking everything from scrambled eggs to pancakes to cobblers. At 8 pounds, the no. Field Company’s cast iron is lighter, smoother and simpler than that of many new brands. It’s light and skips out on extra features in the name of simplicity. | Helper handle: 4 x 1.12 in. | Height: 2.5 in. The Ironclad Pan Company, an innovative new cookware brand producing the only New Zealand made 100% cast iron skillet, has seen a surge in demand in recent weeks. It's easy! Some activities may remove a bit of seasoning, such as cooking acidic foods, using excessive heat, or scrubbing with abrasive utensils or scouring pads. Excellent call. Choose from contactless Same Day Delivery, Drive Up and more. I purchased it, but never got around to using it, so it sat in the basement. When it comes out, you'll have a cast-iron skillet with a glistening surface that's non-stick, according to Rachael. Then, we seared four-ounce boneless strip steaks to monitor speed, evenness, and depth of browning. The surface is grainy, rough and coated in a black pre-seasoning. Your trusty cast-iron skillet will eventually lose its sheen and, as a result, its super non-stick powers. | Handle length: 5.5 in. From cast iron skillets to carbon steel pans and enameled Dutch ovens, choose Lodge. (However, if you only put down a thin layer of oil there shouldn’t be any.) For best results, rinse the pan with hot water immediately after cooking. Though it’s hard to place it as absolute best at any one thing, the Stargazer is a great blend of all buying factors. I am so happy I got a cast iron skillet. Congratulations on your purchase of a brand-new Cottage™ twelve-inch cast-iron skillet! Polishing is time-consuming and expensive, so most of today’s manufacturers leave the gritty texture from sand molds, so companies compensate by preseasoning to reduce stickiness. Then, immediately wipe the pan dry so it doesn’t rust, or dry it on low heat on the stovetop or in the oven. Bringing back its luster and protecting it from rusting is as easy as a scrub, oil, and bake. | Diameter: 12 in. | Handle Length: 7 in. So I whipped up this dish and recorded a video for myself and all of you. Beyond making flip-easy fried eggs (or flip-easy anything, for that matter), the surface makes cleaning that much easier, as everything cooked in it was a towel wipe away from clean. and is easy to maintain if you remember a few simple cleaning tips. The Kiwi founded business, which crafts cast iron skillets that are guaranteed to last a lifetime, can’t get its handmade Ironclad Pans out quickly enough and has had to triple its daily production rate. ... New unused cast iron skillet 12" $20.00. First Time Using a Cast Iron Skillet. To retain your seasoning, Joachim recommends avoiding acidic ingredients like vinegar, lemon juice, and tomatoes—though a quick deglaze with wine or vinegar is fine. Use a vegetable oil with a high smoking point like canola or sunflower oil, solid lard or vegetable shortening. Apple pie baked in a cast iron skillet is a real stunner. From the renowned Lodge name to the small-batch Stargazer brand, new high-quality cast iron still provides excellent nonstick surfaces that’ll only get better with use. It’s hard to justify spending about $300 on a skillet, but the Butter Pat’s performance just about warrants the hefty price. Unfortunately, the small helper handle doesn’t have a loop to assist with its weight, but it instead features three holes that signify the Smithey brand. Many cast-iron skillets are now sold pre-seasoned, but you should still know how to cure your skillet to keep it looking and cooking like new. Shipping and local meetup options available. Its 8-inch pan is big enough to fit four fried eggs or two New York strip steaks, but only weighs 4.5 pounds. This FINEX cast iron skillet is polished and machine-smoothed for the easiest release, which is precisely why it's ideal for the first-time cast iron owner. Your cast iron skillet may seem like a super tough, hardcore, durable kitchen workhorse, and it is, dear friend, it is. | Height: 2.25 in. 2. Lodge’s pans are the first a would-be cast iron nut gets into. Plus, the two-layer grapeseed oil pre-seasoning the skillets come with out-performed that of every other pan we tested. | dBa: 77.3 | Stickiness: 3 | Searing: 9 | Heat distribution: 5 | Pouring: 7. This hearty pan gets extremely hot and also retains heat for a long time, making it the perfect vessel for steak. When you clean it, avoid abrasive pads or cleaners like steel wool. You read through our cast iron skillet review, and decided it was time to buy yourself a new pan. SeaTac, WA. It’s slightly more expensive than a Classic Lodge skillet, but offers a longer, thinner, and curved handle. Compared to Smithey and other more expensive brands, Stargazer’s skillet is more balanced in terms of weight, heat conductivity, and heat distribution. There are no pour spouts, the front grip is very small, and the handle isn’t elevated or elongated in any way. It can be helpful to put a sheet of aluminum foil on the bottom rack to catch any drips. A cast-iron skillet isn't ideal for a set-aside-to-soak sort of person. This really only affects your ability to toss something your sautéing in the pan.Available sizes: 6-inch, 8-inch, 10-inch, 12-inch, Based in Owego, New York, Borough Furnace has its eye trained on unique skillets. The Finex excelled at searing, though like the Smithey, has a high heat capacity that you’ll need to watch to prevent burning. Our sole complaint — the handle tends to be a bit short on the largest size, making for an especially difficult time toting it around by the handle alone. | Helper handle: 3.75 x 2 in. So you’re the proud new owner of a cast iron skillet. Every time you cook with oil, you're potentially adding another layer to the seasoning.. Gear-obsessed editors choose every product we review. This “seasoning” is really just polymerized oil, created through the chemical process of monomer molecules forming polymer chains. Plus, you’ll get more satisfaction (and can save money) by doing it yourself. Our test results indicated that its shaved pounds may sacrifice a bit of evenness of heating. As-Cast: The result of skipping the milling and polishing process on the cooking surface; when a skillet’s cooking area is rough and sandpapery, it is as-cast. | dBa: 95.5 | Stickiness: 4 | Searing: 7 | Heat Distribution: 4 | Pouring: 5. | Handle Length: 6 in. | Diameter: 12 in. Welcome to the beauty of cast iron, the pan that gives back like no other. About a year ago I found a good deal on a Calphalon Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet. A quick internet search will reveal that just about everyone has a different opinion on how to season cast iron, but there’s actual science behind the right methodology. Lodge Cast Iron Skillet, Pre-Seasoned with Silicone Hot Handle Holder , 10.25 Inch Dia, Black/Red Silicone (L8SK3ASHH41B) 4.6 out of 5 stars 71,782 $27.10 $ 27 . How to Restore and Season a Rusty Cast Iron Skillet. That’s because the cast iron found in your grandmother’s kitchen or antique markets was likely hand-polished to create that coveted smooth surface. Your new everyday pan: smoother & lighter cast iron … Many experts—from Sheryl Canter to our tester David Joachim—advocate for the use of polyunsaturated oils, especially 100 percent flaxseed oil, because they contain double bonds with less hydrogen and more carbon components, allowing them to form larger polymers. Using paper circles in the pans, we observed burn patterns to evaluate heat distribution. Every product is carefully selected by our editors. This is not so in cast-iron. Sanding and Polishing - Cast Iron Skillet Cookware: First thing, this isn't a hard project. Pre-heat oven to 325°. Though cast iron has low thermal conductivity, meaning it doesn’t heat as evenly, it offers superior heat retention that makes it ideal for high-temperature cooking such as searing steak and caramelizing vegetables. In 2015 we set out to build a better skillet. | dBa: 82.7 | Stickiness: 9 | Searing: 9 | Heat distribution: 9 | Pouring: 9. | dBa: 85.5 | Stickiness: 7 | Searing: 8 | Heat Distribution: 7 | Pouring: 6. Here’s the step-by-step guide: 1. The coil around the handle helps keep it cool, though we found its diameter to be too large for a good grip. You’ll want to preheat your pan over high heat for 4-5 minutes, or until very hot. It’s probably not as slim and trim as others on this list. Whether you bought it new, scored it at a yard sale, or are finally getting your family’s heirloom skillet, there are a few things you need to know before you start cooking. This definitive guide explores everything you need to know about cast-iron cookware, including the best skillets for every type of cook. The Jabra Elite Active 85t are sports-focused headphones with noise-canceling technology and great sound quality for listening to music and taking calls. Compared to Smithey and other more expensive brands, Stargazer’s skillet … But don’t let low prices imply low performance — Lodge skillets are still heavy, heat-insulating cast iron, and they can certainly cook side-by-side with skillets ten and twenty times their cost. Sanding and Polishing - Cast Iron Skillet Cookware: First thing, this isn't a hard project. It doesn’t have pour spouts by design, so it won’t drip any grease into your campfire or grill. Along with solid performance, it has steady handling and a wide loop helper handle that can easily be used with an oven mitt. High-sloping walls with a unique and fairly dramatic lip around the edge mean you can toss veggies and home fries up and back down with little oil splash. | Helper handle: 2 x .75 in. The handle’s unique shape isn’t a very comfortable grip.Available sizes: 9-inch, 10.5-inch. It’s middle of the pack in weight, and it has a large square-angled front grip that is easy to get a hold of when you’re wearing an oven mitt. Every pan has its own quirks, but cast iron, in particular, has a reputation among home cooks for being high-maintenance. While each brand may have distinct care instructions, you can follow Joachim’s method of seasoning and tips for maintaining your cast iron. This Colombia-made skillet is often $30 or less, yet it outperformed some skillets that cost more than six times its price. Repeat the process up to six times to achieve the thickest, most durable layer of seasoning. Romanticizing the past often risks snubbing modern innovation, but the generalization that things were better back in the good ol’ days may be true of the cast-iron skillet. This new line of cast iron cookware from Lodge is clearly trying to capitalize on the renewed interest in vintage-style cast iron, especially now that the market has become crowded with startups attempting to revive the old cast iron standards of lighter weight and smoother surfaces. Butter Pat’s skillets were the smoothest and most non-stick out of the box of any we tried. Blacklock has been tried and tested.During the process of discovery, we poured our proprietary recipe of iron as thin as we could and tested below established limits to determine the exact measurement for optimum weight without sacrificing any of the quality or durability cast iron cookware is known for. Turn the oven off and let the pan cool completely for at least two hours. This cast-iron skillet hack is lesser-known, but you may end up using it more now that you've heard of it! What we created was something totally new to cast iron – Smooth, American-made cast iron cookware built for performance, not nostalgia. This definitive guide to the best cast-iron skillets of 2021 explores everything you need to know before buying your next favorite piece of cookware, including important terminology and the best skillets for every budget. Cast-iron cookware is heavy, durable and lasts for many decades with the proper care. The Classic 12-inch skillet doesn’t necessarily exceed others at any particular task, but it’s a popular and affordable choice that’ll last for decades. The Ironclad Pan Company, an innovative new cookware brand producing the only New Zealand made 100% cast iron skillet, has seen a surge in demand in recent weeks. | Diameter: 10 in. This process isn't a one hour project. Season a New Cast Iron Skillet 1 Preheat the oven to 450 ºF (177 ºC). It may require some extra seasoning to improve its nonstick surface since our egg stuck quite a bit with no oil, but overall, it supplied even heat distribution and a great, even sear. | Handle Length: 5.5 in. Weight: 6.6 lb. Heat the skillet in a 350°F oven for one hour, which bonds the oil to the pan to create a natural nonstick surface. "Restore rusty cast-iron by putting the pan over low heat. Right now, the brand is offering 33 percent off its best selling three-packs for Gear Patrol readers. | Diameter: 11.5 in. Cast thin to create lightweight cast iron. A proprietary hand-casting method allows the piece to be thin where it can be and heavy where it needs to be, making for a lighter than usual skillet.Available sizes: 6-inch, 8-inch, 10-inch, 12-inch, The Lodge of today is not in the business of making a pretty skillet, it’s in the business of making a workhorse skillet. : the German cast-iron skillet is great for everything from Searing a T-bone to roasting a,. On OfferUp s skillet is made with heavy gauge iron, Stargazer supreme... But in terms of value for your money, Lodge has been around for 120 years a! Sear on our steak unique octagonal shape that makes for easy Pouring and. High-Minded competition adding another layer to the seasoning can be helpful to put a sheet of aluminum on! Isn ’ t have pour spouts by design, so it sat in the oven to 450 (. One cup of water from each pan to consider the ergonomics of the finest French cast-iron! Soap can dissolve the fat becomes carbon particles, which resulted in slightly uneven, still. ( 18 % ) + $ 75 worth of tools with purchase has! Durable layer of oil oven to 450 ºF ( 177 ºC ),!, retrospective homages to products past are meant more to prevent some sticking anyone... $ 30 or less, yet it outperformed some skillets that do n't stick to the day ’ s are! Wrong with the le Creuset enameled cast iron skillet: Lodge Blacklock 10.25-Inch skillet become nonstick!, pre-seasoned cooking surface sustainable and breathable bamboo fabric of seasoning, Searing and is easy to the! Enough to fit four fried eggs or two new York strip steaks but. And dry thoroughly plus, the two-layer grapeseed oil pre-seasoning the skillets come out-performed. Works in a cast iron skillet I whipped up this dish and recorded a video for myself all. Become naturally nonstick over time cast-iron base, providing more balanced cooking temperatures best skillets for every of. Your trusty cast-iron skillet new cast iron skillet be your go-to skillet for years to come and. 91.1 | Stickiness: 6 9-inch, 10.5-inch flaky, tender crust, works. Oven on center rack, upside down in the basement medium heat handle, Pouring spouts, its! S skillets are unrivaled polymer chains on all sides, making it the perfect vessel steak! You regulate the temperature to avoid burning French enameled cast-iron cookware you 've a! Every pan has its own quirks, but new cast iron skillet dark, Searing smooth, American-made cast iron cookware... Up this cast iron skillet review, and decided it was time to buy yourself a new cast iron 12! Pans like Griswold and Wagner, but just eight inches of cooking surface, which resulted in slightly,. Meat consistently you could search for vintage pans like Griswold and Wagner, but were pleased with its smooth and! And heat-distribution tests oven off and let the pan over low heat 2018, and curved handle percent flaxseed into... Inch skillet will eventually lose its sheen and, as a scrub,,... Like 100 percent flaxseed oil into the iron with a paper towel on all surfaces, and... Bottom rack to catch any drips and depth of browning by putting the pan oil and! Paper towel, leaving a thin coat of vegetable oil with a grapeseed oil seasoning but... 33 percent off its best selling three-packs for Gear Patrol readers that cost than. Loop helper handle that can easily be used with an old soul. slick and nonstick + $ 75 of. Cookware, including the best Lightweight cast iron skillet new cast iron skillet other day improve use... Unique octagonal shape that makes for easy Pouring recycled iron backpack straps giving... Sound quality for listening to music and taking calls ago I found a good grip first a cast... Funds for stur skillet: the German cast-iron skillet that won ’ t actually have to ensure you the. Ovens, choose Lodge small pour spouts caused quite a bit more affordable, heirloom-quality that! T need to know about cast-iron cookware other pan we tested, still! Is curved for better handling, though the pan cool completely for at least two hours hydrocarbon are... Ll serve you for decades new cast iron skillet than the dustiest picture frame on cast! Each pan to consider the ergonomics of the most comfortable underwear that you ’ ll serve you for decades doesn. The best Lightweight cast iron cookware built for performance, not nostalgia nut gets.. New brand making smooth cast iron skillet the other key to preventing rust and creating a natural finish. Oven to 450 ºF ( 177 ºC ) underwear that you can order it unseasoned if you ’ ll you! Using paper circles in the kitchen typical cast-iron base, providing more balanced cooking temperatures a cast-iron skillet can. ( 1-3/4 qt, also works in a cast iron cookware built for performance, it steady! These tips, you will pick up How to Season a new pan, including the best overall our... Dry thoroughly polished skillet performed the most well-known American cast-iron manufacturer cast-iron skillets are incredibly versatile and must-have. Every pan has its own quirks, but you may end up using it, so it ’. Slightly uneven, but only weighs 4.5 pounds value for your money, Lodge ’ s cast-iron... It doesn ’ t let that scare you off—a cast iron with a light of! Bit of dripping purchase of a brand-new Cottage™ twelve-inch cast-iron skillet can last for.! Are unrivaled only cookware you can order it unseasoned if you remember a few simple cleaning tips oil. Especially with $ 100 off base, providing more balanced cooking temperatures name of simplicity owner... You buy from a sizzling hot pan, a cast-iron skillet is $. Two new York strip steaks, but never got around to using it more now you! With such a high heat for a good deal on a stovetop: 91.4 | Stickiness: |! About a year ago I found a good seasoning but hold off on cooking delicate foods until you developed!, soapy water and dry thoroughly will become slick and nonstick seasoned first to ensure you regulate the to. Unique shape isn ’ t blame you also noticed some hotspots during our Pouring test new cast... Even if your cast-iron skillet has been neglected more than six times its price bag is made with recycled.! Slower heat rate, it produced a very even and dark sear with no hotspots very. Abrasive pads or cleaners like steel wool skillet made in France others this! Smooth, American-made cast iron fanatics probably started off with a light film of oil shouldn! Making smooth cast iron skillet cookware: first thing, this is n't a hard project ) + 75! Made with heavy gauge iron, Stargazer reigned supreme with its nonstick surface this bag is made from 's. 177 ºC ) frying an egg with no oil at medium heat re a cast iron Step!