As common as it is, the almighty and super-durable cast iron skillet stands out from other pans and tools you have in your kitchen because it’s got a delicate nature that requires a little more TLC. You really have to care for it differently than you would a stainless steel fry pan or aluminum baking sheet.
Like the name suggests, this type of cookware is made of heavy-duty cast iron and is ideal for techniques that require high heat, like searing, caramelizing, browning and baking. You can cook almost everything in this skillet, from chicken thighs and pork chops to eggs, pancakes and cornbread. The versatility of a cast iron skillet makes it great for all types of cooking — and knowing how to properly take care of it is therefore ultra-important.
If you’re overwhelmed at the prospect of properly seasoning your cast iron cookware, however, know that many highly-rated skillets now come pre-seasoned and require a little less chemistry to ensure great results when cooking — and we’ve rounded up six of them here.
New York-based chef and Ramen by Ra founder Rasheeda Purdie told HuffPost that if you’re working with a skillet that comes pre-seasoned, you only need to do a simple rinse and oil seasoning before you start using it.
“Lightly rinse [your pan] under water and dry immediately, followed by a quick seasoning with a thin layer of cooking oil and rub evenly,” she said. “Then, place it on your stove on low-medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes. Once done, let it cool completely then repeat once more.”
Your cast iron skillet also needs to be cleaned after every use to keep food and grease from caking up on it. Purdie recommended washing it by hand using hot water and a bit of dish soap. You can even use a non-abrasive scraper to get gunks off food off, if needed.
Now that you know how to maintain this special skillet, it’s time to get your hands on one that doesn’t have to be pre-seasoned. Below, we rounded up the best cast iron cookware you can buy online, according to glowing reviews.
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Staub enameled cast iron skillet
Available in red, burgundy, black and deep blue, this cast iron skillet measures 11 inches and has high sides to minimize splatters. It features a heavy-duty enameled black interior to get perfect browning on dishes like chicken, sausage, onions, tortillas and more. It has rust-resistance and requires no additional seasoning so you can try out new recipes faster. And
Promising review: "
This is my first Staub cookware purchase and it exceeded my expectations in every way! I am accustomed to having to "season" cast iron cookware before you can cook in it without foods sticking. Not so with this pan. Performed beautifully from the very first time I used it. Excellent value." — Bluzhound
Lodge seasoned cast iron skillet
Whether you’re cooking for one or 20, this cast iron skillet comes in multiple sizes to accommodate your needs, from 3.5 inches to 15 inches. It comes pre-seasoned with soy-based vegetable oil and has an ergonomic design for campfire
and stovetop cooking.
"I bring it with me when I go hiking. The whole pan heats up super well and stays hot longer than a normal pan. I also enjoy all the different flavors coming off of it and it is super easy to clean." — Matt
Victoria cast iron skillet
This ready-to-use cast iron skillet comes pre-seasoned with a flaxseed oil coating. It even has a large, curved handle for a better grip while you're cooking. It comes in multiple sizes from 4.8 inches all the way to 13 inches.
"I own just about every make of cast iron out there and this is the BEST piece I have ever used. Pretty well seasoned from the factory, nice smooth cooking surface. I love the longer curved handle and oversized pour spouts ( they actually pour the liquid not spill it out of the pan). This has quickly become my favorite piece of cast iron and will be buying more." — Will
Le Creuset enameled cast iron skillet
Known for its Dutch ovens
, Le Creuset also makes a cast iron skillet that's one to have in your kitchen. The interior is made of black satin enameled cast iron for top-tier heat distribution and easy cleaning. Because of its enameled interior, you don't need to season it like you would a regular cast iron skillet. It comes in 6.33 inches, 9 inches, 10.25 inches and 11.75 inches. Color choices include red, orange, light blue, deep blue, green, white and black.
"I love this pan. While you don’t have to season it like old fashioned cast iron, I did anyway and it’s a gem. Food doesn’t stick if heated slowly and properly before adding meat and fish to skillet." — Maryanne
Cuisinel cast iron skillet with a lid
Having a lid for your cooking pans sure does come in handy for making sauces or juicy chicken, and this pre-seasoned skillet comes with one made of tempered glass. And since cooking with any pan — but especially cast iron — is hot territory, you'll be thankful for the included silicone handle holders. It comes in 8-inch, 10-inch, 12-inch and 25-inch sizes.
"I used it to make New York steaks searing them at high heat and the pan did a marvelous job of searing. I covered it and placed it in the oven at 400 degrees and took it out about 20 minutes later. Perfection! Clean up was no problem with a scouring brush and a small amount of soap and a full rinse and dry." — Amazon customer
Our Place cast iron Always Pan
I've had Our Place's cast iron Always Pan
for a couple weeks now and it's one of the easiest pans to clean that I own. I've cooked chicken, eggs, salmon patties and sausage in it and it still looks brand new. It has a black matte enameled cast iron interior to get the perfect browning you want on all your favorite foods — without having to season it at all. The pan is designed to replace eight traditional pieces of cookware, including a fry pan, sauté pan, steamer and skillet. It’s available in six colors, including a dusty pink, cream, dark gray, green, lavender and blue.