Best Cast Iron Skillet Reviews | Benefits of Choosing a Quality Preseasoned Pan
If you have never had good hearty food pan fried in a real skillet, then my friend you are missing out. Most cooks will tell you that the taste is night and day compared to a regular porcelain pan.
Not every pan is made the same and this is why we have brought you the best cast iron skillet reviews based on real cooking time in the kitchen. Given the recent rise in cast-iron cookware, the quality has never been better. The excellent sheen on cast-iron cookware depicts a well-seasoned skillet, and the same sheen makes it a non-stick surface.
Cast-iron skillets don’t require loads of oil to bake a crispy food selection, and cast-iron lets homeowners sear chicken without over-loading the skillet with additional products intended to make the process simple. Cast iron skillets don’t require soap for rinsing, and utilizing a stiff brush to scrub the skillet is good enough for most cleaning sessions.
Why a Cast Iron Skillet?
When choosing cookware for your kitchen, it is easy to overlook the cast iron skillet. It is dull where other pots and pans are shiny, and it is quite heavy. While cast iron skillets are famed for their non-stick surfaces, a new skillet might not perform quite as well as expected. But believe us, this culinary wonder is worth the investment.
If you find an old, well-loved cast iron skillet, perhaps one that belonged to a grandparent, you will notice how smooth the inside of the skillet feels. Cook up some eggs—they will fry or scramble like a dream without sticking. This is because, over the years, the iron has developed a layer of fat and oil through a process called seasoning. And since cast iron skillets are very durable and will last for generations if taken care of properly, many people inherit perfectly seasoned skillets. But even a new skillet can become seasoned and slick with a few easy steps.
To keep, or acquire, this seasoned surface, you must set aside a basic cleaning impulse: You should use mild dish soap. Or at least use it very sparingly. Simply wipe out the skillet with a brush or a rag after cooking. Sometimes people even coat the cleaned skillet with more fat by melting shortening in it, then wiping it out again. This might seem rather high-maintenance, but it takes little more time than scrubbing out a pan with soap and water. And once you have properly seasoned your skillet, we think it has more personality—almost like a pet. Don’t shy away from naming your skillet, but we don’t suggest taking it for walks.
Another reason why the cast iron skillet is so popular among culinary experts is because it is so hefty. Not only does this weight make your skillet great for fending off burglars, but the heavy iron makes it ideal for retaining heat. Food will cook evenly, making it perfect for braising and simmering. But don’t take our word for it.
In addition to enhancing the quality of certain meals, the cast iron skillet can also improve your health. Since trace amounts of iron is actually transferred from the skillet to the food itself, cooking with a cast-iron skillet is a great way to add extra iron to your diet. Just think how strong Popeye would have been if he cooked his spinach in a cast-iron skillet!
We believe that the purchase of a cast iron skillet is a life-long investment. If you take the few, easy steps to care for your skillet, then you will never need to buy another. Also, your skillet improves as you do, because every delicious meal you cook makes it that much better.
Below are the leading cast-iron skillets and their benefits; these should be reviewed before making any purchases, as each contains several benefits.
Most Popular Cast Iron Skillets
The Lodge L10SK3 Pre-seasoned Skillet
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After using several cast-iron products each day, it can be difficult to enjoy cooking. The Lodge 10SK3 Pre-seasoned Skillet is ideal for cookers raising kids, as its heavy cast-iron surface makes the pan virtually indestructible. It’s great for both an oven and a stove-top, and it will continue to provide great meals when properly applied with seasoning and cooking oil. To avoid any cooking problems, make sure the pan is hot before tossing in food and cooking oil.
As for seasoning: The Logic line is available in a pre-seasoned fashion. This isn’t a huge deal, however, as the cast-iron skillet can be protected with a light oil base.
Cook it with minimal oil for a half-hour to season it, or toss it on the stove-top. Cast iron is perfect for cooking, as it doesn’t scrap easily like some aluminum or stainless steel pots. The Lodge 10SK3 Pre-seasoned skillet is better than many aluminum lines, as it won’t aggravate teeth fillings and can be set over an open charcoal pit when camping. The Logic 10SK3 won’t warp or melt when faced with fire, so it’s perfect for outdoor cooking.
The Lodge L8SGP3 Pre-seasoned Square Grill Pan
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The Lodge L8GSP3 can be cooked hot, too, and its heat buildup intensifies its food’s overall flavor. This selection cooks excellent bratwurst and burgers, and it will keep burn spots at bay by creating grill marks upon each selection’s surface. Not many competing brands can compare to the searing-power of the Lodge L8SGP3.
The square pan surface delivers ample room to fry food, and this allows hot juices to be collected within its bottom for sautÃ©ing with onions, peppers and mushrooms. Its handle is a little wider than previous Lodge designs, but it’s ergonomic when users wear an oven mitt. It cleans well with a little boiled water, and a quick scrub with a natural-bristle brush and hot water will clean the pan adequately.
Circulon Symmetry Hard Anodized Non-stick Skillet Twin Pack
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The Circulon Symmetry Skillet Twin Pack definitely takes advantage of its storage utility. Both components have hanging holes, and they work well with any plastic, wooden or nylon spatula selection. Circulon has advised against using any other materials, however, which has caused some aggravation among users.
The Circulon Symmetry Skillet Twin Pack shines within its storage capabilities, as they can be hung upon many racks and are lightweight enough to avoid problems. Each pan is available in standard sizes, so glass lids from other induction cooking-ware sets may be used. The set is a great complement to Circulon’s assortment of stainless induction cook-ware, as their other products aren’t non-stick.
Emeril by All-Clad E9644064 Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron 10-Inch Square Grill Pan
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Emeril has created a standard and sturdy cast-iron grille pan capable of lasting a lifetime. The product is very heavy, but its durability outshines many competing products. This selection, too, is non-stick, and it can be easily seasoned by following its supplied instructions. Because its cast-iron components can reach superior temperatures, the Emeril pan makes fantastic food selections when cooking outdoors isn’t an option. The pan needs to be heated three to four minutes before use, and it tends to retain heat following a cooking session.
The Emeril shows an excellent capability for all-around indoor cooking, and it has a great life expectancy. Don’t toss it in the dishwasher, however, as it won’t react to an environment laden with heated soap and steam.
The Best Choice:
The Lodge L8SGP3 Pre-seasoned Square Grill Pan is ideal for any user, as its light-weight material and outdoor accessibility make it a great selection for any occasion. The Lodge L8SGP3 doesn’t overheat, and it’s ideal for long cooking projects requiring a complex touch made available through its non-stick surface and durable bottom.
Many of the other selections, like the Emeril Square Grill Pan, are superior in indoor settings, but their overall bulkiness and non-resistance to alternative cooking instruments make the Lodge L8SGP3 a superior selection.
The Basics of Buying a Cast Iron Skillet
When purchasing skillets and cookware, one of the most important things to understand is that all cookware is not created equal. There are different materials and some materials are more efficient at transferring and maintaining heat than others. Before buying cookware, ask yourself 3 questions.
1. What everyday cooking tasks do you want to perform?
2. What materials will work best for those tasks?
3. How much are you willing to spend?
What Everyday Cooking Tasks do You Want to Perform?
This is important because there are cookware pieces with varying colors, shapes, sizes, and costs for almost every cooking task. Which do you need to get a meal on the table in a timely manner?
If you want to make sauces, there are saucepans, if you want to make stock, there are stockpots, if you want to fry chicken, there are skillets and fry pans.
Do you just want a non-stick skillet or a copper skillet? If you’re like me, you just want to add the latest color or size. If you know what tasks you want to perform, you can make an informed decision on what piece(s) to purchase or if you already own a piece that can be used for the task.
What Materials Will Work Best for Those Tasks?
Over the years when looking at cookware, I read all the detailed technical information on almost every material used to produce cookware. I became so confused, I started buying pieces based on word-of-mouth. This was not all bad. But it doesn’t have to be so complicated. To keep things simple for busy cook enthusiasts, remember cookware materials are different in two important areas: reactivity and thermal properties.
Reactive Properties – How food taste when it comes in contact with the cookware piece. Is it distasteful? Some highly reactive cookware materials include iron, copper, aluminum and carbon steel. Nonreactive cookware materials include stainless steel and enamel.
Heat Properties – heat and temperature. You want to have a cookware piece that gives even heat, can hold a lot of heat and that responds rather quickly to changes when the heat is raised or lowered.
Let’s take an abbreviated look at the most common cookware materials.
- good heat properties generally provide even heat when the cookware is thick enough. Highly reactive with both acidic and alkaline foods, which can cause a bad taste with food and colors.
- Cast iron is slow to heat up and slow to cool down. Will keep its heat for a time when taken off heat. Is
more reactive to alkaline foods when not seasoned. Must be seasoned with a layer of fat
that will help it not react with certain foods.
- Very heavy.
- Lodge is the only company still manufacturing cast iron cookware.
– Copper has the best thermal properties for most cooking. Provides even
heat, is very responsive and holds a lot of heat.
– Copper needs maintenance. It will tarnish and dull.
Enameled Cast Iron
– Like cast iron it has low heat properties but has a coating of nonreactive enamel on
the inside and outside. Very heavy.
– Stainless steel has the lowest heat properties of all the metals used to make cookware. Is
non-reactive. Does not have an evenness of heat when cooking.
– Durable and strong.
– Fairly inexpensive.
How Much are You Willing to Spend?
After you have decided what everyday cooking tasks you want to perform and what materials will work best for those tasks, you need to decide how much you are willing to spend. If you have budget restraints but want to start somewhere, I recommend that you buy a few quality pieces and add others over time.