The 10 Absolute Best Cast Iron Skillets For Your Kitchen

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If you're already a cast iron skillet aficionado, you know that no other cookware can sear the most satisfying crust onto your steak, cook a fluffier Dutch baby, or make more perfect cornbread. If you're still on the fence, stand by to be convinced.

Sure, it seems like a lot of work at first -– how do you clean it without soap and water? Do you really have to season cast iron all the time? Once you've made the leap, however, you'll be using your cast iron for everything.

Most new cast iron pans come pre-seasoned these days, but it never hurts to give your pan a bit of extra seasoning: just heat a clean pan, rub some vegetable oil into it, and let it cool. Do this as often as you can be bothered, and take comfort in knowing that it gets a little more seasoned every time you cook with it. With enough time, love, and use, your pan will become more and more seasoned –- which means closer and closer to nonstick perfection that your grandchildren can inherit. Cast iron skillets absorb flavor, so all future dishes will have a richer taste, and they last forever, too, which means you're not contributing extra trash to landfills (looking at you, scratched non-stick pans!). They're the best solution for almost anything you want to cook on a stove, a fire, or even in the oven. 

These are the 10 best cast iron skillets to buy right now.

1. Best overall: Lodge 12-inch Cast Iron Skillet

There's a reason this is the best-selling cast iron skillet on Amazon. It comes pre-seasoned with vegetable oil, although many reviewers recommend seasoning immediately upon receiving it for best results. Lodge Cast Iron is still made in Tennessee, as it has been since 1910; according to the company website, they're the oldest and longest-running cast iron foundry in the United States.

All that history means quality. Multiple reviewers say that they use their Lodge skillet for everything, from grilled cheese to sweet potato cornbread to morning eggs. At just over 2-inches deep, it's not for deep-frying, but it can still handle a pasta sauce, and the 12-inch diameter makes it perfect for cooking family meals. 

Additionally, with a weight clocking in at nearly 8 pounds, you're sure to improve your arm strength! This model comes with a silicone holder to protect your hands up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, and at just under $30 on the Lodge website it's a bargain for a pan that will last longer than you will.

2. Best affordable: Victoria 10-inch Cast Iron Skillet

Another best-seller on Amazon, this 10-inch pan is our pick for the best affordable cast iron skillet. Made by Victoria, a Colombian family-owned foundry dating back to 1939 (via their website), this skillet has a longer handle and smoother finish than the Lodge. 

Many reviewers also note that Victoria skillets feel up to a pound lighter than Lodge skillets, making them easier to handle. Spouts on either side make it easy to pour out sauces and oils, and the small helper handle is invaluable when handling a heavy skillet full of potato gratin or gravy. 

This skillet also comes pre-seasoned with organic flaxseed oil, which reviewers note created a great easy-release surface to the skillet, although most took the extra step of pre-seasoning just in case. Best of all is the price: this cast iron skillet clocks in at under $20! As of this writing, it's just $17.45, which is an absolute steal.

3. Best enameled: Le Creuset 10.25-inch Enameled Cast Iron Signature Iron Handle Skillet

Okay, so we know this cast iron skillet is the best part of $200 on their website, but it's Le Creuset! These pans are passed down through generations! Not only will this gorgeous pan make your kitchen look fancy and let you feel like a proper chef, but it will also give you all the benefits of cast iron cooking without any of the cast iron maintenance. 

This is a cast iron skillet that's easy to clean; you can wash it with soap, and you don't have to season it. You can even put it in the dishwasher! This beautiful skillet comes in tons of different colors, so it'll look as good hanging on your wall as it does on your stove. 

The Le Creuset brand has been around since 1925 (as per their website), and their famous enameled pans are handmade in France to this day. Reviewers are smitten, but many emphasize the importance of avoiding metal utensils, not using too high a heat, and letting the pan heat up for a few minutes before adding your ingredients. Properly looked after, the enamel will last forever.

4. Best vintage: Butter Pat Industries 10-inch "Heather" Polished Cast Iron Skillet

Cast iron skillet nerds will happily list the differences between vintage (pre-1950) and modern cast iron: vintage skillets are polished smooth, while modern ones are rough. Vintage skillets are lighter and thinner, too, but they're not pre-seasoned like modern ones (via Wonder How To). However, there are some modern companies that are taking vintage-inspired designs and techniques and applying them to new cast iron skillets. 

Enter Butter Pat Industries, who make some of the smoothest, thinnest, lightest, and most beautiful cast iron skillets around. Yes, they're pricey, with the 10-inch pan coming in at $215 (as of February 2022), but as the website notes, it weighs only 4.8 pounds! The short handle makes it easier to maneuver, and the logo stamped on the bottom gives it that vintage feel. 

This is a seriously good looking skillet. As a bonus, if you can bear to put your expensive skillet in the fire, it's designed to cook perfect eggs on your camping trip, too.

5. Best For Camping: Ozark Cast Iron Skillet Set

This set from Ozark includes an 11-inch griddle with a removable handle, a 10.5 inch skillet, and a 6 inch skillet, all for just $29.88 from Walmart. For that price, you'll be happy to test them in your campfire! 

With this versatile set, you can cook bacon on the griddle, make pancakes for the kids, and fry up some eggs in the skillet all at once. Cast iron is great to use when you're camping because you don't have to wash them up with soap and water. Just wipe them out with a camp towel or rag (or give them a scrub if absolutely necessary) and they'll be good to go and ready for your dinner steaks. 

As a bonus, the griddle is reversible, with a flat side and a ridged side, and the removable handle makes it easy to grab it out of a hot fire without burning your hands.

6. Best for frying: Lodge 12-inch Cast Iron Covered Deep Skillet

Whether you're frying chicken or making your own French fries, there's no way you want just a few of either. That's why you need this massive skillet: it's 12 inches wide and nearly 3.5 inches deep. It's 5 quarts, which means it's perfect for many roasts, too. 

Yes, it weighs about the same as a toddler (nearly 15 pounds, according to the Lodge website), could fit at least three napping kittens, and costs around $60, but just think of all the delicious breads you could bake, doughnuts you could fry, and cottage pies you could create. Plus, you'll get buff simply moving it between stovetop, oven, and cabinet. 

If you need cookware that will last forever and sits somewhere between a Dutch oven and a regular skillet, the deep skillet is your best option. Just remember that because it's so massive, it may take a while to heat up. Grab a book and hang out in the kitchen for a while, because the end result is definitely worth it.

7. Best for grilling: Lodge 10.5-inch Square Cast Iron Grill Pan

You may be sensing a Lodge theme here! But after over 100 years of production, it's just a fact: the Tennessee-based company make some of the best, most reliable and affordable cast iron cookware in America. 

This square cast iron grill pan will give you the gorgeous grill marks you crave without the need to slather yourself in sunscreen before cooking outdoors. You don't even need to own a yard! The grill pan weighs in at nearly 7 pounds, comes pre-seasoned and can be used on a campfire if you're that way inclined, but more importantly it can fit two pretty big steaks, four patties, and three chicken breasts (although not all at once). 

This baby has over 18,000 five-star ratings on Amazon, and it's also under $30 on the Lodge website. The reviews are full of happy apartment-dwellers getting the barbecue-style grilling perfection they crave on everything from asparagus to steak! 

However, even if you're a sworn outdoor griller, consider: wouldn't you like to be able to grill food in winter, too?

8. Best Big Skillet: Lodge 15-inch Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet

If you have a lot of friends, a lot of family, or simply prefer to cook once a week and then eat the leftovers night after night after night, then you need this enormous skillet. It's pretty inexpensive for such a huge piece of cookware, coming in at $59.95 on the Lodge website, and it's here to make your holiday cooking easier because Lodge specifies that it fits eight eggs. 

Okay, so it also weighs just over 12 pounds, but you can cook eight eggs! Honestly, you shouldn't have any more questions. Even if you aren't personally a lumberjack in need of a daily He-man-style breakfast, you need this pan. 

For one thing, it's big enough to cook your steak in one half and sauté your veggies in the other. One-pot cooking is truly the way forward, because who has time to wash more than one dish, especially after you've exhausted yourself getting it out of the cupboard? Not us.

9. Best Small Skillet: Lodge 5-inch Pre-seasoned Cast Iron Skillet

You may not think a tiny skillet would have a lot of uses. But, sometimes cooking just one or two eggs, making a bunch of small dishes for a tapas dinner party, or baking just a few skillet pot pies is what you really want. 

One or two (or three or four) of these 5-inch skillets are a great addition to your cookware collection, particularly if you're single, or like to entertain. 

As usual, Lodge is the most reliable and affordable brand around, and any cast iron you buy from them is a lifetime investment. According to the Lodge website, these little skillets weigh just over a pound and cost only $9.95, so it's not too much of a financial stretch to pick up a few for a small, special-occasion dinner party. 

Just imagine -– individual crème brûlées, baked goat cheese, skillet chocolate chip cookies? This tiny skillet makes every recipe better.

10. Best Lightweight Skillet: Field Company No. 8 10¼-inch Cast Iron Skillet

This beautiful Field Company skillet comes at a price worthy of its beauty -– it's $145 on the company's website -– but it's the lightest skillet we could find that still comes in a decent size. Unbelievably, this baby clocks in at only 4.5 pounds! At that size and weight, this pan will immediately become your every day, several times a day pan: morning omelette, lunchtime stir fry, evening tuna steaks. Considering we're all still working (and cooking) from home, that's a serious bonus.

It's another cast iron skillet made in the vintage style, with a smoother finish instead of the rougher surfaces many modern pans have. Field Company also makes all their cast iron cookware right here in the United States. 

And did we mention it's light? One reviewer even shared that they can flip peppers when they're sautéing! Another reviewer commented that they take theirs with them when they travel, which is an unexpected bonus: having the lightest cast iron skillet in your carry-on won't send your bag to checked luggage.