Do you prefer baking over cooking? You may use your oven more than your stove or vice versa. These operations varies from one cook to another and one home to another. You may choose to focus on one more than on the other, But what you would never miss in your kitchen is the use of cast iron skillets.
A cast iron skillet is one of the most basic cookware we use in our kitchen. And its use is not limited to the stove top, we can switch from stovetop cooking to baking or back with a cast iron skillet.
It’s a universal tool and the frequency of its use prompts you to get the best cast iron skillet you can get your hands on to ensure a smooth cooking surface for deep frying, searing, and baking of your foods.
Did you know that most cast iron skillets give consistent and similar results when it comes to cooking on the stovetop and baking? The results wouldn’t vary much across different options whether you are frying eggs, toasting bread slices, searing meat, or baking pizza using most cast iron skillets. It’s surprising, isn’t it?
Does this consistency in results prompt you to buy just any cast iron skillet available on the market and call it a day? Of course not! While the cooking results of different utensils remain the same across most traditional cast iron skillets, you will find some of them easier to use, maintain, and clean than others. These differences in efficiency are what prompt you to be thorough in your buying process. Then again, don’t forget the durability of the tool.
But don’t fret, because we have done the hard work for you. Here are five cast iron skillets that have won the hearts of millions of users in the past because of their performance and ease of use.
You might be their next lover. Let’s explore more about them.
Some users would prefer a larger size
If you prefer a lightweight cast iron skillet, you may not find it much suitable. But most cooks want their cast iron skillets reasonably heavy and this comes with the most appropriate weight a cast iron skillet can have.
The first thing you would want to note about this cast iron skillet is that it comes pre-seasoned. So, you can put it to use as soon as it arrives. Still, we recommend baking cornbread with it first thing after arrival. It should intensify the seasoning.
The style is classic and vintage cast iron pan. You will love the sturdy feeling it gives with its weight and distribution of metal weight across its base. What does this weight distribution mean for cooking? With this even and smooth metal weight across its base and sides, you can be sure that your food will get even heat distribution across all areas.
Note that this cast iron skillet isn’t extra deep and is good enough for most searing, braising, and frying activities.
This size is large enough to bake smaller pizzas. For a bigger family, you can opt for other sizes available for the same model. Or you may go with two or more rounds of baking.
The company makes a point to indicate that the product is made to last for generations. If you are using the right cleaning methods and are seasoning it properly and regularly, you should keep using it for a lifetime before passing it down to the next generations.
Although you will have to test this claim to know for sure, you can trust the company and the brand name behind it to anticipate a lifelong companionship from this tool.
Like any other cast iron skillet, this one can only be cleaned manually. But it’s easy and you have to use mild force to clean it.
Its spout isn’t too deep. But it’s deep enough to prevent dribbling when you pour the cooking oil.
Could be easier to clean
If you are looking for a cast-iron skillet that can help you plan pizza nights for your family, you cannot be satisfied with a 10-inch model, right. The minimum size you would need for a large size pizza is 12.5 inches. You may want an even larger cast iron skillet. But this is the starting point.
This model from Utopia Kitchen satisfies your cast iron skillet size needs. But is it efficient enough? Obviously, a cast iron skillet cannot influence the speed of cooking or baking. But it can determine if you handle it efficiently or not.
For starters, this cast iron skillet is not the easiest one to handle. It’s heavy! But we shall assume that as the primary chef in your household, are no stranger to heavy jobs, right?
If the weight of this best cast iron skillet can be taken care of, you are left with the features of cleaning, maintaining, and seasoning. Using the salt method, this cast iron skillet is not difficult to clean.
Don’t worry about getting rid of much grease – it will ruin the seasoning. Instead, after washing, you should coat it lightly with vegetable oil and let it hang. It may sound like a little more maintenance effort than just washing, but it will elongate the skillet’s life.
Otherwise, you can opt for once-in-a-month seasoning of the cast iron skillet to keep it from sticking the food to it.
The spouts on its two sides aren’t too deep but they will pour the oil into the container without making a mess.
Its unrivaled high heat capacity allows it to keep your food warm for long.
A set of 3 skillets
Could be more durable
Utopia Kitchen boasts about the health benefits that come with cast iron pans. Accordingly, it takes extra care to keep the products health-enhancing features for the users. While other manufacturers use perfluorocarbons (PFCs) to coat the cast iron pans, health-conscious manufacturers – like Utopia Kitchen – use soy-based oil. Unsurprisingly, these cast iron pans cook healthier foods.
This package includes three cast iron skillets in small to medium sizes. They are most suitable for small families, especially for heating leftovers of baking small size pizzas and cakes. All these pieces come ready to use. You don’t need to worry about seasoning them before using or about the potential health hazards of the seasoning.
Although the product comes seasoned the soy-based oil, you will see an improvement in how less the food sticks to the skillet when you start cooking more and more in it. That’s because the seasoning gets more intense with the number of meals you have cooked in it.
These cast iron skillets are 6, 8, and 10 inches large. Because of their small sizes, these cast iron skillets are lighter than the others we have mentioned in this post. This lightness translates into ease of cleaning.
The best way to elongate the life of these cast iron pans is to minimize the use of water while cleaning them. Instead, clean them with a stiff brush or sprinkle salt to loosen the grime.
May require routine re-seasoning
The best thing about this bundle cast iron pans is that you don’t need to select separate products. Almost every cast iron cookware you will need is included within the package. You will get a large size for the cast iron skillet and griddle. Another small cast iron skillet is included of 8 inches. The Dutch oven you get has 5 Quart capacity.
You will also get a cast iron pan cover that will fit the larger cast iron pan and Dutch oven. This cover comes with self-basting tips. In other words, the cover ensures that your cast iron pan and cover retains all the heat it receives.
Now, you can not only use the set to cook your meals but trust it to keep them warm for up to half an hour. This feature comes in handy when you are camping outdoor as well.
Just like any other cast iron pans, you wouldn’t want to use soap on it. Season it mildly when you feel food has started sticking to it.
Premium seasoning prevents Teflon from seeping in
Surface is rough
Who doesn’t want to amp up their kitchen vibes without spending lots of money doing so? If you are looking for a cast iron pan set, you can search for a premium option without worrying about disturbing your budget. This set of Cuisinel cast iron cookware is perfect for you if you enjoy cooking in stylish and sturdy cookware.
The sizes included in the set are 8 inches, 10 inches, and 12 inch cast iron skillet. So, it’s the best cast iron skillets set for all your cooking, baking, and food heating needs.
Ease of use is the paramount feature offered by this set. It comes with separate handle holders for all the cast iron pans. The lid is accessorized with a silicon handle allowing you to handle it without feeling the heat. The stainless steel rims of these lids fit the cast iron pan trapping the heat within. Together with the higher heat retention potential of its supreme quality cast iron pan, these lids help in trapping the heat for longer period of time.
Its glass lids are oven safe. If you want to replace these with cast iron lids, you also have that option with this product. But glass lids are highly recommended because it allows you to watch the baking process from the oven glass window.
Iron Skillets – Buying Guide
Now is the time to get a new cast iron cookware for yourself. You can be purchasing these for yourself or a loved one. And you want to get the best out of this purchase. Honestly, there is nothing much for you to worry about cast iron pan shopping.
You start with checking out the brand. Then check the weight and seasoning quality of the tool and compare it with other cast iron skillets. You may also include a price point to avoid getting ripped off. And make a point to factor in the size of the tool in your research. In the end, you may support the buying decision with reviews from the customers or warranties from the manufacturer.
Or you can go with a shorter route. You check out some best cast iron skillets on your trusted blog and go with the one that resonates with your needs the most.
Whatever is your process to proceed with the purchase, here are a few points you should consider before deciding.
Size is the most important factor to consider while buying a cast-iron skillet. Especially, if you want it for baking or if you feed a large family, skillet size is of utmost importance to you. Mostly, the smallest size for most traditional cast iron pan is 6 inches. These sizes go up in increments of 2 inches to reach the 14-inch mark for extra-large skillets. Of course, these diameters are not etched in stone and you will see some variations across different brands of most cast iron pans.
The smallest of these are good for fried eggs, toasting bread, heating leftovers, and baking the smallest pizza you want for yourself. Larger ones are better for sautéing and searing. And if you are cooking meals in your skillet, you should go for more than 10-inch cast iron skillet size.
Most cast iron cookware have a standard depth. This depth makes these skillets suitable for shallow frying and pizza baking. If you want to deep fry your meals or your goal is to cook meals that involve a lot of splashing, you should get deeper skillets.
Most skillets we have mentioned come pre-seasoned. In general, you will find pre-seasoned cast iron skillets more than the bare ones. But that’s not a given. And you have to read the description carefully before buying to know if the skillet you are getting is pre-seasoned or not.
You can see from the name that these skillets are coated with oil in the factory. They require you to season them when they arrive. Unsurprisingly, the only difference between bare and pre-seasoned cast iron skillets is the extra effort you will put into seasoning the tool before use.
Even with pre-seasoned ones, not every skillet has as efficient seasoning as the other one. And you may have to exert more seasoning efforts on one product than you do on the other. For example, Lodge pre-seasoned skillets are known for easy maintenance and upkeep requirements than those of Utopia Kitchen or others.
Spouts of the skillets may appear as an additional feature but they come in handy when you have to pour the oil back into the container. Deeper spouts are always better. On the contrary, shallower spouts of Lodge and Utopia Kitchen also work reasonably well.
Can you handle a heavier skillet easily? If so, think about the other family members who would use the skillet. If everyone is comfortable with heavy tools, you shouldn’t worry about getting the right weight for these products. Otherwise, go for those options that weigh up to five pounds at max.
Price may or may not be the most important factor for you to consider while buying a skillet. The tool doesn’t attract a substantive price tag to begin with. You can expect to get a small-size skillet for up to $15 at most. The largest products will set you back by up to $40. If you shop well, you can deduct $10 from the cost we have mentioned here.
This post discusses different options for skillets available in the market. These are reasonably priced and come pre-seasoned. The lodge Iron skillet is an obvious winner among all these. Its individual skillet tool as well as its cookware set offers better quality of the seasoning and material.
Utopia Kitchen is the runner-up. It may not have the best seasoning right from the factory but it gets better with every use. Its build quality makes it the perfect choice among skillets for many.
In the end, The Cuisinel skillets are stylish and smooth. They are exceptional at heat retention and are the best-cast iron pan between the five.
What’s the difference between a skillet and a cast iron skillet?
Cast iron skillets are made of cast iron, while regular skillets can be made of a variety of materials like aluminum, stainless steel, or anodized aluminum. Cast iron skillets are heavy and heat up slowly but evenly and retains heat well. They’re great for stovetop frying, searing, or oven roasting meats.
Why is Lodge cast iron so cheap?
Lodge is one of the most popular and affordable cast iron skillet brands on the market. One reason for its low cost may be that Lodge offers a lifetime warranty on all of its cast iron skillets.
How can you tell if a cast iron skillet is good?
There are a few things to look for when purchasing a cast-iron skillet. First, make sure the skillet is pre-seasoned. If it’s not, you will need to season it before use. Second, check the weight of the skillet. Heavier skillets are generally of better quality. Third, consider the price.
What should not be cooked in cast iron cookware?
Some foods are not safe to cook in cast iron skillets. Do not cook acidic foods like tomatoes or pineapple in a cast-iron skillet, as the acid will strip the seasoning from the pan and can cause the food to taste metallic. Do not cook highly alkaline foods like baking soda in a cast-iron skillet, as it will also strip the seasoning. Stick to cooking neutral foods like meats, vegetables, and grains in cast iron skillets.
What should you cook first in a cast iron skillet?
Cooking in a cast iron skillet can be intimidating for the first time cook. There are a few things you should know before starting. First, always preheat your skillet before adding oil or food. Second, use only neutral flavored oils, like vegetable or grapeseed oil, when cooking in a cast iron skillet. Third, never wash your skillet with soap, only use hot water and a stiff brush. Finally, always dry your skillet immediately after washing to prevent rust.
Now that you know the basics of cooking with a cast iron skillet, it’s time to get started!
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