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The Best Cast Iron Cookware

Last updated on December 9, 2019

We looked at the top 10 Cast Iron Cookware and dug through the reviews from 99 of the most popular review sites including The Z9, Kitchenistic, Chooserly, My Dutch Ovens, Space Mazing, Best Camping Kitchen and more. The result is a ranking of the best Cast Iron Cookware.

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Our Picks For The Top Cast Iron Cookware

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  The Best Overall

Lodge

Cast Iron Skillet, 10.25-inch

Overall Take

All-Around CookerThe Lodge Cast Iron Skillet, 10.25-inch can handle any kitchen need, no matter how big.

Experts Included
DWYM Kitchen Experts plus The Kitchn, Pots And Pans Place, Epicurious, Gear Patrol, Good Housekeeping, The Spruce Eats and 11 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" The handles are just right. The main is short, so it easily fits in the oven or on the grill. The helper handle on the other side makes it easy to lift your skillet. And there are two spots to..."
Cons
"Handle too short – A few buyers have complained that the handle for the pan is too short. This makes it a little difficult to get a good grip when cooking."

Simple Chef

Cast Iron Skillet 3-Piece Set

Overall Take

Experts Included
DWYM Kitchen Experts plus BestReviews, Best Seekers, Think Cook, Happy Body Formula, The Top Pro, Paramatan and 4 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" Consumers praise the great value for the price,heavy duty design and good quality of the set."
Cons
"They only have one handle each, which is okay for the smallest one because it is not too heavy, but the other two could use a helper handle."

Bruntmor

Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Double Dutch Oven

Overall Take

Experts Included
DWYM Kitchen Experts plus The Z9, Kitchenistic, Chooserly, My Dutch Ovens, Space Mazing, Best Camping Kitchen and 2 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" It comes with strong and integrated handles on the side, as well as on the lid, which helps you to carry it without any trouble."
Cons
"Unfortunately, however, when using the skillet as a lid, it can be hard to grab with oven mitts since the handles are twice as thick. Still, it is a nice option to have."
  The Best Value

AmazonBasics

Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron 5-Piece Set

Overall Take

Great Bang For Your BuckThe Amazon Basics 5-Piece set won't break the bank and is super versatile.

Experts Included
DWYM Kitchen Experts plus Article Belt and 1 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" Backed by an amazonbasics limited 1-year warranty"
Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
17

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the cast iron cookware available to purchase.
10

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

View All Product Rankings

99

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: The Z9, Kitchenistic, Chooserly, My Dutch Ovens, Space Mazing.

81,541

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon, Walmart, Home Depot, Target.

Our experts reviewed the top 10 Cast Iron Cookware and also dug through the reviews from 99 of the most popular review sites including The Z9, Kitchenistic, Chooserly, My Dutch Ovens, Space Mazing, Best Camping Kitchen and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Cast Iron Cookware.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

Lodge Cast Iron Skillet, 10.25-inch

Our Expert Score
9.3
17 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.8
15,844 user reviews
Our Take

The Lodge Cast Iron Skillet 10.25-inch model is a workhorse and the best overall cast iron cookware tool to have in the kitchen. The main handle is large enough to get a solid grip while not being too long when you need to place it in the oven. The secondary handle allows the user to comfortably lift the pan with both hands as well, but be sure to use oven mitts! This skillet is deep enough to sautée or scramble a dinner for a whole family, while shallow enough to allow a spatula in for flipping delicate things, like fried eggs.

What other experts liked
The handles are just right. The main is short, so it easily fits in the oven or on the grill. The helper handle on the other side makes it easy to lift your skillet. And there are two spots to...
- The Kitchn
Durable – This pan will take any kind of abuse form you without needing to be replaced. It is well-made and solid and you won’t need to throw it away after a year or two like you would with a...
- Pots And Pans Place
The helper handle affects how easily you can maneuver the skillet and actually carry it from, say, the oven to the table.
- Epicurious
They’re cheap, rough to the touch and you don’t need to treat them preciously.
- Gear Patrol
This skillet comes pre-seasoned with 100% vegetable oil. That means you don't have to worry about the preparation and seasoning process, which can take up precious hours of your day.
- Good Housekeeping
One of the most important considerations for cast iron is its weight. The Lodge 10.25-Inch Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet comes in at 5 pounds, while many comparably sized pans are 6 pounds, sometimes more.
- The Spruce Eats
This is a lovely, useful skillet that worked out fine. It has a regular and a small side handle, which comes in handy.
- Kitchen Byte
It is good at retaining heat.
- Top Best Spec
Sturdy handle with hole for hanging when not in use, complemented by helper handle.
- Booms Beat
From cornbread to omelettes, this skillet will serve you well for virtually any occasion. This skillet can be used to sautée, sear, fry, bake, braise, roast, and stir-fry a wide range of different dishes, from omelettes to fillets of fish....
- Best Products
This Lodge 10.25 Inch Cast Iron Skillet is 100% seasoned with vegetable oil and the advantage is that it does not have synthetic coatings or any chemical coating on it and hence is safe for health.
- BestemsGuide
Integral handle actually makes maneuvering easier
- Stone Frying Pans
Comes with two handles for easy handling. This will be needed for the bigger pans.
- Two Kitchen Junkies
We found this to be the best skillet size (not too small but not too large) for camping. A great overall camping skillet.
- Camping Cooks
Reviewers are very impressed with the durability, and once seasoned, reviewers claim it performs well.
- Wonder Street
It has a superior heat retention to experience an even cooking.
- Cooky Mommy
This Lodge 10 ¼” cast iron skillet offers a helper handle as well as a standard handle fitted with a hole for easy hanging.
- Easy Recipe Depot
What other experts didn't like
Handle too short – A few buyers have complained that the handle for the pan is too short. This makes it a little difficult to get a good grip when cooking.
- Pots And Pans Place
It took four rounds of seasoning for the surface to achieve the same level of nonstick as the Victoria.
- Epicurious
We just wouldn’t cook eggs, fish or anything too delicate before you have a serious base of seasoning.
- Gear Patrol
Only moderately nonstick after seasoning
- The Spruce Eats
First of all, I must say that I imagined it a bit bigger. I would definitely recommend buying one size up.
- Kitchen Byte
Requires handwashing.
- Best Products
You might have to redo the seasoning as sometimes they don’t have the greatest seasoning when bought
- Two Kitchen Junkies
This model has a rough surface that may take a bit more work to season properly. While the larger size of this skillet makes it heavy and difficult to move, the assistance handle helps to ease this concern.
- Wonder Street
It can be a bit heavy to carry or move around.
- Cooky Mommy
Many users report problems with pre-seasoning, noting that the pan needs attention before being used for the first time.
- Easy Recipe Depot

The Best Bang For Your Buck

AmazonBasics Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron 5-Piece Set

Our Expert Score
9.0
2 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
7.8
87 user reviews
Our Take

The Amazon Basics 5-Piece Set is the best value of our cast iron cookware recommendations as it gives you multiple options to suit the needs of your meal. The deeper Dutch oven has the potential to make larger volumes of food, such as gravy, or it can hold homemade biscuits as they bake in the oven. The two skillets will make frying and browning things a breeze.

What other experts liked
This set comes with a griddle, two skillets, and a dutch oven (one of the “pieces” in this set is a lid). This may seem like a bare-bones set, but a few frying pans is really all you need, and they can outlive you if you take good care of...
- Review Geek
Backed by an amazonbasics limited 1-year warranty
- Article Belt
What other experts didn't like
Yes, cast iron cookware is pretty heavy and a little difficult to maintain
- Review Geek
Special equipment is required in order to use it.
- Article Belt

Overall Product Rankings

1. Lodge Cast Iron Skillet, 10.25-inch

Overall Score: 9.4
Reviews Included: 20

2. Simple Chef Cast Iron Skillet 3-Piece Set

Overall Score: 9.2
Reviews Included: 12

3. Bruntmor Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Double Dutch Oven

Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 11

4. AmazonBasics Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron 5-Piece Set

Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 3

5. Lodge Cast Iron Dual Handle Pan, 12-inch

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 5

6. Lodge Pro-Logic Cast Iron Dutch Oven, 4 Qt

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 8

7. Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron 5 Piece Bundle

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 9

8. Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven, 5 Qt

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 27

9. Lodge Cast Iron Combo Cooker, 3 Qt

Overall Score: 8.9
Reviews Included: 11

10. Lodge Cast Iron Skillet, 12-inch

Overall Score: 8.7
Reviews Included: 19

Our Findings

Lodge Cast Iron Skillet, 10.25-inch

Best Overall

Lodge L8SK3 Cast Iron Skillet and Ready for Stove Top or Oven Use, 10.25", Black (Kitchen)


List Price: $26.68 USD
New From: $14.88 USD In Stock
Used from: $14.88 USD In Stock

What We Liked: The Lodge Cast Iron Skillet 10.25-inch model is a workhorse and the best overall cast iron cookware tool to have in the kitchen. The main handle is large enough to get a solid grip while not being too long when you need to place it in the oven. The secondary handle allows the user to comfortably lift the pan with both hands as well, but be sure to use oven mitts! This skillet is deep enough to sautée or scramble a dinner for a whole family, while shallow enough to allow a spatula in for flipping delicate things, like fried eggs.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven, 5 Qt


Lodge L8DD3 Cast Iron Dutch Oven, 5 qt (Kitchen)


List Price: $39.89 USD
New From: $39.89 USD In Stock
Used from: $39.89 USD In Stock

What We Liked: The Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven, 5 Qt is a great product for cooking large quantities of set-it-and-forget-it dishes, like chili or casseroles. The lid is just as thick as the sides and bottom, which allows food to cook evenly after the pan heats up in the oven or fire. You’ll be thankful for the handles, as this dutch oven is very solid and can become quite heavy when filled with all that delicious food.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Lodge Cast Iron Combo Cooker, 3 Qt

What We Liked: The Lodge Cast Iron Combo Cooker, 3 Qt is the best value of our cast iron cookware recommendations as it gives you the option of using a shallow frying pan or a deeper skillet to suit the needs of your meal. The deeper 3-quart pot has the potential to make larger volumes of food, such as gravy, or it can hold homemade biscuits as they bake in the oven. The shallow pan will make frying and browning things a breeze.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Our Expert Consultant

Julie Chernoff
Culinary Expert

Julie Chernoff is a long-time member of Les Dames d’Escoffier (past president of the Chicago Chapter, and current co-chair of the LDEI Legacy Awards Committee), the Association of Food Journalists (AFJ) and the International Association of Culinary Professionals.

Chernoff is the dining editor of Better, a lifestyle website and print magazine. Her journalism started in the test kitchens of Weight Watchers Magazine. She holds a BA in English from Yale University and is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy. She has spent the last few decades styling, photographing, teaching, developing recipes, editing, thinking and writing about food.

Our Cast Iron Cookware Buying Guide

When you find yourself needing a new pot or pan to step up your cooking game, the cookware options in your favorite store will offer quite a number of potential solutions. There are white ceramic pans or thin pans that heat up instantly and claim to dissipate your heat perfectly for your needs. But keep browsing this pan selection and you’ll end up staring at a section of heavy-duty black pots and pans that you swear you’ve seen at your grandparent’s house before. Cast iron cookware is one of the most loved and longest-standing nonstick cooking options that exist. There are numerous reasons why they are regarded so highly, so we will break down some of the key points for you and help guide you towards the best style for your needs.

“There’s a good reason that these pans have been around so long — they work beautifully,” says our resident culinary expert Julie Chernoff, member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, dining editor of Better magazine and food journalist. “They are heavy enough to heat evenly and retain heat, they’re reasonably priced, and they are virtually indestructible.”

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

The construction of cast iron cookware is very sturdy as it is made as one solid piece of the metal and generally has no other material bolted onto it. Pick one up, and you’ll notice it’s heavier than most other pans due to this thick iron makeup. The thickness of the iron captures the heat coming from the flame or stovetop and slowly passes it on o the other side where the food is. If you were to place your 10.25 inch Lodge Cast Iron Skillet on the stove, crank the heat up to high and place a couple of eggs into the pan, the pan would slowly heat up and start firming the egg whites — but without burning them, as would likely happen in a thinner pan. That’s because the cast iron makeup is much more efficient with using and retaining heat.

If that 10.25 inch Lodge skillet is too shallow for the big pot of chili you might be making for an autumn tailgate, try using something with more depth, like the 5 quart Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven. This comes with a lid that helps keep the heat and steam in while the food simmers so all the flavors get to know each other in the pot.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

But what about scorching and having food get stuck to the pan? As mentioned above, cast iron really is a non-stick cooking surface — once it is seasoned.

“Look for pre-seasoned pans as a timesaver, because the seasoning process can take a while,” Chernoff says.

All Lodge brand cast iron cookware comes with a coating of 100% vegetable oil on them. This oil is referred to as “seasoning” for cast iron. The oil creates a barrier between your food and the iron and creates a non-stick atmosphere while you’re cooking. The seasoning is a crucial part of getting the best results out of your cast iron cookware.

Cast iron cookware will last for many generations and often gets passed down as a rite of passage to the new cooks in the family. The stories that surround this cookware throughout its lifetime are surely some of the biggest selling points on using cast iron, and it’s something you’ll have to experience for yourself to fully understand. But you still have a big decision to make when you see that there are multiple sizes and shapes of cast iron cookware.

One category is a skillet that is used mainly as a frying pan. It has a deep enough profile to hold a healthy portion of vegetables, rice, pasta or meats that you want to sautee while still being shallow enough to let you get the spatula in for a clean flip on your over-easy eggs. It boasts a multifunctional size and shape that becomes a daily workhorse in most kitchens.

If you’re working on large stews or even roasting whole chickens, the Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven 5 Qt holds the largest volume of anything in their lineup. When filled up with delicious ingredients, it can be the perfect size for feeding large families or meal prepping on Sunday to make the week a little easier for those of us on the go.

As you’re shopping for cast iron cookware, definitely consider the handles.

“Cast iron is heavy, so the handles are especially important, especially in the larger skillets,” Chernoff explains. “One long handle will be unwieldy. Having the ‘helper handle’ opposite the long handle allows the weight to be evenly distributed when carried.”

Cast iron cookware is not dishwasher-safe, so if that is important to you, you’ll want to consider other options. Also, these pots and pans should not air dry, as they may rust. Do not use metal scouring pads on them; once they are cleaned, they should be dried and oiled immediately. Although you must be careful of these elements, cast iron is great for home cooks.

“These pans really are incredibly versatile, from pancakes to deep frying and everything in between, and can easily go from stovetop to oven, as they are safe at almost any temperature,” Chernoff points out. “And unlike non-stick cookware, you can use metal utensils on the surface, as they will not damage it.”

Simply take care of your cast iron cookware, and it’ll perform for you!

DWYM Fun Fact

Cast iron dates back all the way to the 5th century BC when it was used by the ancient Chinese to make pots for cooking. They were able to figure out that the iron-carbon alloy was quite easy to make when melting copper and using iron ore as a flux. Interestingly enough, we still see it used today just as it was originally used all those years ago!

Cookware isn’t all that cast iron is used for though. You’ll find cast iron plumbing in a lot of old houses or in canons built for war during the 15th century. Cast iron is brittle though, so you won’t find much of it used for applications like sharp weaponry or high tension environments. The impressive compressive strength and natural resistance to rusting allow it to be a very handy and easily produced material for cookware uses.

The Cast Iron Cookware Tips and Advice

  • Clean your cast iron cookware with warm water and a fairly rough sponge or brush. There’s no need to use soap when cleaning your pots and pans, and it’s recommended that you do not.
  • After you clean all the residue from your cast iron cookware, dry it off and drizzle a little bit of vegetable oil into it before storing it. For convenience, use a paper towel to wipe the vegetable oil all over the surface of the pot or pan to form a light and even coat.
  • You now have a properly cleaned and seasoned cast iron pan. Keep up with these two simple tasks each time you use the cookware and you’ll be able to use this non-stick cookware for life.
  • Cast iron cookware can be used on more than cooktops. Campfires around the country are a place where delicious meals can be made and eaten under the open sky. Cast iron cookware can be placed directly into an open fire, set on a cooking-rack above the heat and even hung from a tripod so it dangles over the flame. Either way, the heat of the direct flames is tempered down by the thickness of the iron. It allows the camp chef to make meals equally as good as they would in their home.
  • Ovens and cast iron also work beautifully together. Make a homemade pizza, and bake it in your cast iron skillet for a deep-dish style pan pizza. Fill your cast iron dutch oven with a good recipe, where anything from pasta dishes to whole chickens can be oven roasted.
  • Lastly, you might find yourself in love with how beautiful this cast iron cookware can be. Share that beauty with your guests by hanging them up in your kitchen for all to see. This can add a rustic farmhouse feel while still being a functional part of your kitchen.

About The Author

Avatar
Russell Hinkle 

Russell Hinkle is a writer and engineer based in Longmont, Colorado. One of Russell Hinkle's favorite hobbies is cooking. He has dabbled in a variety of fad diets, always using them as a fun challenge to cook well-rounded meals that fit into the constraints of the diet. Through years of experience, he knows when it's appropriate to make a very educated decision on products like pans and kitchen gadgets, and he is always looking for the perfect multi-use tools that can save on storage needs while providing the perfect solution to kitchen needs.