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The Best Cast Iron Cookware - 2021

Last updated on October 12, 2021

We looked at the top 15 Cast Iron Cookware and dug through the reviews from 108 of the most popular review sites including and more. The result is a ranking of the best Cast Iron Cookware.

Best Cast Iron Cookware

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Our Picks For The Top Cast Iron Cookware

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  Best Overall

Cuisinel Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Cookware Set, 11-Piece

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval

Cuisinel

Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Cookware Set, 11-Piece

Overall Take

Great BasicsSuperior craftsmanship is what you'll get when you go with this pre-seasoned cast iron cookware set.

Experts Included
DWYM Kitchen Experts plus . Along with user reviews from Amazon.
  Runner Up

Lodge Cast Iron Combo Cookware, 3.2 Qt

Lodge

Cast Iron Combo Cookware, 3.2 Qt

Overall Take

Versatile OptionsThis cast iron cookware won't break the bank and is super versatile.

Experts Included
DWYM Kitchen Experts plus Cookware Diary, Top Rate Ten, Jen Reviews, Wiki EZ Vid, BestemsGuide, Kitchen Appliance Pro and 2 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" This Lodge cooking set is designed with thick and heavyset walls. Although adding to the overall weight, this feature has several advantages. The thick walls are excellent for retaining heat. What this means is that you’ll require less heat to..."
Cons
"The surface is rougher than pieces that have been machine-finished."
  Set of Three

Utopia Kitchen Pre-Seasoned 3-Piece Cast Iron Cookware

Utopia Kitchen

Pre-Seasoned 3-Piece Cast Iron Cookware

Overall Take

Low-Maintenance ChoiceThis cast iron cookware set comes with 6, 8 and 10-inch skillets to prepare everything from eggs for two to a casserole for a family of four.

Experts Included
DWYM Kitchen Experts plus . Along with user reviews from Amazon.
  Dutch Oven Pick

Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Enameled Cast Iron Cookware Dutch Oven

Cuisinart

Enameled Cast Iron Cookware Dutch Oven

Overall Take

Large CapacityThanks to this cast iron cookware's porcelain enamel interior, you won't have to worry about the oven retaining unwanted flavors or odors.

Experts Included
DWYM Kitchen Experts plus New York Times Wirecutter, The Z8, Gear We Are, Business Insider, Good Housekeeping, BuzzFeed and 3 more. Along with user reviews from Walmart and Amazon.
Pros
" The Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Enameled Cast Iron 7-Quart Round Covered Casserole produced the best stew of all the ovens we tested. Its larger cooking surface area allowed for more evaporation, thus a more condensed broth."
Cons
"Some users note food tends to stick on the surface."
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.
22

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the cast iron cookware available to purchase.
15

Products Analyzed

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

View All Product Rankings

108

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: New York Times Wirecutter, The Z8, Gear We Are, Business Insider, Good Housekeeping.

93,414

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including

Our experts reviewed the top 15 Cast Iron Cookware and also dug through the reviews from 108 of the most popular review sites including 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.

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

The Best Overall

Cuisinel Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Cookware Set, 11-Piece

User Summarized Score

9.4
4,841 user reviews

Our Take

Couples who are just starting out will love this cast iron cookware set. It includes a total of 11 pieces, such as 8, 10 and 12-inch skillets, a Dutch oven, a griddle and a pizza pan. The skillets come with glass lids and there's even a rack for storing all of your pans neatly on a counter or in a cabinet.


The Best Bang For Your Buck

Utopia Kitchen Pre-Seasoned 3-Piece Cast Iron Cookware

User Summarized Score

8.8
2,811 user reviews

Our Take

You won't have to worry about food sticking to this cast iron cookware set, as it comes seasoned with a soy-based oil. There are also several benefits to using cast iron cookware over other types. Cast iron actually leaks iron into your foods, which is especially nice if your body is low on iron. It also distributes heat evenly across the pan.

Overall Product Rankings

Cuisinel Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Cookware Set, 11-Piece

1. Cuisinel Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Cookware Set, 11-Piece

Overall Score: 9.8
Reviews Included: 1

Lodge Cast Iron Combo Cookware, 3.2 Qt

2. Lodge Cast Iron Combo Cookware, 3.2 Qt

Overall Score: 9.4
Reviews Included: 11

Utopia Kitchen Pre-Seasoned 3-Piece Cast Iron Cookware

3. Utopia Kitchen Pre-Seasoned 3-Piece Cast Iron Cookware

Overall Score: 9.3
Reviews Included: 1

Legend Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet & Lid

6. Legend Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet & Lid

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 1

Lodge Cast Iron Dual Handle Pan, 12-Inch

7. Lodge Cast Iron Dual Handle Pan, 12-Inch

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 5

Lodge Pro-Logic Cast Iron Dutch Oven, 4 Qt

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

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 8

Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron 5 Piece Bundle

9. Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron 5 Piece Bundle

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 9

Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven, 5 Qt

10. Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven, 5 Qt

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 27

Lodge Cast Iron Skillet, 10.25-Inch

11. Lodge Cast Iron Skillet, 10.25-Inch

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 20

Simple Chef Cast Iron Skillet, 3-Piece Set

12. Simple Chef Cast Iron Skillet, 3-Piece Set

Overall Score: 8.8
Reviews Included: 12

Lodge Cast Iron Skillet, 12-inch

13. Lodge Cast Iron Skillet, 12-inch

Overall Score: 8.7
Reviews Included: 19

AmazonBasics Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron 5-Piece Set

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

Overall Score: 8.6
Reviews Included: 3

Bruntmor Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Double Dutch Oven

15. Bruntmor Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Double Dutch Oven

Overall Score: 6.2
Reviews Included: 11

Our Cast Iron Cookware Findings


Cuisinel Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Cookware Set, 11-Piece

What We Liked: Couples who are just starting out will love this cast iron cookware set. It includes a total of 11 pieces, such as 8, 10 and 12-inch skillets, a Dutch oven, a griddle and a pizza pan. The skillets come with glass lids and there’s even a rack for storing all of your pans neatly on a counter or in a cabinet.


Lodge Cast Iron Combo Cookware, 3.2 Qt

What We Liked: This set 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.


Utopia Kitchen Pre-Seasoned 3-Piece Cast Iron Cookware

What We Liked: You won’t have to worry about food sticking to this cast iron cookware set, as it comes seasoned with a soy-based oil. There are also several benefits to using cast iron cookware over other types. Cast iron actually leaks iron into your foods, which is especially nice if your body is low on iron. It also distributes heat evenly across the pan.


Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Enameled Cast Iron Cookware Dutch Oven

What We Liked: This cast iron cookware holds 7 quarts and will easily feed a crowd. Despite its size, heat distribution is still great, so you’re sure to get an evenly cooked meal, each and every time. Stirring can help prevent food from getting stuck to the bottom and sides of this deep pot, so it may require a little extra attention while cooking to save yourself some elbow grease come clean-up time, but what’s an extra stir or two going to hurt?


Cuisinel Pre-Seasoned 3-Quart Dutch Oven Cast Iron Cookware

What We Liked: Whether you want to prepare a meal on an electric, gas or induction stovetop, this cast iron cookware set is the way to go. It even works outside on the surface of your grill. Although the set comes factory pre-seasoned, it’s still a good idea to season the pans before you use them for the first time.

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.”

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 a thick 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 a 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 7-quart Cusinart Chef’s Classic Enameled 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.

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 Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven 7 quart 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.