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#1 Lodge Pre-Seasoned cast iron
The main selling point for this 10-inch, 5-pound skillet is the user-friendliness and affordability. Our at-home reviewer stated that the Lodge skillet is lighter than other brands and will be more frequently used. It comes pre-seasoned and is very easy to clean.
Constructed of thicker cast iron than the Blacklock, our lab test revealed that this sturdy, made-in-America pan is slow to heat but will retain its temperature easily—perfect for getting a fantastic sear on steaks and anything else that needs browning. This pan was a little too hot for our liking, but it is not a dealbreaker. Too hot in comparison to competitors once heated; a minute too long, and our steaks would have quickly burned.
On the other hand, the Lodge was quite good at its nonstick abilities. Although cornbread baked in the pan was easy to release, we found that eggs fried in the pan were a little more sticky than we would like. It also came with a silicone handle cap, which made it very easy to remove it from the oven and place it on the burner. Overall, it’s an excellent pan at an unbelievable price.
#2Le Creuset Enameled Cast Signature Iron Handle Skillet
Le Creuset is known for its high-end enameled cast iron Dutch ovens, and this 11.75-inch skillet is made with the same quality and attention to detail. The black enameled interior is resistant to staining and dulling, and while it looks much like uncoated cast iron, it’s dishwasher-safe, never requires seasoning, and you can cook anything in it—even highly acidic foods.
The large helper handle on the pan made it extremely easy to use, both in our lab and at home. This is especially important considering its size and weight. In our reviewer’s words: “This is a lot of cast iron, and it’s not a lightweight pan.”
The pan was evenly heated and produced a perfectly brown steak crust. Searing was easy with little smoke and minimal muscle. It is slightly shallower than most other pans, however, which can cause a little more oil splash. In the baking test, cornbread came out cleanly. In the egg test, however, only a few whites stuck to the pan. We love the variety of color options available, which is something you won’t find with unnamed options. For such a durable, high-quality design, the price is worth it.
#3 Lodge Cast Iron Reversible Grill/Griddle LPGI3
This multi-purpose griddle is perfect for flipping flapjacks or grilling steaks perfectly sear. It measures 20×10.5 inches and is large enough to feed a family (it will cover two burners on your stovetop). It’s also less than an inch thick so it’s easy to store. It’s two pans in one, so it takes up a lot of space. It is heavy, however, according to our reviewer.
Although it takes some time to heat up this grill/griddle combination, it retains heat well once hot. Our tester was capable of cooking everything from steak to bread without any difficulty. It is extremely affordable and comes preseasoned for easy cooking and cleanup. The pan’s versatility earned the pan a near perfect rating and a permanent home in our test kitchen.
#4 Lodge Pre-Seasoned 6-1/2 Inch Skillet
The Lodge of today is not in the business of making a pretty skillet, it’s in the business of making a workhorse skillet. The surface is rough and grainy and has been pre-seasoned in black. It’s probably not as slim and trim as others on this list. But in terms of value for your money, Lodge’s American-made cast-iron skillets are unrivaled. Starting at $10 for an 8-inch pan (the smallest size you’d want to cook on), its cast iron is made of the same hefty, heat insulating iron that the boutique brands are using and the only serious trade-off is cooking surface and craftsmanship.
#5 Victoria Cast Iron Skillet
Based in Medellín, Colombia, Victoria is a third-generation family business that’s been crafting cast iron since 1939. This pan is loved for its long, curved handle, which provides better grip, and its two-pour, spouts. These spouts have been tested and refined dozens of times to achieve the perfect curve. This pan is ready to use, and it has been seasoned with non-GMO, kosher certified flaxseed oil. It’s safe for campfires, ovens, stovetops, and grills, and the 12-inch size is perfect for pizzas, roasted vegetables, cakes, and more. Victoria offers a lifetime guarantee.
#6 Lodge 5-Quart Cast Iron-Covered Deep Skillet L10CF3
You can make a huge batch of curry or cinnamon rolls. Try out a deep skillet, which tends to offer more room for bread to expand and ensures your pot of stew doesn’t bubble over. Lodge’s 5-quart option includes a cast iron lid with self basting tips that doubles as an oven for shallow Dutch.
It also has an aid handle that provides more control and even heat distribution for consistent, consistent cooking. It is pre-seasoned with natural vegetable oils and can be used over a campfire, on the stove, grill, or oven. If it is taken care of, the skillet can be passed down over the years.