Cast iron seems old-fashioned and strange in an era filled with shiny nonstick cookware, but it’s much more durable and long-lasting than Teflon. Cast-iron pans also add a tiny amount of iron into the food as you cook, which can increase your daily iron intake.
The cast-iron material will absorb all of the materials cooked in the pan over time, which adds flavor and seasoning to your pan. Although some may find that off-putting, for true cast-iron fans, this feature is what makes the skillet a great cooking tool. It’s also what makes the cast-iron skillet completely nonstick. Here are some other great features of cast-iron pans.
- Even heating: One reason why cooks and chefs love cast iron is that it heats far more evenly than pans made from thinner materials. It maintains its hot temperature, even when you add a cold steak to the pan, according to Serious Eats, which allows it to cook faster than a thin skillet. Foods will also cook more evenly.
- Indestructible: Cast-iron pans will last for decades and still continue to work perfectly, as long as you take care of them properly and season them before use.
- Naturally nonstick: As long as you care for the skillet properly and have it seasoned, food will not stick to the cast-iron pan. According to Lodge, the renown maker of cast-iron cookware, you can use metal utensils to cook on these pans without having to worry about scratching the surface.
- Take it anywhere: You can use the cast-iron skillet in your kitchen, over a campfire in the middle of nowhere, and anywhere in between. Of course, the heaviness of a cast-iron pan needs to be considered.
- Versatility: You can cook almost any kind of food in a cast-iron pan, oftentimes multiple foods simultaneously. It will work on a surface burner of an oven, it’ll cook over heat from an outdoor grill, it works with a campfire, or it can be placed inside the oven for baking.
Check out these cast iron skillet under $100 that you can purchase online right now, with specific informations.
Lodge L8SK3 Cast Iron Skillet, Pre-Seasoned, 10.25-inch
Lodge is among the oldest cookware-making American companies – it exists since 1986. A lot of my kitchenware is from their family of products. It’s safe to say that they are reliable, so, I tried out their 10.25-inch skillet first.
First of all, I must say that I imagined it a bit bigger. I would definitely recommend buying one size up.
This is a lovely, useful skillet that worked out fine. It has a regular and a small side handle, which comes in handy.
It is not expensive and comes pre-seasoned which is a plus. It is supposed to be ready for use when you unpack it, but I must admit I had problems using it before I decided to season it myself. The food was sticking to it.
Nonetheless, after seasoning it myself, I had no issues with it.
Be careful though. In the beginning, it has some brown spots that remind of rust. But it’s just a seasoned spot that is brown, indicative of the varnish stage of seasoning.
My friend bought it too, and she thought it’s rust, so she threw it away with resentment. But, although it may be irritating, this is not a problem. It’s not ruining your food, and it goes away after few weeks.
T-fal E83407 Pre-Seasoned Nonstick Durable Cast Iron Skillet 12-Inch, Black
When I saw this skillet on American Test Kitchen, I immediately rushed to buy it.
The pan looks exactly as advertised, and it has incredible non-stick properties. Probably the best I’ve ever seen.
It comes with a helper handle, it is pretty light, so it heats up quickly, and it’s convenient to use. E83407 is pre-seasoned, cleans up well and spreads the heat out evenly. It also comes with seasoning instructions.
I would use it for a long time if there weren’t such a big flaw that made me look for another one. The heat indicator in the pan that tells you when it is hot enough. That’s useful, especially for beginners, but it makes the middle of the pan a little bit higher.
The skillet is convex so the oil and the food slides to sides of the pan, so you cannot use its whole surface. After a while, I really got frustrated using it.
Also, opposite of what’s written in the instructions, it not safe to use metal spatulas. I noticed a little scratch after using one.
If you don’t mind the convex shape, it is a good use for the money’s worth, and you could use it for a long time. Just be careful not to use any metal utensils, and you are good to go.
I would recommend this one for beginners, because of the heat indicator and seasoning instructions.
Lodge L10SK3ASHH41B Cast Iron Skillet, Pre-Seasoned, 12-inch
Another great Lodge’s product. I just had to try this one because of the perfect size.
The first thing you’ll notice is that the pan has a silicone handle which is so convenient and comfortable to use. That feature may add to the price, but it’s worthy. It protects you from the hot iron, and it’s so soft and comfortable. I love it!
The surface is even, and the heat distribution is quite well. The problem is the same as with the previous Lodge product – it’s just not pre-seasoned well enough. So, you have to be cautious not to bake food that is too greasy in the beginning.
But, after a few seasoning, it works out perfectly, just like the 10.25-inch one. This skillet is a bit heavier than the others, so you should be careful when using it. Sometimes, those silicone handles can be so slippery!
So, this skillet has a lot of advantages. It’s big, non-sticky, and holds the heat perfectly. You should only be careful when using it, hold the silicone handle firmly so it doesn’t slip.
Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet Pan 12 Inch
Another pre-seasoned skillet that needs some additional seasoning and then it’s ready to use. It’s good that it comes with a simple instructions for cleaning and maintenance. This is also a good pan, long-lasting, easy to clean.
As the time goes by, it is as non-sticky as it gets and it has appropriate size and depth. It is useful, works out perfectly, but there are some flaws to consider:
The surface is not polished enough, so it is a little bit rough. It is enough to make it cook a little uneven. And if you use paper towels to clean it, it gets caught on the surface. I learned it the hard way. Also, it is not thick enough, so it doesn’t hold the temperature like it’s supposed to.
This is a decent pan, but if you are looking for something like your granny had, you will not be satisfied with it. Also, it’s a little bit expensive, so I think there are cheaper pans that are just as good as this one. But, this may not be a problem, since I found out it’s on sale now.
Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet with Silicone Hot Handle Holder – 12.5 Inch – by Utopia Kitchen
Oh, another one with a silicone handle. That is just such a big advantage and such a convenience. I got so used to it that it is difficult to like a pan without one. I must say the price was great since I got it on sale.
You might think that if it is so cheap, it won’t be of good quality, and you’d be wrong. The heats up quickly and bakes evenly. For a cast-iron skillet, it’s not as heavy, which is a plus.
In the beginning, I found it too bumpy on the surface, but as the time passed by the surface got much more polished. Then again, it comes pre-seasoned, but you need to add some seasoning. I guess this is just the issue with most of the cast-iron skillets.
So, a bit bumpier surface needs a little bit of extra seasoning, but other than that works out great.
You Can’t Go Wrong With Cast Iron Skillet
I must say I’ve enjoyed cooking in each of these skillets. It’s just because cast-iron skillets are such a great kitchen tool.
But, as I said, I was searching for something that would last for a lifetime and hopefully become a heritage to be passed through the generations.
The winner is definitely the Lodge L10SK3ASHH41B Cast Iron Skillet.
Lodge products are the ones that remind us of traditional American family kitchen.
Plus, silicone handle is a must, and it’s just perfect for use. I don’t mind the extra seasoning because I just got used to doing it.
But, if you are a beginner and still don’t know how to season your skillet, I would recommend T-fal E83407 Skillet. It is the only one that doesn’t require the extra seasoning and comes with seasoning instructions. Plus, it has the heat indicator.
It’s so non-sticky and easily maintainable that it will make you fall in love with iron cookware. But, because it is convex-shaped, I don’t recommend you using it for a long time.