The 8 Best Cast Iron Pans of 2022

Our top pick is the Lodge Pre-seasoned Pan.

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Vegan meal, cooking green beans salad with grilled tofu

 

istetiana / Getty Images 

There are so many reasons to love cast iron cookware. Not only is it free of the harmful chemicals found in some nonstick pots and pans—including perfluorocarbons (PFCs)—but it also has great heat distribution and is durable enough to last a lifetime.

Cooks love cast iron for its versatility because you can use it on the stovetop, in the oven, and even over an open campfire flame, which eliminates the need for other cookware and saves you money. Cast iron also improves with use, becoming more non-stick the oftener you use it. 

Ahead are the best cast iron pans that can be passed down for generations.

Best Overall

Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet

4.2
Lodge L8SK3 Cast Iron Skillet, Pre-Seasoned, 10.25-inch

Amazon

Available in various sizes ranging from 6 inches to 15 inches in diameter, this skillet is pre-seasoned with natural vegetable oil and has an assist handle for better control while cooking. With more than 120 years of experience in cast iron cookware, Lodge is known for its top-notch quality and affordable price tag, and it's made in the USA, supporting local jobs.

Lodge's environmental efforts include a comprehensive recycling program that’s saved tons of cardboard, motor oil, plastic bottles, and metals. For more than 10 years, the company has used paper and corrugated packing material instead of foam packing inserts and bubble wrap.

Thrifting Tip

No need to purchase a brand new pan. Even old, rusty cast iron found at a thrift store can be brought back to life. You’ll just have to clean it by scrubbing it with a non-metal brush. (For aggressive scrubbing, kosher salt and a sponge will do the trick, and you can use soap if you want.) Rinse, dry, and place on a burner to evaporate the remaining moisture. From there (or if you’re working with a new cast iron pan), simply season the pan by coating it inside and out with cooking oil, bake at 450 for one hour, remove and wipe the remaining oil off with paper towels.

Runner Up, Best Overall

Victoria 12-Inch Cast Iron Skillet

4
Victoria 12-Inch Cast Iron Skillet

Courtesy of Amazon

Based in Medellín, Colombia, Victoria is a third-generation family business that’s been crafting cast iron since 1939. Fans love this pan for its long, curved handle that provides a solid grip and its two pour-spouts, which have been tested and redesigned dozens of times to create the perfect curvature. Seasoned with non-GMO, kosher-certified flaxseed oil, this pan comes ready to use. 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 warranty.

Best Griddle

Lodge Pro-Grid Reversible Grill/Griddle

4.8
Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Reversible Grill/Griddle With Handles

Courtesy of Lodge

Arguably the most versatile cast-iron piece, this reversible grill-griddle combo is great for any meal. Use the griddle side for a breakfast of eggs and pancakes, and for lunch, flip it over to the grill side and cook up some tasty tofu burgers or vegetables.

This duo is pre-seasoned with natural vegetable oil, so it’s ready for cooking immediately and can be used in the oven, on a stovetop, or over a campfire. We love it for its even heat distribution and versatility, and Lodge once again earns bonus points for its sustainability efforts, which include eco-friendly reuse of its foundry sand and its designation as a Zero Hazardous Waste Foundry.

Best Lightweight

Field Company No. 8 Cast Iron Skillet

4.4
Field Company Field No. 8 Cast Iron Skillet

Courtesy of Field Company

At about 4 pounds, this Field Company skillet is one of the lightest cast iron pans on the market (similar pans by other makers run around 10 pounds). But it's still sturdy and distributes heat well. The No. 8 pan is known as the “everyday” pan, and it can hold 8.25 cups of liquid or four fried eggs. There are no pour spouts on this pan, but it does come with a helper handle for easier pouring.

Field Company is made in the USA and uses American-made cast iron seasoned with two coats of grapeseed oil, so you can give it a quick rinse and start cooking immediately. The manufacturer offers a guide to seasoning, as well as an array of recipes to help you get started.

Cleaning Tip

Rinse dirty cast iron pans under hot water and use a non-metal brush or sponge for stuck-on food residue. Be sure to always dry completely, as cast iron is porous and can rust. Before storing, you may want to coat again with oil. Never submerge cast iron in water or put it in the dishwasher, and never shock a hot cast iron pan with cold water, as it can crack.

Best Design

Smithey Ironware Company No. 10 Cast Iron Skillet

4.2
Smithey Ironware Company No. 10 Cast Iron Skillet

Courtesy of Smithey Ironware Company

Smithey Ironware Company’s American-made skillets are admired for their classic design and glassy, polished finish. Founder Isaac Morton came up with the idea for the company after restoring vintage cast iron pieces in his woodshed.

Here, skillets begin as raw castings with a gritty surface and are transformed into polished, sturdy cast iron pans that are great for indoor and outdoor use. This 10-inch version is the brand's original offering. It features pour spouts, a helper handle, and holes on both sides for easy hanging. While this pan has a smooth surface and becomes nonstick with use, Smithey Ironware recommends oiling your pan for the best results.

Best Deep Skillet

Lodge 5-Quart Cast Iron Covered Deep Skillet

4.9
lodge-deep-skillet

Courtesy of Target

Want to whip up a big batch of curry or some sky-high 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. This 5-quart option from Lodge includes a cast iron lid with self-basting tips and doubles as a shallow Dutch oven.

It also has an assist handle for more control and even heat distribution for consistent cooking. It comes pre-seasoned with natural vegetable oil and can be used in the oven, on the stove or grill, or over a campfire. If taken care of, this skillet can be passed down throughout the generations.

Best High-End

Le Creuset Signature 11.75-Inch Enameled Cast Iron Skillet

4.5
Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast Iron Skillet

Amazon

The interior surface of this Le Creuset beauty is finished with a satin black enamel, which eliminates the need to season and maintain (as with raw cast iron). The enamel will also develop a natural patina (a gloss resulting from age) over time, which makes it easy to clean and virtually nonstick.

Le Creuset is known for its excellent heat distribution, heat retention, and design, having been developed and perfected by French artisans since 1925. This skillet’s enamel finish also fights stains, dulling, chipping, and cracking, and it gets extra credit for being dishwasher safe, meaning a fast, easy cleanup after a meal. Choose from many different color options from lime green to cobalt blue, and feel confident knowing this pan is beautiful and sturdy enough to become an instant heirloom.

Best Mini

Lodge 3.5-Inch Mini Cast Iron Skillet

4.7
Lodge Cast Iron Skillet, 3.5-inch
Courtesy of Amazon.com.

At 3.5 inches in diameter, this petite pan is perfect for individual desserts (hello, molten lava cake!), single baked eggs, or small batches of sauces, syrups, and chocolates. The mini comes pre-seasoned with natural vegetable oil, but it is still recommended to season it after each use.

Made in the United States by Lodge, the skillet offers great heat retention for even cooking and is easy to care for. Simply hand wash, dry, and rub with cooking oil after each use. Like other Lodge products, if properly cared for, it will last a lifetime.

Final Verdict

Our top pick for a cast iron pan is the Pre-seasoned Cast Iron Skillet with Assist Handle from Lodge. However, if you’re looking for a more elegant investment, the Enameled Cast Iron from Le Creuset is a beautiful, functional choice.

What to Look For

Size

For the most versatility, a 10-inch is an excellent starter pan, especially if it's your first cast iron pan ever. You'll be able to bake breads, cakes, and meals for two to four people in a 10-inch.

Pre-seasoned Finish

Nowadays, most brands come pre-seasoned so you won't have to do anything straight out of the box. However, some less expensive pans, such as cheap imports, which are not on our list may not be pre-seasoned.

Assist Handle

Cast iron skillets are definitely heavier than most other pans, so for sizes 12-inches and larger, make sure the pan has an assist handle opposite the main handle. That way, when it's loaded with food and coming off a hot stove or campfire, you will have better, two-handed control of the pan.

Condition

If you're rescuing a vintage find from a thrift store or flea market, take a good hard look at condition. Rust can be cleaned with some serious elbow grease, but dings, cracks, and missing chunks cannot. It's great to recycle when possible, but make sure it's only surface rust, or it's a waste of your time and money to attempt to revive it.

Why Trust Treehugger?

Author Amanda Ogle has written for National Geographic, Travel + Leisure, Virtuoso Traveler, Texas Highways, OZY, Greatist, and other publications. She loves writing about sustainability and believes it is important that we all strive to be as environmentally friendly as we can. Before going freelance in 2016, Amanda was an editor at American Way magazine.

This article was updated by Arricca SanSone, who cooks everything from cornbread to full breakfasts in her Lodge Cast Iron, which has stood up to more than a decade of heavy use in her kitchen, on the grill and over the campfire.