The 8 Best Cast Iron Pans of 2020

Classic, safe, and long-lasting cookware

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The Rundown
"Lodge is known for its top-notch quality and affordable price tag."
"Seasoned with non-GMO, kosher-certified flaxseed oil, this pan comes ready to use."
"At about 4 pounds, this Field skillet is one of the lightest cast iron pans on the market, which makes it great for everyday use."
"Inspired by vintage cast iron craftsmanship, these skillets are admired for their classic design and glassy, polished finish."
"Arguably the most versatile cast-iron piece, this reversible grill and griddle is great for any meal."
"This deep skillet includes a cast iron lid with self-basting tips and doubles as a shallow Dutch oven."
"The enamel will develop a natural patina over time, which makes it easy to clean and virtually nonstick."
"Made in the U.S., this petite pan is perfect for individual desserts and is easy to care for."

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, as 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 adds healthy iron into your dishes and improves with use, becoming seasoned and more non-stick the more 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 With Assist Handle

Available in various sizes, 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. The company's environmental efforts include a comprehensive recycling program that’s saved tons of cardboard, motor oil, plastic bottles, and metals. And for more than 10 years, Lodge 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 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 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 350 for one hour, remove and wipe the remaining oil off with paper towels.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Victoria 12-Inch Cast Iron Skillet

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 better 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 Lightweight: Field Company Field No. 8 Cast Iron Skillet

At about 4 pounds, this Field Company skillet is one of the lightest cast iron pans on the market, 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 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

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 Griddle: Lodge Cast Iron Reversible Grill/Griddle LPGI3

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. Reviewers 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 Deep Skillet: Lodge 5-Quart Cast Iron Covered Deep Skillet L10CF3

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 years.

Best High-End: Le Creuset Enameled Cast Signature Iron Handle Skillet

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 multiple color options, 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 LMS3

At 3.5 inches in diameter, this petite pan is perfect for individual desserts (hi, molten lava cake!) 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 U.S. 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 care for, it will last a lifetime.

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Amanda Ogle has written for National Geographic, Travel + Leisure, Virtuoso Traveler, Texas Highways, OZY, Women's Health, 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, Amanda was an editor at American Way magazine and has been tackling the freelance world since 2016.