You won’t find yourself short of options if you’re in the market for a new piece of cookware.
What are the best brands for cast iron skillets though?
In this guide I’ve taken a close look at five of the biggest names in the business. I’ll start with a quick summary:
- Lodge Cast Iron – These pioneers of cast iron cookware are famous for highly effective – but affordable – cookware.
- Le Creuset – A premium cookware manufacturer that produces one of the most popular enamel-layered cast iron skillets in the world.
- Utopia – A lesser-known brand that nevertheless provides outstanding value for money.
- Cuisinart – The company that started out as a food processor specialist, and now produces an enormous range of kitchenware.
- Uno Casa – An increasingly popular manufacturer, thanks to its customer-first company ethos.
There’s a lot more ground to cover than this, of course!
In the rest of this guide I’ll go into greater detail about what makes each brand stand out from the pack. I’ve also included a look at the most popular cast iron skillet produced by each company.
After that, I’ve covered some of the most common questions readers have had when researching their next cast iron skillet purchase.
(If you want to explore more of my cookware content, take a look at the home cookware guide I have on the site.)
Lodge Cast Iron
Lodge is one of the best known brands in the world of cast iron cookware.
The promise here is pretty simple.
High-quality, raw cast iron cookware that’s designed to last a lifetime – at an affordable price.
There’s little in the way of fancy design options here. Instead, the company focuses on the important stuff: affordability and performance.
Watch This Video: Lodge (11 mins 24 secs)
Who Are They For?
If you want a cast iron skillet that’s built to take an awful lot of punishment, I think you’ll really like this brand.
Compared to many other competitors, Lodge’s cookware also sits comfortably within the typical household budget.
If you need to balance performance with cost, it is very difficult to go wrong with a Lodge cast iron skillet.
The Best Lodge Cast Iron Skillet
There are plenty of options to choose from within the Lodge range, but its pre-seasoned 12 inch pan has proved to be a classic over the years.
If you think 12 inches might be a little too large for your own needs, there are many other sizes. Check the product posting on Amazon to see what’s available.
- One Lodge Pre-Seasoned 12 Inch Cast Iron Skillet with Handle Holder
- Assist handle for better control
- Unparalleled heat retention and even heating
(Heads up! If you click on a product link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. I never recommend a product I wouldn’t use in my own kitchen, and this helps keep the site running. Thank you.)
As well as being extremely versatile, this particular skillet also comes with a silicone handle grip.
It’s designed to be used in the oven as much as on the stovetop, and so this cooler grip helps protect your hands.
Like some of the other skillets I’ve highlighted in this guide, it also features a helper handle on the opposite side of the main handle.
This makes it easier to lift and move when the skillet is full, although be aware that there’s no silicone grip for this extra handle.
Make sure you grab your oven mitts before handling this side of the pan!
About Le Creuset Cookware
Le Creuset is a premium brand that comes with a premium price tag.
The thing is though, for many people this extra investment is worth the pay-off. Le Creuset has been making some of the world’s best cookware for nearly 100 years, and has no shortage of eager customers.
What can you expect here is a cast iron skillet that will last a lifetime, and give you nothing but the best cooking performance throughout.
Watch This Video: Le Creuset (3 mins 38 secs)
Who Are They For?
If you want the benefits of a cast iron skillet without the fuss of seasoning it, Le Creuset’s your best option.
The protective enamel layer not only protects the cast iron from wear and tear and dulling, it also eliminates the need to season the surface. It also means this cast iron skillet is dishwasher-safe.
I also think you’ll like Le Creuset if you want to add a little extra color to your kitchen. As well as the classic “volcano orange” look, there’s a wide selection of colors to choose from.
It is a premium piece of cookware though, and so requires a pretty significant up-front investment.
Lodge is the more popular alternative if you need to make your budget work a little harder for you.
The Best Le Creuset Skillet
Le Creuset’s Signature skillet is made of heavy-duty stuff that will provide a lifetime of fantastic skillet cooking.
What sets Le Creuset’s skillet apart from most of the pack is the addition of a protective enamel layering.
- Enameled cast iron delivers superior heat distribution and retention
- Ready to use, requires no seasoning
- Easy-to-clean and durable enamel resists dulling, staining, chipping and cracking
This coating on the interior surface stops it from becoming dull and discolored over time. It also provides an obvious protective barrier against daily wear and tear.
The best thing about this enamel layering though is it means you never have to season the pan.
Most home cooks don’t find this process a huge chore, but it’s always nice to strike one thing off the to-do list!
Because of the sheer heft of this skillet, it’s supplied with an additional helper handle. You’ll find this directly opposite from the main handle, and makes transferring the full skillet safer and easier.
(You can read more about this cookware in my Le Creuset skillet review.)
About Utopia Cookware
Utopia’s a lesser-known entity in the world of cast iron cookware, but the company’s skillets are popular with those who need to keep a close eye on their kitchen budget.
This isn’t a premium brand by any means, and so you shouldn’t expect to find anything too advanced in the company’s cookware range.
This is skillet-cooking on a budget, but for some of us that’s the most important consideration.
Who Are They For?
If you want to add a set of different size skillets to your kitchen without breaking the bank, this is a great brand to consider.
You shouldn’t expect the performance or longevity of bigger brands, but for occasional use I think the Utopia set below will serve you very well.
The Best Utopia Skillet
This is Utopia’s standard three piece cast iron skillet set. With it you gain access to a 6, 8 and 10 inch skillet.
It’s a shame the largest one isn’t a little larger, but for the home cook on a budget I think it’s hard to knock the value that’s on offer here.
- 3 piece set includes 10 inch, 8 inch and 6 inch pans
- Pre-seasoned with soy-based oil to make it ready for use straight out of the box but re-seasoning is...
- While cast iron doesn’t leach chemicals, it can leach some iron into your food and that’s pretty good...
It’s supplied pre-seasoned, but as I explain later on in this guide it’s best to give your new skillet a clean season when you take it out of the box.
Overall, this is a functional and affordable entry point into the world of cast iron skillet cooking.
About Cuisinart Cookware
Cuisinart is a brand name that many of you will already be familiar with. Founded as a food processor manufacturer in 1971, it’s since expanded into just about every corner of the kitchen.
This brand represents the middle-ground between price and performance. Cuisinart products provide great results, but you can kit out your kitchen without stretching your budget too far.
Watch This Video: Cuisinart (1 min 29 secs)
Who Are They For?
Cuisinart cookware is very useful if you want to slowly build out your collection of pots and pans.
Many are designed to be complementary in terms of design. That means you won’t end up with a mismatched collection.
It’s also one of those brands that’s very dependable, even if its skillets won’t prove as hard-wearing as more expensive brands.
It’s not very exciting stuff, but it is a very safe bet!
The Best Cuisinart Skillet
The Cuisinart Chef Classic is the company’s closest targeting of the more expensive Le Creuset skillet I’ve already discussed.
The enameled interior protects the cooking surface from the kind of wear and tear a skillet will quickly face in any kitchen.
- Porcelain enameled interior is perfect for cooking: surfaces do not impact flavors or absorb odors.
- Wide cast iron handles provide a comfortable and secure grip. Oven safe knob for a durable grip and...
- Cast Iron construction provides superior heat retention and even heat distribution.
It has a helper handle, but it’s not looped so won’t be as easy to grip as the Le Creuset’s. Still, it will prove helpful when you’re transferring a full skillet around the kitchen.
Like the Le Creuset skillet, there are a few different color options to choose from as well. There aren’t as many, but it’s nice to have at least alternatives.
It’s also relatively small at 10 inches. I’m not aware of a larger model being available anywhere online either.
For an entry level skillet from a trusted brand though, it’s a good starting point if you’re watching your budget closely.
About Uno Casa Cookware
Uno Casa is a little like Cuisinart in the sense that it’s a single brand covering lots of different products – not just cast iron skillets.
It’s a small company, but one that focuses on designing and delivering high quality cookware. Those products are also backed up by some of the best customer support in the business too.
Who Are They For?
Una Casa cast iron skillets will prove very appealing if you want to support a smaller, independent business that has a community focus to its work.
The company’s products are all designed in-house, with improvements made over time based on customer experience and feedback.
By cutting out the middleman at every possible stage, Uno Casa also keeps the costs of its high quality kitchenware low as well.
The Best Uno Casa Skillet
Uno Casa’s skillet doubles up as an excellent casserole dish, thanks to a clever design touch in the lid.
On the underside, you’ll find a collection of self-basting spikes. Over time, these gather and then shower moisture back over the food, keeping everything nice and moist.
- 💯 CHIP RESISTANT - The enameled red ceramic exterior finish is not only gorgeous, it’s also...
- 💦 RAINFALL EFFECT IMPROVES TASTE - Aching for the kind of flavor infusion you get at a restaurant?...
- 🥘 WIDENED HANDLES - Even the clumsiest cook will be able to hold onto our widened, oversized loop...
As for durability, the Uno Casa skillet features a chip-resistant enamel layer across the exterior. This also helps keep rust at bay, which means a more durable skillet overall.
Instead of a main handle and a helper handle though, you get two of the latter and none of the former.
That’s not as helpful for tossing the contents of the pan on the stovetop, but does make it the easiest skillet to carry when full.
This is a very worthwhile option if you want to be able to use a skillet on the stovetop, but then transfer it all to the oven for a much longer stew.
Frequently Asked Questions
I wanted to finish up this guide by answering some of the most common questions people have about finding the best cast iron skillet for their own home!
I’ll add to this section as more questions pop up from readers.
How Much Is A Good Quality Cast Iron Skillet?
As you can imagine, there’s a huge amount of variation at play here. The final cost depends on the size of the skillet, any additional protective layering, and the brand recognition.
As a very rough guide though, a good quality cast iron skillet will cost you somewhere between $50 and $250.
Have a look at the options I’ve covered in this guide, and make sure you get your money’s worth based on what you really need from a skillet!
What’s The Most Popular Size Cast Iron Skillet?
Cast iron skillets are commonly available in 8, 10 and 12 inch sizes. There’s some wiggle-room to be found, but that’s a rough guide.
Here’s a very brief sizing guide you can reference when weighing up what you need:
8 Inch Skillet – Suitable for cooking a larger meal for one, or a few side dishes for two.
10 Inch Skillet – Big enough for a hefty steak or several chicken pieces. Ideal for making main meals for two.
12 Inch Skillet – Ideal for family households of around four people. They become noticeably heavier at this size though, so keep that in mind.
What Is Considered A Large Skillet?
Given the standard sizes that are typically available, I would consider a 12 inch pan to be a large skillet.
Is A 12-Inch Skillet Too Big?
This depends, of course, on what you intend to make with your skillet!
If you’re cooking for yourself or maybe one other person, an 8 or 10 inch skillet will suffice.
A 12 inch skillet is certainly not too big for a typical family though.
You also need to consider that a bigger pan can handle both big and small jobs. A smaller skillet, on the other hand, can’t be scaled up.
Think about how you’ll most commonly use your skillet, and then allow a little extra room for special occasions.
Can I Use A Frying Pan Instead Of A Skillet?
Yes, and in fact there’s really not much to separate these two items of kitchenware.
Just be aware that while a cast iron skillet will almost always be oven safe, that’s not necessarily the case with a frying pan.
Check the materials carefully before substituting one for the other. If you’ve lost the manual that came with your cookware, look up the Amazon listing.
Can You Use A Cast Iron Skillet Brand New?
Yes, but there’s a little more detail to consider if there’s no protective layering.
Many “raw” cast iron skillets are advertised as pre-seasoned. If that’s the case, there’s no reason why you couldn’t technically get cooking with it right away.
A lot can happen to a skillet between manufacturing and delivery to your home though.
For that reason, I think it’s better to start with a blank slate. Seasoning a cast iron skillet is simply part and parcel of owning one. Better to get to grips with your own pan as soon as possible!
Take a look at my guide to seasoning pots and pans if this is a process you’re not familiar with yet.
What Is The Best Oil To Season A Cast Iron Skillet With?
I agree with Lodge which suggests vegetable oil as the best all-round oil to season a cast iron skillet with.
You can use melted shortening, or canola oil if you really want but it’s not necessary.
The great thing about vegetable oil is that you almost certainly have it as part of your kitchen pantry staple.
If you don’t, it’s incredibly cheap to grab from the grocery store – even in large volumes.
What Brand Of Cast Iron Skillet Is Best?
“Best” will always be a matter of personal preference and needs. You need to find your own personal balance between performance and budget.
The two biggest – and most popular – names in cast iron cookware are Lodge and Le Creuset.
For my money, Le Creuset makes the best quality, best performance cast iron skillets. That comes at a premium, however, and so requires a bigger budget.
Don’t write Lodge off by any means though!
Its cast iron cookware performs really well and will last forever if you care for it. That’s despite the relatively lower price tag this brand commands.
I consider these two brands “best in class” for both ends of the market, and I will always recommend making room for them in your skillet shortlist.
You should now have a much better understanding of this particular corner of the cookware world.
Take your time, think about what you really need from your next cast iron skillet, and then use all the information in this guide to make the best choice for your own kitchen.