Indian dosas are a popular take on the more familiar crepe, offering a crunchier, savory foundation for all manner of delicious fillings.
Unfortunately, the demand for dedicated dosa pans isn’t very high in the United States.
For that reason, you’ll want to look at cast iron skillets that do the best possible imitation of a proper dosa pan.
Let’s start by looking at the qualities that make a dosa pan shine. I’ll then highlight some of the best skillets that fit the bill.
I’ve included an option for every budget, and the products I’ve shortlisted represent the best in each class.
(Want to learn more about cookware? Take a look through my archive for more guides and reviews.)
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As a rule, you want to buy the largest pan you can both afford, and have the kitchen space to store.
The whole idea of a dosa is to have a very generous base that can be stuffed with all kinds of delicious, savory goodies.
They’re always better when they’re bigger, which means you need a suitably large pan to work with.
Although high walls are useful when you’re working with liquids, the best dosa skillets have very shallow sides.
You need to be able to flip the dosa during cooking. The higher the sides of the pan, the trickier it is to turn the food with a spatula.
If there’s minimal lip on the sides as well, you’ll find life even easier.
Skillets are typically available in one of three material types: carbon steel, cast iron and non-stick.
The first two are the most popular choices, and both will develop an effective non-stick cooking surface after repeated use.
Cast iron probably takes the edge over carbon steel in terms of performance, but is noticeably heavier. Beyond that though they’re pretty much equivalent.
Non-stick skillets are the easiest to use if you’re new to making dosas. Unfortunately these special surfaces typically only last a couple of years before wearing down.
As always, it’s a question of balancing out cost, ease-of-use and performance in your own kitchen.
There’s nothing too important to note here, but I will mention how useful a helper handle can be.
These typically sit opposite from the main handle, and make it easier to – safely – transfer the skillet around the kitchen.
Dosas aren’t exactly heavy foods to work with! If you think a cast iron skillet is going to be the best material for you though, a helper handle is a very useful thing to have.
Lodge 15 Inch Cast Iron Skillet
Lodge has built an enviable reputation for making high quality, affordable cast iron cookware. It’s one of the big names in the skillet business, and always features in these round-ups.
It’s signature cast iron skillet is available in a wide range of sizes, but for dosa cooking I think you’ll want to take a closer look at the 15 inch model.
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This skillet is made of high quality cast iron, and comes pre-seasoned so it’s ready to use right out of the box. With that said I always recommend giving a new pan a fresh coat of seasoning.
It’s safe to use on all kinds of cooking surfaces, and is even tough enough for open-flame cooking on grills and campfires. It’s also oven-safe, as all good cast iron cookware should be.
The sides are a little high for working with dosas, but they slope well enough so you can get a spatula underneath the food.
This is probably the biggest trade-off you’ll face between cost and performance if you go down this path.
Still, this is a high quality skillet from a very trusted band.
Lodge 15 Inch Carbon Steel Skillet
If you’re concerned about the weight of a standard Lodge skillet, you might consider this carbon steel alternative.
It’s forged from 12 gauge carbon steel, which heats quickly and retains that heat extremely well. Both these properties are a huge help when you’re making dosas.
- Takes high heat for best browning/searing
- 12 gauge carbon steel heats quickly and retains heat for even cooking
- Brutally tough for decades of cooking
- Use on gas, electric, induction stovetops, outdoor grills or open fire. Made in the USA
- Note: If there seasoning flakes on the pan, then wipe off with a clean cloth before using the product
Like the cast iron model I’ve included above, this skillet can be used on any kind of cooking surface: gas, electric, induction or open-flame.
It also has slightly shallower sides when compared to the previous skillet. This makes it easier to turn the dosa quickly, and make sure that both sides are cooked evenly.
You’ll typically pay more for a pan of this nature as it requires a more complex manufacturing process.
If you want to get really good dosa results though, I think it’s probably worth the extra investment.
Granite Stone 14 Inch Nonstick Skillet
I wanted to include Granite Stone’s 14 Inch skillet in this round-up, as it provides a true non-stick surface for you to work with.
Non-stick surfaces are very helpful for making dosas, as you need to turn the food cleanly over. If you’ve neglected the seasoning on your cast iron pan, this can end up very messy.
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The main problem with non-stick surfaces, however, is that they typically only last 2-3 years before wearing down.
To alleviate this problem, Granite Stone applies a triple non-stick coating to its cookware surfaces.
There’s no way of saying exactly how much extra life this will give the pan, but it puts this skillet ahead of the non-stick competition at least.
The manufacturer claims it can withstand metal utensils, but I’d still consider investing in a good skillet spatula for peace of mind.
There’s an extra bonus to buying the Granite Stone pan too. It’s dishwasher-safe, which means you can just add it to the load with the rest of your pans.
This isn’t something you can do with cast iron skillets, as humidity leads to rust very quickly.
I think any of these three large skillets will help you make excellent dosas at home.
If budget is the biggest factor, then I think your best option is the 15 inch raw cast iron skillet from Lodge.
If you can stretch your budget a little further, you might consider Lodge’s Carbon Steel skillet instead. It’s lighter, and the shallower sides will help with turning your dosas too.
The Granite Stone pan is an excellent non-stick option. It’s the easiest to use (making it great for novices), but just remember that no non-stick cooking surface lasts forever.