If you or anyone you know fancies themselves a cook, then you’ve certainly heard tell of the wonders of cast iron. The density of cast iron is what makes it such a powerful workhorse in the kitchen: in addition to being practically indestructible, the metal heats more evenly and holds heat better than other cookware materials. Plus, there’s that legendary cast iron seasoning, which makes a good cast iron skillet only get better with age.
Whether you’re just getting started with cast iron cooking or you’re looking to add to your collection, a cast iron skillet is a worthy investment. To help you find the perfect piece, we compiled this list of our ten favorite cast iron skillets for your kitchen, camping, and everything in between.
Smithey Ironware Co. No. 10 Cast Iron Skillet
Perfect for Small Households
How can you tell if you’re getting top-notch cast iron? Well, if your new skillet comes with a lifetime guarantee, you’re off to a great start. That’s the case with Smithey Ironware’s No. 10 Cast Iron Skillet (and all of their cast iron, for that matter). Each skillet is hand- and machine-finished for a satin-smooth interior that will only get even satiny-smoother the more you use it. The skillet’s 9-inch cook surface, ergonomic handle, two pour spouts, and multiple holes for hanging make Smithey’s No. 10 the perfect everyday skillet for one to two people.
Lodge 17 Inch Cast Iron Skillet
Perfect for Big-Batch Chefs
If a skillet for two ain’t gonna cut it in your house, try Lodge’s 17-inch cast iron skillet. This absolute beast is 17 inches in diameter with a 14-inch cook surface that can handle practically anything you throw on it. Handles on either side make the skillet easy to move from the oven to the tabletop or from the kitchen to the grill. There’s not much you won’t be able to accomplish with this behemoth in your arsenal (although, if you’re going to take this skillet camping, be aware that it will add a hefty 15 or so pounds to your pack weight).
Field No. 8 Cast Iron Skillet
Perfect for Cooking While Camping
When you are ready to take your cast iron cooking out into the wild, Field has you covered with their No. 8 Cast Iron Skillet. At just 4.5 pounds, this skillet is lightweight and ergonomic enough to tag along on your adventures without weighing you down. Bring your friends along, too, because the Field No. 8 still has enough cook surface to feed a few: the 8.75-inch interior is big enough to fry four eggs at once (or two New York strip steaks if you’re glamping). The design recalls the simple vintage cast iron style, with modern updates for the best cooking experience and it comes with a lifetime warranty to boot.
Staub Cast Iron 15 Inch Double Handle Paella Pan
Perfect for Single Skillet Family Meals
Perhaps the only thing more satisfying than a hot, home-cooked meal is a hot, home-cooked meal you only had to soil one dish for. If the single-skillet meal is just your style, try Staub’s Double Handle Paella Pan. The large cooking surface is perfect for cooking multiple ingredients at the same time and the high, sloped sides make it easy to stir, toss, and flip one-dish dinners without spilling. The pan has large handles on either side for easy movement, which is a good thing, because the gorgeous enamel finish means you’ll definitely want to use the pan for serving, too.
Victoria Cookware 8-Inch Cast Iron Skillet
Perfect for Budget Shoppers
You may have noticed that cast iron can run a little steep, so what to do if you’re not ready to make a three-figure investment yet? We recommend Victoria Cookware’s 8-Inch Cast Iron Skillet, which will let you start your cast iron cooking journey for less than 20 bucks. This skillet’s smaller size keeps it lightweight while still giving you enough space to comfortably cook for two. Wide spouts on either side will help you drain grease without spilling, and the sloped handle design stays cooler longer than other cast iron skillets.
VonShef 3 Piece Cast Iron Skillet Set
Perfect for Beginners
Looking for a basic starter set to help you get into cast iron cooking? This three-piece skillet set from VonShef is a great low-cost way to start stocking your kitchen. The set includes 6-, 8-, and 10-inch cast iron skillets, each with two pour spouts and a pre-seasoned cook surface so you can get cooking right away. At less than $40, you’d be hard-pressed to beat this beginner’s trio.
Borough Furnace Frying Skillet Bundle
Perfect for Eco-Conscious Cooks
If you’ve got more scratch to spend on a new cast iron skillet set, check out Borough Furnace’s Frying Skillet Bundle. The skillets aren’t just top-notch quality (each one is hand-cast and finished, to say nothing of their elegant design), they’re incredibly environmentally friendly, too. Each skillet is made from 100% recycled iron and is created using a traditional casting process that Borough Furnace has “updated for environmental responsibility.” Just how good can you feel about these skillets? Well, while the Borough Furnace workshop runs on electric energy, they’re already working towards solar to reduce their consumption even further.
Le Creuset Signature Skillet
Perfect for Colorful Kitchens
As incredible as cast iron is for cooking, you might be looking for something with a little more flair aesthetically, too. Le Creuset’s Signature Skillet comes in a stunning array of chip-resistant colors, from matte pink to rich indigo, so you shouldn’t have much trouble finding your look. It’s not all about the beauty, though; Le Creuset’s skillet is well-built, with two pour spouts, a wide loop helper handle, and a matte black interior enamel that eliminates the need for seasoning.
Butter Pat 12” Polished Cast Iron “Joan” Skillet
Perfect for The Old Pro
If you’re already living that cast iron life and are looking to upgrade your collection, do yourself a big, beautiful favor and pick up this 12-inch polished cast iron skillet from Butter Pat Industries. Each of Butter Pat’s cast iron skillets is made to order right in the good old U.S. The casting process is a true labor of love, involving over 40 people and over 60 operations. With that level of care, it’s not surprising that Butter Pat products come with a 100-year warranty.
Finex 12 Inch Cast Iron Skillet with Lid
Perfect for The Chef Who Has Everything
If uniqueness is what you’re after, you’ve got to get your oven mitts on Finex’s 12-inch Cast Iron Skillet. Rather than a traditional circular shape, Finex uses an octagonal design for their skillet that turns every corner into a pour spout and provides flat sides for easily maneuvering a spatula around the pan. Add on the matching lid, and the octagonal shape becomes even more functional: the lid can be rotated while cooking to create eight evenly spaced steam vents. Finex touts their skillet as “the most versatile pan you’ll ever own,” and they just might be right. The skillet is polished smooth for a near-nonstick surface and features a stainless steel handle to stay cool longer and cool off quicker, and the lid is designed with interior basting rings to keep food moist during cooking.