Best Cast-Iron Skillets, Tested In 2024

Best Cast-Iron Skillets, Tested In 2024

Known for their premium heat retention and nonstick properties, the best cast-iron skillets can sear steaks, fry eggs, bake cornbread and more to perfection—and on virtually any cooktop. After several weeks of methodical cooking with 10 popular picks from the most trusted brands, I concluded that Field Company’s No. 8 Cast-Iron Skillet is the best cast-iron pan overall. Its polished, lightweight build made it easily maneuverable while still holding onto heat well enough to perfectly brown a strip steak. For first-time users or those on a budget, I recommend the crowd-favorite Lodge Cast-Iron Skillet, which also excelled in every test I put it through.

The best cast-iron skillets I tested yielded crispy fried eggs, golden-brown cornbread and perfectly … [+] seared proteins.

anna stockwell for forbes vetted

Here are the top four winners from my testing process:

What truly set these top cast-iron skillets apart was their ability to absorb and retain high heat and take on oil that develops into a nonstick coating (a.k.a seasoning) to yield the perfect fried eggs or cornbread. Plus, whereas most kitchen tools degrade or lose functionality over time, these frying pans will only get better with use, age, and the proper care and maintenance. Ahead, the best cast-iron skillets you can buy, based on my extensive testing, experience and research.

Field Company

Field Company No. 8 Cast-Iron Skillet

Size: 10.3 inches | Weight: 4.5 pounds | Pre-seasoned: Yes | Features: Helper handle, recycled iron construction

Best for:

  • Home cooks ready to invest in a premium all-purpose skillet
  • Those who want a lightweight pick that conducts and retains heat well
  • People with wrist mobility or strength issues

Skip if:

  • You’re on a budget
  • You want pour spouts

If you want an heirloom-quality skillet that’s reminiscent of vintage cast iron, characterized by polished surfaces and a lighter weight, you’ll do no better than Field Company’s No. 8 Cast-Iron Skillet. Made out of recycled American iron, this elegant 10.3-inch skillet is easy to maneuver for everyday cooking while still being heavy enough to conduct and retain heat for searing.

The Field Company cast-iron skillet, post-seasoning.

anna stockwell for forbes vetted

While it wasn’t completely nonstick right out of the box, the pan developed an even, glossy black patina after two rounds of seasoning in my oven. When I seared a New York strip steak, the meat came out with a perfectly brown crust; when I fried an egg, the delicate whites released from the pan without a bit of sticking. Though the No. 8 skillet heated up a bit faster than some of the thicker, heavier skillets I tested, it proved hefty enough to retain the high heat necessary for searing. Better yet, I was able to move the skillet from the stovetop to the oven and back with just one hand.

One thing worth noting, which may be a downside to some home cooks: This skillet doesn’t have pour spouts. The pan has a thin and slightly curved lip, though, so it’s easy to pour liquids over the side without making a mess. In other words, you likely won’t miss the spout when you consider everything else this skillet brings to the table. For more experienced home cooks who are eager to invest in a premium pan, the No. 8 skillet will reward you for a lifetime. (If you want to know more about the pan’s strengths, check out my full review of the Field Company No. 8 Skillet.)

Long-Term Testing Notes

After seven months of regular use, during which I’ve used the skillet to make everything from fried eggs to pan-seared chicken breast to deep-fried tofu, it keeps on getting better. The seasoning is slicker than ever, releasing even the stickiest foods with ease, and its heat retention continues to impress. Out of all the pans in my cookware collection (and there are quite a few), this is the one I’ve found myself reaching for the most.

The 2024 Forbes Vetted Best Product Awards are here: Explore our 150 top-recommended items across categories after extensive research and testing.



Lodge 10.25-Inch Cast-Iron Skillet

Size: 10.25 inches | Weight: 5.4 pounds | Pre-seasoned: Yes | Features: Helper handle, pour spouts

Best for:

  • Home cooks seeking an all-purpose skillet on a budget
  • First-time cast iron owners
  • Those who want a no-frills piece of lifetime cookware

Skip if:

  • You want a polished, smooth cooking surface
  • You want a lightweight pan you can easily move with one hand

Lodge, the country’s oldest cast-iron cookware company, is beloved by home cooks and professional chefs alike for its indestructible all-purpose skillets with highly affordable price tags. In my testing, the brand’s classic Cast-Iron Skillet aced nearly every test, producing tender steak with a flavorful crust and perfect fried eggs. For $20, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more reliable option.

Fresh out of the box, the pre-seasoned skillet—which has a rough surface texture—proved it was up for the challenge. Unlike most skillets I tested, the Lodge cleanly released a fried egg without any rounds of seasoning. I made an evenly browned cornbread that came out nicely crusted and with very little sticking. After seasoning the pan twice in the oven, its rough surface was noticeably smoother, which proved to be a more optimal texture for my other culinary challenges. It produced a beautifully seared and evenly cooked steak, and the final fried egg slid around the skillet without a hint of sticking.

The final fried egg test in the Lodge cast-iron skillet.

anna stockwell for forbes vetted

My main gripe with this skillet is its weight. At 5.4 pounds, it’s on the heavier side, making it hard to maneuver with one hand. At the same time, the thicker bottom and walls lend it superior heat retention and searing power, while adding to its overall durability. Though I wasn’t able to dribble hot oil out of the pour spout by holding onto the main flat handle with one hand, the easy-to-grip helper handle came in to assist. (Note: Lodge also makes handy silicone holders for the handle and helper handle that also make handling the hot pan a little easier.)

My other concern is based on my years of experience cooking with Lodge cast-iron skillets. In some instances, I’ve had issues with the seasoning flaking off the cooking surface in patches, which is relatively common with rougher skillets. While this can be a bother, it’s easily fixable with a quick round of seasoning. Otherwise, Lodge’s cast iron ages beautifully. (For more details, you can read my full review of the Lodge Cast-Iron Skillet.)


Crate & Barrel

Smithey No. 10 Skillet

Size: 10 inches | Weight: 6.7 pounds | Pre-seasoned: Yes | Features: Helper handle with holes for hanging, pour spouts, engravable

Best for:

  • Home cooks who want a smooth, polished surface
  • Those looking for a pan that can also go on the grill or over a campfire
  • Gifting a quality piece of cookware to home cooks

Skip if:

  • You have hand or wrist mobility or strength issues
  • You’re on a budget

Weighing in at 6.7 pounds, the Smithey No. 10 Skillet is one hefty piece of cookware. All that weight isn’t for nothing, though: It holds and conducts heat remarkably well, lending the polished skillet incredible searing power. If you’re looking for a pre-seasoned pan to make steaks and other substantial cuts of meat with thick crusts and juicy interiors—on the stove or the grill, or over the campfire—this silky-smooth piece was up to the task in my tests.

Of course, that weight does carry downsides. While the skillet has a helper handle, I found it somewhat difficult to maneuver in and out of my oven—so this pan might not be right for those with hand or wrist mobility issues. If you’re OK with the extra weight, this pan is worthy of a spot in any cookware collection. Though it did take a little longer to build seasoning, it fried an egg with zero sticking straight out of the box. Plus, when I washed the pan, the slippery interior released any stuck-on food with little effort. The only hard part was hauling it in and out of the sink.

Williams Sonoma

Le Creuset Signature Skillet

Size: 10.3 inches | Weight: 6.1 pounds | Pre-seasoned: N/A | Features: Helper handle, pour spouts, limited lifetime warranty

Best for:

  • Home cooks with flat electric or induction cooktops
  • Those who don’t want to care for traditional cast-iron skillets
  • Those who want a pop of color in the kitchen

Skip if:

  • You’re on a budget
  • You want to be able to put your skillet over a campfire or in a pizza oven

Enameled cast iron is cast iron that’s been coated with nonporous, nonreactive enamel. While it offers similar heat retention, searing power and stove-to-oven capabilities, enameled cookware is lower maintenance, as it doesn’t require seasoning or react with acidic foods. If those qualities appeal to you, the Le Creuset Signature Skillet—which comes in over 20 of the brand’s signature colors, like Cerise and Shallot—is the best there is.

To start, its design is smart: It has sloped sides conducive to everyday sautéing and stir-frying; a large, easy-to-hold helper handle that makes lifting and maneuvering a breeze; and wide pour spouts that can effectively channel liquids into even the smallest of glasses with zero splashing or spilling. During testing, it fried an egg without sticking and seared a steak evenly and beautifully.

If you’re thinking of adding one of these pans to your collection, keep this in mind: While enameled cast iron releases foods easily, it’s not completely nonstick. Though that coating is durable and strong, it will start to dull and lose its nonstick properties after years of regular use. To increase the lifespan of the coating, avoid using metal utensils, putting it in the dishwasher and heating the skillet above 500 degrees. Le Creuset also makes a cleaner specifically for its enameled cast-iron cookware that comes well-reviewed by scores of users.

Other Cast-Iron Skillets I Tested

I tested 10 popular cast-iron skillets from top brands including Lodge, Smithey and Field Company.

anna stockwell for forbes vetted

I tested six other cast-iron skillets that didn’t quite make the cut. (One, Butter Pat’s lightweight option, was formerly a top pick, but it is no longer in production.) While none of the following honorable mentions performed badly in my home kitchen, they ultimately didn’t earn marks quite as high as my winners:

Victoria Cast-Iron Skillet 10-Inch: Victoria is a Colombia-based cookware brand known for affordable cast iron. Though its 10-inch skillet performed fine in my first few tests, I eliminated it due to its overly rough texture, which felt like sandpaper against my spatula. However, those looking for an affordable choice with a long, ergonomic handle, solid seasoning out of the box and a lighter weight than the Lodge 10-Inch (our current value pick) might be happy with this one.

Lodge Blacklock 96 Triple-Seasoned Cast-Iron Skillet: Ringing up at under 4 pounds, the Blacklock is Lodge’s take on a lighter, smoother skillet. Though slightly more expensive than the brand’s classic skillet, it didn’t seem to perform any better. I also found it uncomfortable to grip due to its elongated hourglass shape and thin, pointy edges. Still, the pan boasts the same even heating and retention as Lodge’s classic skillet, and some reviewers say it works better on electric cooktops.

Lodge Chef Collection 10-Inch Cast-Iron Skillet: This popular model from Lodge is similar to my top pick but has more rounded sides. The sloped sides make it easier to flip eggs and steak using a spatula, but the flat cooking surface area is an inch smaller than in the classic model. This one is also lighter than the classic Lodge, at 4.6 pounds.

Lancaster No. 8 Cast-Iron Skillet: At 4 pounds, this Pennsylvania-made skillet is ultra-lightweight, simple yet elegant and features a polished interior (all of which, in our opinion, makes it a solid gift). That said, it’s not as smooth as most of its other high-end contenders and more expensive than most. It also doesn’t have a helper handle, which makes the skillet difficult to lift and maneuver.

Staub Enameled Cast-Iron Fry Pan: This was a close contender for best enameled cast-iron skillet: It’s beautiful, can be cleaned with soap and water and doesn’t react to acidic dishes. But I found the helper handle small and therefore difficult to grab, and the pour spouts, though very pointy, weren’t conducive to clean, easy pouring. Lastly, the pan didn’t sear a steak quite as evenly as the Le Creuset skillet.

How I Tested The Best Cast-Iron Skillets

To test the pans’ searing capabilities, I cooked a New York strip steak in each.

anna stockwell for forbes vetted

While cast-iron skillets come in a wide range of sizes, I exclusively tested those measuring around 10 inches in diameter, which is the ideal size for most home cooks seeking an all-purpose vessel. (If your household is larger than four, you might consider a 12-inch skillet or larger.) My testing process involved the following:

Construction: I first analyzed the overall construction of the skillets, from the surface texture to the additional features.

Egg test number 1: To test its nonstick properties right out of the box, I placed each cast-iron skillet over medium heat, added a tablespoon of butter and cracked an egg into the center. Once the egg white was set, I flipped it, noting whether any part of the egg stuck to the skillet’s surface.

Ease of use: I took a close look at each pan’s functionality, particularly its handles and pour spouts. After heating 2 cups of canola oil in each skillet, I lifted the hot pan from the stove, pouring the oil from the skillet into a glass measuring cup. In pans without pour spouts, I simply tipped the skillet to dump the oil out over the edge.

Cornbread test: With this challenge, I observed how evenly each skillet conducted and retained heat, and whether the surface was nonstick enough to cleanly release the cornbread. Eight batches of sticky cornbread later—yes, almost all of them stuck a little in the center—I decided to amend my original methodology by adding in two rounds of oven seasoning to the skillets.

Searing test: After spending a few days seasoning the skillets, I wanted to see how well each cast iron skillet retained heat. A great way to test this is by searing proteins and observing how well they produce crusts and juicy interiors.

  • After placing each pan over high heat, I timed how long it took for the skillet to get smoking hot, at which point I swirled in a bit of oil and added in a New York strip steak.
  • Once the bottom had a nice charred crust on it, I flipped the steak, timing how long it took to reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit (the ideal temperature at which to pull your steaks off for a medium-rare cook).
  • Once the steaks were finished, I evaluated the seared crust on each piece of meat.

Egg test number 2: To close out my testing, I went back to the beginning. In the most promising contenders, I fried an egg again to see how a few rounds of cooking and seasoning had affected each pan’s nonstick abilities.

Long-Term Testing

Since March 2023, Forbes Vetted home and kitchen editor Amanda Arnold has been using the Field Company No. 8 Skillet in her kitchen, noting how well the cookware holds up to regular use. Her long-term testing notes are being regularly incorporated throughout this piece.

How To Pick A Cast-Iron Skillet

“The best way to choose a cast-iron skillet is to pick it up and see how it feels in your hand,” says Mashama Bailey, executive chef and partner at The Grey in Savannah, Georgia. “If it feels right, buy it.” But regardless of how you’re shopping (in person or online), here are the most important factors to keep in mind as you consider your options.

Surface Texture

All cast-iron skillets are made the same way: by pouring molten-hot iron into a sand mold. Once the pan is cooled, it is cracked out of the casting before getting tumbled and sandblasted to smooth the surface. For an even smoother surface, some cast iron goes through an additional polishing step.

Generally speaking, skillets that are sandblasted but not polished (like those made by Lodge) are more affordable, as they’re easier to produce. Comparatively, polished cast-iron skillets (like those from Field Company) carry higher price tags, though they provide you a smoother nonstick cooking experience. That said, a rough surface is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, writer and baker Anne Byrn, author of the cookbook Skillet Love, says she prefers cast iron with a little bit of texture for searing steaks and fish because she feels the protein releases more easily. And in the end, after many years of use, a rough surface will eventually grow smoother.


A versatile, all-purpose pan you can use for both cornbread and fried eggs should also feature a well-constructed main handle. Ideally, it should be medium length (so it fits in the oven easily) and comfortable to hold to give you adequate leverage for maneuvering. Look for a handle that’s flat—instead of round—so you can easily grip it with a potholder or oven mitt without worrying about the skillet slipping. Whatever you do, steer clear of skillets with handles made from other materials, as they render the skillet less durable and oven-safe.

Because cast iron is heavy, many skillets also feature a smaller helper handle opposite the main handle so you can hold onto the skillet with both hands for easier maneuvering. This feature is especially helpful for those with wrist or arm mobility issues.

Pour Spouts

Cast-iron skillets are commonly made with two pour spouts on opposite sides, which make for easy removal of bacon fat and other liquids. While pour spouts are certainly useful—especially for those who like to shallow- or deep-fry in their skillet—not all home cooks will find this feature entirely necessary. Oftentimes, if a skillet has a thin curved lip, it’s just as easy to dribble liquids over the side. And if you plan to bake in your cast-iron skillet frequently, consider those without pour spouts so you can make pies and cakes without the spout interfering with the shape of your baked goods.


You don’t need to shell out a ton of money to score quality cast iron—you can get an excellent skillet from Lodge for around $20. In general, cookware around this price tends to have rougher surfaces, thicker walls and a heavier weight. If you’re willing to spend a little more, though, a premium skillet like the ones from Field Company and Smithey, which range from $100 to $250, typically feature lighter constructions and smoother surfaces (because they’re styled after vintage cast-iron cookware).

If this is your first time using a cast-iron skillet, consider buying a more affordable option. If you’re a longtime cast-iron user, though, you may appreciate the polished surface and lighter weight of a new, artisanally made cast-iron skillet.


In 2002, Lodge became the first company to start selling seasoned cast-iron cookware. (Before this, cast iron was sold unseasoned, which meant you had to do the work of several rounds of seasoning at home before you could even start to cook.) These days, almost all cast-iron cookware is sold pre-seasoned. This means you can cook in your new cast-iron skillet straight out of the box, though the seasoning will grow stronger and more nonstick with each use. When shopping for skillets, make sure the one you’re eyeing is pre-seasoned—it’ll make your life a lot easier.

My Expertise

I’m a classically trained chef who worked as a food editor for more than 12 years, including in the test kitchen of Epicurious and Bon Appétit. I currently work as a food stylist and recipe deleloper. A cast-iron skillet sits on my stove at all times—I’ve been cooking with them my whole life, and it’s my go-to cooking surface for almost every task. Last year, I published my first cookbook, For the Table, which features tons of recipes that get cooked in cast iron.

In addition to using my firsthand experience and testing to make my selections, I also reached out to three food-world experts:

  • The New York Times–bestselling writer and baker Anne Byrn, author of the cookbook Skillet Love
  • Institute of Culinary Education chef-instructor Roger Sitrin
  • Chef Mashama Bailey, executive chef and partner at The Grey in Savannah, Georgia, and 2022 James Beard Award winner for Outstanding Chef.

How To Clean And Care For A Cast-Iron Skillet

While cast-iron skillets do require a tad more TLC than your average nonstick pan, by no means are these durable pans difficult to care for. When it comes time to clean your skillet, wash it with warm water and a nonabrasive sponge or a chain-mail scrubber like The Ringer. Contrary to popular belief, it’s okay to use a little mild dish soap when necessary. However, cast iron should never go through the dishwasher or soak in the sink, as prolonged exposure to water can lead to rust.

Once your skillet is clean, dry it promptly. While you can wipe the entire skillet down with a paper towel or clean cloth, it’s best to heat the skillet on the stove to ensure no moisture is left behind. When the skillet is dry, rub some of your favorite neutral cooking oil or a special cast-iron seasoning oil all over the skillet using a paper towel. For more tips, check out our top tools for maintaining cast-iron cookware.

What Is A Seasoned Cast-Iron Skillet?

Seasoning refers to the hard, jet-black protective coating that lends your skillet its nonstick properties. To get a little more technical, this coating forms on the surface of a cast-iron skillet when oil bonds with iron through polymerization, a process that occurs only at high heat. “Once the oil is past its smoke point, the chains of fatty acids break into smaller chains, and those small chains become the polymers that bond with the iron,” Sitrin explains.

How to Season A Cast-Iron Skillet

Most new cast-iron skillets come pre-seasoned. If the seasoning starts to flake off or if rust develops, though, you will need to re-season your skillet. To do this, thoroughly wash your skillet, then heat it on the stove until it’s completely dry. Next, rub grapeseed or sunflower oil (or a special cast iron seasoning oil) all over your skillet with a paper towel, wiping off any excess. Then place the skillet upside down in the center of your oven and turn the oven up to 450 degrees. Leave it in the oven at that temperature for one hour and then turn off the oven, letting your skillet stay put until it’s completely cool. If the damage is so deep that further seasoning is required, repeat this process.

What Cast Iron Do Chefs Use?

Cast-iron skillets are workhorses in restaurant kitchens, where chefs rely on them for everything from duck breast to brownies. Because restaurant cooks typically prepare one serving at a time, they’re most often using smaller skillets—those around 8 inches or so. As for specific go-to brands, Lodge remains a favorite. “You can’t beat the durability and the price point of a Lodge,” says Byrn. Sitrin echoes Byrn’s sentiments. “If you go by brand only, if you select a Lodge pan, you’re going to be in good shape,” he says.

Read More

Zaļā Josta - Reklāma