Chef's treasure. “I did my due diligence and read up on how to use and care for an iron pan, and to be honest, it is no worse than taking care of any other pan. 12 Cast Iron Skillet, How to Buy, Season, and Maintain Cast-Iron Cookware, president of Griswold and Cast Iron Cookware Association, The Gear You Need to Start Sous Vide Cooking, How to Clean and Season Cast-Iron Cookware. The cast-iron brand that you can find just about anywhere, Lodge has been around for 120 years for a reason. Over 1,000 reviewers have rated Field skillets five stars on the company’s website, saying it’s ultra-smooth and a modern heirloom. While you can always braise or deep-fry in a Dutch oven instead, if you’d like to be able to do these things in your skillet, we recommend the original Lodge 12-inch skillet instead (more on that below). We also paid attention to the comfort and maneuverability of the handle when lifting and tilting each pan. Having both handles offers security when you’re taking the pan off the stovetop and draining hot grease. You'll love this skillet!”, Best High-End Pick: Le Creuset Signature Iron Handle. Its 8-inch pan is big enough to fit four fried eggs or two New York strip steaks, but only weighs 4.5 pounds. But not all cast iron is created equal—you’ll want something that won’t only last, but improve with time. The Lodge Chef Collection 12 Inch Skillet delivered evenly browned steaks, crisp golden cornbread, and sunny-side-up eggs that slipped right out of the pan. We then seared boneless sirloin strip steaks in 2 teaspoons of canola oil to gauge how well each pan seared meat. A cast-iron braiser is best used for slow cooking certain ingredients. If you've been shying away from getting a good cast iron pan, I wholeheartedly recommend this one as a good starter. The stick handle is small and uncomfortable, and the helper handle is hard to grasp. A cast iron pan is an essential piece of equipment for any cook. For example, when I make my pork chops, I cook them 4 minutes either side in the pan, and then transfer the whole thing into the oven at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Lighter antique or high-end skillets are easier to lift and maneuver, but a helper handle makes even hefty skillets manageable. In our tests, the Blacklock dripped more oil when pouring it into a jar, while the Lodge Classic and Chef’s Collection pans poured in relatively steady streams. Read on for the in-depth research and the tips and trick I have come up with to get Fried eggs slid out as effortlessly as from a nonstick skillet. Next, we cooked 6 ounces of bacon in each skillet until crisp. Based in Charleston, South Carolina, Smithey Ironware began with founder Issac Morton’s passion for restoring rusty old cookware to its former 19th-century glory. And if you’re cooking something like pancakes, you might have to move them around to get even browning. ), as well as spouts on two sides for drip-free pouring. But overall it performed the same as the Chef Collection skillet in our tests, searing steak well and releasing eggs easily. “This pan has the very smooth interior finish similar to the old, collector pans made by Griswold. I cook everything from scratch-sourdough bread, soups, stews, casseroles, pies, even pie crusts. Price $ 429 Sale $ 149.99 Staub Enameled Cast Iron Mini Round Cocotte Set, 1/4-Qt. It has a smoothly polished surface that heated up very evenly. Big enough to roast a whole chicken or sear multiple steaks at once, it features both an assist handle and a silicone holder that protects from heat up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. It's oven-safe up to 500°F and suitable for all stovetops. I use it for all sorts of jobs, from searing steak, cooking pork chops or frying dover sole. The Camp Chef 12" Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet released foods cleanly in our tests, but it is particularly rough-textured, heated extremely unevenly, and has a slightly smaller interior surface than the others we tested. A clever trick is to keep it on your stove, or easily at hand, so it’s convenient to use (it also doesn’t hurt to cook bacon and other fatty foods in it from time to time). When we were pouring hot oil, our grip on the handle was secure, and we always kept control of the pan. Large pour spot: We like pans with functional pour spouts or lips that don’t dribble bacon drippings and make a mess. The price of the product is 3 to 4 times less than similar products of the same range. He has worked in various facets of the food and restaurant industry for over a decade. Personally I prefer my steaks grilled over charcoal, but that violates my rental agreement because someone thinks it's a fire hazard. Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron 9-Inch Skillet with Iron Handle, Flame at Amazon.com. Of all the cast-iron skillets we tested, it came closest to exhibiting even heat distribution, and in testing it was a pleasure to use. Its large diameter makes it … The lid has condensation ridges that uniformly collect and direct vapor onto food, producing moist and savory dishes. Most contemporary, inexpensive cast-iron cookware is heavy and comes with a slightly pebbly texture. Whereas unseasoned cast iron is silver-gray, a seasoned pan will generally be black or brown all over. Food & Wine is part of the Meredith Corporation Allrecipes Food Group. Plus, the skillets are practically indestructible (especially if you know how to clean and handle them). That said, many of us have Lodge skillets at home that range in age from 15 to 20 years old and have never had a problem. 12-Inch Cast-Iron Skillets, Cook’s Illustrated, January 2019, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, How to Buy, Season, and Maintain Cast-Iron Cookware, June 8, 2010, Nancy Fuller, host of Farmhouse Rules, phone interview, December 6, 2016, Jeremiah Langhorne, chef and owner of The Dabney, phone interview, December 8, 2016, Mary Theisen, founder of The Pan Handler, phone interview, December 6, 2016, Matthew Hartings, author of Chemistry in Your Kitchen, phone interview, December 22, 2016, Brad Schwarting, president of Griswold and Cast Iron Cookware Association, phone interview, December 7, 2016. And if you like baking, it has an extra-thick base for stellar heat distribution. Again, Lodge doesn’t have a formal written guarantee or warranty, but we’ve used Lodge skillets for many years without experiencing any problems, and Lodge’s products have long been popular with chefs and cooking personalities. The roomy helper handle on the other side of the skillet is big enough to wrap your fingers underneath with a bulky pot holder. Each piece of the Signature Cookware Set is made of the popular enameled cast iron from Le Creuset, which takes the best parts of the traditional cast iron and combines it with a modern flair. Not only is this the best raw cast iron pan I have used by far, it significantly outperformed my Le Creuset enameled cast iron pan, which I will be donating to my neighbor as I can not foresee using again in light of my new workhorse.”, Best for Camping: Field Cast Iron Skillet. Time to retire the inferior electric grills. Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron 11-3/4-Inch Skillet with Iron Handle, Caribbean at Amazon.com. To loosen stubborn cooked-on food, pour hot tap water in the skillet while it’s still hot and let it bubble for a minute or two, then transfer to the sink and hand wash. Make sure to dry your pan completely since lingering moisture can cause rust spots or damage your seasoning. Another thing that differentiates this skillet is that the sides of the pan are rounded, so it’s easier to maneuver a spatula for flipping pancakes or for stirring vegetables. We prefer slightly rounded stick handles that allow for a natural grip near their base, which gives you good control. And while cast iron does require some special attention (and can’t go in the dishwasher), it’s not that much more difficult to care for than any other cookware. You only get a one-year warranty from Amazon. Cast iron is ideal for searing because it holds onto heat better than stainless steel or aluminum cookware. NutriChef 11 Inch Square Nonstick Cast Iron Skillet Griddle Grill Pan with Porcelain Enamel Coating, Side Pour Spouts, and Ridged Interior, Red Nutrichef 4 out of 5 stars with 1 reviews Victoria’s large spouts allowed us to pour off hot oil without a single drip. The Best Lightweight Cast Iron Skillet: Lodge Blacklock 10.25-Inch Skillet This new line of cast iron cookware from Lodge is clearly trying to capitalize on the renewed interest in vintage-style cast iron, especially now that the market has become crowded with startups attempting to revive the old cast iron standards of lighter weight and smoother surfaces. A new generation of high-end cast-iron skillets produced by small companies like Butter Pat or Stargazer come with a very smooth cooking surface and are typically a couple of pounds lighter. I try to stay as traditional and natural as possible. Antique and vintage cast-iron cookware were hand-poured into sand molds and hand-polished to a smooth finish. Sugg. The lighter weight of the Chef Collection skillet could also be a slight handicap if you were browning a very thick piece of meat like a tomahawk steak, as a heavier pan will hold in more heat and give you better second-side browning. Sam Sifton, the food editor at The New York Times also helped out with our 2017 testing. To check for the nonstick-ness of the factory seasoning, we made cornbread and turned the pans upside down to see if the baked bread fell out with prying or sticking. When it’s dry, rub a very thin layer of a neutral oil all over the inside and outside of the pan to preserve its seasoning. This covered skillet is made from enameled cast iron that makes it sturdy and durable. It takes a while for the cast iron to really be preheated to where you can use it. Since the popularity of cast iron has spiked in recent years, the demand for antique skillets made anywhere from the late 1800s to mid-20th century by now-defunct companies like Wagner and Griswold has skyrocketed. And again, these are lighter. Bruntmor Enameled Cast Iron Skillet With Lids, 12-Inch 8. For most cooks, the company’s standard 12-inch skillet is the everyday essential guaranteed to become a family heirloom. Learn more. The cast-iron itself is just smooth and beautiful. A cast-iron skillet is great for everything from searing a T-bone to roasting a chicken, and it will become naturally nonstick over time. Chantal Enameled Heavy Duty Cast-Iron Skillet & Dutch Oven Set 7. (If you’re willing to pay more for a slightly lighter pan, Lodge also makes the Blacklock Triple Seasoned Cast-Iron Skillet, but we think the Lodge Chef Collection performed better overall). Cast iron cookware really can last for generations, and, consequently, there’s a reverence for vintage pieces. Lodge pans also performed the same as the new high-end skillets we tested and in some cases better. The lack of a warranty doesn’t concern us because Lodge cast-iron skillets are very durable, and Lodge has a good reputation for customer service. It’s no wonder they’ve earned a 4.6-star rating. The eight corners of the skillet are touted to offer versatility when pouring, but every corner dribbled on our counter. “Had the absolute pleasure of cooking in these gorgeous pieces of artwork this past week at a clients home and I can’t say enough positive things about your product!” one shopper wrote. Today, many new cast-iron skillets are pre-seasoned at the factory. It’s like regular cast iron, but… Wait for it… It’s coated by enameled paint.“Why coat perfectly good cast iron?” Glad you asked…It’s safe to use with acidic foods, like tomato-based sauces or chilis and has a high heat retention due to its thickness and generally awesome cast iron qualities. Amazon shoppers call the skillet an incredibly durable multitasker, leaving it an impressive 4.7 rating. Over 3,000 customers have rated the skillet five stars, praising its heat distribution, versatility, and durability. Contrary to popular belief, you can wash your pan with mild dish soap and hot water. Just grab this cast iron pan from Lodge and you’re on your way to a juicy charred burger or gorgeous steaks. We’ve tested 16 skillets since 2017 and think the Lodge Chef Collection 12 Inch Skillet is the best. No magic. If you’re curious as to how heirloom skillets compare with new ones, we talk about vintage pans (as well as the high-end skillets that aim to reproduce them) below, and why you might want one. They also can withstand the high temperatures of an oven or grill, making them great kitchen workhorses. For new cooks looking to get a handle on cast iron pans, the 10-inch Finex is a great start. Enameled cast iron cookware is made from cast iron, but it includes a vitreous enamel glaze on the surface. However, with patience and practice, you might be able to create perfectly cooked eggs in your enameled cast iron one day. First of all, it's gorgeous to look at. Its three-finger handle is easy to grasp, and it features holes on both sides for hanging. The French company is celebrated for its ultra-high-quality cast iron, and its enameled cast iron pans are no exception. But we found the smoother pans to be no more nonstick than the rougher ones, which will also smooth out with use as they develop layers of seasoning. Cast individually in sand molds and hand-inspected by experts, the skillets feature a black enamel interior that needs no additional seasoning. While traditional cast iron skillets build up a nonstick seasoning over time, the enameled kind is more stick-resistant out of the box; plus, it won’t react with acidic ingredients like tomatoes, which can make food taste metallic. She is perfectly happy to leave all that behind to be a full-time kitchen-gear nerd. Using it with the large helper handle, you’ll maintain solid control of this heavy pan, even when you’re taking it hot out of the oven or pouring grease into a jar. The overdesigned Finex 12-inch octagonal skillet is another offering from the indie movement of cast-iron producers trying to make pans the old way. Easy to maneuver: Most cast-iron pans are quite heavy—the classic Lodge 12-inch skillet weighs about 8½ pounds—so it’s important that they come with a comfortable handle and a large helper handle on the opposite edge of the pan. Whether you’re searing chicken breasts, frying bacon, or caramelizing carrots, this enameled black matte interior imparts texture, promoting exceptional browning and searing, without sticking. Both handles also get very hot, so the ability to get a good grip on them even with a bulky mitt is important. Old Mountain 10109 Pre Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet With Lid, 10.5-Inch 9. RELATED: Classic Cast-Iron Skillet Recipes. The Tramontina Gourmet Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven may look heavy duty, but it was actually among the lightest of the casserole dishes in our test. Over 2,800 Amazon customers have given the square pan a five-star rating, praising its heavy-duty design and heat distribution. Most of the time, that’s all you’ll need to keep your pan in great shape. It seared steak, fried eggs, and released cornbread well in our tests. Read Customer Reviews Here » Cook food in style with Lodge enameled cast iron dutch oven. There are no pour spouts, but we found it easy to pour hot grease over the edge without dripping. Before joining Wirecutter in 2016, he worked in the food and restaurant industry for several years and was an editor at International Culinary Center in NYC for three years. But what really made the Lodge skillet stand out from the competition is its lighter weight combined with its affordable price. I expect I will be using this for the next 30 years, as long as I maintain the seasoning.”, To buy: $200 (originally $260); amazon.com, Best Vintage-Inspired Skillet: Smithey Ironware No. It’s also a little less expensive than the Chef Collection skillet. Like all fry pans, this pan traditional skillet browns foods beautifully. Best Overall: Lodge 12-Inch Cast Iron Skillet. You’ll know a pan is well-seasoned if it’s an even color all over, without darker specks or blotches. With more than 10 inches of surface area, there’s plenty of room to lay out bacon strips. Cooks turn to these durable pans for pan-frying, searing, baking, and making eggs. But once it’s there, it’s great for searing and high-temperature cooking.” All that stored heat translates to a thick sear on steaks and roasts, crispy fish skin, and deep caramelization on vegetables. When you take into account the heft and heat of a cast-iron skillet, aiming for the small opening of a jar is challenging on its own without the added headache of subpar pour spouts. Butter Pat Industries Joan 12" Polished Cast Iron Skillet is the most expensive skillet we tested, which the manufacturer attributes to the fact that it takes about 41 people 21 days to produce. A good seasoning will work almost as well as a nonstick coating to consistently prevent foods like eggs and cornbread from sticking. It not only transitions from grill to stovetop to oven with ease, but it’s versatile enough to sear steaks and seafood or bake fluffy frittatas and cakes. 10 Cast Iron Skillet, Lodge 10.5-Inch Square Cast Iron Grill Pan. Courtesy of Milo. The Joan has very low sides, so it’s great for searing without steaming but too shallow for frying chicken. Zelancio Enamel Cast Iron Skillet 10” 1.5.1 Caring for “If you can only have one piece of cast iron in your kitchen, this would be the one,” a user said. I have a lot of cast iron cookware, but this one is the most versatile and probably the most used.”, Best for Grilling: Lodge 10.5-Inch Square Cast Iron Grill Pan. However, metal utensils can chip the enamel. The skillets have an avid fan-base, with hundreds commenting on Instagram posts showing what goes on behind the scenes at the company. What’s more, the enameled cast iron also provides superior heat retention compared to other nonstick skillets and is dishwasher-safe for simpler cleanup. It does n't do anything to disappoint review ratings for Le Creuset enameled cast-iron 9-Inch skillet with iron handle a. The inside is a senior staff writer reporting on all things cooking entertaining. Blown away and am elated with my investment versatility when pouring, but that my... 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