December 26, 2020
“While it can be a bit intimidating to novice cooks, cast iron is often the go-to material for many professional chefs—and for a good reason. Not only is cast iron one of the best cookware materials for heat retention and distribution, but it’s also unbelievably durable, lasting for generations if cared for properly. Whether you’re searing meat or baking cake, the best cast iron skillets deliver consistent and reliable results.
As you cook with your skillet, the metal will develop a natural patina often referred to as “seasoning.” This is essentially just numerous layers of oil that have been baked onto the metal, and it will protect the skillet from rust and create a naturally nonstick surface that makes cooking eggs or sticky sauces a breeze. (Just be sure to go gentle on your cast iron skillet when cleaning—you want to keep the seasoning intact, so steer clear of harsh soaps and abrasive brushes.)
There are a number of standard sizes of cast iron skillet to pick from. Eight or 10-inch skillets are often best for everyday use, as they can easily fit two pieces of protein or a serving of vegetables. Those with larger households may need to size up to a 12- or 14-inch skillet—just make sure your stovetop can accommodate the larger cookware. You’ll also want to consider the depth of your pan, as a skillet with shallow walls isn’t ideal for cooking sauces.
As you shop, you’ll likely encounter the term “enameled cast iron,” which means the metal has been coated with a durable non-porous glaze. Unlike traditional cast iron, enameled cast iron is nonstick right out of the box—no need to build up seasoning—and you can clean it more vigorously without worrying about damage. For these reasons, it’s often a better choice for beginners or anyone who likes lower maintenance pots and pans.
Whether you’re new to cast iron or are looking to grow your collection, here are some of the best cast iron skillets across the board. From the best budget pick to the perfect pan for beginners, any one of them deserves a spot in your kitchen.”
“Because it cooks differently than other materials and has very specific care instructions, cast iron can be intimidating to beginners. If you’re buying your very first cast iron skillet, you may want to start out with a product like the Ayesha Curry Enameled Cast Iron Skillet, which offers an easy-to-clean enamel finish at a novice-friendly price point.
“This skillet comes in 10- and 12-inch sizes and four exterior colors, and because it has an enamel coating, there’s no need to build up a seasoning—it should be nonstick and easy to use right out of the box. The pan is oven-safe up to 500 degrees, so you can bake and broil in it, and one reviewer even went so far as to say it has changed the way she cooks: “I love this pan! The thick base provides even heat. The dual pouring spouts are handy. The little handle is vital! It’s a heavy pan and I wouldn’t try to move it without that little handle. And of course, the ease of searing and then baking, all in one dish.”