Your Cast Iron Skillet Needs a Lid — Here’s Why, and Which One to Get

updated Jan 7, 2021
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Styling: Brett Regot

We love cast iron skillets. They get and stay super-hot, putting a crust on steak and a crisp on chicken thighs like nothing else. They’re inimitably durable (as long as you treat ‘em right). And they’re versatile as all get out — suitable for cornbread, pizza, and even pie

Sometimes, though, your cast iron skillet needs a friend. And that friend should be a lid. When steaming, a good lid will retain heat, ensuring things cook evenly. It’ll contain messes, too, making sure anything that’s simmering stays in the skillet and off the stovetop. And after cooking, it keeps things warm. A lid’s helpful for fried eggs, too, as covering them, even for a short while, prevents undercooked whites. 

Our favorite cast iron skillet, by Lodge, doesn’t come with a lid, though. But the company does sell lids separately. Lodge makes both tempered glass and cast iron options that come in a variety of sizes, including 12-, 10.25-, and even 8-inch models, depending on what size skillet you own. Of these two materials, we prefer the tempered glass lids. During testing, we’ve found that the cast iron lids have narrow, hard-to-grip looped handles and are heavier, making them more cumbersome to lift. The tempered glass lids, on the other hand, are lightweight and have heat-resistant plastic knobs that stay cool throughout cooking. Because they’re see-through, you can easily monitor food as it cooks. They’re also dishwasher-safe.

For those who own an enameled cast iron skillet by Le Creuset (this one or this one, perhaps?), Le Creuset makes fantastic lids in a host of sizes, too. These lids have large, easy-to-grip stainless steel knobs that remain cool throughout cooking and are made from see-through tempered glass. Like the Lodge, they’re also dishwasher-safe. 

Whether you get a Lodge or a Le Creuset lid, you should try it out with your other pans. They fit more than cast iron and are compatible with things that are equivalently-sized, like 8- and 12-inch nonstick skillets.