The Cast Iron Skillets Kitchn Editors Absolutely Can’t Live Without

published Aug 5, 2021
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

No type of cookware has a more devoted following than the humble cast iron skillet. With unmatched durability and heat retention, a great cast iron skillet can last for generations. It’s versatile, too — able to do what nonstick cannot, which is withstand blisteringly high temperatures, shallow-fry, and bake biscuits. The list goes on!

With such loyalty comes divisive opinions about which cast iron skillet is, truly, the best. So, I asked my fellow Kitchn editors: What cast iron skillet can’t you live without? Here’s what a few of us had to say.

1. Smithey Cast Iron Skillet

“I don’t know what it is about this particular cast iron skillet, but I have the best luck with it when it comes to seasoning it. Also I don’t have air conditioning in my house, and this pan does not rust up, whereas some of my other cast iron skillets do … even the well-seasoned ones!” Lisa Freedman, Lifestyle Director

2. Lodge Cast Iron Skillet

“I use my 12-inch Lodge cast iron skillet for everything including breakfast pancakes and dinner steaks. Newer Lodge skillets, like the one I have, come pre-seasoned which means I just have to maintain the slick coating. I don’t have to do anything to get it going. Plus, Lodge has one of the greatest price points.” Patty Catalano, Contributor

3. Vintage Griswold Cast Iron Skillet

“We have three vintage Griswolds, but the #8 gets the most use. It measures 10 1/2 inches across the top. I love Griswold skillets because they are much lighter than other cast iron skillets and are soooooo smooth! I love this particular skillet for baking cornbread, cooking pork chops, and frying pretty much anything. They can be pricey, but if you know what you’re looking for, you can often find a steal at a yard sale and re-season it at home.” Nina Elder, Executive Food Director

4. Finex Cast Iron Skillet

And now my pick. I am the Tools Editor here at Kitchn, after all, and figured I should weigh in: Finex cast iron skillets look next-level. They have extremely smooth surfaces, retain heat incredibly well, and their coil handles stay pretty cool to the touch throughout cooking (which isn’t the case with a straight-up cast iron handle). Their octagonal shape also means that they have multiple places to easily pour from — six pouring spouts, if you will! I like the 10-inch size for cooking for two to three people.

5. Vermicular Frying Pan

The Vermicular Frying Pan somehow only weighs 2.4 pounds! Which means it’s easily maneuvered with one hand. It also has an enamel coating, so it doesn’t need to be seasoned or babied the way other cast iron needs to be. It’s downright gorgeous, but the wood handle means it can’t go in the oven, so this is a stove top-only pan. Don’t worry — I still find lots of ways to use it.” — Faith Durand, Editor-in-Chief

What your favorite cast iron skillet? Let us know in the comments!