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The 10 best cast iron skillets for every budget, purpose and style — Lodge, Le Creuset, Stargazer and more

·6-min read

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Cooking with cast iron has been a preferred method for home cooks and chefs alike for decades. In fact, most would say that a cast iron skillet is an essential cookware piece for any kitchen.

Why is cast iron so popular? Well, simply put, cast iron heats and cooks evenly, reaching and maintaining high temperatures well throughout the cooking process. In addition, cast iron cookware also gets better with time — when cared for properly.

The patina, which popular cast iron cookware brand Field Company calls the cast iron code word for "nonstick," improves when the iron is properly maintained. This creates the perfect surface to make everything from eggs to a spatchcock chicken.

But for those looking for a top cast iron to fit their budget, kitchen decor and cooking style, finding the right skillet can be a daunting and tedious task.

Currently, there are hundreds of cast iron skillets on the market, making it almost impossible for the casual shopper to find the right one. In an effort to make your shopping experience a bit easier, we've compiled our favorites, separated into 10 categories.

1. Best Overall: 10.25-Inch Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet With Assist Handle, $17.90 ($26.68)

Credit: Amazon
Credit: Amazon

We've said it before, and we'll say it again: Lodge reigns supreme in the cast iron skillet space, thanks to its prices, quality and product variations. The USA-founded brand creates skillets that are lauded as some of the best on the market. As an owner and avid-user of this item, I can also personally vouch for its brilliance. A must-have!

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2. Top Luxury Option: Staub 11-Inch Cast Iron Skillet, $149.96 - $169.96 (Orig. $286)

Credit: Sur La Table
Credit: Sur La Table

If you want something more high-end and larger, this enamel cast iron skillet from luxury cookware brand Staub is a customer favorite. Boasting an overall rating of five stars on Sur La Table, this option combines "the legendary performance of cast iron with a durable enamel finish for easy care and cleanup."

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3. Best-Looking Skillet: Le Creuset 10.25-Inch Signature Cast Iron Skillet, $190

Credit: Le Creuset
Credit: Le Creuset

While most cast iron on the market usually feature the standard black rustic exterior, these skillets from the coveted cookware brand Le Creuset feature an outer coating that comes in a myriad of colors to match any kitchen decor. In addition to the colorful look of this best-selling cast iron skillet, it's also easy to clean — and comes with a lifetime warranty.

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4. Most Budget-Friendly Skillet: Home-Complete 12-Inch Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet, $21.95

Credit: Amazon
Credit: Amazon

With standard cast iron skillets (10.25-inches and below) usually retailing for a minimum of $25, it's rare to find a sizable and highly rated option. For those who aren't willing to spend more than $22, this option from Home Complete is the best bargain. Measuring a healthy 12-inches in diameter, this skillet is perfect for both indoor and outdoor cooking. Plus, based on customer's reviews, it's one of the best purchases some shoppers have ever made.

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5. Best Lightweight Option: Field Company 10.25 Field Cast Iron Skillet, $125

Credit: Field Company
Credit: Field Company

In the cast iron skillet cookware genre, where most items look pretty much the same, Field Company is one of the few that sets itself apart. The brand's skillets are so stellar that they can fit the bill of several of these categories (particularly the best-looking and best smooth-surface options). However, when compared to the heft and weight of most budget and high-end cast iron skillets, this 10.25-inch option from Field Company is one of the lightest you will likely hold. It's perfect for everyday use.

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6. Smoothest Surface: Finex 12-Inch Cast Iron Skillet With Lid, $248.95

Credit: Home Depot
Credit: Home Depot

This Finex cast iron skillet is unlike any you've ever seen. In addition to its stunning, one-of-a-kind craftsmanship and luxe detailing, this premium piece of cast iron cookware has a super-smooth, ultra-polished cooking surface. This feature allows you to build up that non-stick seasoning in much less time than with other options. Finex's skillet also features a special octagonal design that makes pouring liquid at any angle a breeze. Not to mention the matching lid is the perfect accessory, especially when oven-braising.

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7. Best Double-Handled Skillet: Lodge 12-Inch Dual Handle Cast Iron Pan, $24.90 (Orig. $39.99)

Credit: Amazon
Credit: Amazon

If you serve food straight from the pan, a standard cast iron skillet with a protruding handle may not be ideal. This is where a double-handled skillet comes in handy. This option makes it easy to transport hot food directly from the oven to the table. While there are several expensive double-handled skillets out there, this 12-inch option from Lodge retails for $20. Based on shoppers' reviews, it removes the need to split food between two pans, too.

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8. Top Vintage Pick: Stargazer 10.5-Inch Cast Iron Skillet, $115

Credit: Stargazer Cast Iron
Credit: Stargazer Cast Iron

This stunning vintage-inspired Stargazer 10.5-inch cast iron skillet rivals true vintage cast irons, thanks to its thin walls and smooth cooking surface. Adding to its vintage charm, this skillet features a stamped logo on the underside of the vessel. Its flared rim makes pouring easy, and its high sloping walls make it a breeze to toss any content inside. This pan is made in the U.S., and comes hand-seasoned with two coats of all-natural non-GMO oil.

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9. Best Deep Skillet: Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Deep Skillet, $29.90

Credit: Amazon
Credit: Amazon

Let's be honest: Standard cast iron skillets can be limiting due to their height. To remedy this problem, this Lodge pre-seasoned cast iron deep skillet provides the perfect depth (5.5 inches) to ensure your frying or sauce-making needs are mess-free. For added convenience, there is also a version with a matching lid that operates similarly to a Dutch oven (for a fraction of the price). This option is also perfect for braising meats or even baking bread.

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10. Amazon's Choice-Labeled: Utopia Kitchen 12.5-Inch Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet, $23.99 (Orig. $29.99)

Credit: Amazon
Credit: Amazon

When a product is labeled "Amazon's Choice," it means the item comes recommended by the retailer as highly-rated and well-priced. This cast iron skillet from Utopia Kitchen boasts that coveted seal. Based on customers' reviews, it delivers on all fronts. For just $25, shoppers get this massive 12.5-inch pre-seasoned vessel that performs all the basic functions of a "solid quality" cast iron skillet.

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The post The 10 best cast iron skillets for every budget, purpose and style appeared first on In The Know.

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