Cast-iron pans, like first dates, can be intimidating. But with a little bit of effort and some guidance on self-care (do you know how to season a cast-iron pan?), you’ll quickly settle into a long-lasting relationship with a skillet made from forged steel and iron.
We talked to the Good Housekeeping Institute and Nicole Papantoniou, director of their Kitchen Appliances & Culinary Innovation Lab, about how cast-iron skillets help home cooks incorporate restaurant-level techniques into their dinner routine.
“A cast-iron pan can handle higher heats and temperatures than a non-stick pan, and you can pop it into the oven,” says Papantoniou. “The pan can get really hot, which lets you get a nice crust on food without overcooking it or setting off the fire alarm.”
Cast iron skillets come in a wide range of sizes, with features that make lifting and pouring easier. We’ve assembled a list of cast-iron skillets that will work in your kitchen, whether you’re making dinner for yourself or a crowd. Here are the best cast-iron skillets we tested.
Our top picks
How we picked these products
Let’s look at the sizzle reel. To find the best cast-iron skillets, we consulted our friends at the Good Housekeeping Institute. Their team of on-staff experts—which includes all types: engineers! data analysts! registered dietitians!—rigorously put everyday products to the test (and then more and more tests) in their New York City-based labs to determine which ones you can trust. They examined the features and finishes of cast-iron skillets, using them in the Lab, as well as at home. They also considered the weight and size of different skillets, and how easy they might be to clean.