Equipment Review: The Best Traditional & Enameled Cast-Iron Skillets / Pans & Our Testing Winners

Our Cookbook! Cook It in Cast Iron:
Buy our winning traditional cast-iron skillet:
Buy our winning enameled cast-iron skillet:
Buy our “best buy” enameled cast-iron skillet:
Full equipment review and results chart:

Cheap and tough, a cast-iron skillet is a kitchen workhorse, but the upkeep makes some cooks balk. Could enameled cast-iron pans, which need no special care, top the classic?

We tested 10 12-inch cast-iron skillets (4 traditional cast iron, 5 enameled cast iron) to find the best one:
Lodge Classic Cast Iron Skillet, 12″
Calphalon 12-in. Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet
Camp Chef 12″ Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet
T-fal Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet, 12″
Le Creuset Signature 11 3/4″ Iron Handle Skillet
Mario Batali by Dansk 12″ Open Sauté Pan
Lodge Enamel Coated Cast Iron Skillet, 11″
Rachael Ray Cast Iron 12-inch Open Skillet with Helper Handle
Staub Cast Iron 12″ Fry Pan
Tramontina Gourmet Enameled Cast Iron 12 in Skillet with Lid

Don’t miss our video on how to season and clean a cast-iron pan:

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Ciprian IVAS says:

Well, from this top misses the best label considering the price/quality report criteria: Lava !

AlaxDeluxe says:

*Wonderful!>>>**** Still trying out things to get the right temperature and time but everything has been delicious and so healthy! Love the fast cooking time when the food is “pressed” between the top and the bottom. So much quicker than firing up the outdoor grill.*

brizZzan says:

skip to end………………….

Rene Rene says:

My wife went out and bought about 20 pans in all sizes of this brand, I’ve been cooking for 30 years , and I’ve managed to burn my pasta sauce 3 Times already in 2 weeks with these new pans , it’s a piece of over priced crap if you ask me , I’m throwing them into the garbage bin where they belong

Dianna A says:

Do you recommend cast iron on a glass cook top?

Alfonzo Habsburg says:

There is an upper temperature limit to cast iron, google “cast iron fire damage”

Anoni.mouse same says:

Avoid Le creuset, it is a garbage quality. I have spend 110USD on one of their pans and threw it away within a month. I bought an enameled small pot for porridge or soups and it stained and turned dark brown on the inside within 6 months. Le Creuset is a poor quality, overpriced junk

ddavel5441 says:

I just bought a 12″ Victoria on eBay for $20. I hear it’s smoother than the Lodge.

jammath12345 says:

Came for youtube review, got advertisement for paid subscription zzzzzzzzzz

Ana Eliza Pedroso da Silva says:

The most useful video I ever saw!

Lori Loeb says:

Any advice for glass top stoves? My manual says no cast iron. Does anyone have any experience using cast iron skillets or Dutch ovens on a glass burner? Thanks!

mrTabascohot says:

Confused as to why she said the poorest pulled off a 4 by 6 piece and was by tramontina cookware but you clearly see the name Staub on that green pan with the chunk.


Great review. Thank you.

404 Error Not Found says:

This is a really helpful video. Great job.

classydays43 says:

I have major problems with my enameled cast iron skillet. I decided to get one as the craze was on and the price was unbelieveable at $15. Unfortunately, there’s nothing specific with regard to the care and maintenance of enameled cast iron, so what I’m left with is an enameled skillet that sticks to EVERYTHING despite seasoning, oiling, washing, various temperatures, even considering taking the enamel out with a heavy steel scourer.

If anyone reads this, please let me know how to take care of this thing.

akki k says:

Loved the vid, concise and short

Axiarus says:

Modern dish soap does not remove seasoning. Stop spreading this myth. Soap back in the day with lye did, not modern stuff.

Lisa Adler says:

I started a cooking school and have come to learn that I’ve wasted my money on cast iron. I want a nice fond in the pan. Non-stick doesn’t do anything to help with making amazing sauces. Cleaning is never an issue, because I deglaze the pan to make sauces. Now I only use my cast iron for eggs and things I want to go from the stove to the oven.

brizZzan says:

soap doesnt reove seasoning….soaking does

Malcolm Agee says:

That cornbread test was EYE OPENING!

Briar Bear says:

Staub = NO 1.

Anirudh Ramprasad says:

you could always add rivets on to cast iron pans!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! you will get a pattern though

お化け says:

Holy crap thank you!

George Lackey says:

I use them all the time, just don’t buy that lodge crap.

Debbie altman says:

We season our pans every time we use them. On the stove. We have a gas stove. Had a cast iron skillet crack bad when I was in my very earlie 30s many, many moons ago. Did not not much about cast iron back then. I was not a very experienced cook. No one told me how to care for cast iron as to how to season it or such. But I’ve learned a lot over the years. What I did then never again. Learn from mistakes.

OnixMedia says:

Great and no pans for people in Europe to purchase

Seth O'Shields says:

Lodge certainly are heavy duty and will last centuries, but they are rougher than sandpaper out of the factory. They used to grind the surface smooth, but to cut cost they stopped.

To really get any use out of a new Lodge you have to take it to the workshop and grind on it for half an hour, otherwise that glassy surface will never happen.

ShelbySquatch says:

U are beyond fucking stupid never ever put a hot cast iron pan in cold water!!! Over 20yrs experience here and i know wtf I’m talking about. I restore and sell ci.

brian keenan says:

Great work. Succinct and informative

KittyLoves8265 says:

if that’s a steak in your restraunt, i wanna go! :O

Fun With KARKOBI says:

I need to snatch someone face with my cast iron frying pan to see the effects of using them as weapons.

Sascha Artamanov says:

I’d say the best Cast Iron is the old Swedish skeppshult :

switzer ville says:

Now why shouldn’t I get a heavy bottom stainless steel pan instead?

Bob Gunner says:

Am I the only person who washes their cast iron (not enameled) pan in hot water and dish soap? Never had a problem doing that in 10 years. Who wants to cook in an unclean nasty pan? The only time I have ruined the seasoning is the other day when I put the pan on the grill and did some onions. But its easy to reapply the seasoning. (Actually after that event, and before I fixed the seasoning I still made some perfect french toast).

Jane Thornton says:

Can I use a cast iron skillet on a glass top?

Will G says:

It’s Pat from SNL

pilotbum says:

I’ve always held ATK’s reviews and product opinions with high regard but this is one where I would disagree. The Lodge skillet is ok but because of their mass production the finish is rough so their pre-seasoning will stick. There are much better cast iron options out there now that have smooth, machined finishes like the old fashioned cast iron produced by old manufacturers that have long since disappeared such as Griswald, Wagner or Vollrath. For smooth finished, high quality cast iron pans look at Stargazer or Field skillets. These two companies are making brand new skillets that are machines smooth. They are not as cheap as Lodge but like ATK says, they’ll last forever. Otherwise, get your sander out and prepare to sand your Lodge if you’re interested in a smooth finish.

Joey Morrison says:

Have no idea why anyone would want a cast iron skillet enameled.

David Estrada says:

That video looked like it took a lot of work

Liso Campos says:

Those people in the background are slacking.

5dd says:

Traditional cast iron skillets definitely out-perform enameled cast iron. And the 100-year-old cast iron skillets like Griswold, Wagner, etc … are considerably better than any of the newer skillets I’ve used.

steve-o says:

2 pueces of misinformation:

modern dish soap is absolutely FINE for cleaning traditional cast. also, you will warp a cast iron pan at higher temperatures. never need to go above medium in cast.

RJV B says:

You can season enamelled skillets just fine as if they’re bare iron. I do that with my Staub skillet and oven; I’d say the seasoning even holds a bit better.

Debbie altman says:

If you must use soap on cast iron then you just dry it well season it again. I only use steel wool and water if I have to. Then dry with paper towel well and season it again.

steve wenger says:

i own 2 cast irons a le crueset and lodge love them.

Beverly Corona says:

I love the cast iron pan my great-grandmother grandmother and mother and I all use them. FYI if your pan is extremely hot even though it’s cast iron and you hit it with cold water I have had them crack perfectly down the middle smooth Fall Apart crack.. I love watching your videos I’m waiting to get me a carbon steel pan

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