The 12 Best Cast-Iron Skillets


Heritage: Family business started in 1896, made in the U.S. The Skillet: This is the most common skillet you’re likely to run into today. The classic model from Lodge features all the hallmarks of the style — heavy build (7.89 pounds for the 12-inch), flat handle, helpful pour spouts on the sides — and the brand can be found in many big box stores like Target. It consistently scores high marks in professional reviews because it offers so much bang for your buck, and we agree up to a point.

Field Company

Heritage: Started in 2016 on Kickstarter, made in the U.S. The Skillet: The number one reason to buy a Field Company skillet is the lightweight design. In our full review, we noted that only Lodge’s Blacklock line is lighter among major manufacturers. But where Field Company differentiates itself from Lodge is in its super smooth cooking surface and handsome minimalist aesthetic.


Heritage: Started in 2015, made in South Carolina The Skillet: After testing half of the pans on this list, we believe this Smithey is the best option for most people. Its polished cooking surface is more nonstick than Field Company, it’s deeper than Butter Pat so you can actually fry food in it, it’s heavy but not as big of a pain as Finex, it’s not the most precise cooker but it’s better than Lodge, and it’s expensive but not prohibitively so.

Butter Pat

Heritage: Started in 2013, made in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland The Skillet: This is the most expensive on the list, bronze-colored out of the box and shallow compared to other models. What’s going on here? We got the full story from founder Dennis Powell about how he spent $100,000 of his own money recreating a cast iron manufacturing process that had been lost over the years.


Heritage: Started in 2015, made in Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania The Skillet: If you like the idea of giving your money to a new U.S.-based company that is attempting to change the conversation around cast iron, but you aren’t keen on the higher prices and extra work, Stargazer is a great option. Their pans are more affordable than the other newfangled brands and come in on the lower end in terms of weight (this one is just 6.5 pounds).


Heritage: Started in 2012 on Kickstarter, made in Oregon The Skillet: Kickstarter success story? Check. Design that completely upends the status quo? Check. Legitimization that comes from being acquired by Lodge? Also check. Yes, despite its humble beginnings, Finex was bought by the king of cast iron in 2019, but it’s still staying true to its Portland roots and unique vision.

Matheson Cookware

Heritage: Started in 2020, made in China The Skillet: In 2020, iconoclast chef Matty Matheson teamed up with product design firm Castor to start an eponymous cookware line. The debut piece is this sleek 10-inch cast-iron pan and lid (11.25-inch diameter, weighs 8.5 pounds without the lid and 17 with it). It’s got an extra-long handle, an extended lip for basting (a design element you won’t find elsewhere) and a minimalist look that belies the man behind it.

Borough Furnace

Heritage: Started in 2011, made in upstate New York The Skillet: If your kitchen knowledge is mostly populated with wisdom from Anthony Bourdain, you may recognize Borough Furnace from a video when they received a visit from the late icon. Yes, we called the Matheson pan minimalist, but this is the real star if you’re looking for a skillet that’s impossibly clean and simple.


Heritage: Started in 2019 on Kickstarter, made in and around Lancaster, Pennsylvania The Skillet: The Lancaster No. 10 Skillet, which features an 11.625-inch diameter, is an interesting newer contender that was released in March 2022. It’s among the lightest at this size, with only the Field Company and Lodge Blacklock models weighing less (this Lancaster is “just over” 6 pounds according to the company).

There are endless reasons to buy yourself a cast-iron skillet: they can last generations, unlike nonstick pans which get trashed every few years; they can handle all types of cooking situations from stovetops to campfires, unlike often more expensive stainless steel; and they’re the vessel by which some of the most satisfying recipes are made, from perfectly seared meat to crispy pizzas to spicy shakshuka.

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