There are plenty of reasons why a cast iron skillet is one piece of kitchen hardware you should absolutely have. Compared to the alternatives, cast iron skillets retain heat longer, are non-stick because of seasoning and not chemicals, can be finished in the oven or broiler, and will last multiple lifetimes. Cast iron cookware care and cleaning can be a pain, but ultimately it’s worth the effort because the food turns out so damn good.
Lodge-12-Cast-Iron-Skillet

Lodge 12" Cast Iron Skillet

If you want to experiment with cast iron cooking before making a significant investment in a pan, you won’t do better than one of Lodge’s nine different cast iron skillet offerings. Amazon’s #1 Best Seller for skillets sautés, sears, fries and bakes with the best of them while still being downright cheap. You’re going to need to season it yourself once you get it, but that’s a time investment most people are willing to make when the pan itself costs less than a bottle of bourbon.

$32
Calphalon-Cast-Iron-12-Skillet

Calphalon Cast Iron 12" Skillet

Calphalon is a name you’re no doubt familiar with because they probably made at least one other pot or pan in your kitchen right now. Their cast iron skillet lives up to the name by being durably built, affordable and protected by the same full lifetime warranty. Large, heavy duty handles make it easy to cook everything from steak to cornbread on gas, electric or induction stove tops, even in the oven or broiler.

$35
Field-Company-Field-Skillets

Field Company Field Skillets

Designed to combine all the best features of vintage cast iron with a modern twist, Field Company skillets are as functional as pans twice as old as you while still being lighter than a MacBook Pro. Each pan is machined and polished after being cast from 75% – 90% recycled iron to give you a smooth cooking surface that’s light enough to not be a chore to move around. Field Company cast iron cookware is also Made in the USA with zero waste and come fully seasoned. Right now, the only way to get one of their skillets is to join their mailing list. That will tell you how many people are in line ahead of you, but these skillets are absolutely worth the wait.

$100
Marquette-Castings-Cast-Iron-Skillets

Marquette Castings Cast Iron Skillets

Founded by three brothers from Michigan that grew up building everything from rockets to robots, Marquette Castings revamped the cast iron skillet from the ground up. Each of the three size options is sand cast and milled to make it smooth and light. The handle is raised for easier operation and has smaller connection points to resist heat transfer. It also comes fully seasoned with four coats of baked on Flax seed oil as part of their proprietary seasoning process.

$105+
Le-Creuset-Signature-Skillet

Le Creuset Signature Skillet

With an enameled interior, dual pour spots, a helper handle and a name like Le Creuset, you already know this skillet is going to be great. The durable black enamel finish requires no seasoning. The enamel is chip and crack resistant. Most importantly, unlike most other cast iron, Le Creuset’s enameled signature skillet is dishwasher safe.

$160
Finex-Cast-Iron-Skillet

Finex Cast Iron Skillet

Prior to Finex designing its skillet, cast iron cookware hadn’t changed much in almost a century. Finex’s skillet is as durable as the classic, but it has an improved eight-sided design for easy pouring, CNC machined cooking surface for easy cleaning and a spring-like handle that dissipates heat quickly. Finex cookware is definitely an investment, but their Made in the USA skillet is absolutely worth it. Check out this video to learn more.

$200+