Lodge L5HS3 5-Piece Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Cookware Set Review

By: Kelly Burgess on September 1st, 2015
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Lodge L5HS3 5-Piece Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Cookware Set Review

There are plenty of cooks out there who only own and use cast iron cookware and we can assure you that most own Lodge brand. Lodge out-rates and outperforms even cast-iron cookware brands costing two or three times as much. For some experts, there is no comparison even to other types of cookware -- such as stainless steel and nonstick. Of course, in spite of what they think, cast iron is not for everyone. It's very heavy, there's a learning curve to get the best results, and it requires extra care, but when cast-iron cookware is used right, there's nothing better.

ProsGreat value, Versatile, Heats and cooks evenly, Pre-seasonedConsHeavy, Requires special maintenance

Performance

Top quality in every cooking mode. In expert tests Lodge cast-iron cookware performs flawlessly, with even heat distribution, the ability to go from stovetop to oven, and superior flavor imparted to food. Owners love that they only need one set of cookware for life -- kitchen, grilling and camping -- and that it cooks equally well in any of those situations. The pre-seasoning is a huge hit; although you still have to continue seasoning and the cookware doesn't reach its top performance until it's been used for a while, it cuts down that time frame. The drawback to cast iron is that it's slow to reach cooking temperatures and, until it does, the heat isn't always even, so you have to have a bit more patience. However, once cast iron finishes cooking, it retains heat longer than other types of cookware, a very popular thing with moms who have trouble getting everyone rounded up at dinnertime.

Ease of use

Requires a bit more care. Lodge cast-iron cookware can't be tossed in the dishwasher, you shouldn't use abrasives to clean it, and Lodge recommends you not even use soap. It should also be seasoned after each use with a bit of vegetable oil or other fat. There's also a learning curve with cast iron, just as there is with stainless steel, to figure out how much fat is ideal and to understand how to get the best results when searing, simmering and frying. The payoff for that care and education, reviewers say, is the most flavorful results from almost anything you can think of when cooking or baking. Also, while cast iron is not nonstick, a well-seasoned pan is stick resistant. Still, unless you have something against nonstick pans, you may want to turn to one of those for cooking tasks that turn out best with a very smooth coating, like frying eggs.

Durability

It will last longer than you. If you have a Last Will and Testament, go ahead and decide who you're leaving your Lodge cookware to, because it lasts virtually forever. We're not exaggerating here; there are dozens of forum discussions where people lovingly discuss the Lodge cast iron they inherited from their grandparents or great-grandparents. We saw a few complaints from users that parts of their pans feel rough, but Lodge explains that it's a result of the sand casting process and it will become smooth with use and seasoning. Lodge cast iron is made in the USA and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

Check it out on Amazon

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Our Sources

1. Sweethome.com

The Best Skillet, Michael Zhao, April 6, 2015

Michael Zhao chooses the best skillet by hands on testing, research and speaking with experts. Ultimately, he chooses the All-Clad 12-inch Stainless Steel Fry Pan, but he also says there's a compelling case to be made for cast iron, and he lists the Lodge pre-seasoned skillet as a solid runner up.

2. Cook's Illustrated

Cookware Sets, Editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine, Oct. 1, 2012

In this review, editors test eight grill pans, including Lodge brand, to see how well they perform as stovetop grills. Testing includes cooking hamburgers, and strip steaks, and grilling sandwiches and zucchini. This was not a test of the entire set, but performance can be extrapolated from the results.

3. Chowhound.com

Lodge Logic 12-Inch Cast Iron Pan review: An American Classic, Now with Instant Gratification, Editors of Chowhound.com, Oct. 4, 2013

This very positive, very thorough review of the Lodge 12-inch cast iron pan gives excellent insight into how the Lodge line of cookware can be expected to perform. Editors give it 5 stars out of 5, and users are nearly as complimentary. Editors conclude this would be the one pan they would want if they were stranded on a desert island.

4. Amazon.com

Lodge L5HS3 5-Piece Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Cookware Set, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of September 2015

Owners give this Lodge set an overall rating of 4.7 stars out of 5 in more than 980 reviews, saying it cooks evenly and keeps food hot longer, which is great when dinner is delayed. It's also versatile, they note, going from kitchen, to grill or smoker, to campfire and back to the kitchen. The main complaints we saw are that cast iron is heavy and the pans are not nonstick.

5. Walmart.com

Lodge Logic 5-Piece Cast Iron Set , Contributors to Walmart.com, As of September 2015

In more than 90 customer reviews the Lodge 5-piece cast iron cookware set gets a high, 4.8 stars out of 5. Owners say the set is an incredible value, and that they use the pots and pans for everything. Most say if you learn to use this set right, there is no problem with food sticking.