Reviewed
February 2015
by ConsumerSearch

Best cast iron skillet

Pros
  • Pre-seasoned
  • Versatile
  • Heats and cooks evenly
  • Durable
  • Made in the USA
Cons
  • Requires special maintenance

Bottom line

The Lodge 12-Inch Cast Iron Skillet offers top performance at a reasonable price, and gets top reviews for everything from searing to roasting and slow cooking. The pan comes pre-seasoned to keep food from sticking, although you need to keep seasoning it; it won't perform at its best until it's been used for a while. Like any cast iron pan, the Lodge 12-inch fry pan is heavy, so if you have issues with upper body strength, it may not be the best choice. This skillet comes in seven additional sizes at various prices.

Breaking it down

Performance

Excels at a variety of cooking tasks. In every professional test, the Lodge 12-inch Cast Iron Skillet completes every cooking task with flying colors, from making scrambled eggs without sticking to searing a steak with a beautifully browned crust. Cast iron skillets are particularly popular for making steaks on the stovetop when the weather is too bad to use an outdoor grill, and they can go from stovetop to oven or broiler and even be used on a grill or over an open fire -- making them popular for camping. Owners also praise this pan's versatility, and a number say they use it so often they store it right on their cooktop. There is a bit of a learning curve for those not familiar with cooking on cast iron. It takes longer to heat and holds its heat longer than most skillets, so it may take some practice to adjust cooking times.

Ease of use

Large and heavy. At nearly 8 pounds, the Lodge 12-inch Cast Iron Skillet is quite heavy to lift. There is a helper handle on the opposite side that makes it somewhat easier, but that doesn't help when you're trying to hold the pan in one hand while spooning something out with the other. Aside from its heft, though, reviewers say this pan isn't difficult to hand wash (cast iron should never be put in the dishwasher). The first few times you use it food may stick, but both experts and owners say it gets increasingly nonstick the more often it's used and seasoned. Cast iron needs to be treated differently from other types of cookware. It's preferable to use as little soap as possible, and it's important to dry the pan thoroughly. Lightly oiling the inside of the pan after each use will help it stay well seasoned. Lodge has complete instructions for caring for pre-seasoned pans on its website.

Durability/appearance

An old-fashioned design. The Lodge 12-inch Cast Iron Skillet is extremely durable; and we read reports of people who are using Lodge cast iron cookware that belonged to their parents or grandparents; although, this particular line of pre-seasoned cookware has only been around for about 12 years. With continued use, your skillet will develop a glossy interior finish that many owners compare to black glass. If you do neglect your pan and it develops rust -- or if you find a decrepit cast iron skillet in a thrift store -- it can be restored with a little elbow grease. One very popular aspect of Lodge products is that they are made in America. Lodge's warranty is a bit vague -- they say they "stand behind their products" and will resolve any problems. However, we read very few complaints of breakage issues and customer service gets very good reviews for their responsiveness.

Where To Buy
Lodge L10SK3 Pre-Seasoned Skillet, 12-Inch

 (5,128 reviews)
Buy new: $34.99 $24.99   56 New from $19.99

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Lodge Cast Iron Skillet Reviews

1. Chow.com

Editors of Chow.com give the Lodge 12-inch Cast Iron Skillet a thorough review, awarding it 5 stars out of 5 and saying, "If we were stranded on a desert island, this is the one skillet we'd want to have with us." This review is for the Lodge Logic, which is the same skillet; the name has since been shortened.

Review: Lodge Logic 12-Inch Cast Iron Pan review, Editors of Chow.com, Oct. 4, 2013

2. Cook's Illustrated Magazine

We would not normally consider a review this old, except that the cast iron skillets in this roundup are still being manufactured and also still get ratings on other sites. The Lodge 12-inch Cast Iron Skillet is included in this test of eight cast iron skillets; each is rated for its performance in cooking various types of food.

Review: Cast-Iron Skillets, Editors of Cook's Illustrated, Sept. 1, 2007

3. The New York Times

Again, this is an older article, but still worth considering as many of the pans tested are classics and are still widely manufactured and used. Two 12-inch Lodge cast iron pans were included in this test, cooking eggs, chicken, onions and potatoes. She reports that both pans "produced amazing results."

Review: In Search of a Pan That Lets Cooks Forget About Teflon, Marian Burros, June 7, 2006

4. Amazon.com

The Lodge 12-Inch Skillet earns an overall rating of 4.6 stars out of 5 in more than 4,750 reviews. Owners find it extremely versatile, good for everything from searing meat to baking corn bread, and they say the skillet's pre-seasoned surface is effectively nonstick once you learn to use it properly. A few complain the 12-inch skillet is heavy, that food sticks, or that they don't like having to take special care of it.

Review: Lodge L10SK3 Pre-Seasoned Skillet, 12-Inch, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of February 2015

5. Walmart.com

In more than 280 reviews, the Lodge 12-Inch Cast Iron Skillet earns an overall rating of 4.7 stars out of 5; 96 percent say they would recommend it to a friend. Owners praise the skillet's usefulness for a wide range of cooking tasks and agree that it heats evenly and browns food nicely.

Review: Lodge 12" Cast Iron Skillet, Contributors to Walmart.com, As of February 2015

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