The Lodge Logic 12-Inch Skillet is a cast-iron skillet that offers good performance at a reasonable price. The pan comes preseasoned to keep food from sticking. Yet it allows for searing, something many nonstick pans can't do. Like any cast-iron pan, the Lodge Logic is heavy and requires special effort to maintain -- but with proper care, it can last for years.
Excels at a variety of cooking tasks. In tests at a foodie magazine, this Lodge Logic skillet completed every cooking task with flying colors, from making scrambled eggs without sticking to searing a steak with a beautifully browned crust. Owners at Amazon.com and Walmart.com also praise this pan's versatility. "If I could only have one pan to prepare meals with, it would be this skillet. You can cook literally anything with it," declares one owner at Walmart.com.
However, a couple of users warn that there is a bit of a learning curve for those not familiar with cooking on cast iron. This heavy pan takes longer to heat and holds its heat longer than most skillets, so it may take some practice to adjust cooking times. However, once it does come to temperature, users say, it heats more evenly and steadily than any other cookware. Owners also say that as long as the pan is kept properly seasoned (as described below), food will not stick to the surface. We read several reviews saying that this pan is better than Teflon for cooking delicate foods like crepes. Upon first use, food may stick a bit to the middle of the pan. However, it will gradually become better seasoned with use.
Very large and very heavy. Testers at a cooking magazine found that this 12-inch pan provides plenty of room for searing steaks and pan-frying chicken. At roughly 6 pounds, however, it is quite heavy to lift, especially since the handle is a bit small. There is a helper handle on the opposite side to make the pan easier to lift, but as one Amazon.com reviewer points out, this doesn't help when you're trying to hold the pan in one hand while spooning something out with the other.
The skillet's weight can also make cleanup a bit difficult. Aside from that problem, though, reviewers say this pan isn't too difficult to clean by hand (cast iron should never be put in the dishwasher). Professional testers warn that the very first time they washed the pan after making scrambled eggs, it took lots of scrubbing, but after that, cleanup was easy. However, users do stress that 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. One owner at Walmart.com suggests towel drying and then setting the pan back on the stove over very low heat for a few minutes to dry thoroughly. Lightly oiling the inside of the pan after each use will help it stay well seasoned.
An old-fashioned design. The Lodge Logic skillet looks much like something that might come out of your grandmother's attic. Moreover, unlike many types of cookware, this cast-iron pan actually improves with age, according to users. With continued use, it develops a glossy interior finish that many owners compare to black glass. We read multiple reviews from users who say they leave the skillet on the stove all the time -- although that may be partly because its weight makes it a hassle to store.
Not only looks like an antique, it lasts like one, too. Several owners say that after years of use (and proper care), their pans are as good as new. However, we did see some reports from owners that their skillets cracked quite suddenly during cooking -- often on the very first use. This is a serious problem, since Lodge products have no written warranty. The Lodge website says the company "stands behind" its products and pledges to deal with problems, but one owner says, "An email to customer service at Lodge resulted in zero response." On the other hand, given that the Lodge skillet only costs about $20, it's not a serious financial risk. Only a small percentage of customers report problems with cracking, and if it does happen, it will likely happen early on.
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1. Cook's Illustrated Magazine
Review Credibility: Very Good The editors of Cook's Illustrated test eight cast-iron skillets, including the Lodge Logic 12-Inch Skillet, to see whether they offer a viable alternative to nonstick cookware. They sear steaks, scramble eggs, fry chicken and bake cornbread, and they also evaluate the pans' weight and features. They find that preseasoned pans, which have had a coating of oil baked into their surface, perform better than those they seasoned themselves. However, all the pans perform acceptably.
Review: Cast-Iron Skillets, Editors of Cook's Illustrated, Sept. 1, 2007
Review Credibility: Good The Lodge Logic 12-Inch Skillet is the most widely reviewed skillet at Amazon.com, with more than 1,660 user reviews. Overall, this pan earns a rating of 4.6 stars out of 5. 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. Most owners also praise the skillet's durability, although we did see several complaints that it arrived cracked or cracked during use. Its weight and the extra maintenance it requires are also cited as drawbacks.
Review: Lodge Logic Pre-Seasoned Skillet, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of March 2013
Review Credibility: Good The Lodge Logic 12-Inch Skillet earns an overall rating of 4.8 stars out of 5 from about 105 users, and 96 percent say they would recommend it to a friend. As at Amazon, owners praise the skillet's usefulness for a wide range of cooking tasks. They agree it heats evenly and browns food nicely. Owners appreciate that food doesn't stick and they don't have to worry about a coating flaking off. However, we did see the same complaints about additional maintenance, heavy weight and cracked pans.
Review: Lodge 12" Cast Iron Skillet, Contributors to Walmart.com, As of March 2013
4. Food & Wine Magazine
Review Credibility: Good Food & Wine editor Kristin Donnelly tests cast-iron, nonstick and stainless-steel skillets and makes three recommendations in each category. The Lodge Logic 12-Inch Skillet is one of her picks in the cast-iron category, but she doesn't explain why or how she tested it (aside from saying that she "tried out" all the pans). However, the article does discuss what to look for in a cast-iron skillet in general terms.
Review: Testing Skillets to Find the Best, Kristin Donnelly, November 2008