What every best Skillets has:
- Good cooking performance.
- A large cooking surface.
- A thick, evenly flat bottom.
Excels at a variety of cooking tasks. In every professional test we spotted (save one), the Lodge 12-inch Cast Iron Skillet completes all 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 in 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. As for that one holdout? At ConsumerReports.org, the Lodge 12-inch skillet is tested in the "uncoated" category and gets poor scores across the board -- mostly related to ease of use. In a separate buying guide they note that cast iron is impractical for "everyday" use, which is true, but it's terrific for specific tasks.
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, although in testing at TheSweethome.com it was remarkably nonstick out of the box. In addition, it will also get 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 -- none is even better -- 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.
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 13 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.
The Lodge 12-inch Cast Iron Skillet is included in this test of four traditional and six enameled cast iron skillets. Each is thoroughly tested and rated for its performance in cooking various types of food.
After 35 hours of research to narrow the field to nine pans, Lesley Stockton enlists New York Times food editor Sam Sifton to help her test them. Ultimately the Lodge 12-inch Cast Iron Skillet is named the top choice. Stockton notes that it's very affordable and is a top performer across a variety of tasks.
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 been shortened since this review was published, but nothing else has changed.
ConsumerReports.org tests both cookware and frying pans. Frying pans are divided into two categories, non-stick and uncoated. No uncoated pans earn a recommendation, and they get quite poor ratings overall.
The Lodge 12-Inch Skillet earns an overall rating of 4.7 stars out of 5 in more than 2,600 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.
In nearly 530 reviews, the Lodge 12-Inch Cast Iron Skillet earns an overall rating of 4.7 stars out of 5. Owners praise the skillet's usefulness for a wide range of cooking tasks and agree that it heats evenly and browns food nicely.
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."