Whether you frequently cook meals in the kitchen or occasionally find a Buzzfeed Tasty recipe you want to try out, there are items that you absolutely need to have in the kitchen.
Need to mix some ingredients together? Better buy mixing bowls.
Oh, you want to cook your food? Well, you should get a cast iron skillet.
A cast iron skillet is one of the most versatile kitchen tools that you can virtually cook anything in. Whereas most people assume that teflon or nonstick pans are the way to go, a cast iron skillet is not only an investment that will save you money down the line, but it can also be the healthier choice. Cast iron skillets not only have greater heat resistance, but they also require less fats or oils to coat the pan prior to cooking, compared to stainless steel nonstick pans.
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What makes a cast iron skillet so special?
Cast iron skillets have continually been used in American kitchens for decades due to unique characteristics, which allow them to prepare practically any dish. These skillets come with a “seasoning”, which is a polymerized fat that causes the skillet to have non-stick properties. While teflon pans also have non-stick properties, they have less heat resistance, which has lead to multiple studies exploring the effects of chemicals being released from the pans and into food. Cast iron skillets are notorious for taking a longer time to heat up when compared to Teflon pans and also require more care, but when considering your health, it’s worth the wait. Additionally, if you properly care for your cast iron skillet, it can last generations, while nonstick skillets only have an average shelf-life of 4 years.
Before you buy a skillet, keep this in mind:
As stated previously, cast iron skillets require a little more TLC when compared to other pans in the kitchen. While some nonstick pans can be washed in the dishwasher, cast iron skillets can not. It’s a sure fire way to lose the nonstick capabilities of the skillet, which is what makes it unique. Additionally, cast iron skillets should never be soaked or submerged in water or stored when damp since they can rust. Heat is your friend when caring for this skillet so if you have food ever stuck to the pan, simply squirt a little soap into the pan and put it on the stove to cook the food off. Finally, remember to always heat dry the pan before putting it away.
So, what do I buy?
After looking at the top-rated cast iron skillets on Amazon based on user reviews, we have come up with three cast iron skillets that could potentially cook your next meal.
Lodge Cast Iron Skillet with Red Silicone Hot Handle Holder (4.6/5 81% 5 stars 3228 reviews) $32.72
With 3,228 reviews from users and 81% of them giving a 5 star review, we believe that this is the best cast iron skillet. Lodge has upheld it’s reputation as one of the leading manufacturers of cookware, and this cast iron skillet does not disappoint. Multiple users raved about the pre-seasoning and complimented the additional silicone handle that comes with the skillet. Other users mentioned that the skillet size (12 inches) is ideal for when cooking for a family of four or when cooking on camping trips.
Utopia Pre Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet (4.4/5 76% 5 stars 1262 reviews) $21.19/$24.99 (with silicone handle)
A close second was awarded to the 12.5 inch skillet from Utopia, which is offered with or without a silicone handle, similar to the Lodge skillet. The pre-seasoning had overall positive reviews along with users seeing the silicone handle as a nice touch. Numerous users commented on the weight of the skillet being undeniably heavy along with the skillet size being easily noticeable. Regardless of the size, several customers praised the fact that the skillet was ready to use out of the box and that it gave a pleasant charred flavor to meat they cooked. One user stated, “If you are not familiar with the cast iron ways then let me tell you, you are missing out.”
Fresh Australian Kitchen Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet 4.3/5 (74% 5 stars 142 reviews) $20.99
An unexpected find was the 12.5 skillet from Fresh Australian Kitchen, which had all the listed qualities of the Lodge and Utopia skillets, with a bargain price tag! A handful of the users claimed that the skillet exceeded expectations despite the large size and heavy weight of the skillet. One user, who mentioned having arthritis, commented that the Fresh Australian Kitchen skillet has allowed her to cook in the kitchen with more confidence, due to the second handle on the skillet allowing her to have a better grip on the skillet.
From cornbread to fajitas, you can make all of your favorite dishes using one of these cast iron skillets we found on the web. Whether you’re cooking for a family of four or meal prepping for the week, the Lodge 12 inch skillet or the 12.5 inch skillets from Utopia and Fresh Australian Kitchen that we found can easily accommodate your needs. Cast iron has been used in American kitchens for the past century by professionals and home cooks alike thanks to its longevity and undeniable cooking capabilities. If you’re looking for a staple kitchen item that will exceed expectations and continue to perform well, the cast iron skillet is your best bet.
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