Cast-Iron Skillet

I'm looking to purchase a cast iron skillet. Lodge Cast Iron has been around for decades and are significant less expensive than Le Creuset cast iron skillets. But why? I love my Le Creuset Dutch ovens but should I splurge or save when purchasing a cast iron skillet? Are Lodge Cast Iron skillets made differently, with cheaper materials? All thoughts and comments are welcome! Thank you!

The Fiery Epicurean


sstiavetti March 5, 2012
I'm not a big fan of Lodge. Their surface texture on their cookware drives me nuts and it takes forever to be able to condition the pan to the point that it will be smooth. I highly suggest looking for old cast iron that has a smooth surface. +1 on the recommendation to look at thrift shops and estate sales. My mother in law just found me a gorgeous cast iron chicken fryer for $2.

Also, another plus of cast iron over Le Creuset is that that enamel on coated pans can chip. Not so with straight cast iron!
The F. March 5, 2012
Thank you for all your answers!
Maedl March 5, 2012
I swear by cast iron skillets, but I heard that Lodge pans are now made in China and are no longer very good. Before you buy, I would check this out. It might not be a bad idea to look for some old pans in thrift shops or garage/estate sales. I found a beauty last week for under $5.
Sam1148 March 5, 2012
It's only the porcelain/enamel Lodge products that are made in China. The pure iron skillet is still USA.

I agree with you on the thrift store option...even if they're a bit rusted. I found one in grandparent's barn decades ago. It was very badly rusted. A trip to a mom/pop autobody shop and the guy there sandblasted it back to surface for me for 10 bucks.
Sam1148 March 5, 2012
The Le Creuset uses enamel on cast iron. It's a fine skillet, but enamel on cast iron really shouldn't be heated up to blazing steak searing temperatures like a pure iron cast as it can damage the coating.

Look at their warranty info and you'll see a warning about damage caused by excessive heat.
Their dutch ovens are great, as you would rarely need to heat that to super hot temps.
mainecook61 March 5, 2012
Lodge products are of excellent quality. You must season them. (They tell you how.) My cast iron skillets are essentially nonstick by now and are my favorite pans. Cast iron just gets better and better after the initial work in seasoning. Heat retention is excellent. I too love the Le Creuset Dutch oven; mine is 38 years old (a wedding present).
hardlikearmour March 5, 2012
I've got a Lodge, and have been quite happy with it. Cook's Illustrated did a comparison about 5 years ago and the Lodge was "highly recommended." The Le Creuset was "recommended."
Recommended by Food52