What is the best or most go-to brand of cast iron skillet? My mom has requested a 15-inch one for Xmas and none of my usual sources, like Williams Sonoma, sell them so I'm not sure how to wade through the options. Also, do I want a pre-seasoned pan? Any other thoughts would be welcome!

  • Posted by: lexinyt
  • December 10, 2010


betteirene December 10, 2010
I'm a Lodge fan, too. And seasoning a pan, as well as keeping it seasoned, isn't as difficult or time-consuming as it sounds. If there's a huge price difference, purchase the non-seasoned pan. It'll be coated with paraffin so that humidity doesn't make it rust; the paraffin neads to be washed off with hot soapy water so that it doesn't set off your smoke detector during the seasoning process--heck, you'll get instructions with the pan, so I'll shut up.

Get one for yourself, too, so your grandkids will have stories about you and your magic pan that made the best corn bread or pan-fried steak or fried catfish in the world.
mrslarkin December 10, 2010
drbabs, I see what you mean about the imprint on the bottom of the Lodge pans. Yes, mine have it, but the imprint within the circle thingy is flush with the pan bottom on my pans, so really, it lays flat on the cook top. As far as scratches on the cook top, I've got plenty of those, but they aren't deep, just cosmetic.
Greenstuff December 10, 2010
Thanks for the tip that Griswold still exists, at least in a new incarnation. I have a couple of my mother's old pieces, and the cast iron is much smoother, much higher quality than anything I've seen in a shop in years.

As for using cast iron on glass cooktops, I did that for a decade and never had a problem with scratches. That's including my Swedish pancake pans, which have a lot more irregularities than anything with just a logo stamped in the bottom.
Ophelia December 10, 2010
I got mine as an antique and have noticed that in addition to nice seasoning, older cast iron tends just to have smoother metal on the inside of the pan, they're completely flat and a little shiny if you remove the old seasoning. New cast iron tends to be a little nubbley on the cooking surface.
My parents took a hand grinder to the inside of a new one for my brother which worked really well to get a nice surface, but took a couple of hours.
spiffypaws December 10, 2010
Re: Preseasoning
I think it's a waste, it is very easy to season, I just swipe the pan w/ veg oil, put in a hot oven, turn oven off after aprox 1/2 hour and leave in overnight.
spiffypaws December 10, 2010
Nutcakes is right; Griswold/Wagnerware is absolutely the best, but it is pricey. Lodge works fine. I have a ton of Lodge skillets in various sizes, and love them.
drbabs December 10, 2010
Thank you so much cowgirl culture-- both for the compliment and for the advice. It makes me so happy to know that I can use a cast iron pan without damaging my stove!
cowgirlculture December 10, 2010
Drbabs, judging by your ginger torte you are an amazing cook and know far more than I do. But I have a glass top (wish we had gas too) and I read the warning that stated not to use cast iron. However, I have used 2 different sized cast iron pans several times per day for over a year and there is no scratches on my glass top. I try to keep in mind to be gentle when I deglaze a pan or something like that. My small pan is a flat bottomed cast iron with no marks. The 12 in pan has a name on the bottom but it also has a ring around the bottom that keeps the name from touching the glass top. This is just my experience.
drbabs December 10, 2010
@mrslarkin the literature with my stove (oh, btw pierino, I prefer gas, too, but there's no natural gas in my neighborhood) says not to use anything with an irregular bottom. Does your Lodge pan have the word Lodge embossed in it? Is your stove scratched? It would make me really happy if you can use it on a glass stove without it scratching because I really want one but haven't for that reason.
Soozll December 10, 2010
Regardless of what brand you find, make sure it has a lifting protrusion on the pan rim on the opposite side of the handle. Fifteen inches is HUGE (do they make a 15" pan? I've only seen 14 or 16 inch) and very heavy when full..especially the Lodge brand as Lodge is heavier than most. I think Lodge makes theirs with that lifting thingy! (I don't know what it's called!). I bought my cast iron pans at thrift stores and prefer pans other than Lodge because of the weight. I donated my one 12" Lodge and replaced it with a no-name pan because of it's weight. Just saying to let you know there are differences that you should look into, maybe. Lot's of info about cast iron on line.
mrslarkin December 10, 2010
I have a glass-top electric stove and use my Lodge cast iron skillet on it all the time. Is there any reason I shouldn't be doing this?

I got mine at the hardware store.
Rivka December 10, 2010
Agree that Lodge is king.
iuzzini December 10, 2010
Love my Lodge skillet. Make sure it doesn't end up in the dishwasher!
pierino December 10, 2010
Pre-seasoned or not (seasoning is not difficult), Lodge is the go to brand, unless as Drbabs pointed out you have a glass-electric cooktop. Hate 'em.
jwolfsthal December 10, 2010
you have two real options - lodge, which makes a terrific brand of pre-seasoned cook ware. We have the largest skillet and love it. It can fry an entire chicken at one go. It does not come with a lid, which is a bit of a draw back, but there are work arounds.

Another option is to buy an older, used cast iron skillet. Ebay is very good for this, and thirft stores - particularly in the south, are excellent options. There is a bit of a sub-culture here, but Griswold is considered the gold - or iron - standard here. Ebay has dozens and dozens available, and make sure you get one that is well seasoned (not rusted, a smooth black surface that has not been scoured off). A well seasoned cast iron pan is better than the best non-stick. It will give you a lifetime of use and joy.
thehungrytexan December 10, 2010
I second the "green" option. Lots of antique and thrift shops have cast iron cookware, its usually pretty cheap too! Just re-season and you are good to go.
Almost all of my cast iron is Lodge, it works great! I use them everyday on the stove and even take them camping to use over the campfire.
violist December 10, 2010
I live in Nashville, Tn, and the Lodge factory is just down the Interstate in South Pittsburgh, Tn. The products are excellent, and if you're ever in Tennessee it's worth a trip to the factory to see how there made. I would recommend them without any reservations. Also check out their website, it's quite interesting.
drbabs December 10, 2010
What kind of stove does your mom have? If she has a glass topped electric stove (I do), you'll want to get enameled cast iron (like Le Creuset--pricey but great). Most standard cast iron pans that I've found have some kind of irregularity on the bottom (like a stamped logo) that can scratch the glass.
cowgirlculture December 10, 2010
Just an idea - for a "green" option, don't forget that you can try an antique shop. Just scrub it with some steel wool then reseason in the oven. Works great if you like antiquing.
nutcakes December 10, 2010
Lodge is the brand that comes to mind. It is easy to find and well priced. There is also one called Wagnerware, they used to be Griswold and Wagner that I've heard is good but I haven't see it as often. Preseasoned or not maybe ask her? If she doesn't mind it isn't too big a deal to season in the oven, but the preseasoned sounds convenient. That's a nice size but heavy pan. Sounds like you have some fried chicken in your future.
usuba D. December 10, 2010
Lodge is very good. Some of their newer models are pre-seasoned, makes life easy
JudyP December 10, 2010
I use Lodge and like it very much. You should be able to get at a good kitchen store if not online.
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