Known primarily for its heat retention properties, cast iron has a long history of utilization across the far east in regions throughout China, India, Korea and Japan. In fact, this tenured history dates back to the 5th century in Asia and later in the 7th century throughout Europe. Later, in the 19th century, prior to the introduction of the kitchen stove, meals throughout the US and Europe were cooked in cast iron pots and pans in fireplaces – often built with handles to help them hang over said fires. Popularity continued into the 20th century within American households thanks to their relatively inexpensive and durable nature. However, they began to fall out of favor in the ’60s and ’70s for Teflon and aluminum non-stick cookware.
Now, thanks in part to an air of nostalgia and outdoor cooking desires, cast iron cookware is making a comeback in a big way. We’re talking pre-seasoned skillets, Dutch ovens, pizza pans, and roasters all built from heat retaining metal that not only cooks a hot meal but can be used for baking, frying and – when cared for properly – will develop their own non-stick surface over time. So, if you’re interested in swapping several cookware essentials for cast iron options, look no further as we have a complete list of the best cast iron cookware right here for the taking.
Lodge Cast Iron Cornstick Pan
As one of the oldest and long lasting cast iron cookware brands out there, it was nearly impossible not to include Lodge in this list. And especially with farmers across the nation already planting their corn for the season, we felt it necessary to throw this cast iron Cornstick Pan into the mix. Each pan comes pre-molded to comfortably fit up to seven ears of corn in its heat-retaining cast iron construction, is made right here in the USA and built to last over 100 years. Can’t beat that.
Camp Chef Cast Iron Pizza Pan
This is an easy must-have considering pizza is one of the most universally-accepted food-items on the planet. Whether you’re reheating a pie or cooking up a homemade pizza for friends and family, this 14-inch cast iron pan is sure to get the job done. Each piece boasts a True Seasoned finish, decorative molded cast iron handles, and weighs in at 7 lbs. Additionally, just because it’s technically a pizza pan doesn’t mean you’re limited to pies either. Meaning, this pan can also be used for pancakes, cookies, or even flat top grilling on an outdoor BBQ.
Lodge Cast Iron Grill Pan
Part grill, part skillet, this Cast Iron Grill Pan works to drain any unwanted fat and grease away from your food while simultaneously searing your grub with those classic grill marks we all know and love. Each pan comes seasoned and ready to use on all cooking surfaces – including fellow grills and campfires – and is made right here in the USA, making it an ideal piece of cookware for bacon, steaks, chicken, pork chops and more. Plus, when care for correctly, the pre-seasoned nature of the grill pan will add more flavor to your food over time.
Barebones Cast Iron Cooking Set
Looking to scoop up an entire cast iron cookware set? Well, look no further than Barebone’s all-in-one skillet, dutch oven and trivet set. Included here is one 12” skillet, a 12” lid, 12” crock, one trivet, and some cleaning mesh. Ideal for rustic campfire cooking, this entire set is built to last a lifetime in and out of the wilderness. Anyone who’s tasted cast iron cooking under the stars knows the feeling. And to top it all off, Barebones even strengthens their cast iron with steel making it better tempered to handle rapid temperature change without cracking or breaking.
Borough Furnace Round Roaster
For those who’ve never used a roaster before, this 12-inch round option from Borough Furnace is a real treat. Ideal for dishes that start with a sear on the stovetop and move into the oven for a bit of slow cooking, round roasters are a must-have for dishes that require a bit more TLC and flavor infusion throughout the cooking process. This roaster, for instance, boasts a 12-inch interior rim, 14-inch exterior rim, is 2-inches deep and weighs a little over 8 lbs. Also, Borough Furnace builds each piece from 100% recycled iron and hand-casts/finishes each roaster that comes pre-seasoned with organic flax seed oil.
Butter Pat Heather Skillet
As one of the most universal and utilitarian cookware items out there, the skillet is a no-brainer. From frying eggs to cooking a steak to making a breakfast scramble, there’s little out there the skillet can’t handle. This American-made option, from Butter Pat Industries, is a polished cast iron skillet measuring in at 10-inches with an 8-inch cooking surface and made to order so you know the attention to detail is there. In fact, upwards of 41 people perform over 60 operations to ensure your money is well spent with the Heather skillet. Delivery typically ranges from six to eight weeks from when your order is placed.
Le Creuset Cast Iron Reversible Grill
Whether atop the actual grill or the stovetop during the winter months, a griddle is imperative when cooking multiple steaks, seafood, chicken, or even veggies with precision. Each reversible grill boasts enough surface area for kabobs or even a whole fish. And come breakfast time, simply flip it over to cook eggs, hash browns and pancakes all at the same time. It measures in at 18.5-inches in length, 10-inches in width, and is even dishwasher safe for all those lazy chefs out there.
Finex Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Initially conceived centuries ago, the Dutch Oven is a great means through which you can blend flavors and various foods all under one roof without worrying about dirtying a handful of pots and pans in the process. And if you’re looking to scoop up the best of the best, we suggest checking out this 5-quart option from Finex. Each piece boasts a heavyweight construction to ensure evenly distributed heat retention, an octagonal shape with spouts that pours easily, and stainless steel “Speed Cool” handles making it easy to bring to the table when ready.
How to Season A Cast Iron Skillet
You got the goods, not it’s time to season the sucker. For a crash course on how to properly season a cast iron pan, be sure to check out this handy guide.