The Best Skillets
A cast iron skillet is a must-have in any kitchen and this offering from Lodge is a prime example. Cast iron skillets, like this one from Lodge, are incredibly durable and are made to stand the test of time.
One thing we really love about Lodge cast iron skillets is that they already come pre-seasoned and ready to use, so you can start frying up your favorite recipes as soon as it comes out of the box.
We also like this skillet because it has outstanding heat retention, no matter your heat source is. Whether it’s the stove top or a campfire, you can cook with peace mind knowing that your dish will be prepared with pristine heat distribution. Plus, pour edges are included in the design for easy grease cleanup.
Proudly made in the USA since 1896, the Lodge brand is a trusted name to add to your kitchen. If you follow the instructions for proper care, you should easily be able to get years of use out of this product. A potential drawback is that cast iron care can be tedious in general, but the benefits are well worth it if you are willing to take the time to ensure the surface remains seasoned.
- Cast iron construction
- Indention for pouring grease in smaller skillets
- Made in the USA
- Brand: Lodge
- Diameter: 3.5 inches to 15 inches depending on skillet
- Weight: 9.6 ounces to 11.5 pounds depending on skillet
Another great option for a cast iron skillet is this offering from Utopia. All Utopia cast-iron skillets go through a factory pre-seasoning stage that is equivalent to 10-15 rounds of at-home seasoning, so this skillet will be ready to use as soon as you take it out of the box.
We love this skillet because with a 12.5 inch diameter, it is the perfect size to cook anything your heart desires––whether it be steak, fried chicken, vegetables, or anything else you’re craving. Plus, it comes with indented edges on the pan for simple grease transfer.
Though there is extra upkeep involved when caring for a cast iron skillet, we believe the extra time and effort is worth it in the end because the quality of your food will be unmatched. Keep in mind, however, that you should always hand wash your cast iron skillet––don’t even think about putting it in the dishwasher. And though it does come pre-seasoned, you should re-season the skillet after washing for best cooking results.
- Cast iron construction
- Pre-seasoned and ready to use
- Even heat distribution
- Brand: Utopia Kitchen
- Dimensions: 17 x 12.5 x 2.3 inches
- Weight: 8 pounds
If you are not up to the task associated with the extra work that comes with cast iron, and instead would prefer something easier to manage, consider Cuisinart’s 12-inch nonstick skillet.
It is made from hard anodized aluminum with a QuanTanium nonstick cooking surface. However, the hard anodized alumnium should be hand washed, so avoid the dishwasher. We love that it comes with a glass lid included, which is a huge bonus because not a lot of skillets do and it can come in handy for simmering certain foods.
Another nice perk of the Cuisinart skillet is that the handles are designed with cool grip stainless steel that stay cool on the stove, so you don’t burn yourself while cooking. Plus, the edge of the pan is tapered to reduce dripping issues.
- Tapered rim to reduce dripping
- Hard anodized exterior and QuanTanium nonstick surface
- Cool grip handle
- Glass lid
- Brand: Cuisinart
- Dimensions: 20.9 x 11.8 x 3.9 inches
- Weight: 4 pounds
Perfect for home cooks of all skill levels, this T-fal skillet is a great companion for everyday cooking. Featuring a hard titanium nonstick cooking surface and a durable hard anodized exterior, the T-fal is sure to last a long time.
The techno-resistant base does not warp which is helpful since ensuring contact with the heat source is important for even cooking. Plus, handle is made from silicone to reduce the likelihood of heat transfer to your hand.
We especially love this skillet because it is dishwasher safe. Personally, I can’t count how many times I’ve cooked a meal and then looked over the pile of dishes in the sink and let out the biggest groan because I didn’t want to clean up. With this T-fal skillet, you can alleviate some of that dread by throwing it in the dishwasher.
- Hard titanium nonstick cooking surface
- Hard anodized aluminum exterior
- Thermo Spot pre-heat indicator
- Silicone handle
- Brand: T-fal
- Dimensions: 21.2 x 12 x 3 inches
- Weight: 3.75 pounds
Skillet Buying Guide
A skillet is one of the most versatile pieces of a cook’s arsenal and is the go-to for frying, browning, grilling, and sautéing most foods. But, not all cook or clean the same so it is important to know the difference between the materials in order for you to make an informed decision when you make your next purchase. If you are looking for more than just a skillet, make sure to check out our top picks for full cookware sets.
The cooktop that you have in your kitchen may dictate the skillet you pursue. Open-flame gas ranges are familiar to some, but many kitchens utilize an electric unit with either a heating coil or smooth top surface. Induction cooktops are becoming more popular due to their ability to heat quickly and efficiently, however not all cookware is compatible so make sure to do your homework as this method requires highly conductive metals which you will not get with aluminum based products. You should also take care to choose a durable material that can hold up to direct flame if you have a gas range. Ultimately, ensure the cooking surface you have in your home will pair well with the skillet you choose.
There are a few common materials used to make most skillets, each with its own benefits and drawbacks to think through. Aluminum is less expensive and much lighter than other materials making it more affordable. Nonstick coatings are often used in conjunction with aluminum for a light nonstick skillet. However, these coatings can be damaged over time, and aluminum is not the most durable of metals. The combination of aluminum and nonstick coatings also make them less likely to hold up well in a dishwasher and usually need to be hand-washed, even if the manufacturer claims they are dishwasher safe.
Cast iron has been used for skillets for quite some time, and many cooks will use nothing else. Cast iron is durable and heavy duty, and will certainly stand up to the test of time. However, the material must be cared for properly to avoid rusting and breakdown over time. The process of keeping a skillet seasoned is not particularly difficult, but can be cumbersome and not nearly as simple as tossing it in the dishwasher. Proper upkeep is important, and if done correctly can ensure your skillet is being used for years to come, and potentially even passed down to the next generation.
Stainless steel is another common choice, and like cast iron is durable and generally more expensive but should last for a long time. True stainless steel should hold up well against scratches and is generally dishwasher safe. The biggest downside is that stainless steel requires more oils to prevent sticking, and may require additional soaking before a good clean can be achieved.