Back in the day, no family could go without at least one piece of cast iron cookware. The large and heavy cast iron cookware is able to perform various tasks. You could stew, braise or even sear meat in these cookware. This heavy cookware really handles heat well, which means cast iron cookware can take really high temperatures and you can move it from stove to oven.
It stores heat so well, that once heated it takes cast iron cookware a lot longer to cool down. However, this also means that cast iron cookware is less sensitive to temperature changes, so it’s not a good choice for cooking sauces. For sauces, you’d best be looking at expensive copper cookware or affordable but good stainless steel cookware.
Cast Iron Cookware Reviews 2016
Best Cast Iron Skillet – Lodge L8SK3 Pre-Seasoned Skillet
I believe a cast iron skillet is one of the best tools for searing meat and baking practically everything. Whether it’s pork chops, braised brisket or even pizza, the Lodge pre-seasoned skillet is the way to go.
The size is really manageable at 10 inch plus. I love how I could stir fry an Asian rice dish on the stove with this skillet and into the oven it goes to make apple pie for dessert.
If you care to season this skillet properly and thoroughly, it’ll become non stick like a glossy non stick pan, and you can even flip an egg cleanly in it.
Best Cast Iron Griddle – Lodge L9OG3 Pre-Seasoned Griddle
My mom used to make her signature Saturday morning pancakes using a cast iron round griddle.
Which is why I couldn’t resist when I saw the Lodge round griddle. The first time I used this piece of cast iron cookware, I was brought back to my childhood.
The round griddle has a solid hardy build and since it was pre-seasoned, I immediately whipped up some pancake batter and started making pancakes. On my first try the pre-seasoned surface wasn’t non stick enough, so I rub some meat grease on it and into the oven it goes for more seasoning.
After a few rounds of greasing and baking the pan, now I can flip pancakes as if it were a teflon pan. Being on the heavier side compared to other cookware I use, the griddle sat firmly on my stove top. I’m glad for the weight because I really dislike those light weight nonstick griddles that have heavier handles and will fall off the stove.
This is a must-bring for camping trips too! It’s just the right size.
Best Cast Iron Cookware Set – Lodge L5HS3 5-Piece Pre-Seasoned Set
Rarely would anyone buy the whole set of cast iron cookware, but if you’re determined to build those arm muscles, I highly recommend getting this 5-piece cast iron cookware set from Lodge. This set has the skillets and griddle of just the right size, and there’s also a dutch oven with cover for the stews.
The skillets are 8-inch and 10.25-inch (the one I recommended above) while the griddle is the size I reviewed above as well. The dutch oven is a 5-quart size with a cover that fits the 10.25-inch skillet too.
A warning though, check prices for this set and for separate pieces sold on Amazon. Sometimes you could actually get separate pieces for cheaper!
Best Budget Cast Iron Cookware Set – Outdoor Gourmet 5 Piece Set
A much cheaper cast iron set would be this one from Outdoor Gourmet, which is a good deal if you are looking for a budget set for pit fire cooking and know how to handle cast iron cookware.
This set comes with two skillets of 8-inch and 10-inch as well, a reversible rectangle griddle and a Dutch oven with feet.
On the downside, this cookware set doesn’t come pre-seasoned, so you’ll have to season it before use. I recommend seasoning for a few times before the first use to get a truly non stick surface. Unfortunately for beginners, there is no included instructions for seasoning the cookware. You can watch this video though.
Best Cast Iron Pot – Lodge L Series E3AP40 Enameled Pot
For enameled cast iron cookware I love the Lodge cast iron pot in an apple shape. Don’t be fooled by its looks; the cast iron pot works really well.
It is coated with porcelain that gives the pot its shimmery red glow. The cast iron core retains heat well so food in the pot cooks evenly at a steady pace.
The enameled layer makes the pot a lot more fragile compared to other cast iron cookware though, so I’d handle this piece with care.
How to Choose Cast Iron Cookware
Now if you’re looking for cast iron cookware, there are pure cast iron cookware and enameled cast iron cookware.
Regular Cast Iron Cookware
The regular or pure cast iron cookware has a dull black exterior that appears unattractive.
Cast iron cookware transfers trace amounts of iron into the food which is a nice supplement for those who need some extra iron in their diet. The iron transfer would improve the taste of meats or roasts drastically but it doesn’t really compliment gravy and sauces.
Regular cast iron cookware is also reactive so do not cook anything acidic or alkalic on these cookware. If you want a versatile and non-reactive cooking surface, try stainless steel instead.
Wonderful for Frying
The interior of cast iron cookware needs to be seasoned with oil once in a while to prevent it from rusting.
After you’ve seasoned it there would be a natural non-stick lining that coats the surface of the cookware. This makes the cast iron cookware a very good choice for frying food.
Enameled Cast Iron Cookware
Enameled cast iron cookware can be thought as cookware with a porcelain lining over a cast iron core. This makes the cookware more attractive because the coating can come in a range of bright or pastel colors. This lining also eliminates the need for seasoning but since the porcelain lining is made mostly of glass particles, it is fragile and prone to chipping.
Enameled cast iron cookware retain heat well and is non-reactive so you’d be able to cook acidic and alkalic ingredients in it.
Thanks to their attractive designs, you’d also be able to use these cookware as serving dishes.