An Expert Guide to Lodge Cast Iron Skillets

Published on 01/29/2024 · 10 min readLearn about the enduring appeal of Lodge Cast Iron Skillets, a staple in kitchens for generations in this guide from Kitchen Expert Di Doherty!
Di Doherty, Kitchen Expert
By Kitchen Expert Di Doherty

Photo by Colin Hui

Tl;dr: While cast iron skillets are in many ways a specialty item, that doesn't mean that there aren’t a lot of options out there. Lodge has proven itself in terms of quality, price, and workmanship, making their products an excellent choice for those looking for an affordable piece of cast iron cookware.

I've been cooking for as long as my parents could trust me with a stove and kitchen knives. Once I moved out, I began collecting my own cookware. Once I discovered Lodge skillets, I was hooked. The even heating and versatility of cast iron are almost impossible to beat, and it works great for both cooking and baking.

Ever since then, I’ve been eager to help other people get the best cookware or bakeware for their needs. We use kitchen equipment every day, and making sure that you have the right tool for the job makes a huge difference in both how easy it is to cook and the quality of the results. Feel free to reach out to one of our Kitchen Experts if you need any help.

Who is Lodge Cast Iron?

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Cast iron is one of the oldest materials for cookware, as it was used back when cooking was primarily done on a hearth or open flame. Lodge Cast Iron has been around for more than a hundred years, being founded in 1896 by Joseph Lodge. It was originally called Blacklock Foundry, but the name was changed in 1910 to Lodge Cast Iron. The business managed to survive the great depression and keep some of its workers employed by creating novelty items.

In the ‘50s, the factory could move to an automated process. Cast iron skillets are made by pouring molten metal into a sand mold, letting it solidify, then removing the mold. Lodge makes its seasoned cast iron in a foundry in the USA and has strong workmanship guarantees on their products.

Lodge has the distinction of being the first company to offer factory-seasoned cast iron, a process it started in 2002. Before that, the iron was typically coated in castor bean oil to prevent rust, and it was on the consumer to properly season their skillet with vegetable oil once they took it home.

Today, Lodge Cast Iron is one of the best-known cast iron manufacturers and are regularly ranked highly when it comes to high-quality cookware at affordable prices. While their products aren’t ornate, they are well-built, durable, and reliable.

What to Consider when Buying a Lodge Cast Iron Skillet

A cast iron skillet will last you a lifetime, so it’s important to make sure that you’re getting the best one for your needs. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you pick out your skillet.

What Size Cast Iron Skillet Do I Want?

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This is the first question you should ask yourself when setting out to buy a new skillet. There are a few standard sizes:

  • 8-inch: A skillet this size is excellent for one or two people or making smaller dishes like omelets.
  • 10-inch: This is a medium-sized skillet that works well for a smaller family or if you host a few people. It can feed up to four people.
  • 12-inch: The larger size skillet that is good for entertaining or making roasts.

Lodge Cast Iron, however, also offers skillets in other sizes. They range from 3.5-inch to 15-inch. The smaller or larger ones are going to be for more specialty items, meaning those sizes are less likely to be what you’re looking for.

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What Do I Need to Properly Care for My Cast Iron Skillet?

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Cast iron requires special care as opposed to stainless steel or nonstick pans. The first thing is that it should always be hand-washed, and soap should be used sparingly to preserve the seasoning.

Lodge offers several products to aid in the care of their skillets, and it’s not a bad idea to avail yourself of them. These include brushes, plastic scrapers, scrubbing pads, and rust removers. They also sell seasoning oil to help keep the seasoning on your cast iron in good condition or to add additional layers of seasoning. You can buy them individually or get a kit.

Do I Want a Novelty Item?

Lodge still makes novelty items, and this includes their skillets. There are options with a design etched on the back to make your skillet more personalized and attractive. They also offer skillets from the Blacklock collection in commemoration of the company’s founding.

If you have more questions, reach out to one of our Kitchen Experts!

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Different types of Lodge Cast Iron Skillets

In most cases, there aren’t a lot of options in terms of skillets – usually, it’s just a round one. In most cases, the standard round skillet will be the best choice. But that doesn’t mean that the other options won’t be best for you.

Round Skillet

12in Lodge skillet. Photo by Di Doherty

This is your most common type of skillet that works well for frying, sautéing, and making skillet cornbread.

Benefits:

  • Being the standard type of skillet, this is what recipes will expect.
  • Fits well on standard burners.

Be Aware:

  • A round skillet can be difficult to take out of the oven, especially when full.

Square Skillet

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A cast iron pan with a square shape instead of a round one. While this is common for grill pans, Lodge Cast Iron offers one in this shape that’s just a skillet.

Benefits:

  • Fits certain roasts more easily.
  • A good shape for brownies.
  • Has pour spouts.

Be Aware:

  • A square skillet will hold less than its round counterpart.

Deep Dish Skillet

Photo by Bonnie Marquette

If you like to braise or bake roasts but don’t want a Dutch oven, this is an excellent compromise. It can also be used as a small stockpot or as a sauté pan.

Benefits:

  • Excellent for braising and roasting.
  • Straight sides are better for sautéing.

Be Aware:

  • The high sides make it not ideal for food that needs to be moved around a lot or flipped.
  • As the sides require more cast iron, it’s heavier.

Dual Handle Pan

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This skillet is aimed much more at baking, as it has two easy-to-grip handles rather than the standard skillet handle. It can be used on the stovetop as well and comes in standard skillet sizes.

Benefits:

  • Easy to grasp and take out of the oven.
  • Works as a skillet.
  • Makes an attractive serving platter.

Be Aware:

  • Harder to move around on the stovetop due to the shorter handles.

Features to Look for When Buying a Lodge Cast Iron Skillet

Cast iron cookware is generally on the more basic side – particularly with Lodge. The company tends to let the cookware speak for itself. However, here are some features to consider when buying a skillet from Lodge.

  • A lid: At this point, Lodge skillets don’t come with a lid unless you get their deep dish skillet. However, they do sell both glass and cast iron lids in order to make your skillet more versatile. I’d recommend investing in one.
  • Silicone handle holder: Some skillets will come with a silicone or fabric handle holder. This makes moving the pan easier on the stovetop. With the entire pan being cast iron, the handle will get hot, but the silicone will protect you up to 450 degrees.
  • Weight: Most of Lodge’s products are around the same weight – as long as they’re the same size. But if you find cast iron difficult to manage, then their Blacklock collection is lighter.
  • Seasoning: While all of Lodge’s pans are seasoned in the factory, their higher-end ones often have more layers. The more layers of seasoning, the better – within reason.

How to Choose the Right Lodge Cast Iron Skillet

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Home cooks all have their own cooking style and preferences. That means that the right skillet for one person may be the wrong choice for another. In order to help make the decision easier, I’ve created three different personas and my top picks for each of them.

Fiona: Beginner baker looking for good quality skillets

Fiona has some experience with cooking, as she’s learned from her mom. She mainly cooks for herself and plans to keep doing so until she gains expertise. She bought the cheapest skillets she could and has been having poor luck with them. She has limited space but is hoping to get something that’s not too expensive and that’ll help improve her skills.

Features to look for:

  • A smaller form factor. She has limited space and plans to cook for herself for the foreseeable future.
  • Lower price point. She wants an affordable option, so she should avoid specialty or novelty items.

Lodge Cast Iron Skillet Examples:

  • Lodge 8-Inch Cast Iron Chef Style Skillet: This small skillet is excellent for cooking for one to two people. The seasoning forms a nonstick coating, meaning that it can even be used for sticky foods like eggs.
  • Lodge 10.25-Inch Cast Iron Skillet: If Fiona wants to make a larger recipe, it’s a good idea to have a larger skillet. This can be used to roast a chicken or fry pork chops, as well as for stir-fries and making cornbread.
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Isabella: Intermediate baker looking to expand her repertoire

Isabella loves to bake and has heard that cast iron is an excellent material to use for that. She’s interested in working on her cornbread recipe, as well as cobblers and skillet cookies. As she’s looking for a piece of equipment that’ll last a lifetime, she doesn’t mind spending money on it.

Features to look for:

  • Easy to grip handles to get it out of the oven.
  • A large helper handle to aid with balance.

Lodge Cast Iron Skillet Examples:

  • Lodge 12-inch Cast Iron Dual Handle Pan: This is the best cast iron skillet for baking, as it has two handles on either side, making it easy to get the hot pan out of the oven. Cast iron’s heat retention can make it difficult to move around when hot, but the handles make it easier to avoid burning yourself.
  • Lodge Blacklock Triple Seasoned Skillet: Lodge’s Blacklock collection is lighter weight, making it more ergonomic to maneuver and carry when full. As with all iron skillets, it handles high heat well and creates a beautiful crust on cakes, cornbread, and other baked goods.
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Joseph: Experienced cook looking to up his game

Joseph loves to cook and likes trying new recipes. He’s interested in a versatile piece of cookware that can sear steak, roast chicken, or broil fish. He doesn’t mind spending extra money if he knows that the cookware will be high-quality.

Features to look for:

  • A lid. Having a lid for your skillet makes it more versatile and able to be used to braise. Lodge sells lids for most of its skillets separately at this point.
  • A larger pan, as it will give him more freedom to make roasts or larger recipes.

Lodge Cast Iron Skillet Examples:

  • Cast Iron Covered Deep Skillet: The deep skillet is highly versatile, as it can be used more or less as a regular skillet, but also substituted for a sauté pan or a Dutch oven. It can be used for most cooking tasks, such as baking, braising, frying, or sauteing.
  • Lodge Blacklock Triple Seasoned Skillet Set: Having two different-sized skillets gives you more freedom. The 12-inch skillet is better for entertaining, while the 10-inch can be used for the family. Both skillets are lighter weight, preseasoned with vegetable oil, and oven, broiler, and induction safe.
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Find the Right Lodge Cast Iron Skillet for You

A 10.5 skillet with cooked sausage. Photo by Di Doherty

It can be overwhelming to try to find the right choice for your needs, particularly if you don’t have experience with cast iron skillets. Some of it also boils down to personal preferences in terms of handle shape and size. As a skillet is an item you’ll use a lot over its lifetime, don’t be afraid to take your time. If you feel you need more information or advice, reach out to one of our Kitchen Experts! Any of our Experts would be more than happy to help you find the cast iron skillet that’s just right for you. And for more on Lodge cast iron skillets, check out some the most recommended.

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Written by:
Di Doherty, Kitchen Expert
Di Doherty
Kitchen Expert
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