Review: Lodge Cast Iron Skillet · 12 Inch · Black

Published on 04/10/2024 · 3 min readCurated Expert, Hannah McQueen, has tested this product to give you their unbiased, definitive take.
Hannah McQueen, Kitchen Expert
By Kitchen Expert Hannah McQueen
7 photos
Photo by Hannah McQueen

The Curated Take

4.5/5

The Lodge Cast Iron Skillet is ideal for serious home cooks seeking a versatile, durable, and long-lasting kitchen tool. Its ability to hold heat well and distribute it evenly makes it perfect for a variety of cooking methods, from searing to baking. While heavy for some, its sturdiness allows for outdoor and indoor use. Regular maintenance is required, but with proper care, this skillet can last for generations. Not recommended for glass tops, but otherwise, it's a reliable companion for any cooking enthusiast.

Ideal for
  • Holds heat well from a variety of heat sources and is optimal for searing
  • Offers seamless stovetop-to-oven play
  • Known for its durability and longevity
Not ideal for
  • Heavy and unwieldy for some body types
  • Not optimal for glass tops
  • Requires maintenance
Weight
Hannah McQueen, Curated Expert
There have been a few close calls for me using my Lodge cast iron skillet when removing things from a hot oven, especially whole roast chickens. Because the pan itself...Read more
Heat Distribution
Hannah McQueen, Curated Expert
While many assume that cast iron is perfect for heating evenly, what it is really best at is holding heat. This makes it wonderful for radiant cooking projects such as...Read more
Handle Quality
Hannah McQueen, Curated Expert
A Lodge cast iron skillet is built like a brick house. There are no screws that may loosen over time, no delicate aspects that may wear or snap with continued...Read more
Size
Hannah McQueen, Curated Expert
One of the biggest watermarks for me in terms of a successful skillet is the sizing and whether or not I can comfortably fit a whole chicken for roasting within...Read more
Maintenance
Hannah McQueen, Curated Expert
Investing in a cast iron skillet is like picking out a companion that will outlive the owner if treated well. In fact, these impressively durable kitchen staples become family heirlooms...Read more
Quality
Hannah McQueen, Curated Expert
Made from a proprietary blend of steel, molten pig iron, and other ingredients, the Lodge cast iron skillet is forged with longevity in mind. This hefty skillet may feel a...Read more

Curated Experts are not sponsored by brands. Their reviews are based on their honest experiences testing products.
About the kitchen products
  • Model: Lodge Cast Iron Skillet · 12 Inch · Black
Test conditions
  • Where I’ve used it: Stovetop and oven cooking, camping
  • How many times I've used it: 800

Expert Reviews of the Lodge Cast Iron Skillet

Hannah McQueen From seared meats to delicate clafoutis, the cast iron skillet remains an undefeated favorite tool of serious home cooks everywhere. While it does require regular "seasoning," or bringing up to a high heat with an added coating of oil or fat, a quality cast iron skillet can be the silent workhorse in a kitchen that holds heat well, evenly cooking everything from cornbread in the oven to caramelized onions on the stovetop. Cast iron is heavier than the average skillet, which is true, but it's also more rugged and can be used outside over a fire or inside on a gas or electric stove. However, it's not ideal for glass tops, as they can scuff the cooking surface over time. Many people think the best steaks one can eat will always come from a grill. While this theory can hold water, the truth is, the best steak I've ever had was seared in a cast iron skillet and basted in garlic herb butter. Built to last, I am confident that, with proper care of this durable kitchen staple, my cast iron skillet will be a trusted ally in the kitchen for many years to come.

Product Specs

ColorBlack
FeaturesInduction safe, Oven safe, Broiler safe, PTFE-free
MaterialCast Iron
Diameter (in)12"
Product height (in)2.26"
Product length (in)18"

Review Ratings

Weight

4/5
Hannah McQueen gave 4 of 5 stars. There have been a few close calls for me using my Lodge cast iron skillet when removing things from a hot oven, especially whole roast chickens. Because the pan itself is so heavy for my petite frame, it can be cumbersome to move a loaded skillet from Point A to Point B. However, the weight itself is part of what makes it such an excellent retainer of heat. It allows for even radiant heat cooking, producing some quality culinary results. In short, trading a few bicep reps for the sake of a good steak can be quite an agreeable exchange. 

Heat Distribution

4/5
Hannah McQueen gave 4 of 5 stars. While many assume that cast iron is perfect for heating evenly, what it is really best at is holding heat. This makes it wonderful for radiant cooking projects such as roast chicken but not as ideal for evenly searing four pork chops at once, for example. However, one can mitigate this by rotating the food during the cooking process and/or by investing in a steak weight or chef's press.

Handle Quality

5/5
Hannah McQueen gave 5 of 5 stars. A Lodge cast iron skillet is built like a brick house. There are no screws that may loosen over time, no delicate aspects that may wear or snap with continued use. When someone picks up and maneuvers this staple kitchen tool, they'll feel the sturdiness, which is an integral part of the design. For this cast iron fan, durability is a sign of quality!

Size

5/5
Hannah McQueen gave 5 of 5 stars. One of the biggest watermarks for me in terms of a successful skillet is the sizing and whether or not I can comfortably fit a whole chicken for roasting within the oven-safe skillet. Fortunately for roast chicken fans, this cast iron skillet can easily fit a whole chicken at 12" across, along with some potatoes, fennel, cubed squash, or any other schmaltz-glazed veggies. I find that 12" is a good middle size for tackling larger projects, such as a whole roast, but still small enough that the average baking recipe, such as cornbread or a dutch baby can still fill the pan well.

Maintenance

4/5
Hannah McQueen gave 4 of 5 stars. Investing in a cast iron skillet is like picking out a companion that will outlive the owner if treated well. In fact, these impressively durable kitchen staples become family heirlooms for a reason. While someone may have heard that they should never wash their cast iron skillet with soap, this only applies to cast iron skillets that have not been properly seasoned. If they've taken care of their cast iron right by polymerizing the layer of oil by applying sustained heat to the pain, they can wash it by hand using soapy water and a sponge. However, owners must still season their cast iron after every use and every wash.

Quality

5/5
Hannah McQueen gave 5 of 5 stars. Made from a proprietary blend of steel, molten pig iron, and other ingredients, the Lodge cast iron skillet is forged with longevity in mind. This hefty skillet may feel a bit heavier than the average nonstick pan, but it will last at least twice as long and could make a great gift for children or grandchildren someday.

FAQs

What do you love about this product?

Hannah McQueen There is a lot to love about the humble cast iron skillet, from its oven-safe and versatile nature to its rugged endurance and minimal upkeep. I can do everything from baking delicate confections like a clafoutis or Dutch baby to getting a killer sear on a piece of protein. Due to how well the cast iron skillet holds and distributes heat, home cooks can encourage the Maillard reaction for those delicious, deeper caramelized flavors. Capable of performing on a stovetop, in the oven, on a grill, or even over an open fire, this workhorse skillet is reliable, tough, and requires just a little bit of extra love in between uses in the form of seasoning it. All in all, a Lodge cast iron skillet can become a trusted companion in the kitchen, offering versatility, reliability, and a lifespan spanning several generations if truly loved and well-maintained.

What was your favorite moment with this gear?

Hannah McQueen When I first got my Lodge cast iron skillet, I wasn't quite sure yet how it would serve me—that is until I started mastering steaks. Around the time that I bought my cast iron, I was still "afraid" of cooking meat and fish, as I didn't want to ruin an expensive cut by overcooking or make someone ill by undercooking; fortunately, the cast iron changed everything. Capable not only of reaching extremely high temperatures but also of holding and distributing that heat, I soon found that cooking protein, especially steaks, with a cast iron skillet was not only relatively simple but could produce some of the best steaks I've ever eaten. I'll never forget the first steak I made that was absolutely perfect: dark golden and crusty on the outside and pink and juicy in the middle. I seared the ribeye in my cast iron skillet for a few minutes with a press before flipping it to the other side and basting the whole thing in herbs and butter. After letting the steak rest for about 10 minutes, I got to enjoy the confidence boost that comes with successfully cooking something that once had intimidated me: red meat.

Why did you choose this product?

Hannah McQueen I chose the Lodge 12" cast iron skillet out of an array of different options for its ability not only to hold and distribute heat well but also its durability and likelihood of lasting for generations if taken care of thoughtfully. There isn't much this skillet can't do—from caramelizing onions or making gravy to baking dump cakes and cornbreads—the cast iron skillet becomes an obvious choice for a home cook looking to line up their "staple" tools. The only thing I would not recommend is stewing anything overly acidic, such as tomatoes, for a long period of time, as this can break down the seasoning and can make foods taste metallic. It's clear to see that anyone looking for a lifetime skillet that is as rugged as it is versatile will be quite happy with the purchase of a cast iron skillet.

What is the value for the money versus other options?

Hannah McQueen The value of a cast iron skillet will, of course, vary depending on how well it is maintained over time. However, if properly cared for, a cast iron skillet can outlive much costlier skillets by not just years but decades. While a cast iron skillet will require regular seasonings in between cooking as part of its basic maintenance plan, this rugged (and relatively affordable) kitchen essential can become a family heirloom, if treated right. This makes it a high-value investment that can be shared with one's children, all for under around $50.

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