It’s true: good things are made to last. In fact, the best investments you can make in your kitchen collection are those that are built for heavy repeated use, year after year. While cast iron cookware has earned a bit of a reputation for being finicky, in reality, it’s incredibly robust and simple to care for. Aside from its heirloom-quality durability, cast iron adds a touch of culinary expertise to your steaks, eggs, and baked goods. From the perfect crunchy exterior to a fabulous golden brown pan sear, the unique properties of cast iron deliver unrivaled culinary greatness.
For one, cast iron cookware has highly emissive heat properties, which make it excellent for steaks and other dishes. While aluminum and nonstick pans are usually only hot on the surface, a cast iron pan radiates a higher level of heat into the air above the pan surface for quick, even cooking. Cast iron can also be transferred easily from stovetop to oven to campfire. Its multipurpose possibilities lend an extra level of functionality to your creative cookware collection. Once seasoned with vegetable oil or shortening, your pan will be naturally nonstick without the presence of chemical nonstick coating agents.
Another benefit of cast iron is its incredible value over time. Some might even argue that pre-loved cast iron is even more desirable—like a good pair of worn-in leather. Purchasing your cast iron cookware second-hand is also very budget-friendly, like this lightweight 10-inch cast iron skillet featured on our site, which comes perfectly pre-seasoned and ready to use. As a sturdy, ultra-dense material, cast iron maintains its near-new appearance and doesn’t warp, chip, or scratch like other metal pans. This size is perfect for frittatas, stovetop-to-oven casseroles, steaks, and more.
For miniature delicacies, these 6-inch cast iron skillets are the ultimate kitchen investment. Make single-serving brownies, loaded pan-fried toast, or seafood paella for a tasteful addition to your two-person dinner parties.
If you’re looking for a brand new piece to make your own, you might also consider shopping our featured makers, Victoria Cookware and the FINEX. These high quality cast iron makers are committed to creating pieces that will last many lifetimes. The Colombian forgers at Victoria Cookware have been creating skillets, woks, and baking pans since 1988, while the Portland-based team at FINEX crafts their cookware with an eye for vintage style. Both companies create valuable, timeless kitchen pieces that are essential to any home cooking expert.
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For cast-iron recipe ideas, follow these makers on Instagram at @finexcookware and @victoriacookware.