Best Cast Iron Skillets for Beginners: Complete Guide

Best Cast Iron Skillet for Beginners

Oftentimes when first starting out beginning cooks or chefs can be intimidated by cast iron, believing it’s too expensive, too hard to work with, or just too difficult to clean. 

However, this could not be further from the truth and hopefully, by the time you finish reading this complete guide to the Best Cast Iron Skillets for Beginners, you will understand that cast iron is actually quite easy to work and not any more expensive than stainless steel or aluminum cookware.

Best Cast Iron Skillets for Beginners

While you might think that all cast iron skillets are pretty much the same, the fact of the matter is there can be a lot of differences between two seemingly similar cast iron skillets, such as the quality of the cast iron, the depth, and width of the cooking surface, and the helpful features that some cast iron skillets have that others don’t.

So to help you save time and energy when first starting out with cast iron cookware, we created this helpful buyer’s guide on the Best Cast Iron Skillets for Beginners, that includes extensive research and reviews on the best cast iron skillets for beginners, as well as general information about cast iron skillets such as what is the best brand, what the most popular size cast iron skillet, and how to care for a cast iron skillet.  

Cast Iron Skillet Beginner Rating Average Price Amazon Price
Lodge 12″ Cast Iron Skillet 9.5/10 $40.00 Check Amazon Price
Victoria 12″ Cast Iron Skillet 8.5/10 $25.00 Check Amazon Price

Lodge 10.25″ Combo Cooker

8.7/10 $70.00 Check Amazon Price
Cuisinel 10″ Skillet with Glass Lid 8/10 $50.00 Check Amazon Price

Ewei’s 12″ Cast Iron Skillet

7.8/10 $20.00 Check Amazon Price

Lodge 12″ Cast Iron Skillet with Handle Cover


Lodge Cast Iron Skillet 12 Inch


If you’re looking for a great all-round cast iron skillet for beginners, that is just at home around the campfire as it is around your kitchen, then this 12-inch Lodge cast iron skillet should definitely be high on your list.

For starters, the Lodge brand is world-renowned and has been making quality cast iron cookware right here in the USA from their foundry in South Pittsburg Tennessee since 1896. 

Because of this, it’s hard to beat the 120-year heritage and history that Lodge brings to making its cast iron cookware.  

Why it’s Great for Beginners

This Lodge 12″ cast iron skillet is great for beginners due to its versatility and usability allowing you to prepare a variety of meals all from the same skillet. 

If you’re a beginner with cast iron this will more than likely be your first cast-iron skillet or perhaps only your second piece of cast iron cookware, so when choosing starter pieces its important to choose cast iron cookware that will allow you to cook a variety of items.  And thanks to the 12-inch size and its considerable depth, this cast iron skillet by Lodge can easily cook just about any type of food.

This cast-iron skillet by Lodge also has several great features for beginners such as a stout and short main handle with handle holder that allows for comfortable and confident control of the skillet.  As well as a convenient assist handle or second handle at the front of the skillet that allows for even better control of the skillet while cooking.  

Top Features of this Cast Iron Skillet

  • Pre-Seasoned with 1% natural vegetable oil.
  • An excellent brand name you can trust.
  • Convenient 12″ size allows you to cook just about anything.
  • Good depth and a tall rim make it easier to cook with and allow for a wider variety of cooking.
  • Excellent heat retention and even heating.
  • Stout short main handle with handle holder as well as second assist handle. 
  • Made in the USA.

To check the price of this quality and reliable cast iron skillet from Lodge on Amazon click here.  

Victoria 12″ Cast Iron Skillet with Helper Handle

Victoria Cast Iron Skillet Large Frying Pan with Helper Handle



Another great option for cast iron beginners is this sturdy and reliable 12″ cast-iron frying pan by Victoria.  Victoria as is the case with Lodge has a long and proud tradition of making some of the best cast iron cookware on the market and has been doing so since 1939.  

Why it’s Great for Beginners

This cast-iron skillet is great for beginners for several reasons, to begin with, the design of the cast iron skillet makes it easy to work with while cooking thanks to its two-handle design and the addition of the assist handle on the front of the skillet. 

In addition, this cast iron skillet by Victoria also has deep as well as steep sidewalls which help to keep the food and grease inside the pan no matter what you’re cooking.  

Also, thanks to its convenient size and the cooking properties of this cast iron skillet you can easily bake a deep-dish pizza, roast a chicken or sear a steak to perfection without breaking a sweat.  

Top Features of this Cast Iron Skillet

  • Made by a quality cast iron brand that has been producing cast iron cookware since 1939.
  • Has two handles including the main handle and assist handle for easy and comfortable control.
  • Quality and reliable cast iron.
  • Pre-seasoned with 100% non-GMO flaxseed oil.  
  • Large pour spouts on either side of the cast-iron skillet.
  • Lifetime Warranty

To check the price of this great beginner cast iron skillet on Amazon click here.  

Lodge 10.25″ Cast Iron Combo Cooker

Lodge 10.25" Cast Iron Combo Cooker



The next cast iron cookware that makes a great choice for beginners is this combo cooker by Lodge that actually includes two pieces of cookware including a large 3/4 deep skillet and a 10.25″ shallow skillet that can also act as a lid for 3/4 deep skillet.

This combo cooker is a great addition to anyone just getting started with cast iron as it gives you two very versatile pieces of cast iron cookware allowing you to cook, bake, or grill a wide variety of foods.–hrsKG1A

Why it’s Great for Beginners

Lodge cast iron cookware is always an excellent choice to start out with as a beginner because their cookware and skillets are made from quality cast iron that not only holds and retains heat long after you remove it from the cooking surface but also provides even heat distribution ensuring you have continuous and predictable heat to cook over.

This combo cooker set by Lodge is also a great choice for beginners because you get two different pieces of cast iron cookware, so no matter what cookware the meal you are planning calls for this combo set is sure to have you covered.  

Top Features of this Cast Iron Combo Cooker

  • Reliable and world-renowned name brand in cast iron cookware.
  • Combo cooker includes two pieces of cookware including a large 3/4 deep skillet and a 10.25″ shallow skillet.
  • Made in the USA.
  • Oven Safe
  • Pre-seasoned with vegetable oil so it’s ready to go right out of the box.
  • Helper handle on both skillets for better control.
  • They can be used together like a pot and lid for dutch oven baking.

To check the price of this versatile beginner cast iron combo cooker on Amazon click here.  

Cuisinel 10″ Cast Iron Skillet with Glass Lid and Handle Cover

Cuisinel 10" Cast Iron Skillet with Glass Lid and Handle Cover


As a cast iron cookware beginner, you ideally want to pick a cast-iron skillet that has a lot of built-in versatility so that you can cook a variety of foods with that one skillet.  And this 10-inch cast-iron skillet by Cuisinel is a great example of such versatility.

This 10-inch cast-iron skillet provides enough cooking surface for just about any meal you might want to prepare, as well as a glass lid and silicone handle cover to make cooking with cast iron as easy as possible.  

Why it’s Great for Beginners

This cast iron skillet from Cuisinel is great for beginners because of the versatility it offers as well as its ease of use. 

For starters this cast iron skillet comes pre-seasoned, so there is no need to season the cast iron before use, allowing you to start cooking right out of the box.  

In addition, thanks to its larger size, deep side walls, and glass lid you can do just about any type of cooking you could want with this cast iron skillet including baking, frying, braising, broiling, and sauteing.  

This skillet also has a variety of features that make the skillet easier to use for those that might be new to cast iron cookware, such as a helper handle on the front of the skillet making it easier to control and manage the heavy weight of the cast iron and an included silicone handle cover that fits over the 4 3/4 inch main handle to help prevent burns while cooking with the cast iron. 

Top Features of this Cast Iron Skillet

  • Pre-Seasoned so it’s ready for cooking right out of the box.
  • Convenient 10-inch size provides enough cooking surface to cook just about anything.
  • Includes a tempered glass lid and silicone handle cover.
  • Helper handle and 4 3/4 inch main handle for easy control.

To check the price of this 10-inch cast-iron skillet on Amazon click here.  

Ewei’s Homeware 12″ Cast Iron Skillet

Ewei's Homeware 12 inch Pre Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet Pan


If you want to try cast iron cookware out or working with a small budget then this basic cast iron skillet by Ewei’s is a great choice due to it’s cheap price.

In fact, this quality cast iron skillet was the cheapest price we could find for a 12-inch size skillet. 

Just because this skillet has a cheap price though doesn’t mean that it’s not a good piece of cast iron cookware as it still provides plenty of quality and nice features. 

Why it’s Great for Beginners

As mentioned about we like this skillet for beginners because it allows a cast iron beginner the opportunity to try cast iron cooking without spending a ton of money.  And while it does not have the brand name of some of the more well known and expensive brands of cast iron cookware, it more than makes up for this with its overall quality and features.

Despite the cheaper price this cast iron skillet still has many of the same features as the more expensive cast iron skillets such as a front helper handle, large cooking surface, deep sides, sturdy construction, and pour spouts on either side.  

Top Features of this Cast Iron Skillet

  • Pre-seasoned with vegetable oil and ready to go. 
  • Sturdy molded handle with a built-in hole for easy hanging.
  • A large 12-inch size provides ample cooking surface.  
  • Deep sides allow you to cook just about anything.  

To check the price of this affordable cast iron skillet on Amazon click here.  

cooking with a cast iron skillet over a fire

What is the Best Brand of Cast Iron Skillet?

When it comes to the best cast iron skillet brand, there is really no definitive answer.  And if you asked 10 different cast iron pros what the best brand is you would more than likely hear 10 different answers. 

However, there are certainly cast iron brands that are more renowned and superior compared to other lesser quality brands. 

So while this below list is not the end all be all when it comes to the best brands for cast iron skillets, if you choose a cast iron brand from this list you can’t go wrong.

Best Cast Iron Skillet Brands

What is the Most Popular Size of a Cast Iron Skillet?

The most popular size of cast iron skillet is either the 10-inch or 12-inch skillet as they offer the most versatility and usability and can prepare a variety of meals.  

It’s important to remember however, that the 10-inch or 12-inch size references the distance from rim to rim across the top of the cast iron skillet and not the actual cooking surface. 

So to get a better idea of the actual size of the cooking surface you should subtract 1-inch from the stated size.  

It’s not all about the width of the cast iron skillet though as the depth of the skillet is also an important factor to consider when looking for versatility and ease of use as a beginner.

In general the deeper the cast iron skillet, the easier it will be to use and the more versatility it will provide.  This is because when you have a deeper skillet with taller sidewalls it’s much easier to keep the hot grease and food where it belongs which is inside the skillet.  In addition, when you have a deeper skillet it allows you to cook a much broader variety of foods and even allows you to bake in the skillet.  

As a beginner, when looking for ease of use and maximum versatility, look for a cast iron skillet that is around 2 inches deep.  

How to Take Care of a Cast Iron Skillet for Beginners

When it comes to cast iron cookware and skillets, one of the most common concerns is how to properly care for and clean the cast iron, but as you will see there really isn’t much to it.

While you do have to take care of and clean cast iron differently than you would more common stainless steel or aluminum cookware it really isn’t any more difficult or time-consuming.  

Caring for Cast Iron Cookware

When caring for cast iron cookware, the two main things to remember is that water is the enemy of cast iron and always make sure to protect the seasoning. 

So when caring for and cleaning cast iron you want to expose the cast iron to as little water and moisture as possible and make sure you help build and maintain the seasoning of the cast iron.  

Below is a list of our top care tips for cast iron skillets and cookware.

  • Clean the cast iron right away using warm water and a brush.  For really stuck-on food you can add a bit of salt while cleaning for more abrasion.   
  • Never soak your cast iron cookware.
  • Avoiding using metal spatulas or utensils as this can damage the seasoning.
  • If storing multiple cast iron skillets on top of one another place a sheet of paper towel between them to help protect the seasoning.  
  • When you have finished cleaning and drying the cast iron, coat the cast iron with a thin layer of vegetable oil to help protect it.

Cleaning a Cast Iron Skillet: Step by Step Guide for Beginners


  1. While the skillet is still hot pour out the fat and don’t let it congeal in the pan.
  2. Wipeout any excess food or grease while the pan is warm with a paper towel.
  3. Rinse out the skillet or pan with hot water.
  4. Sprinkle a generous portion of salt into the pan and add a little water then use either a chain mail scrubber or brush with soft bristles and scrub the cast iron clean.  
  5. Rinse the cast iron and dry with a towel or paper towel.
  6. Then put the cast iron back on the heat source to heat the cast iron up to remove any excess water.
  7. While the cast iron skillet or pan is still warm rub on a generous coating of vegetable oil or neutral oil.
  8. Let cool before storing.  


Jason Kidd

Jason is an avid lover of camping, hiking, and well just about anything outdoors. He is both a writer and editor for Outside Pulse and has been camping and hiking for over 20 years.

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