The kitchen is the heart of every home and the cookware therein gives love through the food made. Cast iron cookware is gaining popularity as a must-have in the kitchen because of its versatility. Cast iron cookware includes dutch ovens, cast iron pans and cast iron skillets.
Enameled cast iron skillets are great for slow cooking and pulling out flavors from the food. With proper care, the best-enameled cast iron cookware will last you a long time. These skillets come in many sizes, colors and varying enamel quality.
From Le Creuset to Lodge, there are many brands that enamel cast iron skillets to choose from. We've put together a list of the best-cast iron skillets and a buying guide if you're in the market for this kitchen equipment.
What Is An Enameled Cast Iron Skillet?
An enameled cast skillet is a cast iron pan that has a vitreous enamel glaze coating on the surface. The enamel glaze is made of water, clay and powdered glass and fused to the pot's surface using extreme heat.
Cast iron in itself has properties such as heat retention that make it good cookware. Adding enamel to the cast iron skillet removes the need to season the cast iron and prevents rusting. What happens is that as you cook on the skillet, oil is baked onto the metal to create a natural "seasoning" that prevents rust and has non-stick properties.
Now that we know what an enameled cast iron skillet is, let us look at the 5 best skillets in this category.
1. Lodge Pre-Seasoned Deep Skillet
The Lodge brand is a well-known cast iron cookware manufacturer. Lodge products such as skillets and dutch ovens are affordable and beginner-friendly. For example,the Lodge deep skillet comes pre-seasoned with natural vegetable oil. This gives you a good start on building your natural patina or seasoning.
Unlike other enamel glazed cast iron skillets, the Lodge skillet is only 5 pounds. This makes it easy for you to grab and use for just about any meal. In addition, this skillet is easy to clean. However, you may want to avoid using harsh soaps to keep the seasoning whole.
Enameled cast iron cookware is known to retain and distribute heat throughout the skillet or pan. The Lodge deep skillet is no different. This skillet ensures unparalleled heat retention and even heating. For this reason, it is safe to be used to broil, fry, sear and bake. This can be on the stove, grill and even out over a campfire.
In addition, this deep skillet is oven-safe and great for induction cooktops. However, just like most cast iron cookware, it takes time to heat but retains the temperature well.
2. Le Creuset Cast Iron Skillet
Popularly known for its colorful cookware, the Le Creuset 11-3/4-inch cast iron skillet is second on our list. This cast-iron skillet is big enough to make enough meals for the entire family. In addition, it has two spouts for pouring sauce on either side, making it a kitchen favorite.
The Le Creuset skillet has a weight of 6.5 pounds, making it quite heavy to lift with one hand. Fortunately, it comes with a helper handle that works alongside the iron handle to ensure secure lifting and transport. In addition, the iron handle is long enough and looped for easy storage.
Le Creuset's cast-iron skillet is made of chip and crack-resistant enamel. This ensures that the enamel does not react to the food to cause any hazardous effect. In addition, this skillet is easy to clean since it is dishwasher safe. However, hand washing also gets the job done.
3. Bruntmor Enameled 2-in-1 Cast Iron Multi-Cooker
This Bruntmor enameled cast iron multi-cooker combines skillets and dutch ovens to make one versatile set. The frying pan is easily converted to serve as a lid to the skillet, and there you have your dutch oven. The skillet weighs 3 pounds with a diameter of 9.75 inches, perfect for making just enough fresh food.
The Bruntmore multi-cooker has a thick and consistent enamel design to endure frequent use and high temperature. When well taken care of, this cast iron cookware will last ages in your kitchen. In addition, the mini set is easy to clean, especially after seasoning.
Since it is a bit heavy, the skillet and dutch oven come with a helper handle to lift with both hands. In addition,the iron handle is looped and long to enable easy storage.
4. Lodge 8-inch Cast Iron Skillet
The Lodge 8-inch skillet is an all-around everyday use skillet. Whether you want to bake, saute, stir fry vegetables or make sear for the meat, you are guaranteed to reach out to this cast iron skillet pan every time.
This enameled skillet from Lodge maximizes heat retention and ensures that your food cooks evenly. The skillet has dual spouts for pouring sauce easily. In addition, this skillet is easy to clean by hand washing with warm water and a non-abrasive brush.
The Lodge cast iron skillet is pre-seasoned with vegetable oil to give a seasoning headstart. It is compatible with all cooktops and even campfires. In addition, the seasoning on the skillet gets better every time you use it.
5. Le Creuset Signature Cast Iron Skillet
Le Creuset cast iron cookware is made with attention to detail to provide quality and functionality. The Le Creuset signature skillet is no exception. This cast-iron skillet has a black enameled interior to resist dulling and staining.
The Le Creuset enameled cast iron skillet is heavy and comes with a helper handle for more security. The iron handle is long and has a hole that helps, especially during storage. In addition, this skillet is pre-seasoned to cook any food in it, including acidic foods.
The construction and design of Le Creuset's skillets are durable to last you a long time with everyday use. In addition, cleaning this enameled cast iron cookware is easy because it is dishwasher safe.
Why Should You Get an Enameled Cast Iron Skillet?
The main advantages of investing in the best-enameled cast iron skillets are:
- Does not rust
- Durable for generations with proper care
- Easy to clean
- Does not need to be seasoned
- Non-reactive, even when cooking acidic foods
- Prevents leaching from the cast iron base
- Withstands high temperatures
- Retains and distributes heat evenly
- Freezer and oven safe
- Compatible with most cooktops
- Available in different lively colors
However, it is important to know that no enameled cast skillet is the same. This is because the quality of the enamel glaze relies on the materials used to make it and the quality of the original cast iron. As a result, investing in low-quality enameled cast iron cookware could have its effects. Some of which include:
- Iron leaching
- Cadmium and lead leaching
- Contain PFOA and PTFE toxic fumes
- Not non-stick
- Easily chips and cracks
- Low heat conduction
What Are The Other Types of Enameled Cast Cookware?
1. Dutch Oven
Dutch ovens are the most popular type of enameled cast cookware. This is a large pot with a tight and secure fitting lid and handles. Enameled cast iron dutch oven pots have a range of uses in the kitchen. Your stews, roasts, casseroles and braises will never taste the same with this pot.
2. Frying Pan
Enameled cast iron frying pan is another kitchen favorite. This pan is suitable for meals that require shallow frying or shallow braising. In addition, if you are looking for a pan that can go straight from the cooking stove to the oven, we'd recommend trying out enameled cast iron pans.
3. Casserole/Braiser Dish
This is made from a combination of a skillet and a dutch oven. The cooking surface is wide and large with a secure fitting lid. In addition, the sides are up to 3-inches high to prevent food from splattering. This pot is suitable for baking casseroles and long braises, as well as soup stocks.
How Do You Choose The Best Enameled Cast Iron Skillet?
Enameled cast iron cookware comes in a range of sizes to suit different needs. However, they are generally heavier than other cookware of the same size. This is because of the weight of the cast iron and the glazing.
While a bigger size allows you to make more food, you need to think of the weight to avoid buying a skillet, cast iron pan, or dutch oven that is heavy to lift, especially with food in it.
Since enameled cast iron cookware is heavy, a long, firm handle is important for lifting the food. Some skillets have a helper handle on the opposite side, so you can use both hands when carrying the food. The best-cast iron handle needs to be long enough to carry and also hang during storage. However, the handle needs to fit in the oven.
Bare cast iron skillets get too hot and can burn your hands. To work around this, you need to purchase an insulating cover like silicone. Make sure that the silicone fits properly on the cast iron handle to avoid accidents.
3. Quality of Enameling
Every manufacturer's quality of enameling is different, and so is the durability and performance of the cookware. The enamel coating is what determines how the pre-seasoned cast iron skillet will cook. In addition, the enamel coating ensures that food does not come into contact with the raw cast iron metal, hence preventing leaching.
Smooth enamel occurs in two types, light and sandy, or textured black enamel color. Textured black enamel is suitable for cooking with high temperatures and heat distribution. However, it is hard to notice when the pot is browning. On the other hand, light enamel coating does well when cooking with low or medium heat. In addition, it is exceptional for monitoring food.
A poor quality enameled cookware chips and cracks easily. Using metal utensils or banging them on the edge or surface when cooking reduces longevity. This is unlike high-quality enameled cookware that can last a lifetime with proper care. However, high-quality enameling is expensive.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the best brand for enameled cast iron cookware?
Lodge and Le Creuset are among the best brands for enameled cookware. However, the best-cast iron cookware, dutch oven, skillet or pan, will vary from person to person depending on individual preferences like size, weight, color and affordability.
2. Which is better, cast iron or enameled cast iron?
Enameled cast iron tops the charts when compared to bare cast iron. This is because the enamel interior is non-porous and protects the iron, lead and other chemicals from leaching into your food. In addition, seasoned cast iron is obtained only through enameling and makes it easy to clean the cookware.
3. Are enameled cast iron skillets better?
Investing in an enameled cast-iron skillet is better for several reasons. For example, bare cast iron retains aromas such as ginger or garlic during seasoning, unlike the enameled counterparts. This is inconvenient, especially when you don't want those flavors in a different meal.
In addition, plain cast iron cookware needs a lot of care. This is because they are prone to rust. Using harsh soaps may also strip away the seasoning and reduce the non-stick element of the cookware.
4. Is enamel cast iron cookware safe?
Cast iron-covered cookware is safe for cooking in the kitchen. However, this highly depends on the quality of the enamel. Therefore, it is recommended to invest in expensive enamel cookware that will last you forever than a cheap alternative with health hazards.