Enameled cast iron skillets are some of the best additions to the kitchen due to their versatility and their longevity. A high quality enameled cast-iron skillet is basically a cooking vessel made out of cast iron and coated with a vitreous enamel glaze. And this glaze is what separates it from just any old piece of cookware.
The enameled skin protects the core of the frying skillet, preventing it from scratches and halting rust in its tracks. It’s also great for cooking as it conducts heat very easily and is a breeze to wash up afterward.
It goes without saying; users fall in love and never look back after using this once. We love our cast iron skillets for the simple fact that they handle high heat like a champ, which allows you to add a wider range of dishes to your cooking repertoire. So, read on to discover the best enameled cast iron skillet that money can buy.
Factors to consider before choosing the best enameled cast iron skillet
The Size, Shape, and Weight of the Skillet
Depending on the dimensions of all three factors, the quality of the skillet changes. Size matters because you can cook plenty more in a single batch. On the other hand, shape determines whether or not it’ll be compatible with a lot of things. For instance, round skillets are perfect for stove stops because the surface area fits. On the other hand, oval, as the shape sounds, aren’t the best for stovetops. Finally, the weight of your skillet determines the quality of the cast iron since iron is naturally heavy.
The Types of Handles Available
There are many types of handles for users to play with. Options include silicone, metal, wooden, riveted, welded, and screw handles. Since this is a skillet, the handles must be made out of iron or any material that can withstand high temperatures. Otherwise, it may melt when subjected to high enough temperatures (typically starting from 450°F). Besides that, it must be quite lengthy to give you some room to protect yourself from getting burnt.
The Quality of the Enamel
The quality of the enamel depends on which type of material they use for the coating. In the case of cast iron, the popular choice is a mixture of minerals acting as a coating. But note that there are better coatings out there such as Teflon. But that one too does come with its own caveats.
Best Enameled Cast Iron Skillet Reviews
1. Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron
The Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron comes in five colors to choose from, which are cassis, cherry, cobalt, flame, and marseille. Whichever one you choose, the dimensions and traits remain the same. The first measures 11.75 inches and comes with dual pour spouts for both left and right-handed handlers. As for the traits, it’s the chip- and crack-resistant enamel, which doesn’t react to food.
That enamel also takes credit for the iron’s high-temperature conductivity. That is, it can get searing hot at 450°F, whilst distributing that heat evenly across your food. At that temperature, the function of the integral iron handle sees the light of day. You get to securely handle the food from the burner to the broiler.
2. Zelancio Enameled Cast Iron Skillet
The Zelancio Enameled Cast Iron Skillet is another option for buyers, coming in three colors (cayenne red, orange, and teal). It’s a 10-inch piece made from cast iron, with a major advantage of high heat conductivity. The skillet can do everything a frying pan can do and even more, including steak, eggs, and chicken at searing temperatures.
To get into the specifics, this skillet is perfect for braising, baking, simmering, sauté, marinating, or slow simmering. All this is made possible due to the design. Spotting very good heat retention and distribution, likewise an ergonomic handle and pour spouts on both sides, it’s one of the best for handling a wide range of food.
As for the inside, three layers of black porcelain glaze enamel is used for the coating. Advantages it brings include chip and cracks resistance and fast and easy clean up after each cooking session. Other features to mention include being oven-safe up to temperatures up to 500°F.
3. Staub Double Handle Skillet
Staub’s double handle skillet is made from cast iron, though you can get it in four colors (basil, dark blue, graphite grey, and grenadine). Perhaps, the biggest highlight is why the pan doesn’t require any seasoning. The matte textured coating. It doesn’t only make cleaning too easy. It’s also compatible with all other stovetops including electric, gas, ceramic, and induction-type variants. But, what it’s not compatible with is a dishwasher due to the coating.
Nevertheless, we can’t ignore the other details as well, can we? The pan is best used for browning food, be it chicken breasts, potatoes, eggs, and bacon, or gravy. Still better, we can say the use of cast iron enables users to cook at high temperatures. In other words, the pan can withstand temperature up to 900°F or 482°C, making it compatible with ovens. Final details are the side pour spouts, which really helpful in clearing the pan.
4. Tramontina Series 1000 Skillet
The Series 1000 is a skillet that can be bought in one color only (blue-black scheme). Tramontina definitely doesn’t pull any punches, seeing as the pan is complete, with a smart lid and a 12-inch circumference. In other words, the lid comes with condensation ridges that uniformly collect and direct vapor onto food. For the latter, you can cook large batches of food at a time.
So, to say the value for money is high is an understatement, especially considering its sub-100 dollars. Moving on to the make, cast iron is a favorite because it evenly distributes heat. In fact, it features a high heat conductivity as well, being able to reach temperatures up to 450°F. This makes it perfect for ovens, but dishwashers are still a no-go due to the coating. But at least, the sturdy handle gives you a great grip while washing.
Best Enameled Cast Iron Skillet Sets
There are two in this category that we want you to see. Simply put, if you’re not shopping for a standalone skillet, these are the best sets that you can buy. Have a look.
1. Le Creuset MS1605-16SS Signature Enameled
The Le Creuset MS1605-16SS is an iconic 5-piece set because it’s a delight to use in any kitchen. You’ll find two pans with a kid each and a skillet inside. With the pans, one of them has a size of 5.5 Qtrs, while the other is only 1.75 Qtrs. The skillet, on the other hand, is 9 inches only. All three feature an exterior with an enameled sand-blasted look, and a black interior coating. As is the norm for enameled cast iron cookware, they’ve got the usual list of pros and quirks found everywhere.
Starting with the pros, for starters, each one of the pans can handle a large amount of heat (up to. 500°F). Also, it’s compatible with many stovetops, including ceramic, gas, electric, and induction variants. Their enameled look also makes them durable, shrugging off everything naught of considerable blunt force and sharp objects. And that’s where their innate quirks start rearing their heads. Never use them with sharp objects and the fact that they’re not dishwasher-ready. At the least, though, that thick coating guarantees a very easy cleanup.
2. Bruntmor Enameled 2-In-1 Set
Bruntmor’s enameled 2-in-1 set comes packaged with a pre-seasoned 3-quart skillet and a lid that also doubles as a mini skillet (perfect for eggs). Notice that both skillets can be used together to make a Dutch oven? It’s a wise design choice, especially when you couple in cast iron’s natural advantages.
It heats up extremely quickly, evenly distributes that energy to where it needs to go and features a thick coating that gives that nonstick cleaning experience. And talking about cleaning, the pans do not go well with dishwashers. It’s not necessarily a con because of other advantages like full compatibility with any heating source.
In addition, since the pans are made from cast iron, the durability is top-notch. The package ensures top-notch cooking results for a long time, and also comes at a price that isn’t too invasive. Though, to admit it, being a 2-in-1 makes it cheaper compared to the alternative above.
Advantages of Enameled Cast Iron Skillets
- Skillets are the best for deep frying due to their depth
- The best of them are also non-toxic containing no dangerous substance like lead
- Fit for every all type of stovetops
- They never react with your food
- Skillets are freezer and oven-safe
- They’re not prone to rust
- Does not require seasoning
- Literally eye-candy for any kitchen set-up
- Enameled cast iron skillets are low-stick
- Suitable for searing at high temperatures
- They’re very easy to clean
- Lasts for decades with proper care
Disadvantages of Skillets
- Can be heavy and cumbersome
- Can break with sudden temperature changes
- Not compatible with any metal kitchen utensils
- The initial cost is high
- Can’t be washed using abrasive cleaners or dishwasher
- Washing by hand is always recommended
Can enamel ever be hazardous to your health?
Because it’s of organic composition, enameled cast iron skillets are one of the safest cooking vessels you can use. High-quality ones are durable (lasting for decades), completely free of materials such as lead or iron, and are non-reactive to acidic food.
But the keyword is “high-quality” since otherwise can do the direct opposite. Leach lead, cadmium, and the likes into your food and are free of dangerous substances such as PTFE and PFOA. Simply put, PTFE and PFOA are substances that leak as toxic fumes when overheated. So, in a way, this shows that enameled cast iron skillets are perfect for high-heat cooking.
What can I cook with an enameled cast-iron skillet, and what can’t I cook?
Enameled cast iron skillets are inert and perfect for high-heat cooking. So, you’re perfectly free to cook any type of dish with it. This includes acidic dishes like your favorite tomato sauce, searing, and stir-frying. Also, if it’s tomato, always remember to move the sauce to another pan or storage option after cooking to avoid stains.
How are Cast Iron Skillets Made?
Cast iron skillets are comprised of two parts; the cast iron skillet and the enamel. With the first, you make the skillet by molding iron into the desired shape. After this, it is then cleaned through sand-blasting or pickling in acid. For the enamel, it’s made from a mix of powdered glass, clay, and water. To produce those beautiful colors, minerals such as iron, praseodymium, cobalt, or neodymium are added into the mix.
But here’s the thing, the quality of the enamel depends on the quality of the base iron itself.
Just as a reference, the pan should be at least 3 mm thick, recently cast, and free of contamination such as graphite, sulfur, bubbles, pores, and inclusions. Finally, to fuse the two parts, a base coating made of metal oxides such as nickel, cobalt, manganese, copper, and iron is applied to the already-cleaned iron pan.
What cooking surface is enameled cast iron skillets compatible with?
Enameled cast iron skillets are compatible with all types of cooking tops. You’re free to use with anything from gas to induction cooktops. Nevertheless, enameled cookware is only oven-safe up to 500°F, though those figures can be lowered depending on the handle.
How to clean an enameled cast iron pan?
- Let it cool first. Do not plunge a hot pan into cold water because of thermal shock who can result in cracking and loss of enamel.
- Fill the pan with warm water and let it soak for 15-20 minutes if there’s any residue
- Wash with a brush if you’re cleaning small food deposits
- Otherwise, use nylon, soft abrasive pads, or bigger brushes to remove stubborn residues
- Make sure you use only soapy water to retain the skillet’s original appearance
- Avoid using scourers, metallic pads, abrasive cleaners, and the likes on the cooking surface
How to maintain the skillet’s original appearance?
- Light stains or metal marks from metal tools can be removed with cookware cleaner.
- Dry the cookware thoroughly first, before storing it in a cool and dry place. Also, never stack the cookware.
- Make sure the cupboard or airy space the skillet is store in is far away from steam.
- Check the tightness of the handle and knob regularly, and if needed, re-tighten them.
Do enameled cast iron skillets pass the eggs and bacon test?
A lot of enameled cast iron skillets fail the eggs and bacon test for three very simple reasons. It hasn’t been pre-season properly yet, you’re running the skillet at high temperature, or you’re not using any oil to fry. Don’t get us wrong; that’s the typical idea, but eggs and bacon only need medium heat to fry. Do that, and your eggs will slide right out of the pan with no coercion.
At the same time, whether or not eggs stick depends on the quality of the enamel itself. This is why it’s a good idea that you buy yourself a good grade enameled cast iron skillet.
Do enameled cast iron skillets need oil to work?
Yes, they do. While we didn’t mention this the enameled cast iron skillets reviews above, they’re not really the best for dry cooking. So, that’s the reason why you should use a liquid/oil before cooking with it. Otherwise, everything from meat to fish and then back to eggs will stick.
Furthermore, it’ll be a stubborn stain that may cause bigger damage, such as reducing the quality of the enamel coating in record time.
So there you have it. We hope by now you have got a firm grasp of what to look for when searching for the best enameled cast iron skillet. As with anything in this world, you usually get what you pay for.
Some of these cookwares will cost you a pretty penny, but you certainly get a bang for your buck. They can knock out a fantastic meal in no time, take very little effort to clean, and they will last you a very long time, provided you care for them correctly.
All that’s left to do is pick your favorite set and get cooking.
Thanks for reading!